Category Archives: SAVING MONEY ON A RAW DIET

RAW FOOD DIET DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE

I went raw when I was in graduate school in the 1970s. (back then, being in grad school meant you were stone-cold broke, working and going to school most of the time. I went raw first just because it was easier than cooking, and I was doing something I called a “five-day salad” (all of this was intuitive, no one had told me about raw) My five day salad was “I chopped up some cabbage, tomatoes, onions, lentil sprouts, and spinach, threw in some kelp powder and garlic, added olive oil and vinegar, and I was good to go. What I didn’t eat the first day went in the fridge and I added more vegetables on the second day, and so on… the fifth day was soup day (I didn’t know I was raw at the time, so I put water in the leftover salad and put hot water on it, and voila, soup.)

One day, I was in Yes! the New Age bookstore we had back then in Washington DC, and I saw this book “Live Foods” by George and Doris Fathman, and the recipes inside looked like ramped up versions of my daily fare, so I bought that book and played around with the recipes. I actually lived intuitively, i.e. with no other recipe books, until my mother bought me a very fancy raw vegan recipe book in 1999.

Nowadays, there is so much information on line, but, yet, it is challenging to find ways to go what I am going to call “minimalist raw”, where you don’t have to have all the fancy machines (my first “food processor” was a fabulous Chinese stainless steel cleaver which I use to this day). I do have a food processor now, and I have finally acquired a spiralizer because, in my old age, I have decided that zucchini noodles and other vegetable “noodles” are fun, and I deserve them)

When you start out being raw, there are so many different opinions. I still say that the most important thing is to go raw, and figure out where you’re getting your protein (raw nuts and seeds, either straight up or ground to bits and put in each and every food you make, either as “nut meat” or cream sauces, or made into shakes), get your oils (eat an avocado, use extra virgin olive oil – Trader Joe’s is cheap and trustworthy), and vary your diet, i.e., do try to eat different things sometimes. You do not have to get all of the fancy superfoods whose names you cannot pronounce. As I said before, I didn’t even know I was going raw: I was just eating a serious salad that would hold out, with additions, for up to 5 days.

Of course, every raw foodist is going to tell you that you should only use organic vegetables, and that is true,, but, hey! If you cannot afford organic, you can still go raw. I did, and I have lived to tell the story.

Actually, although, since 1999, I have read a lot of raw vegan recipe books, I still keep it pretty simple. My biggest successes, according to me, have been learning how to grow those lentil sprouts, and, also, learning how to make easy 4-day sauerkraut, and cashew cheeze! Those three things really liven up my diet.

I should note that, while I was finishing up this post , and adding tags, I noticed that things I have posted over the last ten or so years are quite simple, and don’t require much in the way of machinery. You can make just about anything I have posted with a knife, a blender, and a food processor . Blender-wise, I use a NutriBullet, but my mom uses a Magic Bullet with good results .

Please note that there are no links to follow to buy anything I have mentioned. I am not an affiliate of anything I have mentioned here. You’ll have to google it yourself.

6/7/12 CSA SHARE: WHAT I ACTUALLY GOT & WHAT I AM GOING TO DO WITH IT

I love it when the CSA is in season. It is so nice to go there and see so many happy people picking up their shares. Sometimes they are even friendly.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to pick up my share (early shares are always slim pickings, and overloaded with lettuce-t kinds of things, but… hey! That’s the way it is — they really really want me to start liking salads.

Yesterday, we got:
Baby Arugula – 1 bag
Romaine Lettuce – 1 head
Boston Lettuce – 1 head
Swiss Chard – 1 bunch
Garlic Scapes – 1 bunch
Japanese Salad Turnips – 1 bunch
STRAWBERRIES!  We got strawberries in the box, and I also got strawberries as my fruit share! Yum! Smoothies!

