As if Bolivia wasn’t troubled enough as one of South America’s only two landlocked countries, now it has a whole new problem with the onset of veganism. If you know a vegan or vegetarian, the odds are that you have heard of a strange little plant called quinoa.
Quinoa is a plant often mistaken as a grain, but it is nothing of the sort. Related to the beet, it has been hailed as a superfood because it is so rich in protein. All this is good and well because we know how nutrient-deficient vegans are. And in fact, this should also be good and well for the Bolivians because this superfood is only found in the Andes. In theory, exports of this crop should bring a new source of income to the poor Bolivian economy.
Unfortunately, these bloodthirsty (not animal blood) vegans can’t be sated by just supplementing their food with quinoa. Their demand of this superfood has driven the price of quinoa so high that the poor Bolivian people who rely upon this food can’t even afford it. Keep in mind, these are people who would eat meat if they had the choice. Vegans, on the other hand, do have a choice. They could eat meat, but choose instead to eat quinoa. And that choice has lead to malnourishment for the Bolivians. When the prices of quinoa are too high, they turn to rice and white bread, which are quite lacking in nutrients. Sure, some of this has to do with taste, but the cost of quinoa these days certainly doesn’t help.
So, vegans, is it worth giving up meat at the expense of the health of people in Bolivia? I don’t know about you, but the exploitation of people in a third world South American country just doesn’t seem worth it to me.