Some people think that it costs a lot more money to eat healthy, but that’s simply not true.
Having been trained in engineering, I understand how to figure out things like the cost of eating on a per calorie basis. Sure, fresh asparagus and broccoli cost much more per calorie than scrambled eggs, but no one gets all their calories from just asparagus and broccoli. Actually, it would be impossible since your stomach is simply not big enough.
So let’s take a look at where a “healthy-eating” vegan gets most of his or her calories and how much they cost. I use the term “healthy-eating” because many vegans do not consume a very healthy diet. As Dr. John McDougall will tell you, throughout history most human cultures around the world have derived the majority of their calories from starches like grains, potatoes, and legumes. That’s because these foods have lots of calories, they digest more slowly than asparagus or broccoli—and fortunately for us, they cost far less per calorie than most animal foods or highly processed carbohydrates.
In my case, I have a side order of a blended starch dish on the average of once per day: wild rice, brown rice, red beans and black beans. The cost of this dish works out to be about $0.15 per 100 calories. So, if times really got bad, I could live on those foods for a cost of about $3.00 a day. There is an exceptionally healthy tribe of Indians in northern Mexico, the Tarahumara, who thrive almost exclusively on beans, corn and squash.
What about eating out? That’s where you can save a lot of dough. The average entrée in my local restaurants is about $20, but my special vegetable & starch plate runs about half that much. By dining out thirty meals a month, I can save $3600/year–just on my restaurant meals.
Then there are the saved medical expenses associated with eating a healthy diet. The health care dollars in the USA are running 17 percent of the GDP while the cost of food averages 12% of our disposable income. We know that an optimal diet can reduce one’s health care expenses by 50% or more in the long run–probably enough to pay for our entire cost of food. Click here to learn more about how I did just that.