Vegan food and non-vegan food cost about the same. What’s expensive are processed foods, foods ready to eat, they may seem like simple and fast alternatives to cooking, but by the time the cashier reads you the total, you left a couple of bills for just one bag. If you cook and you shop fresh, you can economize not matter what you eat, but you will never be as cheap as beans and vegetables. Granted you start looking into tofu, vegan burgers, stuff as such and prices are similar to meat, but you go fresh and in stores where you can buy the amount you need (saving plastic on your way!) and you can make it to the end of the month, everyone is well fed and you wallet has a few spare euros!
But what I want to talk about, the real financial toll of meat in society. Forget health, environment and ethical views and let’s just focus on the economics. There is a reason why the meat and dairy industries will fight to their last breath to keep the status quo intact. They just win too much money, not just from the food industry, but also from the subsequent industries too.
First, the production process, believe it or not, there is a bit of a conspiracy going on whether you like those things or not. The status quo is hard to change, the big, fat owners have many resources, and one of them is politics. It is easy for them to place people in positions of power to ensure self-preservation and mountains of legal resources to fight everyone that objects. For this reason, the dairy and meat industries are constantly getting tax breaks, incentives and other forms of subsidies. You may have heard on TV how Donald Trump's brags about making a lifetime deal with the government not to pay taxes for two decades! We are basically talking about the same people. We all heard of Trump’s steaks anyway. Did you ever wonder how can McDonald's sell a small burger for a euro? A cow take a lot to grow, lots of feed, water, antibiotics, transport, manipulation, packaging, human resources, services and more. How can they do that? Governments want big companies to create employment (even if it is shitty employment) because it pumps their statistics. “Hey Macdonald's, open a hundred new locations, employ thousands, we all look good and you not only don’t have to pay as much in taxes as the little guy, we give you money for it!” So if a small McDonalds burger should in reality cost about five euros, but they sell it for one, who is paying for the rest? Where those incentives and tax breaks come from? You guessed it, you! Your taxes are paying for that difference, instead of subsidizing agriculture, developing productions, modernizing health and education, we are giving money to companies to sell us rubbish food for near nothing, and we think we are winning! Tell me again is not a conspiracy… Spain heavily subsidizes the production of dairy, pork (you have seen the one euro packages of cold meats and cheese everywhere) and…bulls!!!!! Instead of getting free textbooks in public school for our kids or free dentist, you get a Happy Meal for three euros, how dare you complain?!
Which brings me to the second point on the economic effects of meat. Cholesterol is only found in animal products and it’s one of the most hazardous substances to our health. Number one pandemic in the world, cholesterol related medical issues. Says the INE, the top ten causes of dead in Spain are: heart attacks (number one), cardiovascular issues like ictus, lung cancer, dementia, cardiac insufficiencies, chronic respiratory issues, Alzheimer, colon cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Most of these problems have direct relation to animal products and cholesterol. The main job of our health care is to keep people alive. Open heart surgeries, by passes, chemotherapy and other treatments are very costly. We pump a lot of tax money into reversing or stopping the conditions caused by an uncontrolled consumption of animal fat. We hear on TV more cuts for education, for security and even health itself yet we fail to see we are pouring our own hard earned money down the drain. For those that pay for private healthcare is an even crazier vicious cycle.
So next time someone tells you vegans shove their beliefs down people’s throat, remember really is the powerful who shove their practices down all of ours and neither you nor I have any saying on how our money is spend. I personally would love to see more technology in schools, more resources for teachers, health wise, more focus on actual genetic conditions, more resources for firefighters, doctors, more help to develop cities into sustainability, investments on alternative energies, or reforestation, anything, anything at all that builds a better society instead of just keeping it sick, broke and in chaos.
So on this post I show you our dinner yesterday. Family of four with very hungry boys.
Fried Japanese aubergine with noodles and vegetables.
1 pack of noodles 0.75 cents 1 aubergine 0.50 cents 1 pack choy 0.50 cents 1 carrot 0.10 cents 1 spring onion 0.20 cents 1 spoonful of cilantro 0.10 cents Breadcrumbs and seasoning 0.50 cents Oil for shallow frying 0.25 cents
Total 2.9 euros
Family of four, 3 euros per meal, three meals a day, 12 euros, 31 days at month 372 euros a month. The average cost of food in the UK is from 80 to a 100 pound for two people so for four…640 pound, so 730 euros.
Of course we spend more than that, but what I’m saying is that if you ever find yourself in the situation of financial insecurity, you can still feed your family right for much less than you think. You will also be healthier.
There a lot of aspects about our society we are just starting to unravel. Imagine how cheap the vegan diet will be once our taxes go to subsidize agriculture and sustainable foods. When people are too keen on not changing things is because they are somehow being benefited by an unequal situation. I would like a political and economic arrangement where our money is spend truly where it matter and benefits us all. But as long as we don’t open our eyes, they will continue pinning the crisis on immigrants and the poor.