Eating Raw Food on a Budget

by Susan on January 14, 2011

Best Of Raw 2010

Last year, Rawmazing was nominated for 2009 Best of Raw. I was flattered but never really said anything about it. This year, I have been nominated in the  “people” category for “Best Raw Gourmet Chef”, and Rawmazing has been nominated in the media category for “Best Raw Food Blog” (it is in there twice…vote for either, they will combine the votes at the end). It you would like to pop over and support Rawmazing, I would love it! It would be a great way to help me spread the word about raw food.

You can vote here: Best of Raw 2010: Best of Raw

Eating Raw Food on a Budget

I hear it, I feel it, I understand it. Eating raw food, in these economic times can be a bit of a challenge. In the summer, I spend at least 2 days a week at the farmer’s market, stocking up on pesticide free, local fruits and veggies. They are inexpensive, bountiful and fresh! I always go into sticker shock the first day I have to go back to the supermarket for my fresh produce.

The gorgeous huge bunch of kale that I bought for 2.00 is now a skimpy little bunch that costs me 7.00 and comes from who knows where, every day of travel decreasing its nutrients. Greens, herbs, and let’s not even talk about tomatoes, all seem extraordinarily expensive and less tasty.

Nuts, seeds and super foods like cacao powder and goji berries are always expensive. They are a staple of my raw diet, so I “shop” for them.

A week ago I decided to do a comparison of prices at some of my favorite places to shop. The results were astonishing. Just on cashews, there was a 3.00 per pound difference from one coop to another. Cacao powder was untouchable (2 x as much as ordering on line), but I did find some cacao butter that wasn’t too bad. Even greens went from over $6.00 for a 3/4 lb box to $3.95 for a 2 lb bag! I was blown away to find organic frozen broccoli at Costco at a cost that was at least 1/4 what I would pay for fresh. It is a good winter alternative.

My best suggestions for Eating Raw on a Budget:

1. Price out ingredients you use frequently at the different stores that you shop at and do a comparison.

2. Make your lists according to the store you shop at.

3. Make sure you compare bulk prices to packaged prices. I have found that some packaged goods are less expensive. We tend to think because it is bulk it is cheaper. Not always the case.

4. Don’t be afraid of frozen food. Good quality, organic frozen veggies are a cost saving alternative to fresh in the winter. The enzymes and vitamins stay intact and often are even higher in content than fresh food that has been picked early and shipped. Remember, the minute produce is picked, the nutrients start to degrade. Flash freezing on site helps to preserve them.

5. Mail order. I order A LOT of products online. Often the savings that you get for the product greatly out-weighs the cost of shipping. Many places will cover shipping on orders that are big enough so plan accordingly. Do a google search for the product you are looking for and find the best prices. The best part of mail order? You don’t have to waste your precious time or gas getting it!

Saving money takes a little effort to set up, but it is really easier than you think. Once you have your cost saving places mapped out, you can save a lot of money!



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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Andri January 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I find another very easy way is to buy from Co-ops like the Wedge in the winter. They tend to have cheaper prices on their organic produce.

One more way to reduce costs is to buy with a “Buying Group” from the different companies available on the web!

Happy budget shopping peeps! :)

Susan January 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Co-ops are great but you will find that prices vary greatly from co-op to co-op. :-) And from co-op to store.

Courtney January 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Can you share any online resources where you’ve found good prices for raw food staples? I use a couple health food stores in Michigan, and Amazon for many things, but would like to know other places out there.

Thanks!
Courtney

Paul January 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Agree with all of the foregoing. I look for IPM (integrated pest management) products as an alternative to organic for some products like kale and collards. At $5 per lb, the organic kale at my healthfood store is cost-prohibitive, yet the $2 per lb IPM kale/collards is within my budget even though it’s more than the 70 cent per pound conventional kale at my ethnic market.

Check ethnic markets when buying. In many cases, cheaper than the super savings warehouses.

Check the weekly flyer where you shop for produce and coupons online

Consider CSA Community Supported Agriculture near where you live if they have vegan products in winter, many don’t.

Agree with Susan’s point about frozen food. Consider investing in a second freezer if you have space, and freezing your own when food is in season and cheaper, same with drying if you have a dehydrator.

Invest in sprouts and barley/wheatgrass. Both can be raised fresh during the winter months and supplement your grocery trip with a minimum of cost and space.

Paul

Susan January 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Some of my favorites are in the Rawmazing Store.

vivaciousvegan January 15, 2011 at 2:37 am

I agree it is hard to find good quality raw food in the winter, I started to readjust my budget from summertime to winter and cut back on useless things I bought in summer. I also buy in season and I try to eat in season food too to keep cost down. It is attainablr depending on how bad you want it.
Viv~

Sherri January 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

I would love to see a list of some of your favorite online stores that you order specific items from! Do you order nuts online?
I would also love your opinion on this:
Our naturopath detected a yeast infection in two of our kids. They have been on restricted diets for a long time which made our raw diet difficult…No berries, no sweeteners, etc….and no nuts unless they are in the shell. He felt the risk of them getting molds from nuts wasn’t worth the risk. He said if they wanted nuts in the shell that would be OK. We’ve pretty much been avoiding nuts fot them lately except around Christmas when nuts in the shell were easier to find locally. Do you know of a place online that you would feel nuts (unshelled) were stored propoerly or a bulk nuts in the shell place? Feel free to e-mail me…

Elizabeth January 15, 2011 at 11:04 am

Great post, thank you. I would love it if you could share a small list of your most favotite on-line links where you shop.
Peace & Raw Health,
Elizabeth

Susan January 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

I don’t order nuts online because I have great sources in the city I live in. We can even get raw almonds from Spain in bulk. I would suggest researching some of the nut companies and actually calling them and asking them your questions. Most people are very happy to talk to you. If they aren’t…cross them off your list.

Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA January 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I definitely shop around and sometimes I’m surprised at what deals I can find. For example, I’ve bought brussels sprouts on sale for 99 cents/pound at Whole Foods on a few occasions. Whole Foods also has some “specialty” ingredients for cheaper than the regular grocery store – a big bottle of Bragg’s is about $6 at WF and $10 at Ralphs. Trader Joe’s can be good for some things, though their produce selection isn’t great.

Elena January 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Ordering products online I’ll do it on a weekly basis. Thanks, great tip.

Laura January 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I found great raw almonds at http://www.california-almonds.com/index.php and the price is one of the best I found, bulk too.

Russell James January 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

Hey Susan,

already voted for ya, I think your photos alone are worth an award.

Whether you get a gong or not, keep the great content coming

Russell

Barbara January 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

thanks for this post. i would love to see some of your online resources. i’m somewhat new at raw eating, i dibble and dabble but hope to transition to a high raw life. sometimes i get a bit overwhelmed, but i know that’s mainly because i’m a newbie.

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