Posted by Joe | Filed under Cheap Raw Food
That seems like a ridiculous number for anyone who has been spending $5 on a bag of kale chips or $10 for a jar of raw sauerkraut. I find myself doing that all the time and I look at my grocery bill at the end of the month as the biggest non-fixed expense I have every month. Is it possible to eat fully raw on less than $7 a day? And how easy is it? The answers are here, so look no further.
We are not talking about eating 1,300 calories a day and we’re not talking about eating bananas and soaked oatmeal all day. We are talking about getting a wide spectrum of healthy raw foods in our body for less than $7 a day, and I’ll introduce you to a new tool in the process. The USDA has a pricing table of average food costs, and at the very low end of the spectrum their “Thrifty Plan” lists the average food prices for a 19-50 year old male or female at $40 a week, or $5.70 a day. Based on that, I think getting a full day of all nutritious raw food for under $7 is pretty damn good.
Choosing Cheap, Nutritious Raw Foods
Lets make up a quick list of the cheapest raw foods that provide enough calories, nutrients, and variety to satisfy an average day. From cheap to less cheap, a sampling of the cheapest foods from each category look something like this:
Bananas: $.19 ea.
Lemons: $.33 ea.
Avocados: $.50 to $1.50 ea.
Veggies and Greens
Bell Peppers: $.88/ea.
Sweet Potatoes: $1/lb
Nuts and Seeds
Sunflower Seeds: $2/lb
Flax Seeds: $4/lb
The possibilities are endless. You can pick and choose enough items from each category to get a rainbow colored spectrum of food that meets your caloric, nutrient, and tasty needs. One of my future goals is to provide you with a tool, or even and Excel document, that shows you a matrix of every food at every price level with all of their nutrients listed. You can get that data from the USDA here, but I digress.
Luckily, instead of computing the pricing, nutrients, calories, timing, etc. I’ve found a really cool new tool that will save you lots of time. I just stumbled upon this tool through Hacker News, and fell in love with it right away.
The Amazing Meal Planning Tool
I just discovered this new tool that you need to check out right now called Eat This Much, an automatic meal planner web app that automates your meals for two weeks, including pricing, recipes, and times of days to eat the food. This is exactly what I’ve always wanted, especially because of the pricing aspect of it, but also because of its automation and the simple recipes it suggests to you.
Is it raw food friendly? I would give it about a 7 out of 10 on that front. You can select your food choices and calorie goals for the day and it automatically suggests you a days’ worth of meals. Now the meals are not perfect, and sometimes you’ll be told to eat two cups of almonds, which isn’t always a good move if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. The app has that covered though – if you don’t like a part of your day’s meal, you can refresh that food item to get a new one. You can plan your meals one day at a time for free, or you can sign up for their $9/month plan and get two weeks planned out, be able to print out your meal plan, and get shopping lists. I’m not being paid at all to promote this, I just love the tool so much.
Here’s what a raw day would look like using the tool:
I think this tool will be extremely helpful for many of us who struggle to spend less, eat enough nutritious raw food, and not spend 2 hours a day making it. I know it will be a time saver for me and will impact my overall health. Best of luck on the journey!
- Eating raw for $3.33 a day? Now that’s hardcore.
- I was inspired by Raw on $10 a Day for this title.
- I also just discovered The Rawtarian’s abundance of simple raw food recipes
Do you ever feel hot on the surface of your skin or just in general for no reason? This might go hand in hand with a feeling of malaise and tiredness as well. I’ll talk about personal experience first and then back it up with insight from other thought leaders.
1. Problem from Eating Lots of Breads and Starches
On days when I don’t eat mostly raw, and eat a lot of cooked starches and breads, I notice a general feeling of hotness and heat in my internal body temperature. My theory is that I’m not getting enough enzymes in my body to help digest the foods. There are lots of people who are gluten intolerant, but at the same time there are some who are slightly affected by gluten, so I imagine that there is a sliding scale of gluten intolerance, and probably nobody should eat only gluten heavy foods.
“Although much remains unknown, it is clear that gluten—a staple of human diets for 10,000 years—triggers an immune response like an enemy invader in some modern humans.” – Wall Street Journal
Some on the other side will say that your body has plenty of enzymes to digest all food and you get no enzyme from your food to help digest your food. Dr. Fuhrman says that “plant foods do not supply enzymes that aid in their digestion when consumed by animals.”
