Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Poverty Consciousness and Raw Food

One of the main responses I have gotten to my diet is, "I would like to eat more raw food, but it is so expensive." I know many of us, myself included, struggle with our finances. I am aware that certain deemed super-foods are overpriced, and that organic produce is always more expensive than conventional. But I also feel this sort of thinking falls into poverty consciousness.

If you take your thinking from, "I can't do this because I don't have money" and replace it with, "How can I do this, despite not having a lot of money?", you would be surprised with the results. If you do not try, you have a 100% chance of not succeeding. If you try, you have at least a chance at success. Here are a few tips to keep in mind next time you think your finances are holding you back from adding more raw foods to your diet.

- Fast food may be cheap, but healthcare isn't. Every medical professional will admit that obesity leads to more health problems. More health problems lead to more bills. Opting for drive-thru options or heavily processed meals may save you money in the short-term, but consuming greater amounts of fruits and vegetables is a lifetime investment.

- If you can't buy top of the line culinary equipment, don't. I have been using a $50 dehydrator and a $50 blender through a year of eating primarily raw foods. I would love to have a Vitamix, if it weren't $500. I would love to have an Excalibur, if it weren't $250. But spending $100 instead of $750 doesn't change my food being exactly what I want! If $100 still seems like too much, keep in mind you can get secondhand kitchen equipment at a very affordable price. Try eBay, Craiglist, yard sales, or the thrift store. Or just stick to recipes which don't require special equipment!

- If organic gets too expensive, pay attention to which organic foods you should buy. When it comes to produce, not all veggies are created equal. While I like to avoid chemicals as much as possible both for my personal use and in terms of environmental impact, there are some fruits and vegetables which are not as directly impacted by pesticides. Generally anything with a hard rind is safe to eat. For a more specific list, check out this link.

- Think before you buy. A quick internet search just showed that one pound of raw walnuts costs $8.99, but one pound of raw sunflower seeds only costs $3.49. The good news is that in most raw recipes any seed or nut will work! Don't spend tons on money on prepackaged raw foods if you can make them yourself. I love a kale chip treat, but I also know the mark up on those is insanely high. Buy things to sprout so you have a back-up plan for times you are low on produce money. Buy lots of bananas to fill up on as cheap snacks.

- Stop wasting money on getting wasted. Booze, cigarettes, and other recreational substances destroy your body, mind, and pocketbook. If it is that important to your socializing, re-evaluate your social circles. If you need it to relax, remind yourself that meditating in the woods is free. You will likely also save money on wrecked cars, headache medicine, and late-night greasy diner meals.

Keep in mind that these are my tips to avoid allowing a lack of funds to keep you from your personal raw health goal. If this isn't your goal, be honest with yourself and admit that this might not be the path you want to take for yourself. Even the food pantry around the corner from me gives out fresh produce to those in need, so have some faith that with some clear-headed planning you can take control of your health and your life.

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