The things that we buy in a store have a price, but this isn’t actually their real cost. The real costs of things are often hidden and perhaps not apparent until days, weeks or even years later. For example, a t-shirt might be only $5, but if you indulge in sales similar to this too often, soon you’ll have way too many clothes and need a bigger house to store all your things, which will significantly increase your living costs.
When you go to the grocery store, meat often seems quite cheap, particularly if you live in North America where animal products are often subsidized by the government (for reasons entirely beyond me!). Except that much of the costs are hidden, because when you eat meat, you’re not only getting the actual item, but you’re actually getting a lot of saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones and antibiotics along with it and nobody could seriously argue than any of these are beneficial for our health. And these things add up over years to result in potentially serious, or even deadly healthy problems, which can result in extremely expensive medical bills and result in months or years of lost work opportunities.
So what am I saying? I’ve always thought labels are bad, so I try to avoid them, but one that I like more than the other is “plant-based,” which means that I generally try to eat mostly plant products, especially at home when I have a lot of control over the situation. When I go out with friends or over to someone’s house, I will eat meat. And I actually enjoy it; one of my favorite meals is a well-cooked hamburger or steak. But, I probably consume only around 5% of animal products in my diet. Long-term, it just makes sense to me to eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains, and preferably organic ones at that. If you need some inspiration for plant-based cooking, check out Moosewood Restaurant Favorites or Iherb, which is my go to source for all things healthy eating supplies.