Raw on a Budget

February 13, 2008 at 2:43 pm 15 comments

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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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michele  |  February 13, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Is your entire family raw/vegan? My husband loves his meat and SAD diet and I keep my kids eating mostly my way. I was wondering what has to be organic as I live in a very rural area where fruits and veges are hard to come by especially organic…This list is quite helpful. I cannot find organic kale or collards unless I drive over an hour.

    Reply
  • 2. anon  |  February 13, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Unfortunately, there are environmental costs to a diet like this. In not-so tropical parts of the country, I don’t see this as a sustainable year-round option. Those avocados and that tofu come from far away, after all. I like Sharon’s (at Casaubon’s book) comments about healthy, local, and sustainable food cultures. In most parts of the country, this means more reliance on potatoes, sweet potatoes and other roots, which I can’t see eating raw. Also, putting summer produce by for the winter often, though not always, involves cooking, unless you want to give up things like apple sauce, tomato sauce, and the like. The fact that the raw movement smacks of a concern for hyper-purity that troubles me in ways I haven’t yet been able to put my finger on, I can’t see this being a long-term, wild-spread environmentally responsible option.

    Reply
  • 3. Aimee  |  February 13, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    do you freeze bananas with or without the skins on?

    we try to have one thing “raw” at every meal…at lunch it is usually baby carrots and at dinner a spinach salad or romaine or mixed greens. We also eat fruit as our snacks. We are meat eaters, pasta eaters, grain eaters (everything eaters ๐Ÿ™‚ so adding at least one raw thing per meal gives us balance.

    Reply
  • 4. Heather  |  February 13, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    I have to agree with anon’s comments and think they are right on. As important as eating healthy and organic, what is becoming far more important for this country’s agricultural system to survive is to eat locally and in season. I dare say people 100 years ago were not able to eat half of the things we eat in the winter. The ebb and flow of their diet depended on what they could grow in the winter and that is what they ate.
    A normal meal in this country travels well over 1500 miles to reach our plate. So while having bananas in the winter seems healthy they have most likely come from Chili, and have been on a long journey to reach our plates. And the research is out that when food travels that long the nutritional benefits are all but gone. I love the idea of eating raw in seasons when it is possible and good for our farmers and the environment, I just don’t see it as an option in the winter.

    Reply
    • 5. vickersgroup  |  November 23, 2011 at 7:33 am

      I must say I have to agree and trying to start this whole raw eating now at the end of November, my concern is keeping warm, and I don’t want to do it totally by drinking hot water. Also I need recipes for someone on a budget with hardly any equipment.

      Reply
  • 6. anon  |  February 13, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    One idea I like is to freeze and store local fruit (berries, peaches, etc.) when in season. Then I can use it during the winter and early spring.

    Healthy local oils could also be found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds and even nuts if you have room to plant a nut tree or two.

    But like Heather said, I couldn’t subsist on raw stuff year round, nor do I believe from a medical or environmental perspective that that’s the best way to good dietary health. If we are to feed ourselves healthfully in a oil-scarce future, I think we’re going to take advantage of local, easy-to-store roots and gourds, as well as cold-hardy crops which are not all as palatable raw as collards might be.

    Reply
  • 7. Heather  |  February 13, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Also please excuse my spelling, I type fast when I get excited and I believe the country Chili….is actually spelled Chile……

    Reply
  • 8. Eric  |  February 13, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    this is really excellent. I have been reading strongly over at “walk slowly, live wildly” and your tour blog. thanks for this resourse.
    eric

    Reply
  • 9. livelightly  |  February 14, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Michele…Right now, I am the only one doing it pretty full time. Bella eats about 80% raw right now. Matt is the only one who eats meat (but not at home). When we get back to the RV and start on the road again, he is going to do a partially raw diet as well.

    anon and heather…I do agree with you in the fact that it’s sometimes hard to be a “locavore” and a raw food enthusiast. It can be done in certain climates around the country. But like I said before, my CHOICE right now is raw foods. I do believe they are the best thing I can put in my body. When it comes to the point where I can no longer get bananas and avocados, then I will re-assess. Choices, choices ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad I still have a choice.

    Reply
  • 10. Tara  |  February 14, 2008 at 5:01 am

    If I had seen this post two years ago, I would be applauding you and presenting you with a short list of all the reasons why I could never afford to go raw.

    Now, two years, two children, and four hospitalizations later, I can tell you that I absolutely cannot afford not to. I turn 30 this year and I want to be moving into an era of radiant health, not devastating decline. At the end of the day, your health and your faith is all you have.

    Thanks so much for all your inspiration and support.

    Reply
  • 11. livelightly  |  February 14, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Preach it sister ๐Ÿ™‚ Next time I come to town…we’re totally hitting the juice bar at the coop together! Yum.

    Reply
  • 12. Sheri  |  February 14, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Wow! I am loving your website – thanks for updating it with such beautiful food every day! Isn’t it amazing and lovely the food that God has put on this earth?!

    My husband and I trying to be healthier. It’s been such a process, as I grew up in a home of Little Debbies and white bread…. But now we have a daughter. I’m now making all of our meals from scratch, and incorporating a tons of fruits and veggies.

    While trying to keep our budget in mind, how much would you say you spend on being raw and organic? I know that is a personal question, so if you don’t feel comfortable answering, I understand. What would be ballpark figure of how much you spend as a family of three for a week?

    Reply
  • 13. Tara  |  February 14, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    You’re on. baby!

    Reply
  • 14. Luis Macq  |  February 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I grew up eating mostly row foods from my mother and now that I am on my own it has become difficult to keep it up because of time and money. Thanks for the healthy tips. I have often thought about supplementation for the nutrition that I do not get, and I have found some great review sites for this like Nutritional Tree, but I am not convinced that you get what you get when you eat row foods.

    Reply
  • 15. domain  |  September 9, 2014 at 5:02 pm

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    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. However imagine if
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    Reply

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