Hey there, Lacy here! We’re going to be hosting a few guest posters over the next few weeks! Today I’d like to welcome Simone Samuels of The Wellness Warung. Today, she’s talking about great (and totally inexpensive) ways to incorporate more raw foods into your diet. Whether you’re ready to try a raw diet or just eat a few more raw fruits and veggies every day, she’s got some great tips for keeping it inexpensive! Take it away, Simone!
I truly believe that one of the best ways to enjoy good health is by following a high raw diet. Eating a mostly raw diet ensures that loads of fresh fruit and vegetables are consumed each day, and it is a great way to clean up your diet and eat predominantly whole foods.
You might think that eating mostly raw foods is complicated, difficult and expensive, and just not something you want to try and tackle. However, raw foods don’t have to break the bank nor be gourmet, and by keeping things simple and with a little bit of creativity, a raw food diet can improve your health and not require all that much more money compared to eating a regular diet.
You might find you need to spend a little more on fresh produce than you normally might, but you will save money normally spent on other cooked food items such a meats and you will also prepare more meals at home, which will end up saving you money.
There are a few ways that you can make eating raw fun, easy and affordable:
Different stores definitely have different prices for goods. It is true that a raw food diet requires some expensive ingredients, and if you start dabbing in superfoods, then things can get pricey. If you shop around and compare prices at different stores, you will be amazed at some of the differences in price. Asian grocers usually sell greens like bok choy and herbs and spices more cheaply than supermarkets. Also be sure to check out bulk bins and co-ops which are often cheaper for specialty items like nuts and seeds. These days you can also shop for products online and they can often be less expensive than buying from the bricks and mortar stores.
Check out the frozen aisle
You might not consider frozen foods as a healthy and raw option. However, it is possible to buy frozen fruit and veg that are good quality and organic. In fact, frozen produce can often be fresher than non-frozen produce because they are flash frozen almost immediately after picking, meaning the nutrients in the produce have stayed more intact than that which has been transported across the country. Frozen fruit is great for putting into smoothies- add frozen raspberries, frozen strawberries and frozen bananas with water in the blender to make a great, tasty and refreshing smoothie. Frozen vegetables can also be blended with herbs and spices to make delicious and filling raw soups.
Use your freezer
While still on the topic of the freezer, it can be the best kind of pantry. When you find items that are on-sale, buy up, and store whatever you won’t use right away in the freezer so that it stays fresh. You can use the freezer for storing your nuts and seeds, as well as excess fruit and veg. When you have extra fruit, peel/chop it and store it in a freezer bag in the freezer until you need it. Herbs can also blended with water and stored in ice-cube trays which you can then throw into smoothies or raw soups at a later time. Most produce can be kept frozen for 6 months, and having frozen produce on-hand can save heaps of time in the kitchen.
Preserve and dehydrate
In the same vein, when seasonal items are available, buy all that you can, and preserve or dehydrate them. Most fruit can be preserved or pickled and you can then enjoy them year-round. Cabbage is usually not expensive, and it can be turned easily into a sauerkraut that makes a delicious and easy dressing for salads. Just shred the cabbage and massage it with 2 tablespoons of salt then store it in a jar on the bench for 7-10 days until it has fermented, then pop it into the fridge. Healthy raw snacks can also be my from dehydrating whole fruits or blend the fruit and then dehydrate it to make fruit leathers.
KISS your staples
I am a huge believer in the Keep it Simple, Smarty principle when it comes to preparing meals and deciding on recipes to make.
You will want to have the following produce staples on hand every week: a variety of leafy greens, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, cucumber, cauliflower, garlic, apples, banana, zucchini, beets with the tops, pepper, avocado and zucchini. Pantry staples include apple cider vinegar (ACV), sunflower seeds, flax seeds and almonds.
You can easily make green smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and raw soups and raw mains like zucchini pasta with these items on-hand.
You can use ACV as a salad dressing or as a replacement for lemons and limes. Add ground flax to your smoothies or soups to thicken them or sprinkle on your salads to bulk them out. Use your almonds to make milk at a fraction of the cost of store-bought almond milk and save the pulp to make crackers.
Sunflower seeds are not expensive and can be used for most recipes requiring nuts and can also be made into tahini easily at home. For a tasty dip or filling for salads or raw wraps, process carrots with sunflower seeds, ACV, olive oil and herbs.
Try and find recipes that include seasonal ingredients and avoid those which have expensive or out of season items. It is possible to make many recipes using the basic ingredients I’ve just listed. Get creative and experiment, and don’t feel like you have to follow a recipe exactly for it to still taste great.
Grow your own
Of course growing your own produce is going to cost less than what you buy elsewhere. However we don’t all have the luxury of a big garden or the green thumb needed to start a veggie patch.
The good thing is, it is super easy and very inexpensive to grow your own sprouts. You don’t need any expensive equipment and seeds are super cheap to buy and yield heaps of sprouts which are amazing to add into salads and smoothies. They are also so nutritious that you won’t need to stress that you are getting enough nutrition from fresh fruit and vegetables when you add sprouts to your diet every day. You also don’t need fancy equipment- a jar and some muslin cloth is all you need to get sprouting. Also try growing your own fresh herbs on your window sill.
Make your own snacks
It is possible to make your own savoury snacks and sweet treats quite easily, and they will be much cheaper than store-bought raw snacks. Making crackers using leftover almond and juice pulp just requires mixing ground flax and olive oil to make a dough that you can then dehydrate. If you don’t have a dehydrator then use the oven on its lowest temperature. Sweet treats can be made by mixing dried fruits and nuts in a processor and then rolling them into balls that can be stored in the fridge for weeks.
It is also cheap and easy to culture your own keffirs and kombucha. Items like nut butters are also cheaper to make at home than buying ready-made from the store. Spread nut butter on dehydrated crackers or even sliced apple for a quick and easy raw snack.
Remember that when you buy more raw food, you are investing in your health. You might have to spend a little more in the short term, but in the long term you will spend less on doctors visits for your ailments and you won’t need to fill out expensive prescriptions. As your energy and health improves through eating the raw way, you will find that cravings for junk food, processed foods and other expensive vices like alcohol also lessen. It all balances out, and it is amazing what you can make cheaply and easily in the raw using just your blender.
Here is a simple raw soup recipe that takes minutes to make and costs only a couple of dollars:
Health and Wellness Expert Simone Samuels is a certified holistic health and lifestyle coach and raw food chef for busy women who want to be healthier, happier and feeling their absolute best. Go to The Wellness Warung and get Simone’s free e-book that will teach you healthy lifestyle practices that you can implement to live an awesome life, as well as access to heaps of healthy and tasty raw food recipes! She also has a brand-new app for Android and iPhone that’s like having a wellness coach in your pocket—check it out!