Even though he lays out that point, Dr. Fuhrman also says in that same article that “raw food is necessary for digestive efficiency, proper peristalsis and normal bowel function. Certain foods, especially fruit, avocado and nuts undergo significant change with cooking and are best eaten raw”. What we can make from this is to include lots of raw food in your diet, and see how you digest cooked vs raw foods and try for yourself.
2. Uneasy, Hot Temperature from Beer and Wine
I do enjoy drinking beer socially, so I’m not the perfect model of a raw food advocate, but someone who is making it as much of my diet as possible. David Wolfe recommended drinking darker beers if you are not ready to give up beer completely because they contain more nutrients. Overall though, I find when I drink certain beers such as commercial beers I get more irritated and a hot, sweaty feeling as compared to craft beers that are made more purely. Commercial beers have lots of ingredients that are not so pure, so I avoid these as much as possible. When combined with a heavily starchy diet, I feel very uneasy and unbalanced.
3. Feeling Gross from Processed Snacks
Another problem area is from fried snacks such as chips, especially heavily spiced ones as barbecue chips. A lot of the ingredients may sometimes seem harmless enough, especially in healthy sounding chips, but their vibrational energy, as explained by Natalie Rose in Raw Food Life Force Energy is some of the lowest on the scale. Surprisingly, once in a while when I will eat falafel sandwiches or wraps, I’ll get not so great of a feeling either. Falafels are essentially fried garbanzo beans, so when you’re frying stuff like that in extremely hot oil, you can’t expect a feeling of boundless energy and purity .
How to Counteract Hot Feeling from these Foods:
1. Enzyme Rich Foods
Some of the highest enzyme rich foods are basically all raw vegetables and greens. My favorite quick pick me ups for lots of healthy enzymes are carrots, spinach or any greens, cucumbers, or apples. I recommend eating these whole rather than juiced as your first choice, if you do want to juice it go ahead also. Something about carrots just always does the trick though.
2. A Green Smoothie or Juice
There are benefits to both of these, a homemade green juice will instantly put tons of nutrients and enzymes in your body. My favorite combination is: apples, beet, cucumber, ginger, lemon and kale. The benefits of a green smoothie is a longer lasting feeling of fullness, plus you get all that good fiber that nature intended you to eat. Some of my favorite recipes can be found at Healthy Blender Recipes. You’ll get a wide range of people saying one or the other is better, I just think you should go with whatever you want without overdoing it. Obviously drinking too much carrot or apple juice everyday if you have blood sugar issues will cause problems, so be smart about it. It comes down to getting as much greens as possible every day.
3. Alkalizing Foods
Focus on alkalizing foods and you’re on the right path. When most of the food pushed at us in food marketing or at gourmet restaurants is very acidifying such as meat, cheese, and pasta, you have to take a few extra steps and effort to get a wide range of alkalizing foods in your body. Here’s a great list of alkalizing foods.
Thoughts from the Experts
Like that handy measurement conversion chart that you might have laying around in your kitchen somewhere, it’s good to have a few useful guides to make the preparation of your healthy raw meals much easier. The following food hacks were all found on Lifehacker.com and all relate to your raw fruits and veggies. They all seem to be little tips that your mother would share with you and that you always found so delightful. So here are the top tips I found:
Find perfectly ripe avocados: http://lifehacker.com/5919547/always-find-the-perfect-avocado-by-popping-off-the-stem?popular=true
Ripen avocado w/banana: http://lifehacker.com/5894448/use-a-banana-to-quickly-ripen-an-avocado?tag=fruit
Separate bananas to slow ripening: http://lifehacker.com/5891257/separate-bananas-to-slow-down-their-ripening?tag=fruit
Eat greens change genes: http://lifehacker.com/5848815/eat-your-greens-change-your-genes?tag=fruit
How many veggies are a serving [visual]: http://lifehacker.com/5804585/know-exactly-how-many-pieces-of-fruit-and-veggies-you-should-be-eating?tag=fruit
How to store fruits and veggies: http://lifehacker.com/338950/ideal-ways-to-store-fruits-and-vegetables?tag=fruit
Let me know if you know of any other tips, tools, or hacks that could benefit the rest of us. I have a online raw/vegan grocery/recipe/cost planning tool in the alpha/design/braindump phase so look forward to that in the months to come!
