by Joyce Wiatrowski of www.foodiefumblings.com
Why should vibrant health, abundant energy and permanent weight loss belong only to those who can afford fancy equipment and expensive supplements or superfoods? Health is available to anyone with a willingness and determination to take responsibility for herself. And it can be done on a limited budget.
For many people, embarking on a raw food, vegan lifestyle can be an intimidating proposition. Not only are we attempting to re-program our way of thinking about food and nutrition, we’re challenging ingrained habits, and breaking cycles of perceived pleasure that have developed over many years of eating cooked foods laden with sugar, salt and fat. Then we top all that off with changing the way we shop for food. It’s no wonder many experience a lot of frustration starting out. Lack of knowledge, lack of experience, and quite often, lack of funds can ultimately destroy our best intentions.
Have a Plan
Start increasing the amount of fresh food you buy with the same food budget you’ve been using. Switching to a live foods diet should be a gradual transition. It’s easier on the body and the budget and offers a better shot at success. If you are eliminating meat and dairy from your diet, and that is the best first step toward a healthier lifestyle, allocate the money you would have spent on animal products for fresh, organic fruit and vegetables.
Check your local supermarket weekly sales flyers for produce specials. Seek out produce markets in your area and certainly check out farmers markets within driving distance.
Make a List
Having the right foods on hand at mealtime and snack time keeps us on track. Invest a little time in making a list based on how you plan to eat. Green smoothies in the morning? Salad or raw veggies and dips for lunch? Another smoothie for dinner or some lightly steamed cruciferous veggies? Be sure you have enough greens and fruit to cover meals and snacks for 3 to 4 days at a time.
Make an effort to add one or two new organic choices along with plenty of commercially grown fruit and vegetables each time you shop. Include plenty of dark, leafy greens. Watch the grocery store ads for produce specials. This week, at my local grocery chain, organic, vine-ripened tomatoes were $1.99/lb. The commercially grown ones were $2.49/lb. Organic was the better buy. Shop late in the day at the farmers markets, often locally grown items will be reduced rather than having to truck them back home. Most local farmers are generous with their count, too, come closing time.
While fresh is best, frozen is next best. Take advantage of summer specials on berries and melons. Cut up cantaloupe and honeydew melons, line cake pans or a baking sheet with waxed paper and freeze the pieces individually, when frozen store them in freezer bags for later use. Wash and hull berries, freeze individually then store in bags. Squeeze limes and lemons and freeze in ice cube trays. Then transfer to freezer bags. One cube is approximately one tablespoon. These are great to have on hand to add to salad dressings or when making pâtés, dips and flax crackers.
Do a Little Research
Make your transition an adventure. Don’t worry needlessly about organic vs. non-organic. Buy organic, when you can. Get a list of the ‘dirty dozen’ (most pesticide) and choose organic when purchasing those items. But commercially grown produce beats processed food any day. The amount of pesticides you may ingest won’t be anything new to your digestive system. If you’ve been eating processed foods, fast foods and packaged convenience foods, your organs have been dealing with fungicides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, synthetic chemicals, diesel fumes, mold, mildew, fruit flies, larvae, rat droppings and who knows what else. Our kidneys, liver, digestive system and other organs are proficient at moving it out or storing it up. Start including more fruit and veggies at every meal and replace at least one meal a day with a big green smoothie. That’s a recipe that fits anyone’s budget.
Get Your Blender Whirling
Don’t worry about fancy equipment. The best blender is the one in the cupboard that you aren’t using. Get it out, set it up on the counter and join the Green Smoothie Challenge. That’s the best first step anyone can take regardless of economic situation. If you have a super duper workhorse of a blender, then shame on you if you aren’t putting it to work everyday.
Don’t fret about not being able to include all the superfoods we hear about. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” isn’t some old wives tale! Buy a bag of organic apples, eat one every day, it’s a great super food. And by the way, apples and pears make a great fruit base for green smoothies without adding too much sugar.
Live Life Fully
Why should vibrant health, energy and permanent weight loss, the benefits derived from adopting a live foods lifestyle, be only for the affluent? My brimming bags of dark leafy greens cost a fraction of the grocery bills I watch being rung up ahead of me in the check out line. Best of all, I’ve no need to shop at the pharmacy. I’ve taken to heart Hippocrates’ admonition: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” Green Smoothie, anyone?
Joyce Wiatroski, retired, pursues a vegan lifestyle on a limited budget and blogs regularly about live food meals.