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How about a raw food diet for the economically-challenged?



  • hey everyone. I'd just like to say that this is a really great discussion and I love all the ideas people have for keeping it cheap and simple. Still, I find that a lot of the recipes on this site ask for very rare, very expensive ingredients, which is why I try my best to use only simple, widely available, cheap ingredients in my recipes. If you haven't seen or tried any of them, they're all available on the blog I started with by brother, Roshi's Raw Lifestyle. Check it out if you haven't already. We're both doing our best to make it a great resource for delicious and budget-friendly raw food and other health related info.

  • i read in vegetarian times that you can approach organic farmers... they have a program where they ship the vegetables directly to your home. also, if memory serves correct: they had a program for the economically challenged that if they go to the farm and pick their own veggies and fruit they get them for free or at a huge discount.

    btw, i have a family of three and am economically challenged.

    you won't believe it, but, one day i found 5 pounds of organic earthbound greens at the 99 cents store. crazy. we bought six of them and i ate gorgeous organic salads all week long.

    also, i buy frozen fruit from costco for an amazing price.

    plus, i simply shop around at a lot of the local grocery marts and pick our their best prices on fresh produce. for example, at the asian mart green onions were only 5 cents!!!! crazy, huh?

    i treat myself on desserts from nature mart.

    i splurge on my sweet tooth.

    oh, yes and another way to save cha-ching is to re-use stuff.

    for example, i use my almond pulp from my homemade almond milk to make raw almond bread or raw onion-almond crackers.

    another example, i use my pineapple pulp from my juicer to make pineapple sorbet or pineapple-avocado-banana smoothie.

    i, even, re-use some of the pulp from my juicer to make potpourri - it makes the home smell cozy -- i simply pour the pulp in a pan on the stove with water. when it heats up it could sell any house on the real estate market.

    another way to save money is to remain "open".

    by that, now -- i'm getting a little cosmic on you --- but, trust the universe.

    put it out there. really put it out there that you want to eat as raw as humanly possible.

    ask for abundance....or a great deal!!!!

    it works.

    another way to save cash is to buy your nuts in the shell.

    that way you know they are unprocessed and raw....the price is amazing....plus, i always feel a connection to mother nature when i'm cracking my walnuts, brazil nuts, and chestnuts.

    i'm so glad you asked this question.

    believe you me, i have a loud voice in my head that says "you're spending way too much on this raw food -- you don't deserve it."

    so my advice is to remind yourself you're worth it!!!!!

    plus, you can always grind a dime into a dollar!

    but, before i sign off from "the longest post in the history of gone raw" i'd like to say as mentioned earlier -- black beans are a great cheat. to make black bean soup costs under $2. you can freeze whatever you cannot eat. black bean soup is SOOOOOO filling and delicious.

    have fun with it.

  • I eat mainly salads. I get big tubs of organic mixed greens and spinach at Sams. (I use them for smoothies, too). I used to go through lots of tubs ... so now I grow sprouts, so my salads are 50/50 sprouts to greens. Cut down on the greens I buy dramatically, and sprouts are super power food! 3 tablespoons of seed makes a large container (sproutpeople.com) -- I can grow enough sprouts for 7 days of salads with just 9-12 tablespoons of seed. Awesome. I add whatever organic veges I find at a good price (I shredd or chop them), some dried or fresh herbs, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, and sometimes a handful of raisins or dried currants. Throw on a bit of homemade salad dressing ... and you have a great meal. I do supplement with seed cheese on carrot/onion crackers now and again; or seed cheese filled mini peppers or cheese filled rolled romaine leaves as a side, but the main fare is sprouts, greens, chopped veges and herbs. Inexpensive, easy to carry and eat anywhere, quick to throw together, and endless variety.

  • greeniegreenie Raw Newbie


    I was just going to suggest sprouting, and you said it best.

  • I tallied up all my receipts from the start of our raw food diet (started 9-22-08) and then categorized by what we consider staples because I needed to really get a hold of what this diet is costing us. I found out we spent $939 just on food last month (including eating out one night at a raw food restaurant). I had no idea that our cost was that high.

