Become a Vegetarian And Save Money!

Does channeling your inner vegetarian make more cents? Taking little breaks from meat could save money, just ask the Americans.
Melissa Cohen
If we say, “picture a vegetarian (or vegan)”, what image comes to mind? A hipster forking out their trust fund money on green juices and salads with ten different species of seeds? Vegetarianism can come across as slightly out of reach to most omnivores. Firstly, bacon. Secondly, we hear about ingredients like tofu and kale and switch off. Thirdly, it costs an extra R11 to opt for almond milk in your cappuccino at Kauai. So, how can being ‘more vegetarian’ possibly save money?

Meat’s Meat, And a South African’s Gotta Eat

South Africans, with our strong braai culture, appear to be quite meat-happy. So, it’s always with surprise and intrigue that we process someone’s admission of vegetarianism. Especially if they’re South African. We don’t always ask, but we do wonder, “why?” Well, the Vegetarian Society of South Africa (Vegsoc) will tell you that ordering a Big Mac is worse for the environment than owning a BMW. And that, according to research by the University of Chicago, if you switch to vegetarianism, you can shrink your carbon footprint by up to almost 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide a year. So, there’s that. Then there’s the fact that meat, eggs, and dairy, are expensive and they’re only becoming more expensive.

A Holiday... From Meat?

Now that we’ve scared you half to death, you don’t have to give up meat completely. In a recent essay excerpt from the book, The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and The Planet, Paul Shapiro looks at cutting down our meat consumption.
“…there’s one kind of holiday that can help break up the monotony of daily life, while also saving us money. Taking occasional holidays from meat will actually save us money,” writes Shapiro.
He reports that Americans eat 10% less meat per capita than they did ten years ago. Besides, the three R’s dietary concept (reducing / replacing consumption of animal products while refining diets), he attributes some of this reduction to popular movements like 'Meatless Mondays' or Mark Bittman’s 'Vegan Before 6' program. Shapiro says there are many reasons why people are taking breaks from a meat-heavy diet:
“Wanting to look and feel better, to protect animals, and to help save the planet are just a few motives people commonly offer. But, an additional benefit of keeping animals off our plates more often is that it helps us keep more money in our wallets.”
Vegetarian foods, including vegetarian options at your local take-out spot, cost so much less because they’re less resource-intensive than breeding and slaughtering animals.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em

Shapiro reports that there has been so many Americans reducing their meat consumption that Nasdaq published a post looking at how “the death of meat” could impact your stock portfolio.
“Even Burger King - the king of burgers - is promoting Meatless Mondays,” said Shapiro.
He says American Pork giant, Hormel, recently acquired Skippy peanut butter. One meat industry trade publication, Meatingplace, quipped that one benefit of the acquisition was “activists are not using hidden cameras to scope out peanut abuse by Hormel’s suppliers.” Holidays from meat, as Shapiro said, promises to make three things lighter in our lives: our bodies, the burden on our planet, and our consciences (because of the animals).
“In fact, the only thing that won’t be lighter will be our wallets,” concludes Shapiro.