By Ellen Jaffe Jones
A vegan diet is a plant-based diet, and that means not eating meat, dairy, fish, or eggs, and therefore it had a mother or a face. There are two main ways to save money when eating a vegan diet.

First of all, you save lots of money at the store. Let me give you a ginormous and the best example that I can think of to illustrate this. The price of beans has only gone up a few pennies in the three years I have been tracking prices at the big box stores. The price of milk has gone up about a dollar a gallon. And meat prices have skyrocketed.

A half-cup serving of beans cooked from scratch costs about a dime. The same serving from a can of beans is about twice that much. The same size serving of the cheapest hamburger meat—which is 30% fat—costs fifty to sixty cents, or at least 5 times more than beans. When you look at more expensive cuts of meat, such as beef tenderloin at 85 cents an ounce, that equals $3.40 for 4 ounces or $6.80 for 8 ounces! And that is 34 times more expensive than beans! And that doesn’t include the fat that drips away in the cooking.

For the price of one 8 ounce tenderloin steak, you can eat 8 ounces of beans every day for a month. So tell me, how much money do you want to spend? A dime for a serving of high quality, high fiber, low fat protein, or almost sixty cents to $7 for the same serving size of meat? What’s in your wallet? Not that much in mine.

Seriously, who can afford these prices, even at Walmart? And these were big box store prices. This is best kept secret in America, in my opinion. You can save so much money by simply replacing a few meat meals a week with beans and save serious money. And if you do this all year long, we are talking major savings. Never again will you have to be concerned with how much vegetables and fruit costs.

When you save this much money by replacing beef and dairy with plant-based protein, you have plenty of money left over for everything else.But here’s the other serious way you save money. It’s by avoiding the hospital! Meat consumption causes cardiovascular disease. And a bypass surgery in the US can cost between $100,000-$200,000.

So if you factor that into the cost of every hamburger you eat, instead of costing $5 at your favorite restaurant, it might cost $100 or more per burger. Avoiding doctor and hospital visits, and all the drugs, devices and supplements that preventable diseases require are so important to remember when calculating the true costs of food. Food is powerful medicine and we are what we eat.

Many people believe that to eat healthfully it has to cost a lot. But it doesn’t. I hope I’ve given you a little taste of how easy it is to eat well on a budget, even food stamps! Truly, it is a piece of carrot cake! Hope you’ll take a tip from the broccoli rep here (yeah, that’s what I tell my doctors I am) and check out my book, Eat Vegan on $4 a Day!

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