View Full Version : How expensive is it to eat raw?
07-17-2005, 03:37 AM
Hi everyone! I'm new to this board and just beginning to research this lifestyle as suggested by my colon hydrotherapist. I may be jumping the gun because I haven't gotten Alissa's book or anything yet, but I want to be sure I can do this realistically. I'm sure in the end, eating raw fruits, veggies, etc. will be cheaper because as I've read everyone's posts (and listened to my hydrotherapist) I know your appetite tends to decrease, emotional cravings, etc.
I guess I'm more concerned about the initial start up. Juicer? Dehydrator? Buying all the special ingredients i.e. nuts, maca flour, nori sheets, etc. (I know produce is cheaper at farmer's markets but if you have to buy a lot....)
So about how much do people spend on food per week/month?
07-17-2005, 06:04 AM
It really depends on your tastes. I can eat well for $30.00 a week and I have spent up to $50.00 a week for myself.
How much does it cost to go to your hydrotherapist? Your treatment would be further inbetween so that cost would go way down. You would also see other costs go down such as Dr. visits. Your energy would go way up. In a long run you would be saving money plus your health.
I was worried about the cost when I first started raw years ago but it all seemed to fall in place. I do know that if I really wanted to I could shave another $5.00 a week off the food bill but I think I am worth the extra $5.00. You are worth it too and will be happy with your results.
07-17-2005, 08:38 AM
Welcome! I haven't the foggiest idea how much we spend a week. It has never factored into taking care of myself.
Yes, farmers' markets are the best way to go ~ for me. As far as how to get started, I would say, get Alissa's book/dvd's. That's pretty much all you'll need for a start. Also, a good food processor and blender. Alissa has stated in her book that almost all her recipes have been made in a food processor. The blender would be for smoothies. A dehydrator is recommended but not necessary. (if you do a search here ~ up at the 'banana ~ you'll find lots of info on what brands folk here have). Personally, I rarely use my dehydrator anymore ~ I don't make crackers or anything of that nature as much as I use to.
I don't know where you get the maca powder. Totally unnessary as are a lot of the exotic stuff people are purchasing now ~ raw cacao, goji berries, durian, etc. Mostly I stick to what I can get at the market, fresh, mostly organic and in season.
btw ~ not sure what you mean by doing this realistically? You can. Anyone can. People don't realize how much $$$ they umm, o.k., piss away on snacks and such. They just don't figure it into their food budget. You go to Trader Joe's, pick up some good, organic veggies, then then add the chips and store-bought salsa, "protein" bars and other "snacks". Replace those with more fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and you're good to go!
I don't know what you are eating now. Are you vegetarian? vegan? or still on the SAD ~ eating meat, fish, chicken and such? If the latter, how expensive is that? Raw, organic foods are soooo much more filling, nourishing, revitalizing, satisfying.
07-17-2005, 10:55 AM
i buy organic when i can... but eating raw non organic is better than non raw. i find that the cost is about the same yes i buy more fresh goodies but no meat (that is expensive), no dairy, no refined sugars, no bread etc......
i am all raw and i don't have a dehydrator, juicer, all i have is a blender (a crappy one at that LOL) and a mini cuisanart which does the trick for me. i plan to get a dehydrator to make some fun snackin items for when i am out but i have managed nearly 60 days 100% raw (i had a few oops! moments) without anything...... you can do it to.
good luck on your journey to raw!
Sharon in Colorado
07-17-2005, 11:18 AM
Hi there :)
The food cost has always been reasonable, until the addition of ingredients for recipes. That would make it go up - the more expensive nuts such as brazils, cashews, macadamias; young coconuts, special sea salts, sweeteners, special order ingredients such as maca, cacao beans, mesquite - and other things like whole food supplementation (green powders, wheat grass products, goji berries) - those are the kinds of things that raise the food budget.
Sticking to fresh produce and seeds/almonds will keep your food budget more reasonable.
