I saw this comment posted on social media the other day and thought it was interesting:
“Have you guys notice that Youtubers and bloggers who talk about raw food vegan diets usually live in tropics? Or somewhere damn warm? Where fruit and veg grows all year and all kinds of superfoods are there commonly available for low prices. Place and environment tends to change your habits, energy, and lifestyle.
I do believe raw vegan diet works, but not if you’re European making €700/month when €350 goes to rent, enjoying life and friends, having family, travelling only once a year, all on budget. Not buying meat, dairy, alcohol, sweets, cigarettes, ready meals – saves money big time, but even without that it’s often on the edge.
Organic fruit and veg is just generally expensive (and it comes from ridiculous destinations), that’s why people usually combine it with bread, spread, pasta, rice, yogurt, nuts, sauces.
If individual is one to blame, this system is also a part of the problem. I can’t go broke.
I agree a lot with this comment because I know a lot of people eating raw vegan diets living in tropical countries; you see images of them posted on social media all the time surrounded by 20 kilos of bananas, 80 mangoes, and 50 large papayas.
Nothing is wrong with this approach. I think it’s great if they can make it work for them but one thing is certain: it’s much easier to eat a fruit based diet when you are literally surrounded by delicious produce everywhere you look, and at affordable prices.
Some other raw foodists go even further: I remember when I first started eating raw vegan back in 2006, I was advised by a leading figure on the scene that an incredibly effective way of eating 100% raw is having your own orchard and growing your own food, which had me laughing.
I was like …Really? Well, it may be easy for someone who lives in the French countryside with their own orchard and garden and has organised their lives around raw foods for 20 years to preach about it – as if everyone else was just like them. At the time, I was a DJ and music producer living in Camden Town (Central London).
Have you ever been to Camden Town, the former home of Brit Pop and Dance Music? Where the heck do I find space to grow my own food in Camden? It’s an unrealistic piece of advice for people living in big cities, such as London or any other big urban area.
I trust that one of the reasons that my website and my writing are becoming widespread is because I try to put myself in other people’s shoes and give practical advice whenever possible.
As some of you already know, I am not based in a tropical country and never have been; I spend most of my time between London and Buenos Aires, which are two big, concrete cities and certainly not located near the equator. Even though, I still manage to eat 100% raw.
Argentina is a big country that produces most of the food it consumes, so fruit usually tastes very sweet in general, which is great when you eat this way, though prices are the same as in Europe.
Living in London is trickier though because it’s harder to obtain fruit that tastes sweet from supermarkets and if you do find some, it tends to be ridiculously expensive, such as the stuff you get from Marks and Spencer or Waitrose, which is out of the question most of the time.
Buy produce straight from wholesale. This way, by eliminating the middle men, you can obtain a wide variety of tropical and other fruit such as mangoes, melons, pomegranates, grapes, cherimoyas, etc. at half price.
Eventually you’ll get to know the sellers at these places and you’ll find great stuff.
If you don’t have close access to one of these markets because you live out of town, you can always organise yourself with a group of neighbours and visit these places every 15 days or so to do your shopping.
Something else decisively important when trying making a raw diet work is having access to the right menu planners and recipes.
I remember I once bought a new raw recipe book about a gourmet “nut-free” cuisine that was doing the rounds.
I thought great, I’ll try this. After buying the book and upon closer inspection I realised that yes, none of the recipe used nuts, but guess what? A whopping 90% of recipes featured Thai coconuts as the main ingredient!
Well, that’s OK if you live in Thailand, I guess. Do you know how much it costs to buy a fresh Thai young coconut in London these days? £3 (US$ 3.80) from China Town; you pay even more at supermarkets.
I was shocked. How much money do I need to spend to prepare these recipes? Besides the money, it all became too much hassle.
This is why, and out of real frustration, I made sure that almost all of the recipes including in our Raw Vitality Starter Kit feature easy to find ingredients that not only taste delicious, but also will not break your bank.
Just as I made this lifestyle work for me whilst living in London, I am sure you can make it work elsewhere.
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