Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Being Vegan Is Too Expensive...Too Much Trouble

Music: Diana Krall, Christmas Songs**

Today's smoothie: beet greens, banana, frozen blackberries, bit o'avocado

I hope this post doesn't generate ill will among my friends and readers.

A few weeks ago, a co-worker told me that she could never be vegan. “It’s too expensive and a lot of trouble,” she said. Naturally, I disagreed but we got to talking about work right after that so I couldn’t say more. But here I can.

When somebody tells me they don’t have time or it’s too expensive to be vegan, I would ask, is there something in your day that takes up more time than you realize? For example, how much television do you watch every day? Bear with me on this, please. I don’t watch any. Ever. I find it a huge waste of time and a brain eroder. There’s a lot of time left in the day when there is no television. In the book, No Impact Man, the author, Colin Beavan, comments on this revelation. He’s amazed at how much time there is now in the evenings with his wife, especially after they put their child to bed. He’s rediscovered sex in his case, and it’s a wonderful thing, so much so he’s raving to his guy friends about it. When there is no television, you have time to cook which, incidentally, is about the same time it takes for you to drive to the grocery store, wander the aisles in pursuit of processed “quick” food, drive home, and nuke it. Not to mention the paper/plastic waste your “instant” meal generates. Most of the meals I make take less than 30 minutes.

Like many of my friends and co-workers, I’m on Facebook, and it amazes me how often people talk about television in their “updates.” That’s a lot of time spent watching. Even if you watch only 2 or 3 shows per week, that’s three hours right there including inane commercials. If you get home at 6pm, throw something in the microwave, and start watching television from 7pm to 11pm or whenever you go to bed, that’s 5 hours gone right there! Think about it. You could make good food in even a shorter amount of time that’s wholesome and much better for you and still have time left over for a hobby, sex, reading, exercise, playing an instrument, spending time with your children, volunteering, or visiting with a friend before you go to sleep at night.

Now the so-called “expense” of being vegan. The biggest expense for me was only in the very beginning, when I basically threw out or gave away almost my entire pantry of white flour, white rice, sugar, anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, dairy, etc. and bought vegan alternatives. And, I ask you, wouldn’t you rather spend the money on good whole foods now that will nourish, energize, & strengthen your body, rather than doctor’s bills, surgeries, & prescription medications? I take no prescriptions, have no chronic conditions, and have had no need for surgery. As I’ve said before, I think when someone says it’s too expensive or too much trouble to be vegan, what they’re really saying is that they’re not disciplined enough yet to make the changes in their life that will become habits for better health and a better quality of life the older they get. My poor parents are retired yet, are they enjoying retirement? No. Almost every day is spent in some sort of pain or visiting yet another doctor who prescribes more prescriptions for them that, in turn, lead to more side effects and, thus, doctor’s visits. They’re spending a painful amount of time and money on this and it breaks my heart.

I wholeheartedly agree with the author of No Impact Man. I can’t imagine ever going back to my old way of life, of eating poor food mindlessly at the expense of my health. That’s too much trouble to me. How else do you explain the fact that most people much younger than myself have chronic conditions already and are on prescription drugs? I can’t put a price tag on that.

**I picked up this jazzy holiday CD at the library last year. I love her voice and the arrangements of the songs. She's married to Jim's favorite, Elvis Costello.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Maria,
    I'm a few pages from the end of No-impact Man. I'm thrilled to have (after being prompted by reading your blog post-thanks) finally read this book. It has empowered me to actually start living more of my values:)!
    Warmly, Shawn