As for equipment, many people here purchase the more affordable ones at Walmart such as the Black & Decker food processor for around $30 as well as the American Harvest Snackmaster dehydrator which has temp control. I'd personally spend the extra on a high quality blender, but I'm sure if you are on a low budget and only intending on blending smoothies with very little ice/frozen fruits the basic blenders will work.
Hope that helps!
07-17-2005, 12:00 PM
I never calculated what I spent on SAD, but always bargained for the best I could buy with the least expense. We eat extremely well, and I buy items that I previously thought we couldn't afford on SAD, and make everything at home.
It largely depends on:
what you want to eat
if you are content with 'eating in season'
if you can forego the food item when the market price is up (knowing next
week it may change)
if you purchase food bars, etc. (expensive)
if you order any already prepared food, store or internet
if you eat out (expensive)
if you need to purchase kitchen prep items you don't already have (this was an extra $1000 for me, but I knew in the beginning that I wanted to continue so it was money well spent......dehydrator, green star juicer, mandoline, magic bullet (especially good for traveling or visiting friends), etc. I also sold my 4 year old refrig-freezer combo, and purchased an ALL-refrigerator for the much more needed space. The result was an extra 330. (included in the $1000 spent) but totally worth it. I had an ALL-refrig years ago and loved it....and I've always wanted one again. We use a very small chest freezer
for anything frozen. My situation is different from yours, or anyone elses, and this was important to me.
Last week I discovered that the organic greens in Whole Foods were actually cheaper than the conventional at a warehouse grocery (Winco).
Everyone has a different budget, different tastes, different time frame for meal prep, different needs. Read, read, read...ask questions, and read some more !! Being RAW isn't especially difficult, but you have to make it all fit into your life the best that you can....that's a trick, sometimes.
07-17-2005, 12:27 PM
Most of my money goes towards food, lol! But I don't mind because if I didn't take care of my body & say got cancer or something it would cost so much more & I could never afford that! I am on a very limited budget as a SAHM and I like to buy the best & the unusual so I suppose it could be much cheaper but hey I LOVE what i'm doing! I go out to eat at Go Raw Cafe quite a bit & I splurge on all kinds of books & videos & things like mesquite, raw white chocolate & maca & fresh unusual fruit in season!
07-17-2005, 01:01 PM
Doesn't it seem that our society is so focused ( dare I say Obsessed) with Food. Everywhere I go food billboards, food markets, any event celebrated with food (birthday,wakes,weddings,holidays). I agree w/ Revvell $ is thrown away with SAD diets or cooked diets.
Since I've become aware of RAW I really see it. My kids constantly wanting "JUNK". But I give them credit they are picking out healthier choices now. My oldest wants to know more about the RAW lifestyle.
When I lived in CA organic fruits and veggies were cheap as compared to the NE, and SE prices. I could see spending alot if you ate from Juliano's recipes living in my area, then again they are gourmet recipes. Even SAD gourmet would put a dent in your wallet. I like it simple and sweet. After the $ I've thrown into other healthy diets, I find RAW cost effective. I 'm thankful for this forum so I can learn more.
The question is how much is a qaud bypass, gastric bypass, your electric or gas bill.
07-17-2005, 01:46 PM
I find it cheaper to eat raw than to eat SAD. WHile eating SAD I was buying processed food mainly yogurt, shredded wheat, sprouted bread - fairly good stuff. Now I spend 20-30 per week on fruit. I have a fruit and vegetable stand about 4 miles from home and I visit it once a week. I buy lots of bananas at the local store as I eat a lot of them. I pick up my nuts at Smart and Final or Costco.
I already had a food processor and blandenr, but I'm looking to use a box grater to grate my veggies. I don't think I'll buy a dehydrator unless I get bored with my fruit, veggies and nut diet.
I still have a splurge meal once a week where I eat whateve I want for that meal. But to tell you the truth I really don't enjoy it too much as I can feel the difference in the morning.
