Before we get started, I’d like to issue a ‘trigger warning’ to all the self-proclaimed carnivores, this article will talk about blasphemous concepts including: veganism, vegetarianism, and even reducing meat consumption. You have been warned…
At the risk of sounding like the cheapest bastards in the world, we are going to explain our grocery shopping and overall dietary choices and why we classify it as “Freegan”. Freegan to us means that we are vegan as far as our dollar is concerned. At home, at restaurants, when we bring pot-luck dishes, etc. But we aren’t 100% opposed to consuming the occasional animal products if they are not only free (hence the “free” aspect of freegan), but also already provided, like at weddings, the aforementioned pot-lucks, parties, you get the picture.
For instance, if we are going out to eat and someone else is footing the bill, we will still choose a vegan, or at worst a vegetarian option (amazingly vegan options aren’t widely available in the Deep South…), because even though we aren’t directly paying for it, we know that our choice will obviously mean more money contributed to animal products. We have a number of reasons for doing this including: saving money, reducing our impact on the environment, health benefits, and preventing unnecessary loss of life, while also trying to avoid being those unbearable people that no one wants to be around.
Just last week Mrs. RRR and I had some friends from out of town staying with us, who are also flirting with veganism, so we went to the Mellow Mushroom up the street for pizza because they offer vegan cheese. We ordered our pizza and a few minutes later, the manager came out and apologized because one of the cooks had put Feta cheese on top of the vegan cheese therefore eliminating the vegan aspect. They had already put another pizza in the oven to remake ours but he wanted to warn us. I let him know that as long as the first pizza was free, we’d still take it, with the un-vegan cheese and all. If we were unyielding in our demands for vegan food, a whole pizza would likely have gone to waste and that’s not productive at all.
The first aspect, and obviously one of the most important ones considering this is a frugality/personal finance blog, is the financial benefit. Our affinity for Aldi has been well documented, and at Aldi, the fruits and veggies are astronomically cheap (admittedly everything else is pretty cheap too). So it should come as no surprise that purchasing primarily fruits and vegetables can save you a considerable amount of money on your grocery bill. There was a special for a 3 lbs. bag of sweet potatoes for 99¢. 99¢ for 1,170 calories, which is pretty damn close to the daily amount of calories needed for a 115 lbs woman. There’s a whopping 4,500 calories in a $2.39 container of oats. Not to mention the calorie dense, but relatively cheap foods like peanut butter, bananas, oranges, squash, hummus, peas, lentils, black beans, etc. so saving money eating vegan is a pretty easy concept.
Reducing our impact on the envioronment is also an important aspect of our diet. The amount of land and resources that go into raising animals is not only well documented, but also grossly inefficient. Beef requires a 54:1 ratio of protein in vs protein produced. So for every 54 grams of protein a cow eats, it produces just 1. Chickens on the other hand seem very efficient, they only require a 4:1 ratio, which by any other standards is still very ineffecient. But, nearly 25 million chickens are killed for food each day. Every. Single. Day. 25 Million! You would think that feeding people might be a bigger priority than feeding animals for slaughter. According to a report by Cornell University, the US could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock eat, and if they decided to export that, it would bring an additional $80 billion in GDP. Talk about a boost for the economy.
There are also some measurable health benefits to going plant based including: lowering blood sugar; decrease in cancer; increased heart health; decrease in body fat; even decrease in arthritis. But the anecdotal evidence is even more vast from more energy, and better sleep, to healthier hair and skin and even shorter workout recovery times. Mrs. RRR and I both feel much better when we stick to our consistent diet of plant based products. We just genuinely feel better on multiple levels, and that’s the most important part.
This 2018 we’d like to challenge you, our readers, to try to reduce your meat intake and see if it doesn’t have an impact on not only your health, but also your wallet. See if you can’t go vegetarian for 1 day a week, and if that works and is even enjoyable, you can obviously make the decision to implement it multiple days a week. We think you’ll be surprised at not only how easy it is, but also at how you feel.