If one would’ve asked me 6 months ago if I’d have considered switching to a raw food diet, I’d likely have looked at them as if they were looney.
We’ve always worked to find a balance with our eating, serving our favorite foods with a sprinkle of vegetables in between.
However, in the last 5 months, we’ve fallen in love with a diet that consists largely of vegetables, and this is nothing short of a miracle.
Our family’s love affair with food has been long-lived. We are foodies by nature; you know the kind of family where love = how much good and tasty (not necessarily healthy) food you serve people when they show up at your door.
As such, implementing a raw foods diet into our family has not been without its challenges. I remember going to Great-Grandma’s house on the weekends as a child.
Everyone was welcome, and her large family always ensured that at least a dozen people would show up to chat on any given Sunday or Saturday.
We’d walk in the door, unannounced (this is the way it was back in the day – you’d just show up to visit family or friends), and Great Grandma would say, “Oh, I wish I’d have known you were coming – I would’ve had some food ready!”
Then she’d head for the pantry and the fridge and pull out all of the leftover goodies from the week: leftover turkey dinners, casseroles, breads and cakes. And we’d chat and eat until the sun went down, laughing and sharing our week’s stories.
Following the traumatic birth of our oldest daughter (her and I both nearly died), my health went down the tubes fast, and soon I was all but bedridden, unable to care for our home or play with my growing daughter.
Tests at the doctor’s office showed nothing was wrong, but I knew something must be up in order for me to be in so much pain. I listed nearly 30 different symptoms that showed that my health was not good, but the doctor simply went off of his tests, and his tests showed that I was fine.
After dealing with these symptoms for over a year, in a desperate attempted to get well, I committed to 30 days on a raw food diet. I didn’t know what else to do, but I knew I had to do something.
I wanted desperately to be able to care for and play with my daughter, and to care for our home. I ate nothing but fresh veggies and fruits for the 30 days, and at the end of the month, 75% of my symptoms disappeared and I was once again a “normal” functioning wife and mother. That was my first experience with the role food plays in our health.
The Raw Food Diet in Today’s Society
Advertising and marketing have conditioned us to want crème-filled cookies and astro-burgers over carrots and lettuce. Our taste buds have been conditioned to abhor raw foods, and to crave salt and sugar.
Retraining your taste buds is never fun – they will indeed rebel at the first attempts to be re-conditioned to eating food the way that God made it.
Going from a mainstream or “normal” eating lifestyle to a raw food diet will likely be met with resistance from family, friends and your body alike.
Our Family’s Experiment With a Raw Food Diet
Fast forward 14 years and oldest child is now 15 and has three younger siblings. Oldest child is your typical oldest, perfectionist and driven.
As she pursues a career in comic writing and illustrating, she spends an immense amount of hours researching both her comic subjects (she specializes in writing comics that extend the story of vintage shows like Battlestar Galactica) and the current comic talent of today’s world.
In her research, she found that one of her role models eats primarily a raw food diet. His story and health results sounded intriguing, and she committed herself to her own test with a raw food diet.
Ironically, this same weekend that she declared her commitment to eating raw foods found the family and I watching the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which chronicles a man who drank nothing but freshly pressed raw food juices for six straight months in order to get his health back.
So, in January of 2015, just as our bodies were recovering from holiday junk food overload, we committed to 5 days of juicing and to starting a raw food diet after that.
The first three days or so were TOUGH. We craved sugar and salt, and the Mean Green Juice recipe from the documentary was anything but pleasing to our palates.
I’d have to force the kids to drink their juice, and they did it none too happily. But something funny happened toward the end of the week: we began craving our juice much the way one would crave their evening glass of Chardonnay.
The next week, we implemented our raw food diet. We filled the house with our favorite fresh veggies and fruits, and continued to juice during the week as well.
Our health improved drastically, our moods were no longer erratic (this is BIG in a house of 4 females and 2 males who are often left to combat female hormone changes while being very outnumbered.
Oldest child, who is also proficient in Krav Maga (a form of self-defense used by the Israeli army) found herself vastly improved in focus and comprehension during combat classes.