07-17-2005, 02:05 PM
The cost of eating raw is relative to what you ate before. I have always lived really simply, so for me raw made my life more complicated and expensive. But the SAD cost me about $60 per month and I'm spending about $150/ month now. There are tradeoffs for everything. It is worth it for me because:
I am almost 100% healed from galbladder stones/ problems and ADD, terrible PMS, anxiety/ depression, and [vanity rears her head] I look younger and more vibrant. Comparing the extra $90 per month with health insurance, doc visit and rx co-pays, and expensive beauty treatments, what a bargain!
Personally, I feel empowered and more centered spiritually now that I make a conscious choice to heal my body and help heal the earth by eating whole foods. I am terribly grateful I encountered the raw foods lifestyle on my path.
When I first went raw I was determined to purchase everything I may need. It was hard enough commiting to go raw and I wanted to be able to make any darn raw food my heart desires, in part because there isn't a single raw food place in my town and I didn't have a lot of emotional support from others. I wanted to give myself the opportunity to find out for myself what I would and would not use on a regular basis, basically giving myself the chance to make mistakes.
I bought a great electric juicer, a manual wheatgrass juicer, two different kinds of dehydrators, blender, food processor, oat roller and various little gadgets. I'll be selling the juicers [I cannot grow stuff in my efficiency anymore. Long story.], and one of the dehydrators. I would recommend a blender [$40], processor [GE $40 walmart], and dehydrator [got the $40 walmart american harvest w/ temp control], and the oat roller if you are really craving rolled oats after being raw for 30 days [$30]. So upfront costs for equipment if I had to do it all over again would be about $125, $150 w/ the grain roller.
The initial cost of food for me was very high. I didn't know what I would like or not and this stuff isn't cheap, especially when my choices are either mail order or rent a car. It has taken a lot of trial and error, botched recipes and a dozen tastebud changes to bring my food cost down to a level where I'm both satisfied and within budget. And it has all been worth it!
PS I think there have been other threads where people discuss where to get stuff at the lowest cost. For example whole foods sells their 365 almonds for $4.50/lb which I can make into almond butter or eat as is. No need to try the exotic stuff like maca root, at least not yet. If you find yourself healing too slowly after you've given raw a chance to heal you for 30-60 days you might want to try adding some other super food/ natural remedies, but give raw foods a chance! So many of us have been amazed at how our bodies will heal themselves once we feed them properly. :)
07-17-2005, 02:09 PM
Beautiful post Pixie.
07-17-2005, 02:14 PM
To be honest, I never pay any attention to how much my food costs, I just buy it, but I can understand this question.
When I first went raw 4 years ago, I was concerned because I didn't have a cuisinart, but I did have a little baby 2 cup food processor, I didn't have a dehydrator or Champion juicer, etc. I did have a centrifugal juicer and a Vita Mix, and a regular blender.
I simply tossed everything out of my house and bought oranges, bananas, apples, some raw almonds for almond milk, some carrots and some greens, some tomatoes and started there.
I was eating pretty basic, and not knowing much about raw foods at all.
I had taken Victoria Boutenkos class, and had her book, but really couldn't get too much into the recipes so I was eating mostly salads with no dressing and fresh fruits in season.
Now, I make all kinds of truly marvelous things.
But I would have to say, that when I got my first electric bill I was shocked, It was less than 1/2 of what it had been.
You see, even though I was a vegan, I did still cook before I went raw,
So, once I went raw, no oven, no stove, no coffe pot, no microwave, no dishwasher to wash pots and pans, hardly any hot water to wash those items because I was using a couple of knives and a blender and a baby cuisinart to prepare foods.
I also noticed almost immediately that I wasn't as cold at night or hot during the day, so no air conditioner during the day, and no heat at night, this saved a ton of money too.
I wasn't buying a latte' every day, so no espresso money, I wasn't eating any more snacks that I bought out of the house, and I stopped going out to dinner with friends, during my transition, again this saved me about $50 a week alone.
So, the first time I went raw I saved about $200 a month, and started spending that on exotic foods and nuts.
