- By guest blogger Sam Socorro
Everyone wants to be healthy, but it can be hard to know who you can trust with your food. With all the controversy surrounding food processing, artificial ingredients, and loose regulation, it’s no wonder that droves of people are turning to vegan and raw food-based diets.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways: if you’re going to eat a raw food diet, you should really eat organic foods. There’s no point in trying to reap benefits from raw foods if you’re going to ignore the pesticides and other undesirables that exist in most supermarket foods.
Sure, raw food diets are constantly praised by doctors, health-gurus and celebrities, but where are ordinary people supposed to find a good source of organic, healthy, raw food without spending their entire paychecks on a week’s worth of food? After all, not everyone has the seven-figure salary of a celebrity…
The price of produce varies greatly, according to My Money Blog, a website that serves as an educational tool for investment and financial planning. Mushrooms top the list of vegetable prices at $4.02 per pound, while potatoes are only 48 cents per pound. Remember, if you shop smart, you can shop cheap. The prices listed are for inorganic foods, but the logic applies to both organic produce as well.
Another way to view the value of produce is to take a look at its nutritional content. Sightline, an independent, nonprofit research center, has compiled a few lists that rank fruit and vegetable prices against their ANDI, or Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. Basically, they’ve shown what foods provide the best nutrition at the cheapest prices.
Among the top scorers of their vegetable lists (top means good value), Sightline has cabbage, collard greens, and carrots listed. As for the fruits list, watermelon is by far and away to the most nutritious for its price, followed by plums, oranges, apples and strawberries.
If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck with an organic raw food diet, you should take the time to learn the relationship between seasons and produce. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying more money for less quality. This is because, during the colder months, supermarkets will outsource their produce-farming to warmer climates, leading to early harvesting and product degradation during transit. Still not convinced? The increased prices of getting said fruit from the farm to the store end up getting paid for by consumers.
The USDA has an expansive guide on what produce grows during each season, as well as ideas for how to use them in dishes and basic nutritional information. Each season has its own list, and each list as more than twenty examples of popular produce that grows during each season.
By comparing the sources above, we can create our own list of the most cost efficient produce, both in price, nutrition, and season. In the spring, you should buy cabbage, collard greens, carrots, and cauliflower. In the summer, you should focus on watermelon, plums, oranges, and strawberries. For fall and winter, go for bananas, oranges, carrots, cabbage, and collard greens.
Look for local farmer’s markets to find good deals on the freshest produce available. Afraid of the prices on premium veggies? Don’t be. Happy Money Saver reports that many produce items are actually cheaper at a farmer’s market than at a supermarket. If you do your research, you can find out what prices are best for both farmer’s markets and supermarkets.
Not everyone can afford to go completely organic. If your budget is tight, and you feel that you need to supplement your diet with inorganic food, you should look for food with inedible rinds, like bananas or oranges. Because you peel the outermost layers off, you won’t consume the pesticides that get sprayed over the crops. Similarly, you should never eat berries that aren’t organic, as their porous surface makes them more likely to absorb chemicals. This logic applies across most produce.
Despite what you hear, raw foods don’t have to break the bank. If you’re smart and plan ahead, you can figure out what foods to buy, when to buy them, and where to find the best prices. Luckily, the prices of raw, organic foods will only go down as demand and agricultural advancements progress.
This article was written by guest blogger Sam Socorro from Steam Shower Store. Sam has been writing articles for over 10 years and is a commanding voice in the health and fitness community with her articles high in demand.