Vegan Kitchen: Lower your expenses, save your well being, save the world, eat vegan!

With food prices rising rapidly, more than ever want to find ways to save money on our grocery bills. I’ve always believed that eating plant-based foods is an important way to control costs, and a recent study from the UK confirms that calculating that vegan meals can cut food bills by up to a third.

the Pricing model studyconducted by researchers from Oxford University and published in The Lancet Planetary Health, examined food costs in 150 countries. Based on 2017 prices released by the World Bank’s International Comparative Program, the study found that replacing plant-based foods with animal-based foods could lower food bills in rich countries, including the United States.

In particular, the study found that vegan diets are the most economical and can cut food bills by up to 34 percent compared to the food costs of a typical Western diet. In terms of budget-friendliness, the vegan diet was followed by the vegetarian diet, with the potential to cut food costs by 31 percent; flexitarian diets that could cut costs by 14 percent; and veggie-heavy Pescatarian diets that could actually add 2 percent to the cost.

The study looked at two types of vegan diets – one with more grains and one with more vegetables – and found that while both saved money, the grain-based vegan diet was the cheapest of all the diets analyzed. According to the study’s authors, fruits and vegetables cost more than grains and legumes worldwide. None of the diets modeled by the researchers contained ultra-processed foods.

“We believe that the fact that vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets can save you big bucks will surprise people,” said author Marco Springmann, a senior researcher on population health at Oxford Martin School, in a university report on the learning . “When scientists like me advocate healthy and environmentally friendly nutrition, it is often said that we are sitting in our ivory towers promoting something that most people cannot financially achieve. This study shows that the opposite is true. These diets could be better for your bank balance as well as your health and … the planet. “

The idea that vegan food is more expensive has been regularly criticized for a plant-based diet for years.

Before conducting the price comparison study, researchers at Oxford University noted a growing scientific understanding of the health and climate costs of animal foods. However, they found less research (and what there was was contradicting) on ​​the cost to consumers of animal vs. plant-based foods.

The Oxford study went beyond bills at the supermarket checkout. The study found that taking into account a range of nutritional costs that are not currently included in food prices, the price of plant-based foods would drop even further. These external costs included diet-related health expenditure and greenhouse gas emissions caused by the cultivation and transportation of food.

According to the study, including climate costs in food prices would increase the cost savings potential of a vegan diet to 45 percent compared to a conventional diet, while if health costs were included, a vegan diet plan would reduce food costs by 47 percent. If both types of costs were taken into account, a vegan diet would save 53 percent of food bills, according to the researchers.

“There are many other effects of the food system that are not currently reflected in food prices, including effects on biodiversity and air and water pollution,” the study authors noted.

One significant health expense that could decrease as more people in the US eat vegan is the cost of treating moderate to severe COVID-19 infections. During 2021, a trickle of medical research began to uncover a link between a plant-heavy diet and milder COVID infections.

In June, a to learn published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health Journal, found that among 2,884 frontline healthcare workers in six countries including the United States, those who followed a plant-based diet had a 73 percent lower risk of moderate to severe COVID than employees in health care had to eat more animal foods.

In September, the medical journal Gut a to learn from Massachusetts General Hospital, which analyzed data from 592,571 participants in a smartphone-based study of COVID symptoms and found that those who ate the most plant-based foods had a 9 percent lower risk of developing COVID, and develop a 41 percent lower risk of severe COVID. Study participants came from the USA and Great Britain

For decades, there has been a surge in medical studies showing that plant-based diets protect against many of the leading causes of death in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020 (the last year for which statistics are available) is the front runner two Causes of death Heart disease remained followed by cancer, both related to the high consumption of animal foods. The number of deaths from heart disease saw the largest increase since 2012, increasing 4.2 percent in 2020. COVID was the third leading cause of death in 2020.

The deaths from diabetes and Alzheimer’s, two diseases associated with an animal diet, rose 15.4 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, in 2020. Of the eleven leading causes of death in the US in 2020, only two (accidental injury and suicide) have no known association with dieting. The potential association between developing severe influenza and pneumonia (the ninth leading cause of death) has not been well studied. All others – stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and kidney disease – correlate with animal-based consumption, and all showed improvement or reversal in patients who switched to plant-based meals.

