On food budgets both large and small one can eat poorly or one can eat well. This newsletter/blog contains some simple guidelines I have come up with to reinforce your healthy high raw or all raw diet on a tight budget.

I have also included a few survival tips as I have am very interested in Smart Survival Methods for Raw Foodists.When times are hard, our stress levels often drive us to treat our mind/body less than optimally, shall we say.

But during any type of hard-times, it is more important than ever to eat right in order to maintain physical health and a high level of immunity.

By maintaining your own equilibrium -physically, mentally and spiritually-you are better able to do what is necessary; whether that means dealing with basic survival for yourself and those close to you, or reaching out to those in need and contributing your best to make your neighborhood, town, community, country and the world a better place to be.

When you are feeling secure about the high level of your natural immunity, it is easier to steer clear of the kind of mass fear that the evening news and the internet promotes.

This kind of self-confidence in your own health and energy can not happen overnight.

Now is the time to renew your ‘I am going to be healthier’ vows, and hopefully what I have to say about how to eat well without it costing more than you can afford will serve as motivation. I hope so.

I invite you, friends and readers of my newsletter to email me your successful budget busting tips too, I will include them in the next newsletter.  Please send your ideas to me at:  (with subject line: budget busting tips)

Here are some strategies to help you eat in a healthy way so you can develop and maintain the energy and vitality necessary to function on a high level during difficult or good times.

Economics are specifically taken into consideration so that your health and immunity will remain high on a tight budget.

This will allow you to contribute the maximum amount of energy to the causes you feel are the most important; whether they be related to family values, work, ministry, survival, charity, or world health/peace.

  1. It is important that you know the best places to obtain ingredients in your area. Always check out the seasonal produce and sales. Take advantage of them.
  2. Don’t go to the same stores all the time. Shake it up. Check out all the stores in your town- even the small, out of the way ones and especially the ethnic ones such as Asian, Phillipino and Latin markets. If you don’t know what something is, ask.

    Try the farmers markets-and grow something yourself even in a pot on your patio-cherry tomatoes and strawberries or herbs work well in that type of environment. (See # 14)

  3. Apples, oranges, bananas, carrots and cabbage are available year round and are usually affordable.
  4. Get together with a group to purchase your food. Belonging to a food co-op saves money. Sometimes large groups can arrange for wholesale prices. You will especially notice savings on the more exotic or expensive items like tropical fruits, nuts and nut butters.
  5. Consider simplifying and foregoing the more exotic and expensive items.
  6. Carefully look over the reduced price produce-it is often still good; just not pretty -but usually very ripe and ready to eat on the same day as purchase. Produce departments are likely to mark down very ripe and spotted bananas, which are perfect for freezing to use in smoothies and desserts.

    Likewise, very ripe and soft fruit gets bruised then marked down but  is edible and a good buy. ( Use your dehydrater to dry fruit bits, or make a fruit leather, properly dried, dehydrated food lasts indefinitely without need of further processing such as freezing, just store in an air tight environment like a Mason jar, or baggie, or vacuum sealedcontainer.)

  7. Young coconuts can be purchased in many cities for a dollar or less  each, and comprise a meal by themselves. Check in Asian markets for young coconuts, inexpensive pea sprouts and other interesting greens.If you don’t know what something is, ask.

    If you are lucky enough to have an Asian market within range they are filled with all kinds of greens and interesting flavors.And they are always less expensive than super markets.

  8. Don’t waste anything. If there is one inch of red pepper left, save it for raw soup.
  9. Root vegetables are inexpensive, last quite awhile in the refrigerator and are full of nutrients, minerals and fiber. If you eat cooked food, they are an excellent choice for baking or steaming.

    Served raw either grated or turned into pasta with a saladaccospiral slicer) they become a gourmet item. Look for parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, parsley root, celery root and don’t forget beets, carrots and yams.

  10. Eat mono-meals four or five times a week; for example, just melon or just apples or just greens at one meal. Not only can you take advantage of local produce and sale prices this way, but you also save time in food prep and lots of digestive energy!
  11. Most Americans eat too much. According to a study in the August 1996 issue of Scientific American, we spent $33 billion annually on weight-loss products and schemes. The message here is: cut back on your quantities. (This advice does not apply to children, they need calories, fat and protein for proper growth and development.)
  12. Don’t be put off by the high per pound price of mixed greens (called mesclun in some areas). Even at $8.99 a pound, a good -sized bag will cost less than half of that. Greens are light. Be sure they are dry when purchased, they will weigh less and keep longer.

    One helpful tip especially if you are buying for one or two people, is compare the salad bar by weight prices with the price per pound of the greens over in the produce department, sometimes you can do better to buy your greens at the salad bar.(And you get topick and choose exactly what you want.)

