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Food

On December 21st, the day me and Bob returned from our around the world trip we decided to adopt a vegetarian/vegan diet, or, rather in the time leading up to our return date we gradually grew more familiar with the idea and chose our return date to start as it would be convenient to do with the fridge empty and most animal products used up before we left on our trip!

The reason for the whole idea is that while in Thailand we spent three weeks eating very little meat as we were living out of backpacks and going from hotel to hotel, and no dairy as it is CRAZY expensive over there… We were already expecting this as we spent some time in Thailand in 2017 as well but it surprised both of us – and we didn’t realize until close to the end of our time in Thailand – that we hadn’t had any “gut-issues” for the entire time we were there… We ate a ton of stuff, home made pancakes, way too many coconuts, smoothies, fifteen billion pineapples, bananas, crackers, cookies (cheapest thing at 7/11…. ya gotta do whatcha gotta do), jackfruit, more coconuts, rice and vegetables, vegetables and rice, nuts, veggie soups, noodles etc. We consumed almost no dairy, almost no meat products and exactly zero cheese until about our last day when I couldn’t take it anymore and NEEDED to buy some.  🙄

Bob has had some issues with bloating, gas, feeling uncomfortable and so have i. It surprised us that we felt so different, and it was just so OBVIOUS (in a non-scientific way) that we decided to try going veg when we came home. The decision was cemented by research on cholesterol, heart issues, (for him) and reading and learning more about the ugly side of the animal industry. (for me)

It’s been kind of a long time coming for me. I’ve never been a huge meat eater, it started around the time that I moved out at age 19, grocery shopping for meat is.. bleh, it’s expensive! And sort of continued from there. It’s never hugely appealed to me, I’d love a nice steak once every half year… or a salmon bagel every few months and at home we would mostly eat chicken or turkey once or twice a week tops. Over the years I gradually ate less and less beef and pork, while still indulging in copious amounts of bacon… I still love bacon, it’s so delicious! What is not delicious however is the industry behind it or the cholesterol deposits in my galbladder causing gallstones.

As of today, we are vegetarian-almost-vegan, we have not consumed or purchased meat or any animal products and byproducts since December 21… Actually since the morning of December 20th as Dec 21st was spent flying and eating fruit. Heh! We still have some cheese around the house, which is probably my biggest downfall… I LOVE cheese, I am Dutch, i grew up on that delicious salty creamy goodness!

Bob is having a pretty easy time of it, the only “problem” being that we are needing to learn how to cook new things, use spices, new recipes… and being HUNGRY and eating A LOT of vegetables. I’m a volume eater so I don’t exactly mind that. 😳

Anywho, is this a recipe blog? Who cares! One of our first forrays into more homecooked stuff without animal products were the above crackers, with a few modifications. They were great!

Original recipe can be found here

 THE SESAME CRACKERS

  • 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder for fluff
  • ½ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil – cut into flour like butter
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons water, as needed

Roll it out, pizza slice into squares, triangles… whatever you fancy and bake 15 – 20 at 350 (if your cast iron pan is hot, about 15 is spot on).

Please share with me your vegan recipes! I need more food.

 

Those of you that have known me for a while may recall that I’m not a huge fan of entire spending bans, the logic being for me that when I restrict myself completely I tend to go overboard and binge after a while because I guess… discipline is not my forte in all areas of life!

But it’s a new year. New me. No wait, that’s one of those health slogans. 😉

New year, new financial plan!

There are a few items in my budget that I’ve wanted to address for a long time and I’ve always had a hard time with.

I didn’t tell him to pose haha, he just did!

 

Clothing

Last year I spent about $916 on new clothing, or about $76 a month. This includes bras – I’m not one of those fortunate enough to buy 4 for $100 at la senza… most of my bras are 40-50$ a piece :(- yogapants, shoes, new winter jacket and just various clothing related things.

I am so spoiled, I have always earned enough to be able to afford what to others are luxuries. I have good quality clothing and outer wear and it’s something I definitely don’t skimp on. BUT I have so much, I have five pairs of jeans I do not wear because they’re too tight, I have various other pieces I do not wear because they’re too tight! And simply, I just have enough clothes for years and there really is no good reason for me to buy ANY, any clothing at all this year. I already started this on February 15th, aside from a $90 Lululemon gift certificate I still have sitting around, there will be NO buying of clothes for the remainder of 2017.

Food/Groceries

The second category is food. I have since meeting my boyfriend gotten been ating out a lot less to the point where I mostly much prefer to eat at home. Eating out is expensive, I used to have coffee habit and after I kinda kicked that to the curb I did still eat out every once in a while, or picked up a tea. Enough for my “eating out” category to keep inching over $100 a month which is really too high. The end of the year in my YNAB budget also gave me this neat graph detailing more about my food and misc spending;

In 2016 I spent roughly $325 on groceries per month. That is a lot for a single person. I did eat A LOT of fresh fruit, I preserved a lot, I eat very healthy, i eat no processed things, I eat meat 1-2x a week, I don’t buy chips… fruits and veg cost quite a bit though. A lot of my eating out/ restaurant spending ended up in the blow money category since it no longer had its own category because I had erroneously hoped to largely eliminate restaurant spending. The blow money category cost roughly  $210 per month after removing the purchase of a new cyclocross bike and the cost of spa day for my birthday in October.

The blow money category really encompasses a lot of different stuff (not… blow, its just a term, I dont smoke weed etc) and sometimes I throw things in there that have no other home, it includes eating out though which after glancing through the expenses made up at least half of that $210 a month. Ouch?

I thought I was doing better with my spending in this category last year but clearly I have not. Because of that this month I embarked on a mission to only spend $130 on groceries during February.

Today is February 22 and I have spent $128.20 on groceries and $48.31 on eating out (1x tim hortons, 2x eating at work during snowstorms, one eclair and one snowstorm gas station run of chips/pop and one dinner out with my cousin, which was fun) and it wasn’t all that bad! I’ve been scrounging the cupboards and have been creative with meals.

It has been different, but not overly difficult. This is what self control feels like. I need to practice this a little more.  Curbing my food and clothing expenses will help add $2,400 to my savings this year. That’s two months of living expenses, or two trips, or a quarter of a new-to-me-vehicle. It’s money I badly need to save.

Spending-ban Goals for March:
$0 in the restaurant category
$145 groceries
$0 clothing etc