Raw on $10 a day? Can it be done?

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!)

14 Responses

  1. Oh my gosh this is such a great blog concept!!! wow i can't wait to read your recipes! judging by the looks of your first post they're going to be excellent! yay!

  2. zUzU says:

    =^..^= fabulous, Lisa!
    … looking forward to every weeks post! -zu

  3. thank you elizabeth! … ty zuzu, this was quite a learning experience for me & i'm really excited about learning more each week …

  4. sf says:

    Now to get husband, kids and grandkids to go along with it. They do fine with veggie, but in Colorado seem to want hot (cooked) in winter!!!

  5. sf, grandkids can sometimes be easy to convert to raw, mine seem to prefer it … but i know what you mean about the cold winters … spices can help, so can warming up things in a dehydrator ~ getting it warm but not over the 105 – 118 degrees that is raw …

  6. Debra XOXO says:

    Great idea – I am looking for non-intimidating info to give to friends. Like recipes that don't have uber expensive specialty foods or require fancy equipment – so far this looks really accessible to the 'masses'.

  7. ~MyGalSal~ says:

    I have a lot of weight to use but I worry about the high amount of sugar and carbs in raw foods, mostly in fruit. I know I have "carbophobia" and the low carb rapid weight loss from two years came back to "bite me" with a sick thyroid and extreme rebound weight gain. I am ready to rethink what is "healthy"

  8. Brian says:

    Great idea for this blog!

  9. Angelique says:

    I love this blog idea and tweeted about you. I hope you keep this up each week — and thank you for all the work you're putting in to this!!

  10. Re@PeR says:

    Looking delicious so far, keep up the good work! Will be following and trying each and every recipe 😀

  11. Katie says:

    $10/day for one adult is about double to triple my food budget (currently $325/month for me and 3 growing boys). It's good to know what I'm facing though. Based on my budget and your thesis that $10/day is inexpensive, it's probably not reasonable to expect to be able to take the whole family 100% raw. I do look forward to adding what raw foods I can to our diet, and I will look to your blog for inspiration on low-cost options!

  12. hi katie, i don't have an opinion on what's expensive or not because that's subjective … $10 a day might be prohibitively expensive for one person and chump change to another … i'm only keeping track of what i make and how much it costs and keeping it less than $10 a day … & it can be reasonable to take a whole family raw if that's what you'd like to do … it may involve a lot of planning and bargain hunting though … anyway, good wishes on your raw journey & glad to have you here

  13. Crystlee says:

    Wow, what a good idea! I'm not raw yet, but I hope to be sometime in the near future. Hopefully your blog will serve as a source of inspiration.

  14. ( jason ) says:

    Katie, I keep running into the same issue. The USDA publishes average amount spent on food each month. They list 4 categories (Thrifty, Low Cost, Moderate, and Liberal). $10 a day falls under "Liberal" for someone in my age bracket.

    However, my family can eat a whole foods, from scratch, no-meat, low dairy, roughly 60% raw diet, and we come in under the "Thrifty" category. It's hard to justify the extra cost to go 100% raw.

    All that aside… Lisa, this is a great idea, and I was very happy to find your blog. I'm also excited to see that some days you come in at much lower than $10. I'm looking forward to finding a few gems.