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Affordable diet?

Hi, My boyfriend and I have been trying out raw recipes for the last month or so and we really enjoy eating raw. But we’re having trouble affording this kind of diet. Nuts and produce have become so expensive that we feel at a loss of how to feed ourselves well on a budget. A lot of recipes call for walnuts, but in my area sunflower seeds are cheaper so I’ve been able to substitute those for seed cheeses and pesto. Does anyone have any suggestions for other recipes? Thanks so much.


  • You don’t have to do the gourmet raw recipes every day. Save those tasty recipes for the weekends or for treats – I suggest just keeping it simple for a few days at a time and just having a big bowl of fresh fruit-whatever is in season is more cost effective and big wonderful salads and throw in the whatever nuts/seeds are cheaper that week or throw in some avocado instead and try to have one big juice a day -it is those dehydrated goodies that you can buy that are delish but save for special occasions

  • Thanks so much for the advice. What kind of simple meals do you recommend? I often feel a little lost when I think about trying to plan an entire raw day, especially because my boyfriend has high caloric needs. Could you give an example of what you would eat on those days? I have the hardest time buying nuts, so right now I only buy sunflower seeds because they are the cheapest. Dumpster-diving is pretty common here, so I get the majority of my produce from dumpsters to be able to buy the nuts and some raisins and prunes, which are actually cheaper than buying fresh anything (its ridiculous! ). I need to learn more about nutrition too to make sure that we save enough money for the foods that our bodies really need. What are your absolute staple foods?

  • When I am on a tight budget, I eat lots and lots of greens (lettuce, spinach, parsley, celery tops)- they are very inexpensive. Everyday for breakfast and then later for a snack I’ll have a smoothie with greens, a banana, and some water. (bananas are cheap too).

    If you have access to an Asian market you could get some young thai coconuts to have in your smoothies too—here in Portland they are only $1.49 each and usually hold a lot of coconut water.

    Oy, I just realized that maybe you don’t have a blender. If you don’t, then it probably is best to eat lots of salads with greens.

    Another idea is to go to a U-pick berry farm if there are any near you. It’s a great way to get berries.

    Hope that helped somewhat!

  • lindsaylou, where do you live? Can you forage a bit in the wild? Where I live there is an abundance of dandylion greens to be had for frizzle! mushrooms and wild raspberries (coming VERY soon!) are also availbale…just make sure you know what you are eating! Have someone who knows show you the ropes and then the first few times you go it alone, bring your stuff to someone to make sure it is what you think it is.

    We have a local group that will take you around on a “tour” of sorts to teach you the edible wild things in this area for a very minimal fee or work exchange.

    GO to places like Jamba Juice or whatever you have and ask them if you can get the vegetable fibers that are left-over from the day’s juicing. They usually just throw it away and will most likely give it away for free. We have two juice huts here and that can bring in plenty of vegetable matter to play around with…toss on salads, etc!

    Hope that helps! Kirsten

  • Kirsten,

    Another Kirsten! How exciting!

    .....that is all.



  • haha!

  • Hey Jelibi, we are lucky enough to have a blender! We live in Eugene. We’ve been doing pretty well dumpstering. The other day I came across a pineapple!! It was a great day. We are both athletic and have some concerns about getting enough fats and proteins, since nuts are hard to come by. I really like the idea of foraging in the wild, since I’m already urban foraging! I don’t know anything about the flora around here, but I would love to learn. What do you do with dandelion? I see them everywhere, but I never knew you could eat them. How would I find one of these groups who could teach me how to find food in the local area? We don’t have a car, so it would have to be within a day’s bike ride. Thanks so much for the advice! Asking about budget stuff is sometimes awkward, so this has been great!

  • Oooh Jellibi, I am in Portland too! What Asian markets have these coconuts? Thanks!!

  • Which Portland are you talking about in Main or Oregon? I get young coconut in the Asian markets in Aloha, OR. Which is on the outskirts of Portland.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    bananas are really good in sauces instead of nuts. You really can’t taste any banana it is just thick and creamy and lovely.

  • http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/...

    Here is a good place to start, with photos and all.

    I have started adding greens into my morning green smoothies. They are slightly bitter, but taste great, especially coupled with bananas.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    I can’t afford NOT to eat raw – so I buy a lot of stuff in bulk – www.azurestandard.com – they are in Oregon but deliver all over. I buy sunflower seeds, flaxseed, coconut oil, alfalfa seeds, grains (barley, rye, etc.), spices & herbs & maybe a few other things from them. If you have one near you, Costco is great for some things like organic salad greens, avocados (not organic but avos aren’t usually sprayed anyway), fruit (sometimes they have organic varieties available). I grow a garden, which helps a lot, too. I have high calorie needs, too. I’ll have to think about it & let you know if I think of other things I do to stay raw on a budget. Dark leafy greens have a huge variety of vitamins & minerals, and sprouted grains are a good source of a lot of nutrients and very filling. Both greens & sprouted grains are good for protein.

