Before transitioning to a plant-based diet, I was under the impression that it was an expensive and unsatisfying lifestyle, especially in this part of the world. Plant-based snacks, biscuits, and yogurts were often double the price of their dairy or animal-based counterparts at the supermarket. Additionally, many herbs and spices used in plant-based cooking, such as cumin and parsley, were foreign to me and expensive to purchase. Some ingredients, like oyster mushrooms and nutritional yeast, were inaccessible. I felt this lifestyle was only affordable to wealthy, white individuals, not the average Nigerian like myself.
However, after researching and transitioning to a plant-based diet, I realized that nature provides all the nutrients we need in our diets and that local markets offer more affordable options than supermarkets. I also discovered the benefits of growing my plants at home. I learned that our local soya bean is a complete protein and that foods like Ofada rice and native spices like Iru, Ogiri (fermented locust seed), Ugba (fermented African oil seed), and Uziza (Kale) are just as nutritious and tasty as their foreign counterparts. By using fresh and native foods, my cooking has become more affordable and nutritional.
Native foods are in the local markets at affordable prices. Buying food and ingredients in bulk and season is a cost-effective strategy, as is planting seeds in pots or gardens at home. Homegrown plants come in handy in an emergency and are time and cost-effective. For more technical or time-consuming foods, such as meat alternatives, I order them in bulk and store them. Vchunks is a meat alternative I buy from VeggieVictory and it last for six months.
From this minimalistic view, a plant-based diet is cost-effective, practical, and satisfying. I encourage you to try these cost-saving tips and enjoy the recipes in the links below.