This time I went raw (Jan 2005) I had been eating out for lunch about 5 times a week, (business meetings) so that saved about $100 a week right there, plus again, no stove, no oven, no dishwasher, pots and pans to wash, etc.
Big savings almost immediately.
Now I could have saved on other things, but I haven't done them in years, like using store bought shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, cosmetics, lotions, creams, hand lotion, dishwashing liquid, deoderant, foot powders, floor cleaners, etc. etc. etc. I haven't bought any of this stuff in years.
Also, you can use other things instead of the most expensive kitchen equipment, personally I went out and bought totally decadant expensive ceramic knives, but I didn't like them, so sold them on ebay.
You can get a Black and Decker food processor, I think Sharon of Colorado stated that in an earlier post, Alissa (who owns this forum) uses one and I think Rawkinlocks does too at Walmart.
You can purchase an American Harvest deydrator at Walmart (get the one with the temp control) for about $40.
You can buy a nice blender for about $20 Walmart.
OR as some raw foodist do, you can get some amazing things at the thrift store, on ebay, or at Freecycle.
So, don't let the cost of setting up your kitchen get you down, I'd say sell all that cooked food prep gadgets and buy raw food prep gadgets, some people on this forum, has simply ripped their stoves right out of their homes and started there.
Then you have no option.
And NOW is the perfect time to starte eating raw, while it is warm outside, you have a ton of fresh fruits and veggies available, and there are tons of garage sales, so you might find some wonderully pre-loved appliances for super buyes.
Good luck, we're all here rootin' for you.
07-17-2005, 02:35 PM
I'm juicing this week, which technically wastes the pulp unless you're doing something with it like making crackers or other stuff. But I haven't gotten to that, so I feel a bit guilty about tossing all the pulp until I'm done with my juice thing.
However, going to Super Walmart for their leafy green "bargains" and buying the stuff Publix wants to get rid of at about 15 cents cheaper per pound than the regular cost, it's still about $50 per week for just me.
I do buy variety, and I keep an eye out for specials, like when the melons get too ripe and they slash the cost or 2-for-1 them, but still, juicing is expensive. So is produce, even not organic.
When I go back to "eating" and green smoothies, my costs drop way down, to maybe $15 per week, because all that pulp is filling! Plus I'm big on salads and seasonal fruits. And bargains. Yeah, I like those 2-for-1 baby bella mushrooms and melons and "buy one get one free" blueberries...
But I also don't go to the doctor lately, nor do I buy meats or dairy, or breads or stuff like that.
And I don't cook as often for my wonderful spouse, because I've gotten him on the salads track, with fresh tomatoes and romain lettuce and radishes...all stuff he enjoys, and it keeps me from making him those meat & pasta dishes he used to think he couldn't live without. Ha! Sure he can!
But I'm still in shock that bananas went up from 29 cents a pound to 49 cents a pound, so that gives you an idea of my brand of "sticker shock".
Good luck, have fun!
07-17-2005, 02:36 PM
OH, and I don't go out to restaurants anymore, so that right there is TOTALLY a money saver! I forgot about that part!
07-17-2005, 02:47 PM
O.k., say it costs $50 a week for food (which I think is waaaay low, yet, just for snickers). Divide that by 7. That's about $7.15 a day; divide that by 3. That's 2.38 cents a meal ~ IF one only eats 3 meals which I certainly don't. THAT is dirt CHEAP! People spend that much on a coffee from Star$$$'s!
Even at twice that, it's cheap. One cannot get a meal in an even fairly decent restaurant for less than $10.
07-17-2005, 03:21 PM
Why thank you, Revvell. :)
07-17-2005, 04:55 PM
Thanks everyone for your informative replies! I didn't mean to come across as "well if it's too expensive I'm not going to do it'. I've just spent SO much money over the years on parasite/candida cleanses, colonics, Ayurvedic foods/supplements, Acupuncture/ Traditional Chinese Medicine supplements...basically every type of "healthy detoxifying lifestyle" choice there is, that it frightens me. I've had the same attitude through all of them-"If it's good for my body, it doesn't matter how much it costs", etc. But, after going through all of those cycles- and always back out into the SAD diet, it's making me look very hard at my wallet. I'm gathering that eating raw will clear my head away from the obsessions over food, my body size, always having to "cleanse" myself, etc. so believe me I am determined to make this stick.
