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S.O.S. - Sick of Salads!

Help me! I feel I am at a critical point with raw foods. I am so tired of eating the same foods every day. I really miss the variety a cooked foods diet brought. I eat the same thing everyday – a green smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, a bigger salad for dinner. BORING. I do not have, nor can I afford, a dehydrator. I can barely afford this diet with a hubby and two kids. WE’re spending 4 times the amount of money on food that we used to. And we don’t HAVE it to spend, if we did, it wouldn’t be a problem.

So what do I do? The cravings are hitting HARD, and I’m getting just plain sick of going to the grocery store to drop more money every other day.

Is it possible that this just isn’t a “doable” diet for some people? Especially those who are already on the poverty line or under?


  • You’ll have to try the taco meat recipe posted here. I could live off of it- never get sick of it. Spread it on dried nori or boston lettuce, top with all sorts of veggies and roll up….it’s really good and walnuts are cheap. There are other roll up recipes as well, that are great for lunch or supper. I don’t have a dehydrator either, and found my food bills were getting crazy high. I find it helps to snack on cheap fruits and vegetables between meal (organic carrots/apples/ bananas are not too pricey) and then I’m not bored with a salad for supper.

  • Have you tried making some soups? Also, have you mixed up the types of salads that you are making, or are you just eating green salads? I eat a different thing at each meal (all 6 throughout the day!), and that helps me not get bored. I am different than alot of people though I guess, at least according the post last week about what we ate in a typical day…I try to have a green smoothie once a day, a type of salad once a day (yesterday it was a raw Pad Thai made with zuchini, carrots, mung bean sprouts and P.T.sauce), and always some raw variation of what my family is having. To keep costs down, you could try making a larger recipe, such as crackers or breas that can last you a few weeks, and then just mix up the “toppings”. For instance, a few weeks back I made a batch of raw corn bread that I am just now finishing this week. I have eaten it with raw chili, made a tostada out of it, used it for bread for almond butter sandwiches, and as a crunchy topping on a taco salad, just to name a few things. I like to see what is on sale and buy alot of that, then by the time I am done with it, I am just to the point of getting bored and ready to get the next thing on sale. Does that make sense? Of course, another option would be to take a break from raw until you can save up enough money for a dehydrator, but you have made so much progress that I would hate for you to have to “backslide”! O.k. I think I am just rambling now, so I will post more ideas if any come to me! Hope these help.

  • I didnt have a dehydrator for a while so I used my oven with the door open on warm setting. Check for your local Freecycle and ask for one there, keep an eye out at thrift stores! Also as soon as the weather warms up you can use two screens (just the fabric part cheap at the hardware store and some rocks around the outside to hold it down…My family is also on a budget..I spend about $400.00 a month on grocerys. I dont buy all organic I just couldnt afford to eat if I did but We shop the farmers market alot for greens and seasonal fruits. I agree with the above posts, nori sheets for wraps and I use rice paper wrappers, lettuce leaves for fillings, such as the taco filling…tuno, I am also a big fan of thaini shredded carrots and purple onions wrapped in lettuce leaves. The cinnamon roll recipe, and the onion bread are life savers! How bout trying some of the noodle recipes? I love apples with “frosting” My fav is lemon juice, dates vanilla and cashews…blend yummy! I also treat myself to young coconuts..if you get them from the Asian grocery they are super cheap. We buy a case (at cost thankfully I’ve got a connection) for 9 dollars for nine of them! They are sooo good… Give yourself a break from salads for a while, maybe eat more fruits or treats…Also Storm and Jinjee have lots of inexpensive high nutrient no dehydrator recieps to try in their week long package…(it only cost ten dollars)!

    Good luck

  • Ambikalee, are rice paper wrappers RAW???? That would change my whole world.

    Skyespice, hang in there. You were doing so amazingly well with your two weeks of 100% raw and your husbands progress too. I was very inspired to stay at 100%. I don’t have much new advice for you. Where I live produce is very cheap. I live without a dehydrator and do ok. Like spiritedmama said, different salads (like raw pad thai, or cole slaw) help a lot as do soups, tacos, and deserts. Also, for cravings, green smoothies are a godsend. Also cheap to make. Good luck, you can do this.

