duminică, 5 februarie 2012

RAW foods on a Budget tips

17 Tips on How to Eat Well on a Budget

On food budgets both large and small one can eat poorly or
one can eat well. The following 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 country and your
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 promotes. This kind of
self-confidence in your own health and energy can not happen
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: nomi@rawgourmet.com.  (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 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-grow something yourself even in a
pot on your patio-cherry tomatoes and strawberries or herbs
work well in that type of environment.
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 even more 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. 
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 are lucky enough to have an Asian market within range
they are filled with all kinds of greens and interesting
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 saladacco ( spiral 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 monomeals 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 sales
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 $7.99 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.
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.
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. 
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 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 'foragables' 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 for under the ice 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
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 and buckwheat. 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.
I recommend The Sprout Garden by Mark Braunstein for more
in- depth sprouting information. By growing soil grown 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.)
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 onions, 6-10 garlic cloves, any other spices
or herbs you think that you will enjoy. Stir the flax seeds
and this mixture together, do not blend 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
Be sure your crackers are utterly dry thoughout 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 like a jar with a
tight lid or zip lock plastic bags.

By the way, two things to know are:

1. 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 reachingt 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.
2. 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 anything
from 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
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
raw nut butters
sunflower seeds (hulled)
nuts such as walnut or almond, hulled
Inshell nuts for snacks
flax seeds
olive oil
nama shoyu (similar to soy sauce but supposed to be raw) or sea salt
sea weeds: dulse, kelp
sprouting 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.
Yours in Good Health
Nomi Shannon
The Raw Gourmet

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