A few months ago I received Eat Vegan On $4 A Day by Ellen Jaffe Jones to review. I was excited to read it because I have been trying to get back to better eating habits and we are on an incredibly tight budget. Win-win.
I opened the package right away and thumbed through it. Then I took it as reading material when we went on a long drive. As I read the introductory chapters, I found myself going, “Yes! This is why I started eating more plant-based foods!”
Ellen Jaffe Jones started eating a plant-based diet to help alleviate some health issues–the same reason I have. But this book isn’t just for vegans or vegetarians thinking of making the jump to eating vegan. It’s for anyone who is interested in their health and adding more veggies and/or removing some animal products from their diet. And the best part is that it shows that you don’t have to break the bank to do it.
Often there is a misconception that eating healthy food is expensive. Yes, it is more expensive than eating packaged ramen noodles, but on the whole when you cut out meat and dairy, you actually save money as most vegetables are much cheaper per pound. The introductory chapters of the book are very good at explaining this and will help you see of the benefits of eating no or less animal products.
One thing I find when I thumb through my vegan cookbooks (I have quite a few these days), is a reliance on vegan meat and cheese substitutions. This book does have a few recipes using these types of substitutions, but on the whole, it focuses on eating whole grains and veggies you can grow in your garden (the most inexpensive way to get your veggies). And I’ve generally found that the recipes are good. I’ve been eating gluten-free again and many of the recipes are already GF or can easily be adapted.
The only bit of criticism I have is that I didn’t quite understand that the $4 a day is for one person. Some of the recipes can bit more pricey per serving or if it’s for more than one person. I was hoping every recipe would be totally budget-friendly. But that’s not a good enough reason to not recommend the book. I do recommend it.
I’ve enjoyed this book. It would be a great gift for someone who is newly vegan, or wants to cut down on the amount of animal products in their diet. The book is small. It offers 3 meals a day for a week. So it’s not going to be your only cookbook, but is a great way to get started. The recipes are easy to prepare and don’t call for exotic ingredients.
I particularly enjoyed the Millet Crunch cereal. I used to eat quinoa every morning for breakfast, but tired of that. Then I went through an oatmeal phase. I tired of that. Now I’ve been on a green smoothie kick (which the book has plenty of recipes for). My daughter and I sent the big kids off to school and make Millet Crunch for breakfast. We really enjoyed it. Millet has such a mild flavor and chewy texture.
from Eat Vegan on $4 a Day
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup millet
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
4 strawberries, sliced (optional–I used half a small apple)
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
Put the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the millet, decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. transfer to a cereal bowl and top with the almonds, walnuts, and optional strawberries and raisins. Serve hot.
*Millet is naturally sweet, and adding fruit makes this cereal even sweeter. For additional sweetness, add agave nectar, maple syrup, or stevia. Go easy on the stevia–a little goes a very long way.
*If you don’t use nuts in this recipe, the cost per serving drops to less than $0.25. However, the protein and other nutrients they contain make nuts worth the extra expense.
*Any whole grain or combination of grains, such as barley, buckwheat, kamut, oats, spelt, teff, or triticale, can be substitutes for the millet.