Back-to-the-Basics Veganism: Six Ways to Make it Easier and Less Expensive

No, I am not going to tell you to eat more silken tofu, don’t worry.

Marla Rose


Even though in many ways, it’s easier than ever to be vegan today, a lot of times I think I could benefit to go back to the basics of living as a vegan in the 1990s. Not only is simplifying in this way better for my wallet and probably my overall diet, it reminds me that being vegan does not need to be complicated or something only available to those who can afford it. Yes, I may be thrifty, but my main purpose here is to help people understand that extra expenses, lots of counter space and all kinds of free time are not necessary to successfully and joyfully integrating veganism into your life. Take it from someone who went vegan in 1995, when it was not hospitable or a slam-dunk: Not only can veganism be perfectly doable in more low-maintenance ways, returning to these simpler habits has real benefits.

Before there was a proliferation of options and access, we still managed to make it happen. Here are six ways to cultivate the back-to-basics vegan within you, whether you are new to veganism, an old schooler like myself or just curious.

1. Remember that we didn’t have expensive vegan meats or fancy cheeses and they are not necessary today

While I am not complaining about these things — and don’t accuse me of it! — we had virtually none of these options when I went vegan but it didn’t stop us from doing it. If you’re living in an area that doesn’t have a well-stocked vegan section of the grocery store, you’re trying to cut down on your spending or eat more simply, you could probably benefit from a return to the basics: Rice and beans with veggies. Pasta marinara or pesto and veggies. Tacos. Homemade veggie burger patties. Despite public perception, it is not required of vegans to eat Beyond Burgers or expensive nut cheeses. I’m not condemning them; I am saying that they are not required.

2. Expensive kitchen implements are optional

I was a vegan for 18 years by the time I got a high-speed blender, and while I love my Vitamix and it is a heavyweight in our household…