raw on a budget
I hope this works... So everytime I go to the grocery store I gasp at the bill. Does anyone have advice, or tips, or anything about raw food on a budget?
Hannah4 -- If you are trying to do raw using a lot of fancy recipes, it can be very expensive. I started out planning all these elaborate menus and spending way too much money to try recipes I either did not like, or never got around to preparing. Now I shop when I'm almost out of food, and keep it real simple. I pass the store on my way home from work, so shopping two or three times a week is not a problem. I try something different or a bit more involved two or three times a month, but nothing real fancy.
Sprouting has been a big help. I LOVE sprouts, but never ate all I purchased before they spoiled. Now I just sprout a few at a time. When they're almost gone, I start more. I've also planted a garden with the herbs I use most frequently in a large flower pot. They're always available and fresh, and I can share the extras with neighbors and friends. The garden is small enough that I can bring it inside during the winter.
Nuts can be a bit pricey. Many recipes / dishes that call for nuts will also work well with seeds. If you're not sure about a substitute, just ask. Seeds are more reasonably priced, so I buy several pounds at a time and vacuum seal them in pint jars. Sunflower seeds are my favorite.
In the end, raw is probably a bit more expensive. I figure the savings in medical expenses and products I no longer use (shampoo, cleaning supplies, etc.) pretty much evens it out . . . and I KNOW I feel much better eating raw.
Growing, sprouting, foraging, and sales whenever and however possible! Seeing if neighbors are growing anything and if you can trade a little of what you grow for the little spares they have...farmers markets... Also keep meals simple. And eating bee pollen (if you are beegan), and spirulina to help you get your nutrients so you don't feel like you have to eat and eat and eat. I started eating less and feeling better after I added in those things. You don't have to use a lot of either, so despite seeming pricey, they are a big save. And they make you feel great! :) Tailor your menu around what is in season/cheap.
When shopping for fresh produce, start with the reduced buggy / bin. I frequently find excellent bargains here. For example: bananas that have a bit of brown on the skins are actually not spoiled, and are so sweet. I buy up to 10 at a time (for as little as a dollar), peel and slice them and put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet. This way they freeze without all sticking together. Once frozen, I move them to a freezer bag, and use them in smoothies. I do the same thing with strawberries, peaches and grapes.
If I get a real good buy on oranges (or lemons or limes), I usually juice them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays, then pop them out in a freezer bag. They're great for smoothies, or whatever dish you're preparing that calls for OJ. This idea works for lots of fruit, and is even a good way to "use up" odd bits of fruit you have left that might spoil before you eat it. Sometimes I just mix up all the bits of fruits I have and make frozen "mystery" fruit cubes to use in smoothies.
PS: My freezer bags are actually vacuum sealed bags, so there is no danger of freezer burn.
Thank you for all the great advice. This is why love this site!
set up an account with your local produce distributor. buy in bulk straight from them. save anywhere from 20-50%.
One thing I've noticed is the longer I am raw , the more simple my taste has become. So, I want fewer of the expensive items. I am happy with primarily fresh fruits, vegetables, and a few seasonings. Nuts aren't that appealing, except for the 3 brazil nuts I put in a smoothie now and them. I use sunflower and pumpkin seeds and they are cheaper. I also haven't been as interested in the elaborate creations, while they're fun to make, they don't appeal to me much anymore. Has anyone else experienced this?
Find out if you have a co-op in your area. I get really great deals on local fruit & veggies in the summer that way.
daniefon: I never have been drawn to the elaborate stuff. I mean, some of it sounds really good, and yes, some of it is fun to make, but there is no way I could eat that way all the time.
I am not attracted to the price, time-consumption, or the taste of anything too elaborate. To me, elaborate is a green smoothie :P