The Privileged Argument

Vegetarians sometimes get a bad reputation. People think we’ll fall apart at any moment while others think we have our own special smell. None of these misconceptions bother me, though, as much as one commonly-believed myth: The veg*n diet is only possible for the privileged class, and only those who are rich can afford to be a vegan or vegetarian.

Whenever I hear that vegetarianism is a rich-people’s diet I get confused, then angry. You mean to tell me that the 99 cent bag of lentils I just purchased should be made of pure gold? I demand a refund!

diggin for gold

diggin for gold

But seriously.

The mainstays of a veg*n diet are fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, grains, and perhaps dairy.

Let’s look at the costs for an easy, home-made vegetarian dinner: taco salad.

1 serving of black beans: ½ cup cooked, 45 cents from canned beans (cheaper by almost 50% if you make yours from scratch)
1 serving of brown rice: ½ cup cooked, 18 cents
1 serving of lettuce: 4 leaves (chopped), 40 cents
1 serving of tomato: ½ tomato (chopped), 30 cents
1 serving of avocado: ½ avocado (sliced or mashed), 60 cents
A few squirts of hot sauce: 5 cents
Optional for vegetarians, sprinkle of cheese: price varies depending on quantity used

I estimated these costs using expensive D.C. prices, so even at a total of $1.98 in the highest cost of living areas, you can enjoy a healthy, filling, tasty meal for under $2. Is it possible to make a healthy meal under your budget with the use of meat? Sure, but I guarantee you’ll be able to make more meals from a pound of lentils, than a pound of chicken—and for pennies on the dollar.

Vegetarianism traces its roots to ancient India. Even today, India is home to the largest population of vegetarians. It may not surprise you to also know that India is a developing country and home to the largest number of poor people in the world. This means that the largest share of poor people in the world sustain themselves on a vegetarian diet.

The fake meat products can break a veg*n’s budget. Those foods are generally over-processed and full of preservatives. I stay away from many fake meat items because I don’t really see the value in them aside from serving as an emergency meal if you’re out of anything else at home. If you can’t afford fresh produce, buy only what’s in season. Or, buy frozen! Frozen produce is picked during peak harvest and can be tastier than its fresh counterpart.

The next time you go grocery shopping, I encourage you to do a price comparison of the items you buy. You might agree that calling a vegetarian or vegan diet “privileged” is ultimately an easy excuse for not giving it a try.


7 responses to “The Privileged Argument

  1. It is quickly becoming a ‘rich’ person’s privilege to eat. Period. If I buy bulk ground beef it turns out to be $2.40 per pound IF it’s a four pack rather than a three pack of tubes. Many’s the night we ‘resort’ to vegetarian dishes simply because meat is too darned expensive to buy for anything except a treat. Beef roasts run between $15 and $20 for a pound to pound and a half. Pork, chicken and turkey are no longer the cheap alternatives they used to be. I live in Canada. A country which SHOULD be self-sustaining since we can supply all our needs from our own country EXCEPT fuel since crude oil is shipped out to the US to be refined. That doesn’t explain why it is $4 for a head of cauliflower, $2.49 for a bunch of broccoli, $3.99/lb for bell peppers, etc. Even given the fact we’re finishing off the last of the winter stores the prices won’t change much once local produce is in the stores *sigh*. *Sigh*. Pinching pennies is the only way we can make it week to week and still be able to eat healthier. ‘Junk’ food is cheaper, really, usually. Until you look at things like your cholesterol, calories (empty or otherwise), carbohydrates, sugars (refined and HFCS), salt, etc. Which brings me to another soapbox item, lol. I enjoy things like flavored carbonated water. I was going to buy some at the store the other day but ended up leaving without it. Why? They only had diet left. Diet equals artificial sweeteners which I despise! If I’m going to flavor my food and drink with something it’s going to be real butter, real sugar, real salt. Not only are they better for you than the produced crap but they taste better as well. Nobody says you have to go overboard with the salt in your mashed potatoes. For one serving of mashed I use LESS than 1/8 of a teaspoon! That much might actually go into the whole pot, IF we cooked with salt in the first place. Sorry for going off like I just did, really, but the price of food is getting very out of control.

    Anything I write within these forums is EXPRESSLY my property. If you wish to copy or use it else where you MUST have my EXPRESS permission to do so.

    “God gives us relatives; thank God, we can choose our friends.” Addison Mizner Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.~ Thich Nhat Hanh

    Feelings are NOT fact!

    ““If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.”” – Marilyn Monroe


  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, tj6james6. I absolutely agree that it is expensive to eat at all these days. Another reason why I think vegetarianism is beneficial is because it takes far fewer resources to grow crops than raise livestock–preserving our scarce water, land etc to feed a growing global population.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Why Millenials Must Choose a Plant-Based Diet | greenmindvegheart

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