Can Health and Wealth be created simultaneously?

We, humans, spend the first half of our lives sacrificing health to get wealth. In the second half of our lives, we sacrifice wealth to try and get our health back.

Dalai Lama Quote Health and Wealth

Is it possible to get healthy and also be wealthy?

Oxford University just released a study published in a reputed journal – Lancet, called: “The Global and Regional Costs of Healthy and Sustainable Dietary Patterns”. 

Health is Like Money Josh BillingsThe study, published in November 2021, explores the cost-effectiveness of sustainable diets compared to traditional cuisines of 150 countries. The findings suggest that in addition to being easier on the body and the planet, plant-based eating is also easier on the wallet. 

The research ranks vegan diets as the most affordable sustainable diet, followed closely behind by vegetarian diets. The study intends to determine the practicality of a plant-based diet regarding cost, especially as talks about worldwide plant-based measures become more popular. The researchers set out to prepare an economic perspective for the accelerating plant-based movement to accompany the widespread health information.

The findings suggest that in addition to being easier on the body and the planet, plant-based eating is also easier on the wallet.

Are you moving with the trend?

The study found that vegan diets can slash food costs by 25 to 29 percentThe study found that vegan diets can slash food costs by 25 to 29 percent, providing a significantly more cost-effective diet than traditional western diets. The plant-based market is rapidly increasing, meaning that accessibility to vegan foods is becoming easier worldwide. With motivators including the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, plant-based shopping continues to grow.

Another recent report from Bloomberg found that the plant-based food market is slated to surpass $162 billion by 2030 – multiplying four times its current value of $30 billion. Plant-based consumption is becoming more popular as it becomes clearer that animal agriculture and animal-based foods present substantial harm to both the planet and the body. While the market is exploding, the Oxford University researchers believe the next step is political action to promote plant-based foods and production.

The study found that vegan diets can slash food costs by 25 to 29 percent, providing a significantly more cost-effective diet than traditional western diets.

Vegetarian or Flexitarian?

Affording to eat a healthy and sustainable diet is possible everywhere, but requires political will, the researchers  said. Current low-income diets tend to contain large amounts of starchy foods and not enough of the foods we know are healthy. And the western-style diets, often seen as aspirational, are not only unhealthy but also vastly unsustainable and unaffordable in low-income countries.

Any of the healthy and sustainable dietary patterns we looked at are a better option for health, the environment, and finances, but development support and progressive food policies are needed to make them both affordable and desirable everywhere.

The Flexitarian Diet encourages the consumption of mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. The Oxford report also revealed that Flexitarian diets, which ranked third in cost-effectiveness, reduce the price of eating by approximately 14 percent. Meat and dairy consumption is experiencing historically low levels globally. 

Resources:

  1. The global and regional costs of healthy and sustainable dietary patterns: a modelling study https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00251-5/fulltext
  2. A plant-based diet reduces the risk of Cardiovascular disease https://www.totallyveganbuzz.com/news/plant-based-diet-slashes-risk-cvd-atherosclerosis/
  3. Plant-based foods poised for explosive growth Aug 2021 report https://share.getcloudapp.com/qGuJgpxR
  4. Nelson ME, Hamm MW, Hu FB, Abrams SA, Griffin TS. Alignment of healthy dietary patterns and environmental sustainability: a systematic review. Adv Nutr 2016; 7: 1005–25.

If you are finding this topic of interest you might want to watch my YouTube video: My Top 3 Tips to Boost Your Metabolism

Helping You Discover, Empower & Prosper

Dr Arun Dhir  |  GI Surgeon, Health Reformist & Passionate Educator.

Dr Arun Dhir

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About Dr Arun:

 

Besides having a busy private practice at Melbourne Gastro Surgery – Centre for Weight Loss, Dr Arun is an active member of the ANZ Association of Gastro-Oesophageal surgeons (ANZGOSA), ANZ Society of Metabolic and Obesity Surgery (OSSANZ) and Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM).

Dr Arun is also a senior lecturer (University of Melbourne) and yoga and meditation teacher, with a strong interest in the mind-body-gut connection. He regularly writes and speaks about gut health, gut microbiome, obesity, gastrointestinal surgery and healing. Arun’s published works include Happy Gut Healthy Weight (Balboa Press 2018), Creating a New You – Health Journal (Metagenics 2019), and Your Mess Has a Message (2021).