I plan to do this slowly- as I said I have yet to purchase Alissa's book. I don't want to rush into this like I did all the aforementioned modalities. I mentioned "maca powder" because my friend is eating that, plus cacao beans, Goji berries, Manuka 10+ honey- you know all the "fancy" stuff. So, I imagined I'd have to eat exactly as she does and thought to myself :eek:, I can't spend $30 on some berries.
Anway, thanks to your replies I will remember to take things slowly and begin to look around for the products I need. I'm sure reading the book- though it seems daunting at over 600 pages- as well as the journals/posts on this site, will help to calm my fears.
(fear being lack of faith :) )
Peace and blessings,
07-17-2005, 09:44 PM
Alissa's book is actually "just" 543 pages. You have to understand that there is lots of white space on each page -- 1/3 of the page is empty -- which she designed so that you can write your comments and notes right there. So ... her 543 page book is not at all daunting. I think it's one of the easiest to read. It's also written in her own voice, so it's like she's sitting there just talking to you.
Since you're serious about this, please do buy her book right away. Hopefully, you'll pick up her DVD, also. With those two, you'll have all you need to start this lifestyle off on the right foot -- and to succeed.
Other people have already debunked assumption that you need to eat the "luxury" items to thrive on raw, but I'd like to add another thought about them. Advance warning - the following is highly opinionated: all that "superfood" stuff -- cacao beans, goji berries, maca -- is just hype. Look carefully at who truly benefits from newbies believing that they must these things are the keys to radiant health ... and that they are the way humans were meant to eat. Oh puhleez!! Just eat fruits, veggies, nuts & seeds. It's just that simple.
Additionally, you really don't need supplements (with the exception of a little B-12 occasionally -- like every 6 months or so). Again, this is my opinion. Responsible nutritionists and doctors (even those who advocate cooked foods) always say that the best source for vitamins and minerals is by eating nutrient-rich food. So why not just eat your vitamins in the raw and living foods? The supplements are just "insurance" for those who eat unhealthily. This is not emphasied, though, because the supplement industry wants to stay in business. How can they do that? By convincing people that their products will cure them, extend their life, guarantee their health, etc.
So there's the end of my rant.
Now, as Revvell first stated, the only way to know whether this lifestyle will be expensive for you is to compare it to what you're now spending. "Expensive" is relative, as is obvious from different people's replies to your original post.
Some people know exactly what they've spent, often because they're either on a budget or because they watch their expenses closely. Others say they've no idea what they spend -- perhaps because they don't need to be careful with their finances.
Some people were buying meat, dairy, frozen and canned foods, and/or eating out frequently and buying into the Starsucks mentality (A Starbucks a day keeps retirement away). Others were eating those SAD things but were budget watchers, buying what's on sale and in bulk and eating at home or brownbagging it. Still others were eating healthy vegan or vegetarian diets, thus eliminating the meat expense. I could go on, but it'd be silly. The point that I'm sure I've totally belabored is that nobody else's experience or opinion really matters.
What matters is your own situation. It should be fairly easy for you to tally up what you spend on food in a typical week -- both food for home and food that buy and eat away from home, including drinks. Then, imagine eliminating the expense for all those things that you won't be buying anymore. It'll likely be quite affordable.
As others have stated very well, you can equip your kitchen sijmply and economically.
But, getting back to my first point, the most important thing you can do for yourself right now is to buy Alissa's book (and, hopefully, her DVD). And ... remember, you can do this your way, which doesn't have to look like the way your friend is doing it.
Welcome -- Your future of health awaits you!
p.s. Oh my, I just noticed where you live.There are SO many raw foodists in the area. In fact, two who are active on this board live within 1/2 hr. of you. And, you have that gorgeous Whole Foods market close by ... and dynamite farmers' markets. Wow -- you have it made!
