I’ve been maintaining a vegan diet for the past 40 days, and one thing I’ve learned is that being vegan can get expensive. Although I’ve experienced big, positive changes in my weight and skin, sometimes it feels like I’m breaking the bank.

I started doing research into where I can shop and what I can buy to save money and continue a vegan lifestyle. I figured out that Trader Joe’s is a perfect place for vegan foodies looking for great deals.

It’s interesting that many beloved Trader Joe’s products are already vegan. For example, I’ve always loved their roasted seaweed with sea salt, and it was refreshing to learn it’s a vegan snack I won’t have to give up.

I’m really big on soups. (Seriously, I’m one of those people who will eat soup even in the summer when the temperature goes over 100 degrees.) I especially love a good homemade soup, and Trader Joe’s has an organic vegetable stock I can use as a great base to make some fantastic vegan soup recipes.

Now, I’m not that crazy about tofu. But at TJ’s I found a brand that makes amazing tofu. (They even have some marinated with different sauces like Sriracha.) A half-cup serving (126 grams) provides 3.6 milligrams of iron, which is 19 percent of the RDI (48). Tofu is also a good source of thiamin and several minerals, including calcium, magnesium and selenium. In addition, it provides 20 grams of protein per serving. Tofu also contains unique compounds called isoflavones, which have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and relief from menopausal symptoms.

Trader Joe’s also carries amazing pre-cooked lentils, which have a lot of iron, and that’s great for vegans.

With this vegan diet, I’m forced to eat more greens like avocados, broccoli and spinach. Trader Joe’s sells affordable green juices for around $3.99. If you were to buy a cold-pressed juice from a juicery, it will be more like $8.99.

Another item I love from Trader Joe’s is the riced broccoli, finely grated broccoli that serves as a healthy rice substitute. I usually marinate my tofu, grill it, then put it on a bed of riced broccoli. Yum.

Overall, I have to admit I’ve found it difficult to not cheat on the vegan diet. But I also realize how much healthier I’ve been eating. Eating healthy in general can get very expensive, but I‘m happy to have found some amazing items at Trader Joe’s that saves me some cash.

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