Raw on a Budget
The cost of “going raw” has always been important for us…being that we don’t have endless resources, we have to make adjustments and budget when we are buying more fresh fruits and veggies. It can be difficult, because personally, I prefer to buy organic whenever it is available. The pesticide levels are too high for my comfort on conventional foods, and the nutritional content of conventional produce is staggering low compared to organic produce. Up to half (or more!) of the minerals/vitamins are sacrificed by conventional farming methods/bad soil quality. With that said, I do not buy organic for everything…just where I find it the most necessary (see the Dirty Dozen) and when it’s available. In the summertime, I will opt for locally grown natural crops (and possibly not “certified organic”).
We spend approximately 25% of our income on our food budget (as opposed to the typical American family which is 5-10%). We make sacrifices in other areas so that we can spend more to keep our family healthy. We made a focused effort to pay off all credit card bills/car loans, etc. so that we wouldn’t be tied down in those areas. However, I know that it’s MUCH harder to eat raw when you are struggling with money, and trying to feed a large family. But, it can be done with some tweaking here and there. You also must consider the “cost” of continuing to buy packaged, processed foods you may currently be buying. Eventually, they will catch up with you and then the cost of your medical bills will be much more than any raw foods. I have found that the low fat raw vegan diet is by far the cheapest…because you’re not making tons of gourmet type raw dishes that require all kinds of fancy, expensive ingredients. It also pretty much eliminates the need for any type of “superfood” or nutritional supplements because you can get all of your vitamins and minerals in your fruits and especially your greens.
Here are some tips to save money when adding more raw foods to your budget:
- You don’t have to go 100% raw! Even 50% will greatly improve your health!
- Buy only the Dirty Dozen in organic to greatly reduce your pesticide exposure.
- Buy frozen fruit for smoothies. Stores like Costco and other warehouse stores have huge bags of quick frozen fruit for sale. They may not be organic, but like I said…that’s a personal choice.
- Find out when your grocery store marks down their produce. I’ve gotten huge amounts of bananas this way…they were completely edible and delicious, but they had brown marks all over them so they were discounted.
- Ask your grocer if they can order you a box of fruit wholesale.
- Freeze bananas that are about to go bad for smoothies.
- Eat mon0-meals and only buy the fruit that is on sale that week
- Rotate your greens and pick the sale greens.
- In the summer, hit the Farmer’s Market for big savings over grocery store produce.
- Go to a “pick your own” farm.
- Join a CSA farm…consider splitting a share with a friend.
- Grow as much of your own food as possible…even if you are in an apt. or a house without a garden…growing sprouts is one of the easiest things you can do! And it’s cheap. You can sprout so many different things…lentils, alfalfa, broccoli. Here is a “how to” for sprouting.
- Dehydrate fruits or veggies that are about to go bad.
- And lastly, if you are willing…Dumpster Dive!! You can find tons of fresh fruit and veggies if you are in the right area. Here is an interesting blog on it.
If you want to eat raw…or even just MORE raw, it can be done!
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