Saturday, July 9, 2011

Raw on a Budget

OK, you can disregard the percentages on that last post. They were arbitrary anyway. I'm worried that I've gotten too good at this, and I know how to eat healthy without obsessing over ratios and quantities. I had a meal plan today that I followed for the most part, but I subbed a banana for the one and a half cups of beans I had already prepared. I just wasn't hungry anymore. Two thousand calories seems like a whole lot when eating nutrient-dense foods. Hopefully I'll get used to it eventually.

I've been spending more time with Emily, my mostly raw (75+ percent) vegan friend, and she's been reading David Wolfe's "Sun Food System" (or whatever) book recently. I think it has inspired her to go completely raw, which bothers me, because I felt like she was too raw already. To be honest, one of my biggest problems with the raw diet as it is typically practiced is that it is way too expensive. With all the obscure sea nutrients, $50 tubs of dry green powder, cocoa powder that seems to cost 20 times what Hershey's does, and with everything being organic, I don't even want to think about what the actual costs of such a diet might be for me.

With that said, I was thinking about apes today, and what they eat. Fruit, nuts, seeds, and greens, right? (I actually don't know, but that sounds right to me.) Why is this important? I'm an ape. A pale, mostly hairless ape. If I give the raw people any credit, it's on the grounds they are eating a diet more in line with the one nature provides. Wait, scratch that. They are potentially eating a diet along natural lines, so long as they aren't overdoing it with all the dehydrated, powdered, and liquefied stuff.

So, what I want to know is, can I sustain myself on a balanced raw diet for less than $200 a month? Because of my current ape infatuation, I also want to do it without buying anything processed, or processing any of my own food. I chose $200 a month for a goal because that's what the government provides in food stamps to an individual making no qualifying income (at least for Austin, Texas).

I decided to look at the weekly grocery store mailings for the cheapest produce, and I also calculated (and here's the part where I feel clever) the amount of calories per dollar for each item, to use as a factor in making food choices. Below is my meal plan for tomorrow. It's mostly (all) conventional produce, and I guess apes only eat organic, but you know what? I don't care. I'm poor.

July 10 (raw)
  • 1 cup raw Virginia peanuts - 828 calories, 38 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbs, 72 grams of fat, $0.64
  • 1 pound peaches (3 medium) - 177 cal, 4 P, 45 C, 1 F, $0.47
  • 1 pound Jonagold/Braeburn apples (1 of each) - 236 cal, 1 P, 63 C, 1 F, $0.99
  • 1 pound plums (7 total, some black and some red) - 209 cal, 3 P, 52 C, 1 F, $0.99
  • 1 pound strawberries - 145 cal, 3 P, 35 C, 1 F, $0.97
  • 1 bunch spinach (12 oz.) - 78 cal, 10 P, 12 C, 1 F, $0.88
  • 3 bananas - 315 cal, 4 P, 81 C, 1 F, $1.06
Total calories: 1988; Total protein: 63 grams (11%); Total carbs: 312 grams (57%); Total fat: 78 grams (32%); Total cost: $6.00

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