A few years ago, I was raw for 6 months. During that time I made fancy raw dishes, bought pre-made raw products, dehydrated, bought books and spent hours on the web researching. Because of this, I have a really good understanding of the raw food diet, what I need, what is and isn’t considered raw and so on. I discovered what foods work best for me and which I don’t like (flax seeds, bleech). I also discovered that if you aren’t mindful, it can become very expensive. This time around I don’t have that luxury and have been discovering ways to do it poor girl or as a friend says poh gurl style. These are a few things I realized can be done to keep it budget savvy and to keep you from getting bored.
1. Chinatown! The picture above, was my weekly trek to Toronto’s Chinatown. This food will all last me for a week. I still have veggies and some fruit left over from last Saturday’s trek. In that pile of food above is: baby bok choy, kale, romaine lettuce, garlic, cucumber, peaches, pears, apples, tangellos, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries and banana’s and they cost me, wait for it… $19.03. I did a bit of grocery store research and that same pile of food would have cost me approx $27 at No Frills and almost $35 at Loblaws.
2. Change it up! One of my main entrees is salad. It is soooooo very easy to get sick of it. Guess what, there are a million kinds of salad and a good portion of them don’t have lettuce. One of my favourite salad bases is baby bok choy. Damn delicious, you can also use kale or sprouts, sprouted beans, cabbage, cucumber, mixed veggies and the list goes on. Another trick if the majority of your salads have lettuce as the base, change the other ingredients or dressing each time. My favourite dressings are Lemon Tahini (1 lemon juiced, 3 tablespoons Tahini and water/a large jar of Tahini will last a really long time), Miso (miso and water), and Apple Cider Vinegar (apple cider vinegar, olive oil and sweetner (I use raw agave, but it is very expensive)).
3. Stick to the basics! In the last few years, the raw diet movement has become monumental. Thankfully people are becoming more and more aware of their health and the environment and are making a change. Preparing raw food is a lot of work and not everyone has 1-2 hours each day to slice and dice. The food industry and retail consumerism has caught on to this as well. There are a million different products out there to help save time, such as pre-made sauces, dressings, breads, dehydrated products, desserts and snacks. All very expensive as well. Last time I was raw, I invested in a dehydrator and did a majority of all that myself, though I will admit, I got sucked in with all the raw nut butter and other so called ‘staples’. Fresh is better.
4. Prepare ahead! Every night before I go to bed I prepare everything I am going to eat the next day. This way I only have to prep stuff once a day and if I have all my food ready, I won’t CHEAT and go buy a bag of crap. As I said above, there is a lot of prep and I know if I do it once a day rather than several times a day I am more efficient and it doesn’t feel like that much work.
5. Learn to spout! There is a tonne of protein and vitamins in sprouts AND you can grow them yourself in a matter of a couple days. All you need is a couple sterilized jars, some door mesh, a few elastics and a place to put the jars to drain while sprouting. I have included a link to a video on the very simple steps for sprouting. This video is brilliant and shows how easy it is and how few seeds you need to fill a jar.
6. Do it for your health! As I said in an earlier post, I’m not doing this for the weight loss, though it is a desirable side affect. Prior to starting this I was feeling gross, since starting that feeling has gone away, clothes are fitting better and there is very noticeable health change. This journey is about becoming healthy!
7. Know your limits! I know mine. I remember when I was 100% raw for 6 months, I had cravings for cooked food all the time. A combination of that, a huge stress that happened in my life at the time and a knee injury, I stopped being raw. I love cooked food too much to be 100% raw and after the detox will stick to a 75% raw diet. What I will be changing this time is the cooked food, must be made by me the majority of the time and be all natural ingredients, no more junk food. There are a few processed products I will continue to use, only because they do have healthy benefits. Because I know my limits and don’t want to fail this detox, I am allowing myself a cooked food day every 5th day, BUT the cooked food has to be homemade and all natural. Yesterdays cooked meal was a big bowl of miso noodle soup with broccoli and tofu.
8. Fresh Juice and Smoothies! Drink both or if you don’t have a juicer, smoothies are amazing. In the picture above is a 20 year old juicer that gets used almost daily. My favourite combination is carrot, apple, pear, beet and ginger. The juice I made today is missing the beet. I couldn’t find any in Chinatown. I never can, I don’t know what they have against beets! Another favourite is strawberry, banana, spinach smoothie. There is a store in Chinatown that sells huge bags of baby spinach for $3! I meant to grab some so I could do smoothies this week, but forgot. That will be on next weeks list.
I do have a confession to make though. I am having a really hard time giving something up. My best friend coffee. I tried to go cold turkey a couple times and ended up with a massive headache. This morning was the worst. I had to fast for blood work and and yowsah! I caved and had coffee. The problem is part habitual and partly addiction. This weekend I am weaning myself off, so Monday I have a fresh start, coffee free. I won’t be giving it up permanently, nor wine, just till the end of the detox so I can achieve the full benefits from it.
Since I mentioned it above, here are some links to my current favourite websites that I recommend for anyone curious about or want to try a raw detox.