Canadian woman shares her secrets to ‘under ’ meals

Canadian woman shares her secrets to ‘under $2’ meals

Canadian woman shares her secrets to ‘under ’ meals

‘I don’t think many people are headed to the grocery store and getting out under a couple $100 per week,’ says Carleigh Bodrug

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As Canadians struggle with skyrocketing food prices, an Ontario woman shares her secrets to affordable plant-based meals.

“I was a food blogger, kind of scrapping my way along, and could not afford to waste food,” says Carleigh Bodrug, a resident of Barrie, in an interview with National Post. “Especially considering the price of food these days. I don’t think many people are headed to the grocery store and getting out under a couple $100 per week.”

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In a video series titled ‘recession recipes’, Bodrug shows viewers how to make dishes like a peanut butter curry for as little as $1.65. In another video, under ‘scrappy cooking’ series, she shows how people can turn old zucchini into fries rather than throwing them out.

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While Bodrug did not intend to make a living out of what she calls “scrappy cooking”, she was always conscious of food waste and concerned about the cost of food. Her foray into becoming a food influencer started with her sharing a video online on how to turn orange peels to candy. The response to the video made her realize there was a large audience looking for ways to save money and reduce food waste.

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Fast-forward to now and close to five million people on Instagram follow Bodrug and her social platform titled, ‘PlantYou’. Her second cookbook, PlantYou: Scrappy Cooking, is set to release on April 2.

“A lot of the meals (in the cookbook) are what I like to call ‘kitchen raid recipes’ where you can interchange the different vegetables,” Bodrug said. “So that people are not getting into this situation where they’re following a recipe to a tee and buying all these ingredients they might not normally buy and then not using what they already have in their fridge.”

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How it all began

Bodrug, whose father is a colon cancer survivor, decided to switch from the traditional North American meat and potatoes diet that she grew up on to a plant-based vegan diet.

“I was living on my own in a, probably, 500-square-foot bachelor apartment and had never eaten a vegan meal in my life.”

Before creating PlantYou in 2016, Bodrug was a broadcast journalist student at the University of Western Ontario and ended up working in North Bay, Ont. as a morning radio host and news broadcaster at 99.3 Moose FM.

“I started sharing my transition to going vegan,” Bodrug said. “I didn’t anticipate much from it, but the Instagram page slowly started gaining traction.”

As her profile on social media grew, Bodrug was eventually able to leave her job and began pursuing food blogging full-time. In 2022, she released her first cookbook titled PlantYou: 140+ Ridiculously Easy, Amazingly Delicious Plant-Based Oil-Free Recipes.

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Bodrug said that, before becoming vegan, she never really cooked but her diet switch made learning to cook a necessity.

“My college friends now laugh, because I went to university with a freezer full of frozen pizzas and little Jamaican patties, I was so the opposite of someone who cooked, it’s unbelievable,” Bodrug said.

“What I love about plant-based cooking, and I tell people this all the time, is that the stakes are much lower than when you’re cooking with meat. You’re not worried about undercooking your chicken and getting salmonella all over your countertop… There’s way less risk and that really empowered me to get really messy in the kitchen.”

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