WorthWhile

I distinctly remember the first few days after I’d decided to turn vegan – while the conviction that this was the right decision for me never wavered, the practicalities of completely overhauling my diet brought with it a lot of confusion and uncomfortable questions. Can I stick with this over the long term? How do I convince my mother to not add ghee to everything? Is imported vegan cheese an essential addition to my pantry list? For anyone looking to introduce more plant-based food in their diet, I’m happy to report that there is a way to make this work without breaking the bank. It takes research, hits and misses, and a lot of time spent reading labels but it’s a worthy tradeoff. If you’ve felt personally victimised by the price of almond milk and Impossible Burgers in India, you’re not alone. Read on for a list of economical vegan products and a sample expense sheet to help you plan out your budget as a new convert.

Everyday Essentials

Cutting out meat and dairy leaves you with a gaping hole in your pantry and finding affordable replacements can be a challenge – this is where finding homegrown Indian brands that have great products at a competitive cost can be a gamechanger. Here’s a list of essential vegan products under 300 Rupees!

Plant Milk

Goodmylk Cashew and Oat Mylk (Nationwide, INR 140/litre), Chetran’s Soy Milk (Mumbai & Pune, INR 35/400 ml)

 

Mock Meat

Good Dot Proteiz (Nationwide, INR 85/200 gms), Vezlay Veg Meat (Nationwide, INR 150/200 gms), Veggie Champ Vegan Habanero Chicken Popcorn (INR 261/200 gms)

 

Vegan Butter and Ghee

Goodmylk Vegan Butter (Nationwide, INR 70/100 gms),

Emkay Lite Vegan Ghee (Nationwide, INR 290/500 ml)

 

Cheese

Bombay Cheese Company Cheddar (Nationwide, INR 199/150 gms),

Katharos Vegan Pizza Cheese (Nationwide, INR 185/100 gms)

 

Tofu

Tempe Di Mumbai Fresh Tofu (Mumbai, INR 229/800 gms),

Soyfit Tofu Supreme (Nationwide, INR 120, 200 gms)

Treats

Everyone has a story behind why they chose a plant-based lifestyle but whatever your intentions may be, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a few vegan treats along the way.

An Ode To Gaia Vegan Butter Croissants (Mumbai, INR 450/Box of 3)
I really miss croissants and my mind was blown away by these.

Cadbury Oreo (Nationwide, INR 10/50 gms) The easiest, most accessible, accidentally vegan treat!

Plantmade Non Dairy Cremer (Nationwide, INR 99/200 ml) – Really level up your pasta, tofu makhani and more with this versatile treat.

Mason & Co. Dark Drinking Chocolate (Nationwide, INR 430/200 gms) – If you’re lucky enough to live someplace where winter is an actual season, there’s nothing better than this.

Blue Tribe Plant Based Chicken Nuggets (Nationwide, INR 295/250 gms)

*All prices are reported at MRP as of July, 2021.

If you’re considering going plant-based but are holding back because of the cost implications, have a look at how I budget for my monthly expenses:

Overall, choosing a plant-based lifestyle took a little time to get used to but the positive impact it has had on my conscience and my health has been immeasurable. While my primary reasons revolved around animal welfare and the environment, the health benefits were a welcome surprise – my mind was blown away when I came to the realisation that all plant-based food by default has zero cholesterol. And I don’t know if it’s the Vicco Turmeric or the elimination of dairy, but my skin has never felt better.

A lot of the components of Indian cuisine are naturally vegan.

Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat it – being vegan in India is not a piece of cake (pun intended) but it doesn’t have to be unaffordable. In principle, being vegan can be one of the most cost effective diets out there with its base of lentils, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and the like.

But including packaged and often imported plant-based foods is what drives the notion of veganism being too expensive to be sustainable. There are a number of home hacks that can help you make this even more affordable – right from making your own oat milk at home or even your own peanut butter (it’s deceptively easy). But if you’re someone like me who’s not quite a whizz in the kitchen – there are new brands, restaurants, and stores dedicated to plant-based offerings that are popping up in all parts of the country with the intention to make a vegan lifestyle accessible at all price points.

 

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