Whole Foods = Whole Paycheck?

Budget, Health, Healthy, Journey, Juice, Juicing, Money, Raw, RawVegan, Vegan, vegetarian

Whole Foods is the Mecca of Yummy. Incredible produce, hard to find packaged products, a ridiculous cafe, and a terrible reputation of being expensive beyond belief.

When I was eating meat, buying lots of packaged things, I would easily spend $300 at Whole Foods. That is why I didn’t go often! It was definitely a special treat (Christmas time, after my bonus, etc.) When I switched to a plant based diet, I decided to take a trip back to my favorite store and see just how “expensive” it was.

I quickly found that I could stock up on food for the next week or even two for under $100 at Whole Foods!

I went today (yesterday was pay day) to do my grocery shopping. I went a bit over my $100 budget, due to purchasing oils for a giant blister I got running the Rock n Roll Half marathon last Saturday in the rain. I won’t go into too much detail, but a 2 inch by 1 1/2 inch deep open gash on the back of your heel does not heal in a day. Those oils and bandages ran me about $45. I also donated $5 to the Whole Kids Foundation, because what is more important than educating our children on eating healthy foods?

My total was $133.94 after tax. Subtract the $5 donation and $44.97 for first aid products, and I spent $83.97 on food. Can’t complain about that!

Here is what I ended up with:

10 champagne mangoes

1 red onion

5 limes

2 cucumbers

2 large tomatoes

2 bunches of kale

2 slices of jackfruit (my guilty pleasure)

10 pounds of bananas

1- 32 oz container of fresh squeezed orange juice (Harper loves the juicer!)

2 papaya halves, filled with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

1 cantaloupe half, filled with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

2 coconuts

5 lb grapefruit

5 lb fuji apples

5 avocados

2 bunches dino kale

5 lb bag of carrots

2 lb strawberries

All of this food, mainly organic, for $83. Try telling me again that eating vegan is expensive…

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Juicing Yourself: Worth It?

Health, Healthy, Journey, Juice, Juicing, Money, Raw, RawVegan, Recipe, Uncategorized, Vegan, vegetarian

I have always dreamed of becoming a juicer. Lately, I have been buying unpasteurized juice for around 10 dollars per half gallon. I live on a very tight budget, so this can be hard to justify. I started thinking: is now the time to start juicing? Squeezing oranges myself just has to be cheaper than shelling out the equivalent of 5 gallons of gas on 64 ounces of orange juice, right?

Tonight I found out.

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I had purchased two 2-pound bags of blood oranges from TJ’s this past Saturday. They needed to be used, so this was the perfect excuse to perform my juicing experiment.

I took the four pounds of oranges and zested the outside off. I send all of my scraps and peels to a guy in the ecology department at work, so I decided to remove the beeswax that is coated on the oranges. This beeswax helps to preserve the oranges and is compostable, but it takes a while to break down. I help him along by taking the outer layer off.

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How beautiful are these babies??

So I went to work expecting to produce so much juice. I have an old Tupperware juicer that my mom received as a wedding gift in 1982. Goes so well with my super groovy 70’s Orange countertops, no?

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My total yield ended up being a whooping 13 ounces of orange juice. Not even two cups in a 4 pound bag of .

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Let’s break this down.
I spend 10 dollars on 64 ounces of juice when I buy it freshly squeezed at the store. This equals around 16 cents per ounce.
I spent 2.99 per bag (2 bags) at the store which yielded 13 ounces of juice. After doing the math, squeezing myself cost me 46 cents per ounce.

That’s a 30 cent per ounce difference. That is a big difference.

My little experiment makes me feel a lot less guilt about buying juice from the store. I usually watch the person squeeze it so I know it is fresh, and it saves me a lot of time.

Is anyone else a big time juicer? What is your favorite juice combination?

Stay sweet
Erica

When a Vegan Newbie Takes on Vegan Meatloaf

Health, Healthy, Journey, Uncategorized, Vegan, vegetarian

Vegan. Meatloaf. These two words typically do not jive. For the past 2 months I have been eating mainly raw foods. It wasn’t until this past week that I was REALLY craving something homey, cozy, and cooked.