ARUGULA – I decided to keep it. I’m not overly fond of arugula, but I decided to make a raw version of the Greek beet, arugula, and goat cheese salad (I’ll post it later
ROMAINE – I kept it. I think I’ll make some wraps.
BOSTON LETTUCE – I like this stuff well enough.   I can deal with a salad or two a week.  This is a fairly big head, so I might be having three salads. I like to mix in seaweed (I stalk the Japanese supermarkets for sales on the mixed, or else I just get wakame when it is in the bulk bins at Integral Yoga Foods, my favorite natural foods store) and sauerkraut, along with onion, and, if I have it, some red bell pepper.
SWISS CHARD – I am still not ready to even try to like this stuff.  It is high on my yuck scale. I traded it for more turnips.
GARLIC SCAPES– these look weird, but they are GREEN, and they taste like garlic, so I like them.  I chop them up or grind them in the food processor,  and put them in everything as a garlic (they are a part of one kind of garlic).  These will get chopped or ground and put in salad, or go into pates.  Since I was lucky and got two bunches, I will probably experiment with my next sauerkraut, and put some sliced garlic scapes in there with lots of sliced jalapeno.
JAPANESE SALAD TURNIPS – I have no clue why they call them Japanese Salad Turnips (my Japanese room-mate did not recognize them.  When I was testing a recipe with them, she said she had never seen them before).  So, okay, they are all white, where other turnips have some purple on them. Never mind. They are turnips and they taste like turnips. I grind them in the food processor to almost an applesauce consistency, then add apple cider vinegar, olive olive oil, and any seasonings which strike my fancy (usually garlic, sometimes coriander, sometimes Spike)
STRAWBERRIES – These are going in smoothies. I am not really into eating right now, but I know I need some protein, so I will put these into a hemp or soy protein shake in the morning. I am also thinking of making some strawberry leather in the dehydrator.

So! I have things to do with all these vegetables!  I got into a use- everything -in-the-box a few years ago, when the CSA issued a challenge.  I continued it when my job went south – the CSA box was my food for the week (I’d have maybe $5 more to get other food.  Good I have that experience because I am back there now. Smart people who have full-time work tell me about all the things I should do, like save money, or invest in a 401K, but, when you can barely pay the rent, and you have to think twice about what food to get, and you can’t afford your health insurance and medicine copays on top of all that, well, the CSA is very very important — at least I will not die from malnutrition. I feel so blessed that my CSA has jumped in this year and allowed me to make payments as I can.)

YOUR RAW AGAVE SYRUP: Make sure it is really raw

Is Raw Organic Agave Really RAW?
A recent post on http://kristensraw.blogspot.com/ suggests that some agave brands are not really raw, and recommends Madhava’s Raw Organic Agave, and the Whole Foods Wholesome brand. Both brands state, on the labels, that their products are processed at lower than 118 degrees F.

EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON A RAW FOOD DIET

How can you economize on a raw food diet?

MAKE EASY TO FIND, INEXPENSIVE FOODS YOUR DAILY STAPLES. If you are like the rest of humanity, you probably eat mostly the same things. Bananas, cashews, flax, kale, collards, and other dark leafy greens are available most of the time. They are easily available and typically inexpensive because they are in demand by many people, regardless of their dietary focus.

ONLY EAT WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY
: Many people graze, eating whenever it occurs to them, all day long. (Some raw food “gurus” actually recommend this approach) This can be expensive, and it can also add to your girth. If you stick to eating only when you are truly hungry (not when you are just thinking about what you could be eating, or because you have that food in your bag), the only thing that will get fat will be your wallet.

ONLY BUY WHAT YOU EXPECT TO EAT: Make a shopping list and stick to it. Work at sticking to that plan, and only buying those things. Of course, if you find a new recipe, and you need something unusual for that recipe, you can deviate from your plan.

BULK BUYING: On-line stores often offer bulk rates. The local co-op may offer a discount for cases of whatever it is that you want. Of course, if you buy from the bulk bin, it will be cheaper, and, likely, fresher, than buying packaged goods.

TRACK WHERE YOU FIND THE BEST PRICES: Shop your local health food stores, farmer’s markets, and co-ops, as well as any on-line suppliers you use. Notice the prices on the things you buy, and where you buy them, and track them. You can even track this information on a spreadsheet. When you run low on something, you can refer back to your listings to remind yourself of where prices on that item are best.

PREPLAN WHAT YOU WILL DO WITH LEFTOVERS: It is a good idea to plan what you will do if you have leftovers BEFORE you start to prepare a meal.  If you know exactly what you are going to do, and, even better, if you can do it right after the meal, you can prevent the food wastage that can come when you just don’t want to eat that again. Freezing and dehydrating are the usual options. I usually make patties in the dehydrator right away with the spaghetti sauce that isn’t used when I make it for dinner.  Dehydrating is a wonderful way to save prepared food as well as vegetables and fruit that you just are not going to get to.  In addition, many raw food preparations, as well as raw fruit and vegetables can be frozen for a month.