090 | Vegan Path To FI

James and Steven pull back the curtain on veganism, talking about the health, lifestyle and financial benefits of veganism, alongside the practical details of how to actually make it work.

What you'll learn from today's show:

  • Terms for the conversation:
    • Veganism: essentially a belief system. Vegan don’t use animal products
    • Vegetarian: no meat products, but includes eggs and dairy
    • Flexitarian: vegetarian most of the time
    • Plant-based veganism: don’t eat any animal products
  • Steven’s veganism started with chronic wrist and hand pain.
  • James is a vegetarian body builder from Alabama.
  • What’s his story?
  • How did tacos change James’ life?
  • Vegetarian or veganism is almost inevitable for a person who is fully optimizing their meals.
  • Cheapest proteins per ounce: Beans, Lentils, Oatmeal.
  • How much protein should the typical American diet include?
  • What is the max protein amount that a body can make use of in a day?
  • Recommended sources of protein:
    • Hemp seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Lentils, Edamame, Chick peas, black-eyed peas
  • What are hemp seeds, and where can someone buy them?
  • What is protein, and what foods contain protein?
  • Why does Steven’s current diet look a little less “American”?
  • How do ethnic foods lend themselves to a vegan diet?
  • What snacks does James eat when he’s hungry?
  • What is the difference between plant-based and whole-foods plant-based?
  • Recommendation for shopping:
    • Protein
    • Berries
    • Cruciferous veggies: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower
    • Leafy green – mostly dark leafy greens
  • How do James and Steven season their food to keep things exciting?
  • What does being a vegan cost?
  • How has Steven and James’ health adjusted since becoming vegan?
  • What is the most compelling reason that someone should be a vegan?
  • How can someone give veganism a try?
  • Where is James at on his journey toward FI?
  • How does becoming vegan feel similar to committing to financial independence?
  • “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything.”

Listen to Brad and  Jonathan's thoughts about this episode here.


Steven's Beginner guide to Vegan


Links to resources mentioned:

Vegan FIRE Facebook Group

Mr. Money Mustache

Root of Good


Mr. Money Mustache: The True Cost of Commuting

Rethink the Rat Race


Vegan FI

Your Financial Resilience Toolkit

Affiliate Disclaimer

ChooseFI seeks to uncover helpful services that help you be financially resilient. However, we may receive compensation, at no cost to you, from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article, including from CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Opinions are the author’s alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of these entities. See our disclosures for more info.

We've updated our Top Cashback Card! Check it out!

Save on Existing Loans

Save On Living Expenses

Save & Invest

Financial Emergency Prep

28 thoughts on “090 | Vegan Path To FI”

  1. Very informative and inspiring. I like how both James and Steven approached veganism as an enhancement to their lives.

    I’d love to see a typical Aldi shopping list from James if he’d care to share.

    Thanks for the episode!

    • Thanks for the compliment! I’ve got my wife, Emily, on the project of getting together a comprehensive Aldi list along with the prices, so be sure to check out our blog for that soon. I can tell you our staples include peanut butter, dates, bananas, rice, dry black beans, sweet potatoes, oats, avocados, tofu, salsa, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, edamame, bread, and trail mix. Occasionally we get the black bean burgers, or “chicken” strips from Aldi just to try them out, but we have those less than once a week.

  2. Hi I listen to all the choose FI podcasts and am a fan of the show. Question: You know about the “Life is Good” brand of T-shirt’s. Where can listeners get a “I’m doing well” T-shirt?

  3. If I’m being totally honest, I saw the title of this episode and was…not super excited to give it a listen. It didn’t sound interesting to me, but I figured I’d give it a shot. And now, I’m glad I did! Approach it with an open mind and you’ll step away from the episode with some preconceived notions challenged. I’m not sure I’ll ever go vegan, but am considering a one week challenge to see how I feel. Thanks for the episode guys!

    • Thanks for the positive feedback! I’m not naieve enough to think that everyone is willing to try going vegan, but I appreciate you coming into the episode with an open mind, and gleaning some useful information. Please update us on how your week challenge goes!