  • WhenI read Renne Loux book Living Cusine..she uses them I checked the ingredients and they are rice flour and water…so there isnt any cooking in that,,, If you have a vitamix you could make your own rice flour add water and then dry theminto tortilla like shapes. Personally I am not anal about making sure evrything is 100% raw or Organic because I just font have the money/time for that. I just keep my diet as simple and natural and raw as I can! I think the rice paper is safe though and from a health standpoint I belive rice is alot healthier for you than wheat etc ..NO Glutens for us! So I would always prefer rice paper over dhydrated raw Whaet based foods.

    I love rice paper and make some great thai dipping sauces…hope that helps and you can eat them… :)

  • I think that having a good reason to stay raw always helps. Have you read any inspiring books about why you should be raw? It really is the best possible thing you can do for yourself and your family so don’t give up, you are doing so awesome! Plus summertime is coming quickly, do you live somewhere where you can supplement your diet with free foraged foods like berries and greens? Or even grow your own. Good luck and just remember you are a beautiful person who deserves to live in perfect health.

  • Hi Skyespice, I’m trying to grow my own herbs and some greens by myself and indoors. In www.youtube.com they have videos teaching how to do that and videos in raw recipe too. Try a zucchini lasagna,and put it in your open oven like Ambikalee said.I’m on a break from nuts,and I’ll do only soup now.Try Ann Wigmore’s soup that it is apple,avocado,greens,rejuvelac and that is amazing for you. Don’t give up,prevention is cheaper than the hospital,and I always think that I am on a “prevention”diet.

  • I’ve thought about the oven thing, but my oven temp doesn’t go below 170 degrees, which is way to high. Any other suggestion for that? I really miss bread…

    THank you all for your support. I totally fell off the wagon today, and I’m ok with that. I love the way I feel with raw, but being this frustrated is mentally taxing.

    Plus, I was reading information on beyondveg.com and some if it kind of worried me. Anyone else been there?

  • joescjoesc Raw Master

    Buy the non organic fruits. Some fruits cannot be found organic where I live such as durian, jackfruit, starfruit, dragonfruit etc. Even though those are the expensive fruits, I buy oranges, grapefruits at a regular store to help with the price. I can buy $100 worth of food at whole foods organic that last a four days and $45 worth of non organic food that last 7 days.

    Switch up the stuff in your green smoothie. Try a beet smoothie. I do that sometimes. Switch up the salad dressings. Have tomatoes with basil, oregano or some sort of herb. You can eat the cucumbers with some lemon juice and herbamare. Eat smashed up avocado with sliced cucumbers and seasoning. Try a beet salad or carrot salad instead of a green salad. There is a salmon pate that is really good by Alissa cohen. You can try different pates. Make things up that you know will mesh well. Today I had almond butter with apples and celery. I grounded up the almonds added grounded up flax seeds, mixed in olive oil and coconut oil to make it creamy added sea salt, honey and cinnamon and it tasted like coconut but it went well with the apples and celery. I ate two oranges. The salad I had was with kale, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, radish sprouts and a veggie burger I made up using mushroom, sun dried tomatoes, celery, seasoning and almonds. I ate it with a sweet and spicy sauce I made up and it was so good, I wanted to drink the dressing that was left. I actually rarely had salads since the first few weeks I went raw.

    Use the oven as a dehydrator if push comes to shove. Invest in some plants that you use a lot.

    I will add a recipe for an energy bar that I had a few weeks ago that doesn’t require a dehydrator. Maybe you can use that.

  • ooo! joesc, please do post that recipe!

    I agree with the investing in plants that you’d use often. I am moving into my own apartment at the end of this summer, [no roommates.. FINALLY!!!!] and i plan to start growing as many herbs as i can. I also have been researching on container gardening and look forward to doing so.

    I’ve begun to buy non-organic produce a bit now. I used to get only organic, but with being raw now, it just gets too expensive. It’s just me i “cook” for, but i still seem to spend a lot of money. I’ve kind of budgeted about 275-300 dollars per month to spend on food, but i’m not sure if that’s accurate. I’m trying to figure out what i spend my money on before i move out on my own again.

    I love these tips, please keep them coming!!!

  • Hi Skyespice, in his book Gabriel Cousens said that”it is actually better to begin the dehydration process at 145 F for the inicial stage of the drying process.The reasoning is that as the food is dehydrating,it literally ‘sweats out’ the moisture it contains. The moisture inside the dehydrator reduces the food temperature as much as 20-25 degrees. The safesty way is to begin drying at 145 F for a maximum of 3 hours for food with a high water content,and that 110-115 F.By doing this we are inhibiting bacterial groth by reducing the time the food spends in the dehydrator.” I believe you could put the food in the oven at 170 F for 1 or 2 hours maximum. No problem.

