High-profile vegan activist Tash Peterson says there’s ‘no excuse’ for eating meat despite soaring fruit and vegetable prices making it more difficult for Aussies on a plant-based diet.
The Covid pandemic and Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine have sparked global supply chain chaos that’s driving up the cost of living from petrol to basic everyday groceries.
In Australia, relentless flooding across the east coast has exacerbated the problem even further with a major scarcity of some fresh produce.
Lettuce has been retailing for an eye-watering $12 in some places, while the conflict in Europe has triggered a worldwide shortage of chickpeas – a popular vegan staple.
But despite the current economic climate, Ms Peterson – who earns a staggering $40,000-a-month selling topless and nude selfies on OnlyFans – claims it’s now easier to go vegan ‘than ever before’.
Vegan activist Tash Peterson (pictured) says going vegan is ‘easier now than ever before’ despite the soaring cost of vegetables
‘A lot of people have preconceptions of veganism and see it as expensive and it doesn’t have to be that way,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It can be incredibly cheap and healthy if you are sticking to whole foods like nuts, vegetables and legumes. I would say that is probably cheaper than a diet with meat, eggs, and milk.’
‘It is easier now than ever to go vegan. Vegan options are significantly rising in restaurants. Most places these days have a vegan option.
‘When I went vegan four years ago I never thought that I would be able to taste anything like meat again, but now there are so many vegan meat alternatives.’
The animal activist, who recently moved to Melbourne from Perth, claims choosing a plant-based diet is cheaper in the long run as it lowers the risk of illness.
‘It can be more healthy for you in the long run by reducing your risk of diseases and illness, which can save you money by reducing trips to the doctors,’ she said.
Ms Peterson pictured at an People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) protest in Melbourne last week
Produce shortages caused by flooding across Australia’s east coast has seen lettuce skyrocket to $12 a head
The Russian-Ukraine war has sparked a global chickpea shortage as both countries are major exporters
Is Tash right about veganism being healthier?
According to a 2021 World Health Organisation report, a predominantly plant-based diet low in salt, saturated fat and added sugars is associated with a lower risk of premature death.
The data also showed limiting intake of red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb, and processed animal products like sausages offers protection against diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.
But the UK NHS says a healthy balanced diet can include protein from meat – as well as from fish and eggs or non-animal sources such as beans and pulses.
Red meat provides us with iron, zinc and B vitamins. Meat is one of the main sources of vitamin B12 in the diet.
The head-turning herbivore, who is known for her disruptive public protests and demonstrating naked, argues the onus is on vegans to drive the price of their favorite foods down.
‘It is about trying to put our dollar towards the ethical choice. Even if a plant-based option is more expensive, it is a matter of life of death for animals,’ she said.
‘The more demand for plant based products, the more affordable they will be come. It is about trying to align your morals with your food.’
Ms Peterson said there are still budget friendly alternatives shoppers can select as short-supply items like lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and zucchini experience a price hike.
‘I haven’t had issues in having to replace food – and I don’t consume process vegan food [which can be more expensive],’ she said.
‘Kale and spinach are still cheap, and you can still eat the same snacks – just in a vegan version.
‘There are always alternatives. For example, you can just replace tofu out of a chicken curry still using all of the same spices.’
Asked whether she could blame someone for having second thoughts about going vegan given the high cost of fruits and vegetables, Ms Peterson said: ‘I guess if they didn’t really understand they didn’t get the ethical reasons.’
She says meat-eaters should strive to learn about the myriad benefits of going vegan.
The animal rights activist says veganism can still be one of the cheapest and healthiest diets
Ms Peterson has become known for her high-profile protests. She is pictured holding a demonstration at a Melbourne KFC store in July last year
‘It’s a learning journey of educating yourself and just trying to have that end goal of putting animals first,’ she said.
‘It is about learning you will still be able to find a plant based alternative that will help you get all of the nutrients you need.’
Ms Peterson has carved a controversial figure over her animal rights demonstrations, which have been executed in supermarkets, steakhouses, butchers, designer stores, live events and even footy matches.
Her protests – which are often conducted nude and with red paint smeared on her body to represent blood – have landed her in trouble with the law, leading her pack up and leave for the east coast.
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