But health care costs aren’t the only burden that current food prices don’t account for. The US meat subsidies also distort prices at the supermarket checkout and around the world.

after a Paper published Last year, the U.S. spent nearly $ 38 billion annually on agricultural subsidies in the Columbia Journal of International Affairs, less than one percent of which went to vegetable and fruit growers. Instead, the lion’s share of government support goes to ranchers and farmers who grow crops that are used to feed cattle or produce highly processed foods. The same paper noted that these US subsidies not only distort food prices in the US, but also depress international market prices for crops, causing many farmers in poor countries to give up farming and forcing their governments to import food, which could be grown locally if the economy was different.

This brings us back to the study by the University of Oxford, which also examined food prices in poor countries. While vegan food in affluent countries can save money for consumers according to the researchers, it is different in developing countries. The current diet there is often nutritionally inadequate. Because the researchers assessed the cost of following a nutritionally appropriate vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian, and western standard diet, residents of poor countries would have to pay more to meet this standard regardless of what type of diet they followed.

After all, while the Oxford University study brings high-quality, much-needed data into the political debates about food costs, vegan and vegetarian shoppers have known about these savings for generations. For the past few months, I’ve spent time in the Portland Room of the Portland Public Library, where, with the help of archivist Abraham Alain Schechter, I’ve found historical evidence of the affordability of vegetarian foods.

For example, half a century ago the Maine Sunday Telegram ran a story entitled “How to Cut Your Grocery Bill 25%”. The article published on August 20, 1972 reports on the frugality of vegetarian food. Reporter Lloyd Ferris compared the price his family of four paid for groceries, an average of $ 25 a week, to that of meat-eaters in a University of Maine history class he was taking; they were spending an average of $ 35 to $ 50 a week.

“After a year of vegetarian life,” wrote Ferris, “I sometimes believe – perhaps a little complacent – that my carnivorous friends are suffering unnecessarily.”

I don’t feel complacent at all. I am sad to find that this unnecessary suffering drags on for much more than 50 years.

Go back even further, for example 169 years to October 6, 1853, when Jeremiah Hacker‘s alternative newspaper, the Portland Pleasure Boat, printed an article from the American Vegetarian Society. “As much food for the body can be obtained for three cents from floury or plant-based foods as can be obtained from animal food for thirty cents,” the article says.

Recent research from Oxford University adds scientific confirmation to anecdotal information known for more than a century. Eating vegan and vegetarian options has long been the thrifty choice in Maine.

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @AveryYaleKamila

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Investing in vegan … learn how to put your cash the place your mouth is | Cash

W.Whether it’s your local pub finally adding an option to its menu for the first time, or a plant-based version of your favorite dessert landing on supermarket shelves, the availability of vegan food has skyrocketed in recent years.

The number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, with 600,000 people falling into this category according to data from the Vegan Society. Veganuary, the campaign in which people go vegan in January, hit a record 585,000 registrations this year, compared to just 3,300 in 2014.

The trend is hard cash: the global market for vegetable meat alone is expected to grow from 3.6 billion US dollars in 2020 to 4.2 billion US dollars in 2021, according to the market research group Markets and Markets. However, for individuals looking to put their money where their mouth is, the options are not always obvious.

Applying vegan principles to investments can take a lot of research

That’s unfortunate because Claire Smith, the executive director of Beyond Investing, a vegan investment platform and creator of the US Vegan Climate Index, says they are generally socially and environmentally conscious and are likely to be interested in what happens to their money. “When you look at labels and verify that the food you are eating is definitely not from an animal, you probably worry about where your money is going,” she says.

Applying vegan principles – like avoiding companies that test animals or exploit animals – to investments can require a lot of research and will limit the number of companies you can invest in. Lee Coates, an ethical money and environmental, social, and corporate governance consultant who spent years searching for the best funds for vegans, says they “don’t have much choice”.

The UK does not have a dedicated fund to easily put your money into and information on where to invest is difficult to come by.

“The best approach is to look for ethical fund solutions that hide exposure to a variety of topics such as animal testing,” said David Henry, an investment manager at Quilter Cheviot. “It pays to speak to a financial advisor who has access to fund screening tools to ensure that your investment decisions are in line with your goals and ethics.”

