Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 17: The Cost of Veganism

Today was much better with the cravings.  Although I wish I could say the same about my stress level today at work.

One comment that I hear quite frequently is how expensive eating vegan can be. 

Let me explain the alternatives...

When we do not eat vegan, we eat out way too much.  It is really easy to spend $600-$1,000 on month on eating out. Have you noticed that the average meal is $10 a person now?

If you eat out for lunch and dinner, that is $20 a day.

Now, let us say you have a household of two.

You both ate out for lunch, and now you eat out for dinner.

$40 a day.  This is only an average, of course.

7 days a week.  $210 a week.

This does not include breakfasts or the grocery shopping you did at the beginning of the week (with good intentions but that you end up throwing half the food away because you ate out anyway).

$210 a week for a month...is $840. For fatty, unhealthy food...well, maybe only 90% of it. Ouch.

So on top of shrinking the size of your wallet, you slowly expand the waistline. 

But can you really help it when the food you eat when you eat out, tastes so good!?  It is either cooked in butter, smothered in cheese or doused in cream sauce (or all of the above).  You don't realize it until you try to find something on the menu that is not cooked with cheese, oil or has grease.  You will quickly see that there is really not much left to choose from.

Hmmm...a bed of lettuce anyone?  Yawn. 

It is amazing to see what the actual calorie count is of our favorite foods in restaurants according to the book Eat This, Not That.   A single basket of chips and salsa in a typical Mexican restaurant averages around 500 calories.  That is before we even eat our meal!

It is way more fun to live in denial.

That is, until your health catches up to you.  And you have to buy bigger clothes.  And then you need to buy cholesterol or high blood pressure medication for the rest of your waking life.  Or maybe you will have to monitor your blood sugar. Or unfortunately have a heart attack and spend a night or two in a hospital to clear up blockages in your heart.  Blood tests.  Doctor visits. Lost time at work.

Cha-ching! 

So although my grocery bill may be higher, the quality of my food is better.  I pay more now, to pay less later.

Now I actually eat my groceries instead of throwing them away.   I am forced to be creative and cook my own meals.  I see exactly what I am putting in my food.  Until the masses pay more attention to the quality of food they put in their mouth, the multi-billion dollar food industry will continue to focus on creating cheap food products.  This is how they make their money and the pharmaceutical companies, too.

So, as you can see, there is a method to my madness.  My body is a machine and I want it to run as well as possible.  Putting high quality food in it will keep me running longer.  I don't want to neglect it now and pay for major repairs later.  I am saving in ways that will reap rewards later.

For the record, I still like eating out and I do.  But now I am just more selective of where I go and how often.  And when I am disciplined enough to watch what I eat and spend, then it makes splurging on dessert that much sweeter.

Breakfast
  • Oatmeal with bananas, blueberries and cinnamon

Lunch
  • Leftover tofu, mushroom and Udon pasta from last night
  • Orange

Dinner
  • Vegan Chili Pasta (spiral pasta, with tomato sauce, kidney beans and Sloppy Joe powdered mix)
  • I slice toast with strawberry jelly
  • Almonds