An article on MSN Health & Fitness, entitled “Diet Trends You Should Never Try: Pass on these weird weight-loss fads”, by Julie Upton, R.D., has an unusual take on why the raw food diet is not a good idea. While Upton acknowledges that “most dietitians would agree that eating lots of minimally processed fruits, vegetables, and grains is best”, and a diet rich in plant-based foods can provide a variety of meals, she states that “following this type of diet to a T requires a lot of complicated food preparation” and so is ”impractical for most working people”.
I do have experience preparing cooked food, in addition to my years as a raw vegan, and I honestly do not see much difference in the time required to prepare most basic raw dishes. If cooked food people follow the concept that “cooking from scratch”, using natural foods, is more healthful than using prepared, packaged foods, food prep time is roughly the same. In fact, many raw vegans spend very little time preparing food, other than cutting up raw fruit and vegetables. I even know one fellow who cheerfully munches a head of lettuce without even pulling the leaves apart. I suppose he does wash the lettuce – but that is all the preparation he needs for his mono-meal. Green smoothies take no more time for raw vegans than it takes to make a non-raw smoothie. Yes, the numerous raw food recipe books do have some complex recipes that involve advance preparation, but most people I know do not use such recipes on a daily basis. I will try a complex recipe once in a while, to see how it turns out, but, as a working person myself, I generally prepare foods that I can whip up in the blender, in my food processor, or with my trusty knife – with no cook-time, my meals are much quicker to prepare than if I were eating cooked natural foods. While does take some time to grow sprouts or dehydrate crackers, the prep time is minimal, and I can go off to work while the sprouts or the dehydrator are doing their thing. The only cheez I make with any regularity takes 2 minutes from start to blenderized product.
Upton seems to think that following a raw food diet must necessarily involve purchasing prepared foods at high-end supermarkets. I do not buy prepared foods in supermarkets, and I rarely eat out, simply because, yes, those ways of obtaining nourishment cost more than I wish to spend. I can make delicious healthful raw food dishes in minutes in my home much more inexpensively, and I can control the ingredients, as well.
I am a member of a CSA, so my organic vegetables come direct from the farm at a much lower price than if I bought them from a market. This helps me save money. Nuts and seeds can be pricey, but I do not use the most expensive ones at all, and I do not make “nut-intensive” recipes every day, or even every week. I would say that my food costs are significantly lower than those of people who rely on prepared, processed foods of any kind, and I do believe the nutritional value of what I prepare myself to be superior to what I can buy already prepared. I know it is much cheaper.
Yes, if you are only eating out, a raw food diet will be quite pricey. If you only prepare “restaurant-type”dishes which emulate cooked foods, you may end up spending a good bit of time. With a little foresight and planning, however, a raw food diet can be satisfying, affordable, and easy to manage, however.