Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Raw on the Cheap.

Everyone is always yakking on about how expensive it is to eat healthy, most of the time its people who use it as an excuse. I would know, I used to! I think that really, if anyone, at any income level, wants to commit to a healthy lifestyle, they can. I know this because, as a student, I've lived with a very restricted budget and have been able to eat a high crab raw vegan lifestyle with good planning.

So what exactly is it that I do?

First and foremost, set a budget. Knowing exactly how much you can and want to spend on food is really important so that you can plan out your week's worth of food. I've set this as low as $50.00 a week and had more than food t satisfy my minimum of 2500 calories a day. Was it difficult? You could say that is just required much more planning, and more mono eating. But in reality, mono eating is ideal, so that didn't bother me one bit! I would say that my average spending for food would be $50-$100 a week at conventional grocery stores.

Second, do some research. Nowadays electronic sales flyers are really popular and you can get them directly sent to your email every week. With a limited budget, the best way is to buy the fruit that is on sale. Also, on't forget to check the discount rack! I've found masses of perfectly ripe bananas and other fruit and veggies for a fraction of the price. Another good idea that makes living on the cheap even easier is finding a wholesaler, which I hadn't been able to do at the time. Don't forget farmers markets in the warmer months!

Bananas will be your staple, at under $20.00 a case, they are usually the cheapest and most accessible calorie source you will find. Dates, when in season, are also a great idea. This also means that you will be eating with the seasons, since what's in season and abundant, is usually cheaper. As an example, I literally lived on citrus this past winter, it was amazing quality and super affordable.

Living on the cheap also means that unless you find a good wholesaler or farmers market, you will probably have to stick with conventional produce depending where you live and whats available. A great thing to look up for this purpose, are food co-ops. They have great buying power and can usually get you amazing prices if there is one in your area. You could even start up one if there aren't any already!

I also find that when I ate basically the same every other day I could still have variety every week while buying in bulk which saved money. So I'd have a simple salad every night that has almost all the same ingredients, but changing it up with spices or herbs (if you choose). Personally I can eat the same salad for a week and just change it up after wards. As for fruit meals, the bananas usually are always there, unless I'm feeling something else that week, and those are easy to keep interesting. You just have to prepare them in different ways: whole, smoothie, mashed, nice cream... The frozen fruit plays a vital role here as well, providing different flavor combinations. I like having at least 3 types of fruit for the week, always the best quality ones I can find, in season of course! This means oranges, persimmons, dates, pomegranates and other citrus in the winter. Mangoes, pineapples and the last of the citrus in the spring. Melons, stone fruit, berries and cherries in the summer. Grapes, apples, figs, dates and pears in the fall. With some fruit crossing over seasons, transition time is usually easy as well. This isn't even getting into greens and veggies which are amazing and are also something to cycle.

One thing that did take me time to get to this point is knowing how to cycle your fruit to always have ripe fruit ready to eat while avoiding any waste. I very rarely have any fruit go bad so no throwing money to the compost bin. This is something that you have to figure out for yourself, to see what works for you as an individual or a household.

This is an example of what I would buy for a week's worth of food in the winter/spring:

- One case bananas, $18.
- Small case oranges, $12.
- 2 cases Ataulfo mangoes, $14.
- 6 pack romaine hearts, $5.
- 2x 11 oz baby greens, $5.
- Case tomatoes, $10.
- Assorted frozen fruit, $10.
- 4 avocados, $4.
- Lemon, limes, ginger, assorted, $7.

TOTAL: $80.00

I also always have backup dates or raisins, which I buy about once a month (about $20 worth) so that I always have available calories around. I always eat at least 2500 calories a day with this, looks like something like this:

Breakfast: 10 large bananas with 2 cups frozen strawberries (1300 cals)
Lunch: 1L OJ with 4 mangoes, blended. (900 cals)
Dinner: Large Salad (500cals)
TOTAL: 2700 calories

Basically, if you really want to do this, you can. There are very little barriers to it. Even transitioning in with rice and potatoes as evening staples keeps it very inexpensive. I spend MUCH less money now eating raw than I used to being a cooked vegan before I found 80/10/10. I'd say that high carb cooked raw vegan is comparable though and depending on what you eat, can even be more inexpensive.

