In my mind, the raw food movement is making one huge contribution to the world of nutrition.  Allow me to explain.

It’s well documented that low-income families and individuals tend to have less nutritious diets than families making more money.  Gone are the days when girth was a measure of affluence, when income could be counted in chins, when fat-cats were actually fat.  The poor are getting fatter and the rich are. . . well they’re getting fatter but more slowly.  There are many reasons for this.  Low income neighborhoods are often found to have poor access to healthy foods.  The affluent neighborhoods also often have the best nutrition education.  To an extent it’s fair also to say that cause and effect have been reversed as wealthy populations are almost always objectively more attractive than the the destitute: some people may be rich because they eat well.  These are all rather ugly facts about the way our evolved psychology underlies the very foundations of our dysfunctional capitalist society.  (I’ll save that talk for another day.)  I am glad to say that there is one excuse that it is becoming harder and harder to make.

“Eating healthy is expensive.”

Here’s what one article has to say about convenience and eating well:

“It’s admittedly harder to do better when shopping for meals on a limited budget. Processed foods and frozen entrees are always going to be cheaper than buying fresh ingredients, and are obviously less time-consuming to get on the table. It’s also cheaper and more convenient to swing by a fast food restaurant and choose from the dollar menu than shop for a meal, go home and cook it.”

That makes sense if you’re trying to buy the ingredients to make a Hungryman dinner or a Big Mac from scratch.  But you don’t have to do that.  When was the last time you were at the grocery store’s produce aisle, looked down at the green beans for 99c/lb and thought “Well that’s a bit much.  I think I’ll have an affordable TV dinner instead.”  It never happens!  Because vegetables are dirt cheap!  The expensive part is when you want cheese and meat and spices and fine wine with your meal.  The raw food movement has shown me that you don’t need any of that stuff.  You can buy carrots, beans, potatoes, turnips, radishes, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, parsnips, and a hundred other vegetables and eat them totally plain and totally raw and it’s very tasty.  Not to mention, the stuff you’re drowning your veggies in is rarely good for you.

What is expensive is “health food” and by that I mean pre-packaged products that say things like “fat-free” or “organic and all natural” on them.  These products are way more stupidly expensive than their non-healthy equivalents.  A box of crackers might cost three bucks while your vegan, organic, artisan crackers with kokoboko extract for healthy looking hair and enriched with anti-oxidants could cost you seven or eight dollars.  For crackers!  You must be out of your mind!  Ten pounds of potatoes costs you two bucks!  Never forget that healthy food is food that’s good for your health and health food is a marketing tool to convince you to spend more money on simple things.  They might even be better for you but I doubt if switching to organic microwave popcorn will have the same impact as, oh I don’t know, just eating some corn.jv_turnips_1

I’m not suggesting you go down to the store, buy a turnip, and start chomping it like an apple, I prefer to chop an assortment of veggies with different flavours and textures for variety, or several shaved veggies on a bed of spinach and kale with a spot of dressing.  There are restaurants in Toronto where you pay big bucks for this kind of ultra-healthy food and you can have it at home for pennies.  And don’t you dare say you don’t like the taste of something raw until you’ve tried it.  Turnip raw is to die for.  (Here’s what livestrong has to say about raw turnip) When you eat in this fashion you will find that your grocery bill is nearer to naught, you will spend less time cooking and doing dishes, and you will look and feel better.

As far as I’m concerned, economics is no longer an excuse for poor eating habits.

My question: what would keep you from eating raw fruit and veg all the time?