The changes in all of us were beyond noticeable, and we soon fell in love with surviving on a raw food diet.
Raw Food Diet Foods
A raw food diet can consist of any number or variety of whole, fresh fruits and veggies, although we try and keep fruit to no more than 25% of total calories consumed.
I’m amazed at how good we feel avoiding dairy and wheat and focusing on veggies and fruits. Most people, when picking out their raw food at the grocery store, stick to their tried and true favorites: carrots, apples, etc.
However, there is a wealth of foods out there that can make a raw food diet exciting and flavorful. Raw foods don’t have to consist of simply fruits and veggies, as there are a variety of raw nuts and seeds out there that will enhance your raw food experience.
Many raw foods recipe sites also include whole oats and the like in their recipe suggestions, as well as raw fish, raw cocoa beans, etc.
The great thing about a raw food diet is that you can customize it in a number of ways to lean toward your personal food likes.However, I would suggest that one be open to trying new things while experimenting with a raw food diet.
Raw Food Diet and the Budget
People often lament that a raw food diet is too expensive and wreaks too much havoc on the family budget. We haven’t found that to be true. As a family of six, we keep our grocery budget to under $500USD per month while still eating primarily raw foods.
We accomplish this a number of ways, such as:
- Buying in bulk at the local warehouse clubs. We get a 10 pound bag of carrots there for $6.99.
- Planning our menu and shopping around what’s on sale. If blueberries are on sale in a given week, then we’ll be stocking up on blueberries, for instance.
- Growing a large garden. Each year we grow a large garden and fill it with various vegetables that can contribute to our raw food lifestyle. We also have some fruit trees and bushes in our yard, and use them to their full provision.
- Taking advantage of deals at the local farmers markets. Vegetables and fruits are often cheaper at farmers markets and roadside vegetable stands.
By using these techniques, and by being creative with how we mix and match different fruits and veggies together, we can keep our grocery budget low and still eat healthy and delicious meals.
Raw Food Recipes
We do look online at the various raw food websites to find ideas for recipes that might fit in with our families taste preferences. Two of my favorite sites are Raw Guru and Raw Food Recipes . I would have to say, however, that most of our recipe ideas come from simply experimenting in the kitchen.
Raw Food Health Benefits
As I mentioned above, the health benefits we’ve experienced from living on a raw food diet are extensive. We are healthier, have more energy, require less sleep, are calmer, more relaxed.
I remember after about two weeks of juicing and raw food diet living that, as a treat, I took the kids to the local soft-serve ice cream shop for cones.
They ordered, got their cones and we left. On the way home, all of the kids remarked about how the cones simply didn’t taste as good as they used to. One of the younger kids remarked:
“It’s as if ice cream has become Mean Green Juice, and Mean Green Juice has become ice cream.” She said, referring to our Bizarro world in which the kids now begged me to stop at the store to re-stock our Mean Green Juice ingredients on a regular basis. If this is a dream, please don’t wake me.
Sample Raw Food Diet Meal Plan
A sample raw food meal plan based on what we eat in the Frugal Farmer household would probably look like this:
- ½ cup of raw nuts (we choose from a variety: sunflower nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
- 1 serving of fresh fruit
- A salad buffet where each person throws into the lettuce whatever fresh fruits or veggies meet their fancy. We often use this homemade guacamole as the salad dressing.
- Dinner often consists of any variety of raw meals, such as this Raw Pesto “Pasta” or these lettuce wraps. There’s no shortage of ideas when it comes to raw food recipes; use your imagination and the sky’s the limit.
Raw Food Diet Grocery Shopping List for the Week
- 1 watermelon $4.99
- 1-10 lb bag organic carrots $6.99
- 2 bags organic romaine lettuce $8.98
- 3 boxes blueberries (2 lbs ea) $19.47
- 1 bag lemon kale salad $3.99
- 1 box organic spinach (1 lb) $4.49
- 1-3 lb. bag almonds $16.99
- 2 bags Asian salad $8.98
- 2 bags sunflower nuts $3.98
- 1-7 lb bag apples $7.98
- 2-6ct bag avocados $8.98
Our grocery list varies each week as we shop by what’s on sale and by the different kinds of meals we plan. We occasionally add in some organic brown rice or potatoes in the mix, depending on the mood, and we occasionally make a sweet treat, such as Mr. CBB’s Chunky Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies.