People who spend a ton of money being "healthy" are usually the ones going after super-foods and supplements including specialty foods. These things can run up your grocery bill in no time at all and quite frankly, for most people, they are not essentials. All fruits and veggies are super foods in their own right, labeling one as such and selling it for high prices is nothing but marketing ploys from corporations looking for profit. That being said, if you want to live off expensive imported fruit, then yes, it makes for a more expensive lifestyle.

Keep in mind, this is also in Canada. In the summer, I spend less. In countries that grow their own fruit, this lifestyle can be even easier to live on with a restricted budget including the US.

This is just a guideline. Those who need to eat more or have a bit more to spend can definitely find more variety. Buying with others is also a great idea because you can get half cases of different fruit, if that's what you need to succeed. The bottom line, it doesn't take much to be able to do this. Period. You just have to want it badly enough to commit to planning.

Keep it fruity!

Monday, 1 April 2013

April 2013 Goals.

Ahhh the start of a new month...

This monthly goals series is fast becoming one of my favorite ever blog ideas. It's keeping me consistent in not only setting goals, but also achieving them. So moving forwards and upwards is just that much easier!

This month, I want to set some higher and more intense goals, but not so much that I struggle a lot to achieve them. I need to find much more balance in my everyday life, while still making positive changes. This means that setting goals is a bit more difficult because it's requiring a bit more thought into the specifics of it all.

Starting with food as usual, I want to maintain what I've already achieved  while still keeping my attitude about cooked food that I've had in the past month, I have no expectations as to staying raw or not. I'm going to go with the flow and explore it a little. I also have some financial restrictions, since I'm moving at the end of the month to another city, I need to make sure that I can keep on budget this month. I still haven't 100% decided on a green juice feast, which I would want to do for 14 days. I think I might do a short one (3-4 days) this week to re-balance my digestion and then do a 14 day one when spring is truly here and the prices for produce has gone down around here.

This being said, with keeping in mind pushing myself to new levels, I am curious to see how long I can keep up with raw. The way I feel now is that it's become my new normal, even though I live in a cooked vegan household where I see and smell all the healthy cooked vegan foods I used to eat on a regular basis. While I've been tempted a few times, it hasn't been overwhelming to any degree.

Exercise time! Keeping in line with the goals I posted here, I've already started an 8 week 10k training plan, which has me running 3 times a week. Rock climbing has taken a backseat until after the move, so I'm going to be doing more body weight routines to round out my running schedule, concentrating on upper body strength  I also want to start the 100 squats a day challenge again, it was seriously awesome when I was doing it and now is the time to get back into it. This means working out at least 5 times a week and keeping up with it. I can't keep being wonky about this if I really want to get to a half-marathon and Tough Mudder in the fall. Water intake has been consistent enough that I'm happy with saying that I've accomplished it for now.

Sleep. That pesky thing. I'll definitely be striving to achieve the goal I set last month of a minimum of 8 hours a night. Earlier mornings would also be a good goal, since it always translates to me being more organized when I have more time to organize my day.

Spiritually, meditation is my biggest goal right now. I want to be meditating twice a day for at least 15 mins each time. I have had awesome experiences when I do this, even pushing it to 60 minute meditations on weekends. Having a clear mind is essential to moving forward towards your dreams. Yoga is also something that I've been struggling with, so I'm going to set a goal of 20 mins every other day at the minimum. I used to do that everyday on top of a much more strenuous workout routine, so this really should not be a problem. Bonus is that it will help with running!

I also think I need to seriously start working on starting a YouTube channel, I have it all set up, but I haven't uploaded any videos as of yet. This is something I've been wanting to do for far too long and just keep putting it off for too many reasons that just aren't valid. Fear is a powerful thing, and putting myself out there in that way is going to be my new goal towards getting over insecurities. This is a big step for me and I'll probably try a few test runs to see the way I want to set this up. I think just setting the goal of one video before the end of the month is a low end and trying for 2 or 3 is goal accomplished.

Blog wise, I want to talk about doing raw on the cheap, juice feasting, fitness regiment and meditation practice. I also want to finish up my anxiety post and get it published on here in the next few days.

Here comes April!! Have a fruitastic month everyone!