You can use an investment platform like Fidelity, AJ Bell, or Hargreaves Lansdown to buy these funds. However, you must review the individual holdings within the fund to ensure that they comply with your principles.

Coates says: “For example, you could buy a pure wind farm fund and think that this is not only eco, but also vegan, but you would have to see if there are branches that allow grazing on the slope, which could then mean that it is rented to a local farmer to make a profit. “

Tech funds seem like a safer option, but he says you “need to review their procurement policies and test on animals.” He adds that property can be good because it is “generally ethically neutral”.

Coates recommends the Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity Fund, which invests in companies that contribute to positive ecological or social change and are “financially very successful and meet vegan criteria”. He also suggests the Aegon Ethical Equity Fund and the Aegon Ethical Corporate Bond, which adhere to vegan principles – for example no factory farming, no retail sale of meat and dairy products.

Alternatively, you can also invest directly on the stock exchange and opt for animal testing-free companies or purely vegan companies. Many of them are listed on stock exchanges outside the UK – such as Beyond Meat, the maker of Beyond Burger, Else Nutrition, an Israeli manufacturer of plant-based baby food, or the American plant-based food manufacturer Tattooed Chef.

Haz Feliks of Aylesbury has “invested primarily in technology companies and avoided all companies involved in or related to animal husbandry”. Photo: Haz Felix

Haz Feliks, 40, a technology-enabled learning manager who lives in Aylesbury, invests in individual company stocks through his life Isa, pension and personal trading account. “Much like my daily grocery shopping and grocery shopping, it is important to me that I make ethical decisions about my investments and savings,” he says. “As a tech enthusiast, I’ve invested primarily in tech companies, avoiding all companies involved in or related to animal husbandry.” He invested in Tesla early on and is currently investing in Beyond Meat and other companies that “meet the criteria plant-based or technology-based fulfillment “.

Lauren O’Donnell, 28, has been a vegan for four years and is the founder of the specialist breakfast delivery business Oatsu, invests between £ 25 and £ 50 a month in ethical funds and also holds shares in Beyond Meat and Oatly. “I try to focus on companies that have focused on a plant-based solution,” says O’Donnell. “Right now there is a lot of choice in food and to some extent clothing, but investing could provide more resources to enable investors who want to make more sustainable and ethical choices.”

Another option is to invest in vegan companies through crowdsourcing equity platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube. According to Seedrs, 42 companies with a plant-based focus have used its platform so far this year, 400% more than last year. One of them is vegan cook-to-customer delivery service Allplants, which grossed £ 4.5 million. Crowdcube reports that more than 4,000 retail investors have donated nearly £ 6 million to vegan companies on its platform this year.

Stephanie Peritore, 46, founder and CEO of Mindful Bites, invests in vegan companies through her Isa and crowdfunding.

“It gives me access to deal flows with some phenomenal companies like Pip & Nut. I’ve invested in about 25 companies and invest about £ 20,000 each time. “

Many cruelty-free or purely vegan companies are listed on stock exchanges outside the UK, such as Beyond Meat, the maker of the Beyond Burger. Photo: Steve Helber / AP

Most people’s biggest investment is their pension, and you may find that your company pension is anything but vegan. “If you were automatically enrolled in a company pension plan, you will likely be invested in the standard fund option,” says Henry. “It’s worth seeing if the pension fund instead offers an ethical or sustainable fund option that you can invest in. While these funds are unlikely to invest solely for vegan reasons, they can exclude certain companies. For example, Nest’s Ethics Fund will avoid investing in companies that test cosmetics on animals and only invest in companies that adhere to animal welfare guidelines. “

Coates points to a groundbreaking 2020 judgment that saw ethical veganism as a philosophical belief and opened the door for people to a right to vegan-friendly pensions. “A good employer would understand if you wanted a vegan pension,” says Coates. “Talk to your boss. Group together with other vegan employees. ”He recommends the Aegon Ethical Equity Fund as a pension plan – whether in a company pension plan or as a self-employed person. Otherwise – for the self-employed – it may be best to open a self-created private pension so that you can choose the means yourself.