07-17-2005, 10:04 PM
Get Alissa's book it really will save you money. Be sure to check out what she eats every day which is nothing like the recipes in the book. You will get there too eventually :) The equipment you'll need depends on what you're used to eating and whether you'll have cravings. Another honest book is the Raw Truth.
A knife and a food processor or a blender are enough for me! I am really into salads and with a savory dressing you will not feel like you are missing a thing.
Spending money on food... hmm... i think $ is better spent on fresh food within 2 degrees of separation, than on other weirdness. Clothes, medicines, colonics, copayments, INSURANCE! Where does that $ go, honestly! And makeup! I look better without makeup than with it now. Ahhhhh.
Personally I think cacao is bad for you, honey will hurt your teeth, goji berries are a nice luxury item but not essential by any means, and nothing beats a handmade bliss ball.
07-17-2005, 10:42 PM
Yeah the money issue is a good one and definitely I think it is worth the investment. I try to buy all organic foods but in my area (Atlanta) some organic foods are really pricy (like Tomatos at 4.++ a pound) so I buy whatever is reasonable organic (like lettuce or bannas, pretty similar in pricing). However over the standard amiercan diet I would say it's cheaper at least for me. I was buying doritos and ice cream as a supplement to my regular diet and just that alone was really pricey. Now I would say a bag of apples equals about 2 containers of ice cream so instead of paying 10.00 I pay about 2.50. So in general the costs have gone down.
07-17-2005, 10:54 PM
You'll hear alot from rawbies that as they progress in raw, they dont' eat as much.
I made 1/2 batch of the mock salmon paté and it lasted me for 4 days if not more if I didn't shared it with my sister.
07-18-2005, 02:19 AM
Additionally, you really don't need supplements (with the exception of a little B-12 occasionally -- like every 6 months or so). Again, this is my opinion. Responsible nutritionists and doctors (even those who advocate cooked foods) always say that the best source for vitamins and minerals is by eating nutrient-rich food.
Thanks for your entire heartfealt reply. However, I have one question about this statement. :o Is it just more "hype" when nutritionists or healers say things like "you'd have to eat 5 oranges a day to get the equivalent nutrition of 1 orange your grandmother ate"? I read that in Whole Life Times not too long ago, so I thought that's why supplements were necessary. As I'm rereading this thread, I realize that such an ideology is moreso my fear talking (another excuse to make the raw food lifestyle "too expensive") but I am curious as your- and anyone elses'- opinion.
p.s. Oh my, I just noticed where you live.There are SO many raw foodists in the area. In fact, two who are active on this board live within 1/2 hr. of you. And, you have that gorgeous Whole Foods market close by ... and dynamite farmers' markets. Wow -- you have it made!
Yes, I know I have it made out here. :D I discovered the farmers' markets a few months ago, but I'd really like to use them efficiently, get to know the farmers, etc. I love that Whole Foods too! I think it's the best in the LA area. The Santa Monica and 3rd Street stores are too crowded and while the National (Westwood?) store has great variety...I don't live over there LOL.
07-18-2005, 07:35 PM
Beautiful - be sure to check out thrift stores and second hand shops for equipment and utensils. I found a brand new Saladaco (used for making veggie pasta) for $1 at Salvation Army, an electric citrus juicer (old one and well made) for $8, a Braun juicer that fits my needs nicely (and easy to clean) for $15 and a 4 tray Excalibur dehydrator for $4. I love my citrus juicer - I use it all the time! I almost didn't by the Excalibur dehydrator since I already have one, but I thought for $4 how could I pass it up?!
As far as your question:
[QUOTE=beautifulone7] Is it just more "hype" when nutritionists or healers say things like "you'd have to eat 5 oranges a day to get the equivalent nutrition of 1 orange your grandmother ate"?
They are quoting from David Boyles and Anita Roddick's book Numbers. Why don't you contact him and find out where he got his stats? His website has his email address: http://www.david-boyle.co.uk/
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