Does eating on a vegan or vegetarian diet have to take a crunch out of your pocket?


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Despite what some people may think, being vegan or vetarian doesn’t have to be so costly. These types of diets can be cost-efficient, as they are based around whole grains, among other things.

When it comes to having a vegetarian or a vegan diet, there are some misconceptions that people have about them. This diet has been referred to as a privileged diet since it’s more costly to eat healthier.

Beyond Meat, for example, is a plant-based alternative to meat and has been seen making its way into some of your favorite fast-food chains such as Carl’s Jr and Burger King. The retail price of it, however, can range up to $8.99 per pound.

However, there are ways you can cut the cost of your groceries and improve your quality of life which is priceless. The biggest misconception is that you have to buy only organic products. 

Sky Lomendehe, an 18-year-old biology major, has been a vegan since March because she was concerned about health issues. She used the 21-day kickstart diet app and it told her what to eat every day. 

“As someone who hasn’t had meat in a while, Beyond Meat, it does taste like meat,” said Lomendehe. “I think it’s good but it’s still not healthy, so I try to avoid it.”

She thinks that meat and even meat substitutes like Beyond Meat can still be pricier than when she makes her own salad. 

Thrive on Plants, also called the TOP Club, invites students to WINN-102 every Wednesday at noon to discuss various topics relating to veganism. Timaree Hagenburger, a nutrition professor who oversees the TOP Club, said going vegetarian or vegan is actually cheaper because you can actually buy food like beans for cents at the grocery store in bulk. 

Hagenburger has been on a food plant-based diet for the past 9 years and said she went from being an omnivore to a vegan because of her job as a dietician, where she understood the science behind it and made the change. 

“It made no sense to eat dairy or any of that because the risks to your health are very significant,” said Hagenburger.
Hagenburger said this diet is cheaper because the basic staples are whole grains and fruits and vegetables that you can grow your own. She mentions a TED Talk she saw which said if you grow your own food it was like growing your own money at that point.

“Many people pass by the grocery store on the way to the fast food,” said Hagenburger. “You can go to the produce section of a grocery store and get a hand full of food that you can eat right away and it seems to last longer.” 

During one of the TOP Club’s cooking demonstrations, the guest speaker and chef addressed how people assume that you need meat or chicken for protein but plant-based foods like beans are a great source of protein. 

Alex Rojas-Gaal, a 19-year-old nutrition major, who attends the TOP club meetings has been a vegetarian and is trying to become vegan. He said his nutrition class has really helped him towards that.

“It can be expensive but I look at what I’m buying price-wise,” said Rojas-Gaal. 

Rojas-Gaal also said meal prepping was key to a healthier diet. If you can make everything in bulk it would make it easier to eat your meals on a busy schedule. 

This diet, in the end, can still be just as filling as eating a burger but it won’t have you feeling sick after.