Raw and Living Food on a Budget: Grow, Sprout, and Forage Your Own Raw Food!
How to create optimum health, mental clarity and great looks by eating a raw food diet even if your food budget is very tiny.

Raw Food Network

How to eat well on a raw and living food diet when you can't afford health food store produce and you don't have the time it takes to do a lot of chopping and raw food preparation

It takes some ingenuity and a perhaps bit of shopping and foraging around to accomplish it, but eating a raw food diet inexpensively (or even for free!) can be done! We've put together a variety of ideas for eating a really healthy raw food diet "on the cheap" and without a lot of prep time.

Your health should be your top priority. Without great health, everything else in your life is diminished or even rendered impossible. Without health, you can't accomplish all that you need to do to succeed in life. Without health, you'll spend more on doctors, medicines and hospitals than even the best organic produce would have cost.

Fresh organic fruits and vegetables should be a priority in your budget. But what can you do if you don't have the time or the money to shop for and prepare the best?

When you have a really tight budget, it can be a challenge to afford organic produce. We've all been there, haven’t we? We believe that anyone with the desire to do so can eat very well for very little. There is such an abundance of really good yet inexpensive food available which can be prepared quickly and inexpensively!

Eating Raw for Free via 'Guerrilla Harvesting' and Foraging

Fifteen tips to save lots of money while staying healthy and raw :

1. Keep recipe ingredients simple and seasonally inexpensive. Avoid recipes with lots of expensive ingredients like nuts and exotic fruits. Stick with recipes whose ingredients are inexpensive and in season.

2. Grow your own sprouts and micro-greens.

Why spend lots of $$ on store-bought sprouts and micro-greens when you can easily grow them yourself for a lot less! You can even buy beans and lentils at a discount grocer and sprout them. This is an inexpensive way of getting food because one pound of seeds can become up to eight pounds of highly nutritious food. If a seed costs $5/lb, the sprouts it yields will be $0.62/lb, much less expensive than most food! Get screens and sprouting seed from Mountain Rose Herbs and click here to learn more about sprouting.

3. Don't buy items you can make less expensively at home -- like these inexpensive dehydrated flax crackers served with homemade guacamole.

Make your own dehydrated crackers, raw snacks, and cultured foods from scratch and save a bundle! If you love kombucha or raw ginger brew, learn to make it yourself. There are so many free recipes online for these things! We particularly like the many wonderful Youtube demos like the one above!

4. Learn to forage for wild edibles!

There are many free 'edible wild plants' growing in nearby fields and vacant lots which can be included in delicious and super-healthy smoothies, raw 'stews', raw 'soups' and salads. We've gone on 'weed walks' and purchased books to help us identify what's edible and what's not (and proper identification is very important). There are many excellent books on wild edibles, and you’ll probably want to get a field guide to make sure that the plants you find are suitable for human consumption. You can find books on this subject here: Wild Edible Plants and Foraging. We also recommend Sergei Boutenko's Iphone app which helps you identify wild greens 'on the go'.

5. Raise your own tomatoes, basil and other herbs, lettuces and other easy-to-grow veggies -- even if you have to replace your lawn or set up an indoor window garden to do so. Then dehydrate or freeze the excess!

Raise extra tomatoes and dry them. Raise lots of basil and make it into cubes and freeze it. Sow successive crops of various greens throughout the growing season for salads and smoothies.

6. Start or Get Involved in a Community Garden.

There is a growing trend to 'grow your own' food, but not everyone has land to grow a garden. Solution: Find some 'common land' ... and get together with some like-minded folks and begin a community garden.

7. Save seeds! Forage for seeds!

Save your own seeds and save any seeds that might be going to waste in other people's gardens or in vacant lots. Think outside the box. Gather sunflower seeds, clover seeds, alfalfa seeds to sprout or plant a totally free garden!

8. Shop at various farmers market and produce stands. You might also look into CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) as a source of reasonably-priced organic veggies.

9. Join a food co-op Buy things like nuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc. in bulk and store them in the freezer or in containers which have the air removed to avoid rancidity.

10. Buy extra of whatever is cheap and freeze it. You can even buy avocadoes when they're cheap, mash one avocado with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice, and put it into a small sandwich bag. Suck out all the air with a straw. Place the individual sandwich bags inside a large freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 5 months.

11. Dehydrate excess fruit. Dehydrating works well for preserving some fruits like ripe plum tomatoes, mangoes, bananas, apricots, peaches, pineapples, etc. when you are able to can buy, find, be given, or grow them in abundance. Experiment and see what works for you.

12. Store vegetables, herbs and fruits appropriately so they last as long as possible . Herbs, parsley and cilantro are best if you cut off the stems and put them in glasses of water in the refrigerator. We've had good luck in using (and re-using) those 'Debbie Myers Green Bags' on some produce. The trick seems to be keeping them dry and not tightly sealing the bags in order to let any moisture escape. The minute avocadoes get ripe, put them into one of those bags and store in the refrigerator.

13. Have raw potlucks and share the expense! Raw meetups are a great place to meet others into the raw food diet and lifestyle, and often a good place to sample a wide variety of delicious raw dishes while sharing the expense and the prep time.

14. Consider the dumpsters! Many folks in cities have discovered that some grocers throw out perfectly good produce that's just slightly past its prime. One source of free foods is big farmers markets, particularly on a Sunday right after they close. You might need to pare off a spot or two, but you often have to do that for purchased produce anyway. Check out his video to see what you might can find!

Here's a good article on eating inexpensively. It discusses how food that is thrown out is often mostly good. There’s no need to be afraid of free food.

15. Shop at discounted food stores that also have produce. Even though it might be an anathema to some, stores like K-Mart, Walmart Super Centers, etc. often have fresh produce at a substantial discount. There are other discount grocers which tend to be regional like Go Outlet, Amazing Savings, etc. where you can find lemons, limes, grapefruit, strawberries, garlic, cilantro, avocados, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, sprouts, baby greens, romaine, red onion, plum tomatoes, kale, and so forth at very steeply discounted prices.

Eat Well Under $100

Raw Vegan Mentor Club

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