  • Oh boy, do I hear you. I couldn’t eat raw if it were all smoothies and salads! Here are a couple recipes that really have helped me when I feel like I need something more substantial (and none of them require a dehydrator).

    • For a quick meal that is really filling, try the mushroom steak. It is amazing (and to cut costs, ditch the creamy topping).
    • Another good meal is to make raw tacos. Use taco meat wrapped in collard greens. I like to make a bunch of sides, such as guac, pico, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and olives.
    • A really fulfilling snack to have around is hummus. Cucumbers taste really good as a dipper.
  • You may be interested in the book The Raw Food Detox by Natalia Rose. She writes about the 5 levels of raw food diet. If you are having a really tough time with Level 1 (95-100% raw) you may want to consider dropping back to Level 2 (85-95% raw) for a while, instead of getting burnt out on raw or adding stress to what should be a positive lifestyle. I like her philosophy of : eat raw until dinner. It’s a simple way of looking at it, and makes it easier. Start your day with a green drink, then eat fruit, then your salad or raw veggies. Have a snack of nut butters or dried fruits and nuts. Then relax about raw and eat what you miss: a baked sweet potato with maple syrup, some sprouted flourless bread, a vegan taco, etc. Keep it light and healthy. You may find that by just relaxing a little bit, you go all raw the next day instead of going off the wagon and eating a ton of cooked food. Find what makes you happy and incorporate it into your life. Remember: you are so far ahead of most people in what you’re doing. You are an inspiration! Make sure you feel emotionally healthy where you’re at, and you’ll want to continue forever.

  • Check out Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet from your local library. There are a ton of simple, yummy recipes. The best part…not one recipe in the book requires a dehydrator!

    Mix up your lunch or dinner. Add something with nuts or avocados to give your meals more oomph. The mock pb and j recipe on here is very filling and you could try some cucumber/avocado soups.

  • I personally was doing very well until I weighed myself and realized that I had been eating totally vegan for 7 weeks..3 of that raw…and had only lost 2 pounds..and I got an ear infection…I somewhat fell off the wagon and ate french fries and ice cream…but, tomorrow is a brand new day and I am starting over. Dont beat yourself up too much. As with anything..if at first you don’t succeed..try again..And I agree this can be pretty expensive. Bananas are cheap..As for the rice papers I read in a book that they were not 100% raw..and I do use hummus alot..good luck to you all!!

  • Hi Guys,

    Rice papers are cooked. Sorry. You can get raw nori sheets though and roll stuff up in them.

    I second the suggestion to do some soups and dips and pates. Dips and pates based on sunflower seeds (super cheap) can be easily whipped up in a food processor.

    Also to save money, DONT shop at grocery stores. Find some produce stores, produce stands and asian or other ethnic markets in your area. They are SOOOOO much cheaper than grocery stores. Make friends with the produce managers and ask for discounts on buying things that you buy by the case.

    All the best,

    Audrey www.rawhealing.com

  • Audrey, Ah well, seemed too good to be true. How do I tell if the nori is raw? I remember someone told me the green is, but the black isn’t or vice versa. I can never remember.

  • ZoeZoe

    Sky spice, you could leave your oven on the lowest setting and leave the door open with a fan blowing into it.Get a thermometer and see how hot that makes it. I think it is worth the effort. Some people have home made dehydrators, maybe you could hire a handyman/get a friend or do it yourself, it could work out cheaper.

    About nori, I was buying nori that said on the packet, ‘raw – untoasted’. I had seen the same nori sold on a raw website which claimed it was totally raw. I got suspicious about it, and on a hunch I Emailed the manufacture who replied telling me that it waa dried at 80 degrees, making it not raw.

    So there are a few websites where you can get truly raw nori, Juliano’s www.planetraw and www.rawfood.com are two I can think of. I don’t bother, I use romaine leuttice instead.

  • Damn the rice paper! I thought since it was in a living foods book it was safe.. :(

    Good thing I haventr eaten any in a while!

    Also bumer about the nori sheets…whats up with labeling…so irratining!

  • the black nori is raw and the green isn’t.