    FYI on foraging – I once heard of a guy who studied and regularly foraged for wild mushrooms. He and his entire family died from eating mushrooms he thought were edible – and he should have known – too scary for me, but foraging for other stuff is great if you can learn!

  • This is a great topic, as it seems to me to be something not so oftn addressed in the raw community.

    Sure would be great if, like Kirsten, I had access to wild foraging instruction, but around here, as elsewhere I’m sure, it is VERY hard to find. I do what i can. The green smoothies are excellent, and it is probably incredibly important that greens be the basis of the raw diet. My favorite salad is parsley, dandelion, and red leaf lettuce with a dressing of orange juice, lemon juice, mellow miso and olive oil. It is upwards of ten dollars, however, but it is one of the most immediately gratifying (in terms of taste and the feeling after eating it) I have experienced. It really is about experimentation, seeing what is good fro your budget and your body.

  • CaptureCapture Raw Newbie

    I just bought my first set of “raw groceries” (today is my official first day of being raw) and I spent $120 getting stocked up and that did not include the cost of my dehydrator and some utensils. Anywho, I did get a ton of fruits, veggies, nuts and some staples like vinegars and agave and hopfully this will last me for a good two weeks! But yeah, eating raw is a bit on the pricey side, but I think either you are sacrificing money or health when it comes to your diet so I guess being eating raw is being poor for a good cause :) I’m also hping that once I get aclimated to the raw lifestyle I’ll figure out what I like and dont and be able to buy less…at least that is the hope!


  • I live in a radical student cooperative, where many of us are struggling to pay the monthly rent. In this community things like eating raw are considered bourgeois or elitist. I don’t know if anyone else has encountered this kind of prejudice, but I find it frustrating because I think that everyone should be eating at least some fresh food, and it shouldn’t be a base for judgment.

  • CaptureCapture Raw Newbie

    It seems crazy to think people would conisider you bourgeois just because you want to eat fresh apples, bananas, veggies, etc…so crazy, it’s like when you give up meat and dairy, people think you are out of your mind for not wanting to pollute your body with corpses…

    Kind of sad how one gets treated or discrimnated against just for their choice of foods :(

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    i spend much less money than my friends on food. no coffees, drinks, meals out, bar apps, teas, gum, tic tacs, junk snacks at movies… all these things all up (and make you DIRTIER inside, which makes you hungrier).

    i think the main problem with people spending too much is that the whole raw “cuisine” is really in its infancy and we haven’t figured out as a group to move beyond the “cooked” model for recipes. it took me a LONG time to figure out that eating a lot of fat made me hungrier… if you look into mediterranean cuisine, i think it offers a much more useful model for this kind of lifestyle. fresh, local produce, with light delicious dressings that sauces that bring out the flavors of the produce rather than cover them… it’s amazing what happens to cabbage when you use a mandoline, dress it with a homemade vinaigrette of lemon, olive oil and parsley (maybe some garlic?), a little sea salt and cracked pepper. (cabbage is in season right now and ridiculously cheap by the way).

    hope that helps. =)

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    p.s. you will necessarily be much hungrier in transition than when you get settled into raw living… the start-up cost CAN be daunting.

  • blueyzblueyz Raw Newbie

    LindsayL…Sadly I DO know what you mean.

    I had hard enough time when I was cutting back and eating healthy on Weight Watchers(I used their tracking for what I ate, not their processed junk) even when talking to people that had been on me for awhile on losing weight(which was annoying in itself when 1/2 the gain was medical reasons). I have changed my diet a lot, family is Ok but just looks at me as if I’m strange(nothing new) but outside of that I find I need to use the excuse of food allergies or eating healthy for people to leave me alone. Those that are interested will get it, the rest I just say I am eating ‘naturally’ and eventually they do leave me alone about it.

  • Raw eating does not need to be pricey…

    I do not buy so much nuts, that makes it cheaper. I am by myself…thats cheaper. A lot of people on the Hallelujah diet, eat mainly veggies and less fruit…that makes it cheaper but I love organic fruit. Its a good snack too…

    Also, I find that when I am shopping, I often splurge and get some good, but pasteurized juice so I can drink it…while shopping. I also end up buying a organic apple, a couple organic plums and maybe an avocado…. Really I spend more for one meal while Shopping then I do for other meals…throughout the week.

    I need to stop doing this because It saves me money if I just bring a quart of water…and buy only enough food or eat or bring a salad…rather than buying tons of fruit because its good.

    Also, sprouting is cheaper…I need to start doing that more.

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