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It Pays to Be Vegan

It’s a great time to be vegan. Not only are we saving animals, the environment, and our own lives by eating healthy, nutritious plant-based foods, in general, we’re also saving money at the supermarket.

The prices of meat, milk, cheese, and eggs are rising steadily because of the skyrocketing costs of animal feed. For example, Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, says its hog-raising costs have increased by more than 20 percent in the past year, largely because of the high cost of pig feed. Meat-eaters can expect to foot the bill by paying higher pork prices.

Comparison Shopping: Meat vs. Veggies

Why spend your life’s savings on animal products when you can eat healthy, humane, and inexpensive vegan foods? Some of the most versatile vegan foods—including beans, rice, vegetables, tofu, and pasta—cost relatively little compared to animal products. According to a 2007 MSN MoneyCentral article, the cheapest cuts of beef, such as ground round, average $3 per pound; boneless chicken breasts cost $3.40 per pound; and canned tuna costs around $2 per pound. In comparison, dried beans and lentils cost less than $1 per pound, and rice is cheaper than $1 per pound. Tofu usually costs less than $2 per pound. Even vegans who buy costlier products like soy sausage and nondairy ice cream can still spend less than people who load up on beef, chicken, and fish.

Funneling Food Through Farmed Animals: Wastefulness at Its Worst

Farmed animals are fed more than 70 percent of the grains grown in the U.S. It takes 4.5 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of chicken meat and 7.3 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of pork. Approximately 700 calories worth of feed are needed to produce just one 100-calorie piece of beef. It is more efficient and economical to eat grains and soybeans—and all the foods that can be made from them—directly rather then feeding them to farmed animals so that we can eat those animals. Around 1.4 billion people could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone. A 2002 E Magazine article estimated that the amount of feed needed to produce just one 8-ounce steak would fill 45 to 50 bowls with cooked cereal grains.

Vegans Save Money and Lives

Everyone makes different food choices, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll save big if you buy vegan foods, but wholesome plant foods are fairly cost-effective. If you factor in all the money you save on hospital bills, medications, and weight-loss plans by avoiding unhealthy, artery-clogging animal products, you’ll see why a vegan diet is downright economical. Of course, the most important savings of all can’t be put in a bank—each vegan saves more than 100 animals every year! If you haven’t already gone vegan, why not order a free copy of PETA’s “Vegetarian Starter Kit” right now?

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  • William Santoro says:

    I’ve been a vegan 3 years and strongly believe (with exception of B12, which I inject due to fact I apparently cannot ingest from food) vitamin supplements are not necessary if we eat healthy, natural foods.

    However, I do recommend trying out online meal planner to ensure balanced nutrition. This one has a filter for vegans and vegetarians, as well as other food sensitivities.

  • Jayson says:

    I answered my own question. To anyone wondering the same thing about B12 or other specifics of a vegan diet, check out this link:

    Rock on, vegans!

  • Jayson says:

    Great article!

    I’d love to see a link on this page to information about vegan nutrition. It’s my understanding that as a vegetarian, you receive everything you need in your diet and there’s no need to supplement but that as a vegan since you’ve cut out eggs and dairy entirely you should supplement with vitamin B12 then you’re fine.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 21 years, never bothered to take a supplement of any kind and I’m healthy as can be so I’m not worried about that. I’ve recently gone vegan and heard that you can only get B12 from animal sources. I’ve also learned over the years that you can’t believe everything you hear, does anyone know the scoop?

  • Tostos says:

    It’s good to see that being vegan have a lot more benefits that previously tought, It will be very good if everyone could get more information, for example in my country Chile, a vegan, vegetarian is being mocked and people doesn’t understand them very well, I hope time can change it

  • Sergio says:

    Hi, I often look around for advices on a healthy and complete vegetarian diet but hardly ever find any. I would like to see more advices on how to get some particular aminoacids and vitamins not found, or at least not in great amounts, in non-animal products.
    People often ask me about this, so some loyable cientific references would not be bad either to convince more people.