  • Thanks Lucy, I’ll remember that with the nifty mnemonic device “B-raw”

  • Hey skyespice,

    I understand you thinking you can’t afford a dehydrator. But… You can lower your food bill with dehydrated foods. Buckwheat is cheap. Flax seeds are cheap. Onion bread is cheap. Essene bread is cheap. Dehydrated foods are more filling also. Before we got our dehydrator I was spending a small fortune on tomatoes and avocados.

    I hate to do this but…

    The Nori Zoe checked on with the manufacturer was black Nori. The 80 degrees she mentions is not Fahrenheit it’s Celsius. 80 degrees Celsius = 176 degrees Fahrenheit. It was cooked even though it was black. We used to believe that ‘Black Raw/Green Not’ myth but not anymore.

    From our research we have found that if it comes in a package from a company not owned by a Raw Foodist it is normally not raw, no matter what it says. Heat is used in processing for many reasons for example as a presevitive. Until this whole raw thing got started no one had any reason to limit the temperatures they exposed food to.

    We really have not had a big effect on the world of food manufacturing yet. We never will, if we continue to assume things are raw. The best thing you can do to make a difference in the world of food processing is Check with the manufacturer. There are more of us every day. We can show the food companies of the world that our loyality can easily be bought by them watching the temps. Eventually they will listen.

  • ZoeZoe

    Yes, I should have put Celcius! The manufacturer actually told me it was it was hot air dried at 80 degrees Celcius and then roasted for about 7 seconds at 230 degrees Celcius!! And it was black, not green.

  • Hi,

    I wanted to offer some words of encouragement. I do not have a dehydrator, I live in a place where young coconuts are not available, or any other type of really exotic fruit – durian, etc. I have smoothies at breakfast 60% fruit 40% vegetables (spinach usually) I have a big salad at lunch and try to put something rich (I am new at this so still transitioning) like avocado slices on the salad, carrots, tomatoes, ground almonds, or cashews, something rich and filling in my salads with a olive oil, lemon juice and spice dressing and then I have a blended soup at dinner. I am now going to try experimenting with mono mealing fruit at lunch or dinner just to alternate things a bit. I have heard that you can use dehydrators to make more complex things but so far this is what I am doing and I am on day 20 raw with a 4 day w/end last w/end where I was travelling and could not eat raw, but ate lots of raw, salads, fruit and had some pasta and soup. Hang in there and vary your food intake. I try to make some of the things here with the tools I’ve got and its helped. Good luck! :)

  • Hi :) I had also read that putting food in your oven with just the oven light on, no heat on, and keep the door shut, acts like a dehydrator. The homemade dehydrators are basically low watt bulbs in boxes with screens to put your food on, so oven with light on is something to try…put a thermometer in there to test the heat and give it a try :) Other ideas: Try shredded salads (everything through a food processor, much juicier and flavorful). Try new salad dressings to get away from the normal ones you use. Try raw soups. Try sprouting. Try adding sprouts to breakfast fruit (I do fresh pineapple or watermelon with wheat berry sprouts, ground flax seeds, and raw honey for breakfast…actually crave it when I don’t have it). Try creating noodles by using your potato peeler or buy a spirooli or a Deluxe Peeler by Kuhn Rikon (peels and makes noodles)...top with raw marinara or pesto YUMMY! Try making raw rice or raw bulghar wheat by chopping up cauliflower in your food dehydrator into tiny pieces…you can make an awesome tabouli salad that way. Try making raw ice cream to spruce up your nights (recipes are found online and also “Vice Cream” is a great non-dairy book and there are some raw ice cream recipes in there…check out your library for the book and freecycle for an ice cream maker or you can just freeze the ingredients, blend, refreeze and either eat or blend and eat…) Try making some raw cookies…dehydrator or not, they are delicious! Our favorite is coconut macaroons in the Raw food real world book…we end up eating them before dehydrating and after dehydrating. Again, try the stove method, doesn’t take long for them to get crispy on the outside, gooey inside. Enjoy :)

  • I took am sick of salads!! I have tried soup this week for the first time which was fabulous. Apart from that I usually have a few days of mono meals. Also green smoothies. Making some nice ice creams/sorbets also are a nice treat in the evenings.

    Also things you can prep ahead of time and leave to marinade to add a little variety to your salads help liven things up- like some big mushrooms and/or brocolli. I normally prep these all up in a big lasagne dish with different herbs and spices- adds some crunch and variety to the usual salad base.

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