FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
WHY IS IT MORE EXPENSIVE TO BUY HEALTHY VEGGIES THAN ANIMAL PRODUCTS?
There are two very important answers to this question.
1. It isn't more expensive to eat a healthy, well-balanced whole-food, plant-based diet centered around whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, fruits and veggies.
A family of 4 can save as much as $5k a year this way. However, if your grocery spend is mainly comprised of the prepared mock/alternative vegan meats, vegan dairy (cheese, egg replacements, etc., your savings will be minimal to non-existent because they are typically just as expensive as meat/dairy). And while they don't contain cholesterol they are often loaded with additives and saturated fat that aren't health promoting.
2. $38 billion dollars in federal government subsidies is provided to meat and dairy farmers to help keep the DIRECT cost of products low enough to appeal to customers, while making farmers whole financially. So, vegan or not, we all pay into the pot for the total cost of animal agriculture. To put into perspective the organization, PETA, says that a $5.00 Big Mac would cost about $13 without the government subsidies that you already pay.
So, no matter how you cut it, it's not more expensive to be a health-wealth focused vegan.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VEGAN DIET/LIFESTYLES?
Just like there are differing nutritive plans with non-vegan diets/lifestyles, the vegan journey has many paths-Here are 4:
WHOLE-FOOD, PLANT-BASED (WFPB) Hands down the most health-promoting of all the vegan options, the WFPB lifestyle focuses on a diet composed primarily of 100% minimally processed whole grains, legumes, nuts, beans, vegetables and fruit. WFPB is also the only known lifestyle that has proven to prevent, treat and reverse our top chronic diseases (Esselstyn Study, Ornish Study, EPIC, China/Oxford Study). In addition to nutritive aspects of the lifestyle, other practices include at least 6 hours a day of sleep, 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise (i.e., brisk walking), minimal to no moderate to highly processed foods, minimal to no oil and lots of water. WFPB folks, while vegan in food practice, may or may not practice a "vegan" lifestyle as it relates to beyond the plate, i.e., some may buy/wear leather or purchase products that have brought harm to animals or the environment. .
Typically attracted to the lifestyle through a desire or passion to protect animals, the environment or both, ethical vegans tend to be laser-focused on the idea of bringing no harm whatsoever to animals and/or the environment. The ethical vegan tends to be less concerned about the nutritive balance of the plate and are mostly focused on not wearing, eating or supporting entities that bring harm to animals and/or the the planet. Their diet that doesn't include, meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey, nor do they wear or purchase clothing or any items that are derived from animals. Ethical vegans also don't use products, such as shampoo, that have tested animals to bring their product to market.
JUNK FOOD VEGAN
Junk food vegans typically avoid eating anything that includes animals, dairy, seafood, eggs or that bring harm to animals. With either a lack of concern or focus on the nutritional aspects of a plant-based or healthy vegan lifestyle, the junk food vegan tends to derive a good bit of their food from high caloric, highly processed, low nutrient vegan products. From fried fast food and heavily processed food truck fare (disclaimer: not all food trucks or fast food places sell exclusively sell vegan junk food) to grocery store frozen alternative meats/products such as: doughnuts, cakes, candy, chips, ice cream, highly processed, fake vegan meat alternatives, white breads, white pastas, the focus isn't health. Unfortunately, while this approach helps the animals and the environment, it is very unhealthy and sends mixed messages to those who are vegan-curious and thinking about becoming vegan for their personal health.
A health-wealthy vegan intentionally practices the exclusion of bringing harm to animals and the environment while also being keenly focused on the balanced plant-based vegan nutrition and health. Their diet tends to be similar to that of the WFPB lifestyle (nutrient-rich, low calorie diet) and while they do support animal and environmental advocacy, their primary focus tends to be around quality of life and the nutritive benefits of the lifestyle.
WHAT'S THE BEST APPROACH, COLD TURKEY OR TRANSITION TO THIS LIFESTYLE?
If you are in-disease, which means you are experiencing one or more chronic diseases, you should 1) Find a certified, plant-based health coach, a licensed, plant-based nutritionist and/or board-certified, plant-based lifestyle, family or internal medicine physician. 2) Go cold turkey ASAP! I can't emphasize enough to you the kind of russian roulette that you are playing with your health in general; let alone how much more severe the game is when you are actively in-disease.
If you're aren't in-disease, exploring a 21 day transition plan with a plant-based professional or taking an immersion course on the lifestyle is a good option (Baxter Montgomery, MD or John McDougall, MD Immersion programs are excellent).
The last thing that one should do is decide one day to go vegan with no idea what it requires as a an adapted lifestyle. The path of trying vegan without doing the due diligence too often leads to weight gain, disappointment, fatigue and ultimately failure.