  13. If you juice regularly, feed some of the pulp to your pets mixed in with their other food, it adds a lot of bulk/fiber to their diet, helps them to feel full but doesn’t stuff them with calories and fat.

    You can also put  some of your pulp into salad, carrot pulp is especially good for this. Pulp is also a great addition to dehydrated crackers.  There’s even a recipe for carrot cake in my book, The Raw Gourmet that calls for 6 cups of carrot pulp. (Here’s the trick, just make carrot juicer first if you make a blended juice such as greens and carrots {yum tastes like chocolate–really!] and freeze the pulp. When you have six cups thaw it out and make the carrot cake. You can also ask for your pulp when you order carrot juice at a juice bar but you need to freeze it quickly.

  14. Take the time now to learn as much as you can about local foraging**. Unless you live in the high desert, there is almost always edible food in the woods and fields around you, probably even in your yard. A good illustrated book is helpful, I like Edible Wild Plants, by Thomas Elias and Peter Dykeman, and there are many others. Try to find a book that specializes in your geographical area.

    See if you can locate a master herbalist in your area that specializes in wild edible foods. Get a group of friends together and learn how to forage in your area. This is great fun for the whole family, can supplement your purchased food, and even save your life in times of crisis.

    **And guess what? Wild food always has more nourishment than store bought food.

    My favorite season for foraging is fall, grapes are plentiful as well as dandelion, plantain and rocket.  When I lived in Sedona AZ, all of winter and spring I picked bowls-full of mustard greens on my daily walks near my home.

    Later in the season, I picked the yellow blossoms from the mustard plants. And, even when the heat of summer began I could still find mustard greens in the shade and along streams. Over half of my greens intake for several months of the year was foraged mustard. Perhaps it is my imagination, but I notice higher energy levels when I eat foraged greens rather than store bought ones.

    Now that I live in Southern California I am able to find four or more identifiable foods during each season. They include things like: malva, nasturtium, miners lettuce, Lamb’s Quarters, stinging nettle, anise (stalk, flowers, seeds and root) and  plantain. My land (a raw fooders dream come late in life and a work in progress) also has 2 Tangerine trees, a Navel orange treen an apple tree and two avocado trees.I have room for many more trees and have plans for that when I can.

    If you too live in an area where there are many fruit trees, have you noticed how many people just let them rot and fall from the tree? Ring their doorbell! Ask if you can pick the fruit from their trees! I often pick up fallen fruit from the road (citrus and avocados) I wash it very thoroughly and it tastes all the sweeter being free.

    Did you know that all pine needles are edible? To chew or make up a tea, as is their innner bark, you can make a flour from it. And cat-tails? You can use their pollen for flour, and their stalks are edible as well as their ‘tail’ in certain seasons, foraging books tell you how to prepare them as many ‘forageables’ must be cooked.

    When I lived overlooking a pond on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, I found out that all those lily pads that covered the pond in summer had edible tubers one could dive under the ice for  in winter and cook up like a potato. I didn’t try that but it was comforting to know I had an enormous food supply if I truly needed it.

    If you are lucky enough to live near woods, spring and summer will offer up quite a bounty. While there are ways to discover for yourself if something is edible, save that for emergencies and buy some good foraging books or get some from the library.

    This kind of information doesn’t go out of style so you may find some great books in vintage book stores as well.

    To me, knowing at least the basics about foraging, being able to identify 4 or 5 or more edibles in your own area for each season is like insurance. For now, it is fun to find it and eat it as you go or bring it home to supplement what you buy.

    But also if, heaven forbid, there were a true catastrophe and there were no food to buy, wouldn’t you feel better if you knew you could survive because you knew where you could find edible food? (Especially if you have some non-perishable food put aside to combine with any fresh food you can find, like quinoa,non wheat pasta, well-dehydrated crackers, etc.)

    There is even a lot available to eat in the cold of winter if you know where to look for it. Peace of mind is such a good thing, don’t you think?

  15. It is extremely economical to grow your own sprouts, not just the jar-grown variety but the type grown in soil in nursery flats or cafeteria trays. The most highly nutritious sprouts are soil grown sunflower, buckwheat and pea. If you decide to soil sprout at home, consider also growing baby lettuce greens at the same time. Other delicious sprouts to grow include: cabbage, turnip, peas, radish, mustard, spinach, kale and Fenugreek.. My book, The Raw Gourmet has general instructions and growing charts for sprouting.

    I recommend The Sprout Garden by Mark Braunstein for more in- depth sprouting information. By growing soil brown sunflower, buckwheat, pea and other sprouts at home, you are getting the very best food known to man in the least expensive way possible.

    It will cost you only pennies for a pound of high protein, high chlorophyll, high vitamin, high mineral and high enzyme food.

    If you are interested in preparing sprouts for survival purposes, you will need to store soil, flats, seeds and any other equipment you may need for your crops. And water. Or, look into the various types of sprouters that allow you to grow the sprouts that you normally grow in the soil hydroponically.