When baking, we always use organic sugar, flour and butter in order to try and keep sweet treats at least a little bit healthy. Buying these things at the warehouse club saves a good deal of cash.
We usually buy a big bag of nuts every other week or so, alternating between almonds, walnuts and cashews, and the big bags last us a good while and allow enough for adding into meals and snacking on as well. Raw nuts are a great source of protein.
You may think that a raw food diet won’t fit into your food-loving lifestyle, but 5 months ago, I would’ve said the same about us. I’d encourage you to try drinking Mean Green Juice for 3-5 days straight as a kick-off to your raw food diet experiment, as the juice detoxes the body and helps re-train your taste buds.
There are expensive juicers out there that can cost as much as $500, but we bought a nice Hamilton Beach juicer for $60 at the local Walmart. This juicer suits our needs well, as long as we care for it gently and clean it completely after each use.
If you’re considering a raw food diet, or if you simply want to be healthier and feel better, I encourage you to give raw food eating a try. You may just fall in love with the raw food lifestyle.
Contribution Post by: Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.
If you enjoy a certain diet or lifestyle and want to share it at The Grocery Game Challenge please contact me today. – Mr.CBB
June Grocery Game Challenge posts
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.
Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
Congratulations goes to Mary C for being the MAY 2015 GGC WINNER~ Please PM me for your coupon prize envelope.
Grocery Saving Tips
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.
NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.
If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.
2015 Grocery shop results
If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB Home Chef Nicola Don and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out!
Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.
- 6 x Bavarian Bread $1.99 = $11.95
- Large bag Perogies $3.99
- 2x Parmalat 2% Milk $3.97 each
- Miss Vickies Chips $3.99 (My dad wanted these)
- 4 x Sealtest Tuna $0.99 each
- Nutrigrain cereal bars $1.99 (Mom and Dad)
- Shredded Wheat cereal Big box $2.99
- Gluten Free Smoked Sausages $7.99-$3.20
- 3 x Russet Potato bags $0.99 each
- Bananas $1.61
- Watermelon $2.99
- Sweet Potatoes $3.55
- Gaylea Sourcream $0.99
Total out-of-pocket $54.22
- 6 x Astro Coconut Yogurt $1.97 (our son loves this)
- 2 x Packs of Chicken Breasts on sale $8.41, $8.34
Total out-of-pocket $28.57
- Cheerios 525g $3.99
- 2 x Eggs sale $1.50 each
Total out-of-pocket $6.99
- 2 x Kraft Medium Cheddar Sale $3.88each
- Turkey Breast slices $6.99-50%
- 2x Cervalet Salami $8.49 each -50%
Total out-of-pocket $19.73
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $206.91
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 90225
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Snap Groupon to date: $1.50
- Zweet to date: $6.50
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $4.50
GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
- Total to spend this month $235-$28.09 (over May) $206.91
- Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $
- Stockpile budget used this month: $0
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $22.00
- Total in-store discounts this week: $15.20
- Total in-store discounts to date: $459.60
- Total spent this week: $55.60 (not including what I get back from coupon apps)
- Total spent so far this month: $109.51
- Total over/Under spend this shop: $over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
- Total left to spend for the month: $97.40
- Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $218.12+ June $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): It was a busy week for us at the grocery store this week with 2 extra mouths to feed in our house. Although we are going away for a few days we still stocked up on some snacks my parents wanted for the road trip. There’s not much money left in the budget for this 5 week shopping month. This should be tight plus we have the stockpile budget to use up.
Canadian Coupons Found This Week
Since we have my parents here I haven’t taken the time to scour the stores or check out the coupon board at Zehrs for coupons. I’ll hopefully have more to report next week once we do our next shop.
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?:
YesNo, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading out but mobile coupon apps are the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households have gotten involved with their new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many apps that are already out there.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.
You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.
If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.
Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general. If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2015!
Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.
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