Taking on a raw foods lifestyle is a wonderful and exciting journey, but at times it can be challenging. It's a truly radical lifestyle change. Family and friends may think you're crazy, or at the very least "getting really weird about food." Navigating a social life while raw is always a test in food creativity as well as diplomacy. Then there are the sometimes tantalizing thoughts of cooked food which can be hard to resist. So as awesome as raw foods are, there are struggles involved. We're just not set up as a society to support raw foods yet, and that includes economically.
As a nation, we support the beef, dairy, egg, pork, wheat, corn and soybean industries with extensive government subsidies. This is why we can find 99 cent hamburgers on nearly every corner. Yeah, that's right, the fast food industry is on the dole. The result is those foods are relatively inexpensive and their prices, many times, don't reflect the true cost of those foods.
Subsidies for fresh produce are slim to none, so we generally must pay the actual cost of those items. And this is what has, in part, contributed to what I've found to be yet another challenge in sticking with a raw foods lifestyle.
It's true. A box of mac and cheese can cost less than a dollar, while a head of conventionally grown romaine lettuce is about $2.00, and organic often costs even more.
Obtaining the needed calories from raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, can sometimes mean consuming a large quantity of food. One of the reasons people lose weight on a raw diet is that raw fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense. Nutrient dense means a food contains a lot of nutrition per calorie. This is one of the biggest benefits of the raw food and living foods lifestyle. It can also make it more expensive than the Standard American Diet, which relies heavily on grains and animal products. For example, a pound of lettuce has far fewer calories than a box of mac and cheese. A comparison of the nutritional information for lettuce and mac and cheese will reveal lettuce to be the nutritional powerhouse. But at $1.50 - $2.00 per every 100 calories, lettuce is the caloric weakling.
What all that actually means is that I frequently feel guilty about how much I'm spending on what I eat. As well, sometimes my food budget just can't stretch to accommodate every raw food delicacy I might fancy.
Is it possible, I wondered, to eat raw while staying within a budget? Say, $10 a day (or less)?
Those are the parameters I've set for myself; $10 a day or less, to feed one adult an adequate, nutritious and appetizing raw food diet. And while $10 is the maximum, my goal is always to do it for less.
Once a week, I'll be posting a full day of raw foods, complete with recipes and nutritional information. I invite you to come along with me while I stay Raw on $10 a Day (or less!)