« Home | Tuesday Menu 1/24 » | Monday Menu 1/23 » | Sunday Menu 1/22 » | Saturday Menu 1/21 » | Friday Menu 1/20 » | Farmer's Market = Love » | Picture Dump » | Thursday Menu » | Wednesday Menu » | Good Things »

Dollars and Seriously, That Makes No Sense

People always seem to have a comment or two when they find out I'm vegan. Usually it's something asinine like "You're going to die!" or "That's ridiculous." Which, thanks for your concern, but my health is just fine and I think your very existence is ridiculous, so STFU. More open-minded people tend to tell me that they think it's cool, or that they admire my will-power. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that it doesn't take any will-power at all for me to NOT consume rotting dead flesh or the pus-filled milk of another species, I definitely like these comments better. But they also confuse me.

Hostility I understand. We fear the unfamiliar, and in today's society nothing goes against the grain more than veganism. It also seems extreme when compared to the standard American diet that most of us were raised on. I suspect that there's some measure of guilt involved as well. Most people, if they knew what really goes on in slaughterhouses and on factory farms, wouldn't be okay with it. They would be appalled, and rightfully so. But denial is not just a river in Egypt, especially when it comes to the suffering of animals - and vegans are a reminder of what they're choosing to ignore, whether we actually say anything or not.

So yeah, I understand a little hostility. What I don't get is the approval. I mean, I appreciate that they think my veganism is great. But if that's the case then why aren't they vegan as well? Last night a friend told me that he could be vegan if only he could afford it. I hear this a lot. I guess the common view is that eating vegan is expensive. I'm not sure how much meat costs since I've never purchased any, but I have a hard time believing that it's cheaper than beans, grains, and produce. And if it is then it's only due to government subsidy. Sure, processed soy products and meat analogues are kind of pricey, but aren't the omni versions of that stuff expensive as well? They shouldn't make up the bulk of your diet anyway.

We have a lovely farmer's market in town that's open year-round. That's where I get most of my produce. I go once a week and never spend more than $20, and what I buy keeps the both of us in fruits and veggies until the next trip. There's an Indian grocery a few minutes away that has super cheap dry beans, rice, and spices. I can get brown basmati rice there for about $1.25 a pound; it's twice that at the local health food store. A warehouse market nearby has canned beans and nearly everything else quite a bit cheaper than the regular grocery store. Soymilk is about $2.50 for a half gallon; that lasts us a week. I buy tempeh once a week or so ($2.50), and a block of vegan cheese maybe every three weeks ($5.00). I do buy a lot of fresh fruit, but I choose to spend the money there because it keeps me eating healthfully. I could cut out some things (like the vegan cheese) and spend less, sure. But even with the extras our grocery budget is very reasonable. And I cook a lot. A LOT.

Even when I have to buy something especially for a recipe, like I did today, it all works out pretty cheaply in the end. I'm making Molasses Baked Beans for dinner tonight. I had to buy blackstrap molasses and a pound of dry navy beans to make this happen. The total cost for these things was $4.68 ($3.89 for the molasses, $.79 for the beans). The baked bean recipe makes 6-8 servings; I predict we'll get 8 because beans are extremely filling and I'm making cornbread to go along with this. $4.68 for 8 servings of food = $.58 per serving. Not bad at all, and that's not even taking into consideration the fact that I'll have nearly a whole bottle of blackstrap molasses leftover to use in other things.

Clearly eating vegan is no more expensive than eating an omnivorous diet, and has the potential to be substantially cheaper if you play it right. So why does everyone think vegans go broke just feeding themselves?

I don’t really think it’s a matter of cost, I think that’s just something those people tell themselves or heard once from someone and decided to believe it to justify their current diet. From all the advertised $.99 items you can get at a fast food joint it seems it would be pretty cheap (though completely wretched) to eat that way. Speaking for myself, I think it’s hard to make the switch to vegan because the food culture at large here in the good ol’ US of A is pretty set against it. And unless you want to cook a lot and put a lot of thought into what you eat, most people are going to find a vegan diet very difficult and inconvenient to stick to. I am guilty of continuing to eat dairy and eggs more as a matter of convenience than anything else. I eat too many processed foods, and I would eat much better if I planned meals and did more cooking. But I’m lazy, and I don’t. So even if someone sympathizes with your vegan ideals, they may not be willing to inconvenience themselves enough to eat a vegan diet. Just my $.02.

I get that, because at one point I thought the same way. I was lacto-ovo vegetarian for 9 years before going vegan. But now, having actually made the switch, I look back and wonder why I ever thought it would be hard at all. And when people ask me if it's difficult or inconvenient, I tell them quite honestly that it's not. Because in the end it's not something I have to do or something I make myself do - it's become something that just is, because it can't be any other way. So while I certainly respect vegetarians, it's hard not to get frustrated sometimes when something that's so simple and logical to me seems to elude everyone else. (Also, since I'm not very confrontational in real life, this is kind of my outlet for such rantings.)

heh. I made chili last night. Because my boyfriend is carniverous, I added meat to it. The beans, tomatoes, veg and spices cost about $4. The meat? $12. So not worth it.

Dude, that really isn't worth it. My boy still flirts with meat occasionally (though he's getting more and more veg*an every day), but at home we eat vegan. I wouldn't know what to do with meat even if he did keep it around, but for $12 you could practically make enough chili to keep you fortified through a hard winter. That's ridiculous.

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link