So after several Google searches I came across a recipe for vegan meatloaf which did not contain soy! I wrote down the recipe, closed my browser, and sadly do not know where it came from. But whoever you are, thank you.

I had most of the ingredients, just had to go to the store for vegan Worcestershire sauce (anchovies…who knew?!), fresh herbs, and mushrooms.

This was also my first experience using “flax egg”. I didn’t know it was a thing before and let me tell you, water and flax meal is FREAKY combined.

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This is my daughter, Harper, helping me make the “meat”. Process walnuts, rice, and mushrooms.

Next we make the flax egg. Combine water and flax meal (I took flax seeds and blended them in my ninja because -come on- flax meal is expensive). Let sit.

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Take the “meat” mixture in a large bowl. Combine celery, carrot, onion, gluten free rolled oats, parsley, sage, rosemary (fresh!!! And make tea with the leftovers!), black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, almond milk, vegan Worcestershire, and a touch of salt. Mix it up!

Pat in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. If you aren’t yet on the parchment train, GET ON. It’s life saving. Throw in a 325 oven for an hour and a half. Yes, ninety minutes.

Meanwhile, take a bath, do some yoga, drink some wine, or make your sauce. Simply ketchup, Worcestershire, and garlic powder. The last 10 minutes of the cooking period we will brush it over top of the load and let bake in.

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I was so pleasantly surprised with this recipe. Texture-wise, it was right on as I remember it’s meatier cousin. Taste-wise, it was stellar. A lot heavier than i have been eating, but I will definitely make it for both herbivore and carnivore friends and definitely on special occasions.

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Here is the recipe!:
Combine: 3/4 cup cooked rice, 2 cups mushrooms, 1 cup walnuts in a processor. Blend until a meaty texture is achieved. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

Make your flax egg. 2 tbsp flax meal and 6 tbsp water. Set aside to thicken.

Chop 1 small carrot, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 onion, parsley, sage, rosemary finely. Pour into bowl and add 1 cup gluten free rolled oats, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. 1/4 cup almond milk

Add your spices. I eyeballed these to my taste preferences. Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, black pepper, salt.

Mix together until combined and press into loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325 degrees F in the center rack for 90 minutes.

The last 10 minutes, combine 3 tbsp ketchup, 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire, and a small amount of garlic powder and brush on top.

Let sit for 10 minutes and enjoy!!

The Coffee Addiction & Raw Living

addict, Health, Healthy, Journey, Raw, RawVegan, Vegan, vegetarian

One thing I love most in life is coffee. Coffee everything. The taste, the smell, the company it brings.

Saying that, I must admit that for years (YEARS! I started drinking coffee when I was 9) I was a slave for coffee. I would easily drink 12 cups per day. Just black, no cream or sugar. If I didn’t have the magic drink within half an hour of waking, it would take me hours to fully “wake up”. I don’t think that people realize what a true ADDICTION caffeine is. It is a stimulant. a drug. And can wreck the body completely if mistreated.

I started “Raw till 4” last week and at the end of Wednesday (today is Friday), I realized that my morning cup of java was still full with only a few sips taken out of it. I had gone the entire day without a full 8 ounces of coffee.

Yesterday I had none. Today I had a 12 oz cup, because I felt like it ( -1 degree wind chill-and I work outside doing environmental field work!!) Instead, I drank green tea.

I completely credit my addiction reversal to this raw vegan lifestyle. I have never felt so ALIVE. I was between vegetarian and vegan for several years (before I got pregnant and turned carnivore), but lived off of snack food…processed vegetarian and vegan food. For years, I have frequently (almost weekly) experienced minutes to hours of vision loss and hearing loss due to blood sugar issues. I am severely anemic as well. This week, I have not experienced any issues with my blood! I am so excited to continue this lifestyle and see a healthier, more radiant me!

