I didn’t become a vegan to save money but it happened to be a pleasant side effect. The main reason I went the vegan route was because I don’t like seeing animals being harmed. A secondary factor was health.
Veganism is a near-religious identity so you have to be careful identifying with it. Looking back, I would have approached the whole thing differently – I’ll discuss that here as well.
A plant-based diet, or ideally, a whole plant based diet is the way to go. This is even more cost-effective and results in a far healthier body than being vegan.
The US diet is very high in protein, mostly from animals. So we have a rather carnivorous diet. Vegetables and fruits, if consumed, are limited to this short list – which are among the least nutritional options:
The carnivorous diet will include some sort of animal product with most meals. It’s also incredibly calorie dense which really interferes with our already sedated metabolism.
Meat is a good source of calories but it has very little nutrition. So it’s a great thing to have on occasion when you’re just unable to get adequate calories. Though, calling out the rather obvious, Americans don’t really have a calorie deficit problem.
With us having a high stress and sedentary lifestyle, adding a calorie dense food into the mix is a recipe for disaster. From the risk of insulin resistance to diverticular disease, high meat consumption is tough on the body.
What is high meat consumption? If you’re eating it once a week, you’re at the limits of high consumption. But if you’re a high level athlete, are young, and have the right genetics for it, then a high animal diet may never cause you any problems.
You cannot be a nation which tortures and mistreats its animals whilst be kind to your other mammalian population.
It’s human nature to empathize with animals, you can’t fight it. That’s why even the roughest of the rough cannot witness an animal suffer or watch it get slaughtered.
We don’t protect the welfare of the animals in this country because we gave that task up to government organizations which were bought out by the beef, poultry, and dairy industry.
It’s a shame, because nobody wants to see animals suffering. We expect that the politicians and government representatives who are in charge of this are using our tax dollars responsibly and doing what’s right, enforcing animal rights.
There are some farms, very few, which truly raise their animals in a humane way. Sadly, it often isn’t the ones which are organic/humane certified. The certification process is esoteric, expensive, and can be gamed rather easily by the larger companies.
Hormone-free doesn’t mean hormones were spared and antibiotic-free doesn’t mean that the animal got no antibiotics. These are simply marketing gimmicks to pacify the consumer.
You can’t love a dog or cat and be kind to it but think that a cow or chicken should be thrown out in the elements, raised with no love, and then whack its head off at the prime of its life. That’s illogical. If you feel this way about one animal and not another then your logic is ass-backwards.
Worse than illogical, it’s the same excuse many used to say that black and jews should be killed, but them whites over there, they’re good, we like them.
I don’t gravitate towards vegans. I’ve realized that it’s because I don’t gravitate towards their dogma. Veganism is like a religion – another thing I’m allergic to.
As someone who eats a whole plant based diet, I’m making a dietary choice more than I’m making a religious choice which is what makes it hard for me to connect with the traditional vegan.
I don’t think that others should be vegan or that they shouldn’t eat meat. I want others to do what they feel is right for them and the world. I have zero desire to push my shit on someone else. How the fuck do I know I’m even right? I don’t – it’s just the way I do it. Go figure it out for your own damn self sucka.
So, I don’t really call myself vegan in my close-knit circle. But for the average Joe I meet, it’s easier to say that I’m vegan rather than: “I don’t eat meat or animal products and mostly eat a plant-based diet. But I’m not strict about it and if a piece of meat touches my greens, I won’t shit my pants. And if I go to someone’s house and all they have to serve me is flesh, it’s all good, I’ll eat it.”
Veganism and health
Are vegans healthier than non-vegans? Unlikely.
Many vegans eat a ton of processed foods, lots of salt, lots of processed oils. They consume low-glycemic index foods and consume more fried foods than carnivores.
It’s a similar phenomenon seen in cyclists who don’t use helmets and the ones who do. It skews their behavior and the behavior of motorists towards them which negates the benefits of wearing a helmet.
A whole plant based diet, on the other hand, which is eating a plant based diet that’s not processed, is very healthy and can drastically decrease the chance of common lifestyle diseases and even reverse many such diseases.
Meat is expensive
Not only is meat expensive but animal products are still considered a luxury item which restaurants and grocery stores use to their advantage.
There are very few vegan restaurants and most deep fry everything or offer you a ton of simple starches.
I use this veganism thing to my advantage – when people ask me to meet them at a steakhouse, well, I sort of have a great excuse. And since vegan food tastes like salty sandals, I don’t have to worry about everyone wanting to take the party to a vegan joint.
When one of your foodie friends wants to go exploring a city’s restaurant scene, you can either hide behind the vegan moniker or order the seaweed salad and call it a day.
The vegetarian/vegan options are always the cheapest.
- side of mashed potatoes or potato wedges
- side of steamed veggies
Even cheese and milk and butter – these are all used to add a higher price tag to your food. Consider ice cream, French food, soups, dips, fancy sauces, and pretty much all desserts. $$$.
Another big bonus is food temptation. When I’m sitting at a cafe reading or writing, it’s easier for me to skip on ordering a dish because it usually isn’t vegan or it’s highly processed.
I cook at home and rarely eat out. Because I don’t eat meat or dairy, my pantry and fridge are super simple.
I don’t even have to pay for dish soap. Don’t need it. Broccoli just doesn’t make much of a mess.
The staples for a vegan household are:
- whole grains (rice, wheat, lentils)
- cruciferous vegetables
If you’re going to go the whole-plan based route then you don’t want to have oils or store-bought mayo, etc. This cuts on cost even more.
Great plant-based options
I’m not a foodie, so I won’t die if I don’t eat foie gras. But there are many dishes I still love. I’ve listed a few great ones which I make from scratch and which are still considered plant based:
- stuffed peppers
My path to becoming vegan was a very standard route. I was an omnivore growing up and became a carnivore in college and medical school.
I dabbled in being a vegetarian in residency and failed. I tried again and it was much easier.
I eventually cut out dairy and finally eggs a few years ago and have been vegan since. Or, I should say, I’ve been eating a plant-based diet since.