Posted by Joe | Filed under Productivity
If you haven’t heard of Adderall, it’s a prescription drug meant to treat ADHD, but is widely used on American college campuses as a study drug to enhance performance. Students most always use it when cramming for finals or to get a huge paper done. I have seen first hand students using it while in college, and students becoming dependent on it. One of my friends was actually a dealer of Adderall and sold the pills from $3-5 a pop. He had an unlimited prescription for it, so he paid for his weekend recreational activities with his profits from his dealing – not the healthiest of lifestyles.
I think we can all agree that we want more energy and focus every day to get the projects done that we want to get done. We all have a thousand ideas and visions of our own potential, but our future superhuman self is limited by our current lack of energy and distractions throughout the day. A lot of kids and adults turn to prescription drugs like Adderrall as a shortcut to laser-like focus, but I’ve seen first hand the detrimental side effects from the drug and know there is a better, more natural way.
I truly believe that by eating certain high energy foods with the right combination of exercise and healthy habits, we can mimic the effects of Adderall and craft that focus in a more natural Zen-like way.
Let’s first address the elephant in the room – CAFFEINE. We are going to focus on foods and drinks that don’t have caffeine. There is mixed information about the health or detriment of caffeine, and in the end it’s about balance. After talking to a lot of people about coffee, a lot of them look at it as a temporary addiction that they need to get through the day, but they plan on getting rid of in the future. A lot of people I’ve talked to are trying to cut down on coffee, or have sworn it off for good and are proud of themselves. Green and black teas are clearly much better than coffee, at least in my opinion and the word on the street, but in the same way people are a little torn on this substance so we’ll not talk about tea in this post either. If you want to see how caffeine affects spiders, here you go:
The Most Energizing Foods I Know
Some foods are built to assuage hunger, others for taste, but these give our bodies the most energy. Here is a list first of all of the most energizing foods I know, and we will next look at how to utilize these to create periods of warrior-like focus and energy with them in our days.
- Green juices – For example a concoction of apple, beets, cucumber, ginger, lemon, and kale juiced
- Green smoothies – A base of almond or coconut milk, with bananas, wheatgrass, spinach/kale/dandelion greens, and berries
- Cacao smoothies – 16oz almond milk, 4 medjool dates, 2 1/2 frozen bananas, 1 Tablespoon Cacao powder, 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed (Note: Cacao does not have caffeine – Source 1, Source 2)
- Carrots – A handful of these are super energizing with high amounts of enzymes
- Oranges – I don’t always feel the pulsing energy from them but at the right time of the day they are phenomenal
- Chia Seeds – In bars or kombucha – Chia is often called ‘Runners food’, and the energy it gives off is very potent
A Formula for Natural Energy and Focus
Everyone’s body and formula for daily focus and energy will fluctuate like the tides. Every person’s body is different so you must experiment and test what works for you. Here are some core principles though that will create the ideal environment for your mind to enter a zone of focus and energy similar to the effects of Adderall.
1. Absolutely get plenty of sleep the night before – you know how much you need (8+ hours generally, congrats if you need less)
2. You must have exercised the day before or on the day you want increased energy and focus, even a quick 20 minute workout makes all the difference
3. Clear your mind – if your mind is too scatterbrained to focus on your project, meditate for at least 5 minutes. Alternatively you can read an inspiring story, spiritual texts, or creatively inspiring text for 10-20 minutes.
4. In the morning drink one of the first three drinks mentioned above – the green juice, green smoothie, or cacao smoothie. The green juice is the most energizing.
5. Eat oranges, apples, bananas, or other light fruit 20 minutes after. If you feel too light-headed after your breakfast of fruit – ground yourself with some nuts or grains.
6. You should be feeling very energized and focused after your drink and fruit in the morning and you should have enough focus to start on your project. Do your project.
7. Around lunchtime, have a large salad with a diversity of greens and vegetables with some of your favorite raw dressing. If you are in the zone still from breakfast you don’t have to eat lunch until you are hungry and ready. If you are still hungry after the salad, have some nuts or flax crackers or anything whole that you can get your hands on that is as raw and vegan as possible.
8. If possible get a little bit of sun, and if you are near water jump in the ocean, river, or pool for a bit. Do some swimming and laps. Afterwards drink a cacao smoothie, another green juice, or have a bunch of carrots or celery with a raw dip if you want.
