I’m Gonna Pop Some Raw Food Tags – Only need $49 in my pocket

Macklemore-Thrift-Shop-e1349215609811Hey Macklemore, wanna go raw foods shopping?
What what? What? What?
(Ditch the fur fox skin though, plz and I’ll pretend that’s beet juice you are drinking).

For a while, I had a problem shopping at Forever 21 online without justifying the ‘Free Shipping on orders over $50’ thing to myself; why not get some more clothes with that $7 shipping, even if it means spending more money overall?  Okay, so it doesn’t make perfect sense, especially in terms of trying to save money.  But now that I’m going high raw, I’ve discovered Vitacost and it’s magic ‘Free Shipping on orders over $49’ rule, and my cart quickly has gone from raw nori wrappers and more kelp noodles to…a raw food party. I’ve traded in and out a variety of items, from black sesame seeds to shredded coconut and garbanzo beans.  I’m still not completely decided on what I want to get, but as my pantry starts to drain after almost 3 weeks, I’m starting to realize it’s better to buy larger quantities, even if it means more money, because things will last longer.  Also, some of the things I bought at my local health foods store cost dollars more for less weight of product than on Vitacost!  My biggest surprise was hemp seeds, which I paid $9.99 for an 8 oz bag of Nuvitas Naturals.  Vitacost brand certified raw organic hemp seeds cost $8.88 for a full pound!  No hesitation there. Same thing with Chia seeds – $9.99 for 8 oz.  Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds are $9.99 for a full pound as well.
The first bag of kelp noodles I bought were from Amazon, and I paid $6.99 for a 16 oz bag.  At Vitacost, I can get a 3 pack of Sea Tangle’s 12 oz kelp noodles for $12.27 – 36 oz of noodles for $12.27 versus 32 oz for $13.98 (if I bought two bags of the first kind I tried) – more noodles for your dollar!
Because I’ve been a little too enthusiastic about raw desserts in my first two weeks (none this week – trying to recover from a graduation party this weekend that was a a vegarawatarian failure…), I’m running pretty low on agave.  I originally bought this 11.75 oz bottle from my health foods store for $4.29.  I will be getting 2 bottles of that size for $7.18.  It is worth noting that the company does make bigger bottle sizes; however, the next biggest size is 23.5 oz, the same size as two smaller bottles, and at my health foods store the larger bottle costs almost $8.  Not a huge savings, but anything counts!
I’ve still got about $10 to go until free shipping, and I’m not sure what to use it for.  This is one of the times where my brain tells me I’m better off just paying the $4.99 shipping and saving $5 since there is nothing else I really want.  Whenever I pay for shipping I feel like I’m paying for air, which is wrong of me because I know that it costs a lot of money for those things to travel to me, a lot of gas, a lot of emissions put into the atmosphere, so really I am paying to put more bad things into the air.  But if I buy an extra product, I’m still stimulating the economy in some confusing, complex way, aren’t I?

For now, I’m going to go and figure out how to spend my last $10 (and get Thrift Shop out of my head).  Keep checking back – within the next month I will be reviewing some vegan beauty products and other eco-friendly goodies!

Raw in Real Life

Being raw in my room is easy enough – I am in charge of what’s in my fridge, my pantry, and ultimately what I eat.  However, I know I am not alone when I say that being raw, even vegan, outside of the home can be challenging.  One of my professors and his wife have been vegans for 25 years, but when they travel they eat vegetarian because it can be too hard, and expensive, to maintain a vegan diet on the road.  Yesterday was my first real experience trying to eat raw in public.  My research group went out to lunch before visiting a county health official. One of the professors recommended a Dominican place, so that was where we went.  I was a little nervous about what I could eat, but when the professor I was working with asked me if I would be able to find anything (he knows I’m a vegan), I said most likely, because in most situations I have been able to tweak some option on the menu to fit my needs without causing a scene.  For the most part, any of my eating out experiences have been with friends and family who know that I am a vegan, and who are kind enough to choose places that have foods we all can eat. When we walked into this small ethnic restaurant in the heart of the city, my fears quickly became reality.  The man standing behind the deli counter began to stir up different pots of meat, listing us our options – oxtail, goat, pork… I had contemplated getting a RAWREV bar from the vending machine at school in case I couldn’t find anything, but I couldn’t have predicted this.  So, my turn came and I almost guiltily admitted to the server ‘I am a vegetarian.’  platanosfritos6

In situations like this one, or when I am visiting a friend’s house for dinner, I often call myself a vegetarian – the one rule I will not break.  If somebody’s mom orders cheese pizza for dinner, I will eat it.  I am fortunate enough that occasionally adding dairy or eggs into my diet does not make me ill – for my sister, who needs to eat strictly vegan for digestive reasons, it’s not that simple.  Also, I have found that in my area, there are some people who are confused about what a vegan can and cannot eat. Once, a girl tried to give me chicken noodle soup, which would make no sense even if I said I was only a vegetarian.  At this restaurant, I was hoping that he might know of something I could eat that was at the least, meat-free.  Luckily, he had some rice and beans behind the counter, and was kind enough to cook me a sweet plantain.  I had never tried plantain before, and apart from being fried in oil, they were sweet and delicious! In the end, I was able to eat vegan, only temporarily sacrificing my raw tastes for one meal of the deal.

I think that this post helps to explain exactly what I mean by vegarawatarian.  Maybe some people would disagree with me that allowing this degree of flexibility in my food choices makes me a vegan, and rather classifies me as a ‘mostly vegan’, or not even one at all. In my mind, as long as the food I am eating on a regular basis makes me feel good, does not make me feel restricted in my social life, and shows others that I am willing to be flexible (so they don’t avoid asking me to do things with them – it’s happened before!), then I feel completely satisfied with my lifestyle.  Over and over again, we see things like ‘Diets are not one size fit all’ and I agree with that completely.  For some people, a vegetarian lifestyle is all that is doable – and that is great!  Others choose vegan for their own reasons, and some choose raw because they are willing to commit to that lifestyle.  It all depends on what works for you, and I find that being a vegarawatarian is the healthiest, and easiest way for me to live. I will say that on a day to day basis, when I am not with friends or eating out, I eat almost 100% raw.  Because I am new to this lifestyle, I want to commit to it as completely as I can so that I can learn the benefits and options before I decide to commit as completely as I did vegetarian.  If a few months from now, I’m cooking my quinoa rather than sprouting it, or baking a batch of vegan cookies, I won’t say I’m no longer raw – I’ll just continue to consider myself vegarawatarian.