  4. Words of caution about veganism.

    B12. If you are truly going to be vegan for the long haul make sure you are taking B12 supplements, unless you are cheating and you are eating bugs in your salad you aren’t going to be getting B12.

    Cholesterol. You can actually get high cholesterol being vegan since your liver works double time to make cholesterol since you aren’t consuming meat. I actually lived vegan at home and ate meat when I was out of the house. But it wasn’t enough and I actually ended up not getting enough cholesterol. Once I started eating eggs and more meat my cholesterol returned to normal levels.

    My wife who, for a long time, lived pretty strict vegan went on a high fat, meat diet with lots of vegetables (she’s always been a big eater of lots of vegetables) and stopped snoring.

    I think some people really thrive on veganism and live long and healthy lives. Others not so much. It probably has something to do with genetics. I just try to eat a balanced diet – whatever that is. We still don’t eat a ton of meat but we are fairly healthy.

    I think a short term extreme diets like veganism, fruitarianism (sp), keto genetic, high carb, etc. Might have some health benefits but long term they might be detrimental to your health. But then again, you get some people who live long healthy lives living these extreme diets, but then you also get people which live a long life on a healthy “balanced” diet too. The body is complex. I think the biggest thing we can do is just avoid extremes except when it comes to cutting out high fat, sugary, fatty snacks/desserts – granted even Dr. McDougal (the vegan high carb proponent) is OK with people using a bit of sugar! I wonder if that is how we should treat our meat – more like a flavoring for our food rather than the main course.

  5. This conversation was a nice reminder that so much about money is tied up with other values, and that price and cost can be two very different things. I enjoy hearing about where other people draw that distinction, and how they customize the FI process to accommodate their ideals.

    • Carole, we are glad you enjoyed the episode! We feel that the ideas that motivate FI to us are overarching and can affect or impact many lives in many ways. Our goal is increasing efficiency, and our diet and lifestyle is an easy way to address that. Again, thanks for the feedback!

  6. I came to the episode webpage in search of the link to James’ blog as well as recommended recipes. Could anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks!

  7. In regard to the food documentaries mentioned, I found “The MAGIC Pill” on Netflix. No sign of “What the Cow”. Anyone else able to find it?

    • Not see that one but there are a few interesting ones knocking about. I think PlantPure Nation was one of them where the creator went around America trying to convince legislators to change policy and such (I’ve seen a few so might be getting it confused with one of the other titles). It was informative and eye opening in places.

  8. Uh oh, someone put cheese on the salad in the picture. Time to update the podcast art!

    … ok, maybe it’s dairy free cheese.

  9. Just a few thoughts…I agree with the guys on the taste and flavour thing; this is a major sticking point for me too. I admit to just equating many of these foods or diets with dry rice in a bowl, or withered broccoli sitting in the fridge, which is clearly wrong. Basically a deprivation mindset.

    Many of the sauces I see in the supermarket are very high in sugar too, which is off-putting, so I’ve taken to making my own. Whenever I’ve bought vegan or vegetarian food at a restaurant or at a stall at a festival I’ve enjoyed it. A good starting point for me was to make a mental note of what’s on the menu, or contained within the meal I bought, and seeing if I can replicate it at home. You start to build up core recipes and concoctions that way.

    Much of the enjoyment of food is looking forward to eating it, so the meals have be tasty and exciting to motivate me. Overall, I really enjoyed this episode – both contributors were honest and informative. Great job.

  10. Can you post some of the recipes you mentioned or other favorite vegan recipes? I was hoping they would be posted in the show notes. Great episode!

  11. Great episode! Really eye opening about the vegan diet – I will look into the one week challenge after doing some more research. Do you recommend any good vegan cookbooks?

  12. I thought it was a great episode, and definitely enjoyed listening. My wife and I eat vegan quite often (multiple days/meals per week). One question I had was that James mentioned spending about $40/week for a total grocery bill for him, his wife, and even part of their dog’s diet. James mentioned shopping at Aldi, which I’m sure definitely helps to save money, but $40 sounds near impossible, but I could be wrong. As someone who is working to cut down their grocery bill, I’d love to see a breakdown of what $40/week buys them for a household of ~2.5.

    Thanks so much!

Leave a Comment