Being vegetarian does not necessarily mean that you are eating healthy or cheaply.

Moving to a plant-based diet has provided Keiva Dennis, a member of Seabrook Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lanham, Maryland, United States, many health benefits: she lost 20 pounds (9 kilograms), her acne cleared up, and her knee pain disappeared. She also says it’s cheaper than her previous vegan diet.

Dennis first began following a whole-foods, plant-based diet more closely after spending time with her sister’s family, who ate that way. “Eating whole foods was so amazingly satisfying that I decided to continue this lifestyle,” she says.

Keiva Dennis, a church member from Seabrook Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lanham, Maryland, United States, says that eating healthy can also be a way of saving money if you plan ahead and focus on unprocessed foods. [Photo: Columbia Union Visitor]

At one point a vegan, she now eats more plant-based meals. “Being vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean that we are healthy. We can be junk food vegetarians and vegans!” says Dennis. “I was so surprised when my hemoglobin A1C results five years ago indicated that I was borderline prediabetic. How could that be? Sugar continues to be my weakness. Vegan ice cream and vegan cakes don’t help.”

Before switching to a plant-based way of eating, she says a typical breakfast was processed cereal with soy milk or a blueberry muffin. Now she eats homemade granola with homemade almond milk. For bread, she eats sprouted grain bread, which is more nutrient-dense and has more fiber than most bread on store shelves. She also eats at least two types of fruit at breakfast.

For dinner, she used to eat some type of veggie meat. A typical dinner now might be creamy coconut chickpeas over brown rice with broccoli. She ends the meal with a couple of raw cashew nuts.

How Does She Save Money?

Dennis says that from 2018 to 2019, she managed to reduce the amount of money she spends every month on food. She recommends using the EveryDollar budgeting app to track spending.

“I’m not as concerned about eating organic, even though I do shop at mostly organic grocery stores. I find that the produce looks better in organic stores, and the veggies last longer,” she says.

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