    In times of true crisis, other than what you can forage, sprouts could most likely be the only fresh food you will be able to obtain. (If you have a clean supply of water.)

    But plenty of folks who have limited budgets and or large families always have some sprouts growing, they are extremely economical to grow. You don’t need fancy equipment at all.

  16. If you own a dehydrator, make up simple flax seed crackers in quantity and replenish when the stock gets low.  Each time I make flax seed crackers I do them up differently but here is a guideline. For savory flax crackers: Take 5-6 cups of brown or golden flax seeds and add 5-6 cups of pure water.

    Allow to stand at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Then, fill your blender container (to the top) with some or all of the following: 3 to 5 cups of pureed tomatoes, 1 cup rehydrated sun dried tomatoes, juice from 1 lemon plus a bit of lemon rind, 2-3 whole onions6-10 garlic cloves, any other spices or herbs you think that you will enjoy. Stir the flax seeds and this mixture together, do not blend in a blender, as you do not want to break open the flax seeds, that will cause them to start spoiling before they can finish dehydrating, flax seed oil is very volatile -it spoils quite quickly. I love the taste of caraway seeds so I add in 4-6 tablespoonfuls of whole caraway seeds to the mixture, but you might prefer fresh or dried cayenne, italian herbs, bits of chopped olive, etc…

    Spread mixture on teflex trays about 1/4 inch thick or less. Set your dehydrator at 140 until the crackers are warm to the touch on top, then lower the temperature to 115-120. When dry on top, score crackers to the size you want (I usually do 2 X 2 inches).

    Flip crackers over, and carefully lift the teflex sheets off, leaving the crackers to finish drying on the mesh screens that come with the trays.

    Be sure your crackers are utterly dry throughout so that they won’t spoil. Run the dehydrator for an extra half-day if need to be, just to be sure. They will not get over done. Store in an airtight container out of the light, like a pantry.

    By the way, two things to know are:

    A. The food never reaches the temperature you set the dehydrator at. Too many raw fooders think they are being smart by setting the thermostat at 90 degrees F. What they are really doing is drying the food so slowly ,the food probably never reaches over 75 or 80 degrees that they are most probably creating mold that they will be eating. It just makes no sense to set a dehydrator so low.

    You can get all fancy and buy a thermometer if you want, but I just check the crackers by touching them, when they are quite warm and dry that is when I lower the temperature.

    Certainly cold wet crackers will take many hours before they even begin to heat up, there is no reason to worry about killing enzymes until they are warm and dry. Do not make the mistake of running your dehydrator at only 90 degrees, by doing this you are creating unhealthy food.

    B. I read a rant recently in a forum about how crazy people are to use teflex sheets because they have teflon in them. Well as far as I know, there isn’t a problem with teflon unless it reaches high temperatures, as in frying. A dehydrator is never going to be too hot to release anythingfrom the teflex sheets that I know of.

    Another yummy flax seed cracker “recipe” is a sweet one. Start with the same 5-6 cups of seeds and water. Only this time your blender will be filled with sweet things, not savory. I like using 6-8 ripe bananas, a handful of dates along with water and maybe a little cinnamon, then dehydrate as above.

    Another great favorite of mine is apple crackers. I often make one batch of half apple and half banana. Start with the flax seeds and water mixture. Then fill your blender up with applesauce made from fresh whole apples, as well as a handful of dates and lots of cinnamon. Lately I have been making up about 3/4 of a blender of apple/date mixture and roughly grating 4 or five apples and mixing all together, the large grated pieces are yummy in the cracker and it looks very cool too.

    All these flax seed cracker recipes keep indefinitely. Great for travel and for emergencies. The sweet ones taste wonderful with a little bit of almond butter spread on them and the savory ones are great with sliced avocado or some pate.

  17. Stock up one time on pantry essentials, then replenish as needed. Buying in bulk saves money if you buy wisely- purchase only food that you know that you will use.

    If you live far from a reasonable source for these items, remember too that the more you order at one time from a mail order company the less per pound the shipping will cost.

    For those of you lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s they usually have the following items raw and organic: nuts, almond butter, some dried fruit.

    Some basic pantry essentials are: (least expensive are in bold)
    raw tahini
     (inexpensive especially compared to almond butter)
    raw nut butters
    sunflower seeds (hulled)
    nuts such as walnut or almond, hulled
    In shell nuts for snacks
    flax seeds
    olive oil
    nama shoyu (similar to soy sauce but supposed to be raw) or sea salt
    sea weeds: dulse, kelpsprouting items
    Your favorite dried herbs and spices
    Carob or cacao
    Dried fruit such as dates and apricots

I hope that this information helps you to look at the economics of food shopping (and finding) in new ways, by changing out your routine and checking all food sources in your area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *