One of the main excuses I hear of why people can't eat the way I do is that they don't have any money. Now, if someone doesn't want to eat the way I do, I have no problem with that! But the idea that someone may be convinced that being healthy is outside of their affordability is upsetting. Health is for everyone, and any thought otherwise is a trap of a system that is enslaving you. The difficulty is breaking free from the box that our culture has drawn around us. We need to rethink the way in which we approach food, even if that means ridding ourselves of certain habits we have become comfortable with. So I have listed some money-saving tips I have adopted over the past year. I hope you find them helpful for your new beginnings!
1. Buy a juicer, a dehydrator, a blender, and a food processor. I know, this list is getting off to a shaky start, but you have to spend money to make money, right? These are your 4 investment pieces. They will keep you from buying tons and tons of prepackaged raw treats. As much as you think you will be eating only salads, your body is going to tell you otherwise at one point or another. Don't focus on having the best until you know this lifestyle is right for you. We are still using a $50 dehydrator that has paid for itself already!
2. Reuse. With a raw diet there is no excuse to throw out food. Use fresh produce as your main dishes, and throw slightly older produce into the juicer. Juice your apple cores, stems, and tops. Then save your pulp for dehydrated goodies like crackers, breads, chips, cookies, nuggets, and burgers. Same goes for nut milks and nut pulp. Items that don't look beautiful can also be added to smoothies or soups where everything is blended together anyway. It is amazing how much mileage you can get out of one bag of apples!
3. Make your own. This goes along with number 2, but think as far as you can with this one. Mustard is simple to make, and besides saving money making your own is much healthier. Buying kombucha at the store can get pricey, but making your own you have an ongoing endless supply! Sauerkraut is good for your body and cabbage is cheap, so why waste money on jars? Why spend money on harsh cleaners when white vinegar and baking soda get things clean without the chemicals?
4. Buy in bulk. The things you use in massive amounts, buy in massive amounts. Typical bulk items in my house include coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, grains, spices, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, and carob powder. You will feel better making less trash as well!
5. Grow your own, when you can. Even if you only have a little room, do what you can! A simple herb garden can save you on spices and teas. Tomatoes and cucumbers are simple to grow. If you have too much of something you can always dry it, freeze it, or pickle it for later.
6. Substitute. I know red bell peppers are superior to green bell peppers. Everyone knows that. That is why red bell peppers cost twice as much money. But does your recipe need red bell pepper, or will it blend together in a way where green would work just as well? Same can go with berries or squashes or nuts. Pay attention to what is on sale or in season.
7. Sprout. Why does anyone buy ready sprouted sprouts? They have been sitting around the grocery store where they risk contamination and cost ten times more than buying the dry goods you want to sprout. Having sprouts is good for emergency situations where you are strapped for cash till your next paycheck and can't afford to buy something green. Besides, it kind of reminds me of fun elementary school science projects!
8. Forage. Don't go crazy if you don't know what you are doing, but just about anyone can identify dandelion. Find a spot of grass that you know isn't chemically treated and pick yourself a salad. It is free and more nutritious than a lot of store bought lettuces.
9. Distill your own water. Maybe I should have included this with number 1, since it is about a $100 investment, but a distiller will save you money in the long run and you won't be hauling bottled water home from the grocery store. It tastes great, gets rid of the bad stuff, and the only thing you need to do is add in some minerals at the end. Which you should be adding anyway.
10. Don't forget where you are NOT spending money. A lot of things you used to spend money on start disappearing when you adopt a healthier lifestyle. Most expensive dinners out are over, unless you live near a raw restaurant. You won't be dropping money in the vending machine or grabbing a quick bite at the drive-thru. No more expensive bar tabs. No more chemical cleaners or beauty products. And if you do a good job, you might notice a lot fewer trips to the doctor's office.
Good luck in the new year!