So we begin again…

Health, Healthy, Journey, Raw, RawVegan, Uncategorized, Vegan

Today marks day 3 of beginning my vegan journey again. I am going to transfer from raw till 4 vegan to fully raw slowly this time. I am really going to focus on understanding my body and healing it.
I started raw till 4 on January 02, so I am three days in. Going well so far! I went cold turkey from eating meat and dairy every day (told you I really went backwards) to vegan. So far I do not miss cheese or meat. I feel great. Not bloated as expected, just sunny!

Since today is National Spaghetti Day (!) I made zoodles for lunch and am going to have a hefty portion of corn pasta for dinner. I also whipped up this sauce in my new Ninja blender:

2 tomatoes (my other 3 were rotten 😦
1 can tomato sauce (since my 3 tomatoes were goners)
2 carrots
1 large red bell pepper
1/4 yellow pepper (left over)
1 small crown broccoli
1/4 yellow onion
Parsley, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper

Blend it all and pour on top! I feel like the broccoli really added a nice flavor.

I will absolutely be making this again!

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A Passion For Passionfruit

Uncategorized

About five minutes ago, I had the experience of a lifetime. I tried a passionfruit. I have never bought one or even tried one before today. I like passionfruit flavored drinks, but nothing ever tastes like the real thing, right? WRONG. This passionfruit literally took my breath away.

The inside flesh looks like guts, so I closed my eyes and took a bite. I thought after it was all gone to look up if the seeds were poison or not. (They’re not). My mouth exploded with ecstasy.

I have never actually gasped at anything. A snake falls out of a tree onto my car (which has happened)? I don’t blink an eye. Freddy Krueger in my house when I walk in the door? I’d probably offer him some tea. But this passionfruit. Was the most shockingly lovely flavor I have ever tasted. This is the ultimate “tropical flavor”. It is everything that I imagine a beautiful tropical place would taste like.

At the grocery store, I have decided to pick up one new thing to try every week. This week was passionfruit. Not seeing a price on the passionfruit bin, I picked up three. I about had a heart attack when the girl checked them out. $3.99 each! ALMOST FOUR DOLLARS FOR ONE LITTLE PIECE OF FRUIT!! I bought 18 pounds of bananas for less than three passion fruits. Was it worth it? Ab.So.Lutely. Budget friendly? Not in the least bit. These will be a special occasion fruit only.

I have never been so passionate about any man as much as I am for passionfruit. I so understand the name now.

An Unhealthy Background…

Health, Healthy, Journey, Raw, RawVegan, Vegan

Monday marked my journey into the Raw Till 4 lifestyle. I have always been “into” health…well I say that, but I was really an on-again, off-again health nut. I would go a few months exercising like a maniac, running races (13.1!), and measuring and counting every single calorie that went into my mouth. Typically, after a race I would rebound and binge for three or so months…eating fast food a few times a day, lots of processed food, ample amounts of beer, and fancy coffee drinks. My health would spiral downward, waist would grow (quite a bit I’m afraid to say), and my bank account was draining due to spending between $15 and $25 A DAY on greasy food. Sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Some people can afford it, I cannot.

I am a single mother to a beautiful three year old Ray of Sunshine named Harper. I work full time, but don’t really have the budget to spend $100 a week to feed myself grease. I also didn’t like the example I was setting Harper.

So one evening last week, I was online and came across a gallon mason jar. I had to have this thing. I ordered it and the second it came in the mail, I decided to try out a raw diet. To transition (I know that just jumping right into things for me usually results in failure), I have decided to start by doing a “Raw Till 4” diet. I eat a fully raw diet of fruits and veggies (mainly fruit) until my evening meal. I am still doing a vegan dinner, but it is cooked.

I am also still drinking coffee in the morning and will enjoy a few beers on game day. No technically “raw”, but hey…I’m a work in progress 😉

This blog is for my journey… for me to reflect on and maybe to share an idea or inspire a few. I am starting just three days in so I can truly see how I grow through this yummy lifestyle.