9. Continue to focus and finish the project with your continuing energy.
10. Stop the project when you have given all you can for the day, note your progress, and plan for the next day’s work.
I have had days where the pulsing energy has lasted all day until dinnertime, when I had a heavier and more grounding meal. I’ve also had days where I got a pulsing internal raw energy that allowed me to hit my peak in creativity and focus. Experiment with the above methods, but most of all listen to your body and your intuition. Note how you feel after certain foods and combinations. Tweak it until you hit that sweet spot where you can guarantee flow, creativity, and energy.
Report back what works for you and any arguments you have with some of the concepts from above. Now go find your flow…
Raw foodists are generally defined as people who eat raw uncooked vegan food as 70-80% of their diet daily. What do you call people who eat 100% raw for three days, 50% raw for a week, and 300% raw the two weeks after? The vast majority of us.
If you think of a bell curve, I would venture to say that the vast majority of raw food aspirants and lovers fall in that middle section of the bell curve, just like most things in life. Of all those who aspire to be a raw foodist, there are those who are beginners who are failing terribly at it on the left portion. Those that are elite and actually eat 80-100% raw food make up a smaller section on the right side. Then there are the most of us in the middle who are excellent and devoted for a full month, then you put us on a plane and send us to a new city and we fall off the wagon.
There are benefits to falling off the raw food train, and we don’t have to be self-loathing for missing a meal. One of the benefits of relapsing to say being a full time vegan instead of eating mostly raw is that you have time to reflect on what it was about eating mostly live foods that attracted us the most. Do you notice that you might feel a little more sluggish after that cooked yam and black beans. Or how the hot cooked falafel hummus wrap was good, but left you feeling a bit empty and not completely nutritionally satisfied? This period gives us a chance to not freak out that we had two cooked meals, but be thankful for the food we have and start fresh the next day ready to eat mostly living foods once again.
The times I move from mainly raw foods to cooked vegan foods are days when I was rushed and didn’t have time to prepare my next two or three raw meals. I know I am at my weakest when I don’t take the time out the night before to prepare my raw food for the next day, and I find myself in a rush in the morning and in a rut when it comes to lunch time. Those are the times I am the most vulnerable. This is an opportunity to realize that a lot of our success on the diet comes from thoughtful preparing. In a world that doesn’t make it easy to quickly grab healthy delicious raw food, we do have to work a little harder than the rest of the omnivorous population to keep ourselves honest and satisfied.
For most of us we enter and exit periods of motivation. We may read a life changing book that convinces us raw foods is the way to go and the way of the future and be energized and motivated for a few weeks, then get distracted and lose focus for a few months at a time. What I’ve found best to keep me motivated is to set shorter term goals for myself. If I am coming off a rough period where I haven’t been very raw, I’ll set a goal to eat raw foods for three days in a row, and I’m usually able to do this easily. What got me into raw foods long term initially was when I set a two week goal for myself, which then turned into about a 6-month period of only raw foods (except for beer!). Everyone has a different motivational timeline that we know works for us. It may be similar to an exercise timeline, whereas we can motivate ourselves to exercise hard for two weeks at a time or so before we have to move on to a new exercise routine. Some of you pros out there may be able to flip a switch in your brain and just charge it for three months at a time, but we’re all different.
The main point here is that we can view periods of relapse away from our goal of eating a mostly or only raw diet not as a failure but as an opportunity to reset. You will find that as you keep trying, you will become more resilient and intuitive in your food choices and motivation. Eventually it will become mostly muscle memory and you will be flowing with that raw food life force energy 24/7! The key is to treat ourselves when we relapse like that ideal disciplinary father – kind but firm. Learn from your mistake and get back on the horse the next day.
We can make ourselves feel good by reaching for stimulants that are quick and dirty, such as caffeine, sugar, fried foods, alcohol, or marijuana. We can also take another path that also makes us feel good, doesn’t take much more time to do, and requires even less effort than going to the store to buy our stimulant.
This other path is mediation. It’s something I am trying to do more and more, and after every mediation I am wondering why I am not doing it every day! Meditation has been used by all people throughout the world since the ancient times and it is not only an exotic practice from the Far East, as it has been encouraged throughout the church in the Western world just as long, although not as prominently perhaps since we usually associate meditation with some yogi sitting up high in the Himalayas.