    And I was amazed to find that for the month of October my husband, myself, and my toddler between us ate 93 pounds of bananas at a cost of $62. Not sure yet if that's good or bad, but I'm continuing to track where our food money goes and compare it month to month. I also learned that we spent way too much money on nuts and seeds - $140 for one month.

    So now I know where to cut spending and where I'm willing to allocate the extra funds. We are now starting to trim down and eat simple by mainly just eating more salads, sprouts, spinach/banana smoothies, dehydrated raw crackers/bread, and fruit.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Master

    Lately I've been eating lots of whatever produce is on a super good sale. I can't plan menus/recipes until I get home from shopping, but I am able to get a good variety of foods for less money.

  • yeah being a member of my local CSA has really helped to lower my food bill, as well as knowing the days when the coop puts produce on clearnce and eating at farmers market helps!

  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Perhaps there's a store near you that has cheaper produce than the store you're currently buying from. Simpler meals work too, you can just have fruit for breakfast, a green smoothie for lunch, and a simple salad for dinner. :]

  • eechoeecho Raw Newbie

    Sorry if someone already said this, but:

    My budget is $50-60 per week, which is pretty generous for myself. I have found that the key to saving money is simply to eat less. Don't snack. Eat three meals. Don't eat late at night.

    Its a discipline, and developing it is yet another benefit of the healthy journey. I'm not saying starve yourself, I'm just saying don't overeat, which most of us are used to doing. The first year I was raw I often spent $20 per day!!!!! But I was eating a TON of nuts, snacking on dried fruit, eating big meals, etc. In a way, it was a necessary transition, but I don't do that anymore. Now I eat 3 meals at most, 2 if I'm having a good day, and I don't snack. And I don't eat a ton of nuts. And if I didn't play with recipes, that cost would be even lower, however I still making an occasional recipe to have fun. Also I fast occasionally, which is good for you as well as free.

    As far as finding lower cost sources to buy food, I am assuming that many others covered that already. Good luck!!

  • Hmmmm, where do you live Zooey?

    These are ways I pay for my diet.

    #1 the government supports my choose and gives me $166/month in food stamps :)

    #2 I volunteer at local farms. Leaving me with FREE food shares

    #3 I forage during the proper seasons. IE Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, peaches, apples, pears.

    #4 I grow my own food.

    #5 I jump past the middle man and go straight for distributors for my foods. I save around $15 PER CASE of food (ie a case of peaches cost me $42 at the store, where as from the distributor it cost me $25 right now. I save around $8 for banana/case)

    After everything is done, I spend WAY LESS than I use to. Atleast $100/week. ATLEAST. Not buying medicines, supplements, alcohol, drugs, wasting my money on fancy gimmicks. I spend less on gas because I have great energy and build health through riding my bike instead of driving.

    P.S. super foods will totally kill your wallet. But then again, could you survive off of superfoods alone? I don't think so. Stick to foods that you could eat and survive/ thrive off of without needing any "supplementing"

  • dogsuponhotcatsdogsuponhotcats Raw Newbie

    I understand how people would justify the cost by the benefit of health, but it's not something everyone can immediately take into consideration.

    It's awesome how some people have such passion for this lifestyle that they can build their whole life around it, but I can only dream of having that kind of time. The whole superfood and organic hysteria is just not practical for all.

    Right now, that would include me. I'm 19, work 50 hours a week full-time, I'm a full-time student (double major Engineering & Economics, minoring in Philosophy) who is bent on maintaining a 4.0 GPA. I'm also an officer in an academic sorority (the dues hurt LOL). Also, I fully support myself and pay for my own schooling. I've got a cat and a parrot to care for (who certainly don't eat raw - right now). I have no contact with my parents, and I refuse to rely at all on a boyfriend. I love being busy, but stuff has to give at times.

    There's millions more like me, who often do have to subsist off of the $0.50 Little Debbie cakes. So if you're in the same boat, just eat whatever will help you survive! Puritan raw can come later, and it will! Luckily though, (non-organic) apples and bananas are cheap! :-)

  • luxdivonluxdivon Raw Newbie

    you can buy an orange for $.50. and it'll give you way more energy than a little debbie cake... I can't say i can agree.. no matter how busy you are, you can choose health. As far as i'm concerned choosing debbie cakes are choosing death. Been there. done that. never again.

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