A Vegan Diet is SO Expensive. I Can’t Afford to Go Vegan



“Eating a vegan diet is SO expensive. I could never go vegan.” Really? Right up there with the cheese excuse or the concern that vegans are dropping dead like houseflies from a lack of protein — the other big vegetarian/omnivore argument is that eating vegan (which means, essentially, plant-based whole foods) is cost prohibitive for the average person. Eating more meat, dairy, and eggs somehow is so much more affordable that it’s impossible to go vegan without going broke. Really? It’s not.*

Check this out (prices are current as of July 2013/Northeast Region U.S.):

  • 1 lb. ground beef = $3.10 versus 1 lb. of broccoli = $1.29
  • 1 lb. turkey breast = $2.50 versus 1 lb. of spinach = $1.99
  • 1 lb. bacon = $3.99 versus 1 lb. of portobello mushrooms = $2.15
  • 1 lb. of chicken = $1.99 versus 1 lb. of uncooked brown rice = $1.60
  • 1 gallon of milk $2.99 = versus 1 gallon of almond milk = $2.00
  • One dozen eggs = $3.50 versus 1 brick of organic tofu = $3.25

Total for the omnivore column? $18.07. Total for the vegan column? $12.28. A savings of almost $6. Not to mention the thousands you’ll save over time in medication and hospital bills.

If you took all the plant-based ingredients above, you not only have the makings for a very healthy meal, you could save a ton of money (and, by the way, get plenty of vitamins, minerals AND protein).

Just add a little wheat free tamari, a teaspoon of evaporated cane juice, and sesame oil and you’ll have all you need to make a delicious fried rice. Eating healthy doesn’t require more money but it does require more time and creativity. Taking fruits, vegetable, beans, rice, and tofu and creating delicious meals might be daunting at first but once you explore all the amazing, natural flavors these foods contain … you’ll soon find yourself eating like royalty.

Ge vegan.


* This does not includes any government subsidies that may be given to families in need. These food items inevitably include dairy milk, cheese, and eggs. One more way the U.S. government is trying to keep its citizens unhealthy.

14 thoughts on “A Vegan Diet is SO Expensive. I Can’t Afford to Go Vegan

  1. I think the transition to a vegan diet always starts off a little pricier simply because folks tend to try and replace the things they ate, so spending money on processed fake meat, fake cheese, etc could be expensive. Like you said, once you begin experimenting with fruit, veg, beans, rice, tofu and the delicious meals they make, then it’s definitely cheaper.
    Sophia 🙂


  2. Curlee

    I’d like to know where you are getting a gallon of almond milk for only $2.00. Even a half gallon typically even costs more than that. If you make it yourself, I still find it hard to believe you can make a gallon for only $2.00.


  3. Thank You

    Sorry but i feel the need to de-bias this opinion through a more thorough approach. Let’s take one of your examples:
    1 lb. turkey breast = $2.50 versus 1 lb. of spinach = $1.99
    Let’s say our Carnivore Joe eats just turkey breast, while our Vegan Joe eats just spinach.
    Carnivore Joe has a requirement of 2000 kcal daily intake, just as much as Vegan Joe has.
    Carnivore Joe needs to eat ~7 lbs of turkey breast to maintain.
    Vegan Joe needs to eat ~42 lbs of spinach to maintain.
    Check any Calorie Counter app/site for proof. It means spinach has 6 times less calories then turkey breast, which means, at the end of the day:
    Carnivore Joe will pay 17.5$ for his daily food.
    Vegan Joe will pay 84$ for his daily food.

    You don’t even want to know about ground beef vs broccoli 🙂

    Of course this is taken to the extreme but only to better showcase a more detailed analysis of your comparison.
    If you don’t respect your daily caloric needs, and eat on the concept that replacing your food by keeping the same amount in grams from meat to veggies, then you will be in a world of pain sooner or later, being vegan does not mean becoming a human pole. That is neither healthy nor sane in my opinion.

    Depending in which country you live in though and where you make your shopping, i think the fact that being vegan is more expensive still stands, as long as you comprehend basic nutrition and you have a healthy active lifestyle.


    • kevo

      dude you totally nailed it! No one thinks about the calories, yeah meat might be more expensive per pound but you don’t have to buy as much or as often to fill you up compared to veges. nice post, much respect.


  4. jessica

    imo it is really difficult to be vegan when the rest of your household eats meats and cheeses etc , and you’re extremely poor and no one cares about what you want to feed yourself as long as there’s dinner on the table. I would love to be vegan but i’d end up gaining weight from all the rice and beans i’d be eating. Where i live fresh produce is much more expensive than the meat you can buy to feed a whole family. not everyone has the choice to be vegan if they want to. It can be too expensive depending on your circumstances.


  5. Diana

    How can you compare ground beef with brocoli?
    Please explain to me how can I maintain my energy by traiding 100g of beef that contains 26G of protein with the same amount of brocoli containing 2,8G of protein?


  6. KW

    This seems very American-centric however. In many countries around the world, the cost to be a healthy vegan is huge.

    Try for instance, Taiwan.

    I’m talking as a vegetarian who had no choice but to go back to a vegetarian diet for my health when I was vegan for 6 months in Taiwan.

    If I moved back to Europe however, I would certainly be vegan again. All I’m saying is, this article doesn’t help those who are in countries where it literally is cheaper to eat meat than to be a healthy vegan.


    • Dasha

      Accessibility is also another factor. I live in a small village town. There are no vegan restaurants, no speciality stores, and the supermarkets are seriously lacking and what they do carry is really expensive. Getting good fresh fruit and veggies is a dear do, especially considering how quickly they turn. If I wanted to mix it up a little, then I would have to go online which is beyond unaffordable. Honestly, some of those price ups are unnecessary and opportunistic.

      I have found some tricks around it . Shopping around is key though it can take a while to find places. I’ve stopped buying fresh unless it’s for a particular meal. Now I just buy frozen fruit/vegetables that I can pull out at my own convenience. I’m really not a fan of lentils and beans but spices and herbs help a lot with that and experimenting with different textures too. (I dislike full beans but don’t mind them in a paste)

      I’m starting to get the hang of it now but I remember how time consuming, inconvenient and expensive it really can be, especially if somebody is dependent on parents who dont fully support their choice. (I still remember the arguments with my mother about taking up ‘all her freezer space’ by trying to meal prep since juggling college, a part time job and an attempt at a social life didn’t really leave me much time to do anything but sleep) I think we need to just need to have a little more patience and understanding rather than brush these concerns off as ‘excuses’ I’m lucky that at the point where I was about to give in, somebody directed me to youtube where there are countless videos full of recipes. If that person had simply shrugged and told me to stop making excuses and that the struggle wasn’t real, then I would have been seriously deflated and disheartened.

      I think the best thing to do to take the pressure off is to plan ahead. Shop around, get a handful of good recipes under your belt before trying everything under the sun, make meal plans if possible so you only buy what you need and check out youtube for some good free recipes. (The student ones are ideal since they don’t work off a huge budget) xx


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