Posted by Joe | Filed under Basics
There is often a dichotomy between our long term vision of who we want to be and the decisions we make in the moment. When hunger settles in and we have no readily available food options, our long term plan of eating a healthy diet flies out the window. I’ve been there many times myself, we start to crave something and end up letting the thing we are craving enter our thoughts and start to control our mind. We can rationalize anything as humans, thinking we owe it to ourselves to eat this burrito just this once, how we will become frail and weak if we don’t eat our body weight in protein every day.
The key to fighting this is awareness in the moment, put so eloquently by Leo Babuta at zenhabits:
“When we have urges to eat something we know is bad for us, we often give in. But is it that simple? The truth is that our mind is actually rationalizing why we should just eat that cake, why it’s too hard to not eat it, why it isn’t that bad to eat it. It asks why we’re putting ourselves through pain, why can’t we let ourselves just live, and don’t we deserve that treat?
All of this happens without our noticing, usually. It’s quiet, in the background of our consciousness, but it’s there. And it’s incredibly powerful. It’s even more powerful when we’re not aware it’s happening.
How can we defeat this powerful force — our own mind?
Awareness is the key. It’s the start.”
Of course there is flexibility for special occasions and social events, but every day is not a special occasion and the habits and self-control we exhibit on a day by day, meal by meal basis start to seep into our routine until it gets to the point where you will be able to control your cravings without even thinking about it. If we throw away our rationalization in that moment when our hunger is starting to control us, and instead listen to our intuition that tells us we are more powerful than that which we are after.
When you are extremely hungry in the moment, realize that your body is asking for nutritional satiation, not fullness. We often confuse the two, but there is a difference between eating to get the satisfaction of fullness and eating to give us more energy and nutrition. That’s not to say that we can’t meet our need to feel like we ate a full meal and be nutritionally satisfied – I recommend a huge salad with avocado, persimmons, pepitas, spinach and a savory dressing to meet that.
On a more practical level, when we are craving certain foods that means our body is trying to tell us something and if you take a moment to listen to your body and you have this handy cravings chart memorized or in your hands, I believe you can beat your cravings and stay on the path every time.
“The distinction between mind and body is an artificial dichotomy, a discrimination which is unquestionably based far more on the peculiarity of intellectual understanding than on the nature of things.” -Carl Jung
Posted by Joe | Filed under Productivity
What if you measured the cost and time of your food not by the actual cost you pay up front or the time it takes to prepare it, but by the impact this food has on the rest of your day. Instead of looking at a Hot Pocket and thinking about how it only cost $3, has 500 calories, and will only take 2 minutes to make, lets fast forward 30 minutes after this meal and analyze our productivity from it.
I think a better way of looking at food is to aim for high energy inputs and high energy outputs rather than the face value of the food. As humans, we have the ability to at least predict what will happen a little bit into the future. We may not know what next week will look like but we can project that after eating a nutrient defficient meal, we will feel horrible after less than an hour and this can negatively impact your day.
Continue reading “Raw Food Energy” »
Posted by Joe | Filed under Lists
Here’s a highlight of my favorite blogs I’ve come across this year devoted to raw food. Often times I find some good blogs but they tend to be outdated. So with this Best Raw Food Blogs of 2011 list, I made sure that the blogs have at least been updated in the last month or two. The blogs are ordered starting with my favorite Enjoy and list any others you have run across in the comments below!
1. Alltop Raw Food – An aggregator of all the best raw food blogs. Lots of links
Posted by Joe | Filed under Basics
If you have been thinking of taking a step towards a healthier raw diet, why not do just one day. Try it tomorrow. If tomorrow is not a good day then the day after, but try to do it this week.
There is never the perfect day to experiment with something new and take the next leap on your journey. Every week there will be a big proposal, birthday party, or it might just be too hot outside. Instead of waiting for the perfect day, choose a day that will be good enough and go for it. Perhaps you can choose your most flexible day this week and take that leap. Stock up on your favorite raw fruits and vegetables and grab two or three easy recipes for the day.
Any fears or reservations you may have about jumping into a high raw diet long term will be thrown out the window when you know you have to just do it for one day. Put aside any thoughts of not enough protein, cravings for Choco Tacos, or your favorite lunch sandwich and just focus on one day of freedom.
Continue reading “One Day Raw” »