Having enough variety in your diet is fundamental to enjoying your healthy lifestyle (and staying healthy!). One of the most common mistakes made by aspiring raw fooders (or anyone trying to eat a certain kind of way, for that matter) is sticking to the same foods or same meals, getting bored and then throwing in the towel. It doesn’t have to be like this!
Knowing where to get a good range of produce – discovering new foods, tastes, textures and flavours – is therefore absolutely necessary to enjoying your raw food diet to the max. In fact, once you get started you’ll wish you’d been more adventurous sooner. Yes, there is a whole new world of food waiting to be discovered, and chances are that to date you may only have touched the tip of the iceberg.
With this in mind, my hope is that the following article will give you plenty of ideas for new places to check out, as well as giving details of how to find them in the first place.
Good news! Even if you live in the smallest village in the middle of nowhere, in this day and age of internet and mail order, nothing is out of your reach.
And if you are a regular supermarket shopper then the second piece of good news is that you don’t need to look elsewhere for your food (or at least not most of it), especially if yours is really well stocked up on organic, fresh produce and good quality dried goods like nuts, seeds and beans for sprouting.
Of the 20+ raw food groups, your supermarket should be able to cover some of the foods contained within at least 80% – if not more – of the groups, so this is as good as you need to get started. More good news!
And if you want to explore further afield, as I encourage you to do, and which will also gift you with even better quality foods and possibly at lower prices in some cases, then either now or at a later date consider any or all of the following:
- Health food shops
- Farm shops
- Whole food warehouses
- Roadside stalls
- Specialist food shops, including Asian and Oriental
- Mail order companies – including internet based
- Farmers markets
- Cafés, take-aways or juice bars
- Local markets
- Food or juice booths
- Local greengrocers
- Organic box schemes
- Live events and exhibitions
Quite a range as you can see, and each one quite different.
And if you’re feeling really adventurous…
Food for Free
I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that food was still as free as it used to be, once upon a time.
Unfortunately, as we all very much realise, most of the food we eat these days comes at a price, if not to our health, then at least to our pocket.
Of course, you may have your own garden, allotment, or even orchard, and if so you will already be enjoying the fruits of your labour. For those who lead a more urban or busy lifestyle, here’s some alternatives…
Foraging is the term used to describe “gathering”, as in the hunting and gathering of old. Wherever you live, chances are that nearby, likely in an area you’ve never looked twice at, there are a whole variety of natural wild greens, edible flowers, mushrooms, and even berries or other fruits all ripe for the picking. All you need to get started down this route is some spare time, a carrier bag, a box or bowl for berries or delicate foods, such as flowers, and a guidebook. The latter is especially crucial when it comes to picking mushrooms and flowers – some of them are poisonous, so be careful.
Good places to visit are parks, fields, some wastelands, and woodlands, and anywhere else that is relatively green and open. Local to us there are lots of blackberry bushes as well as apple trees along where I currently live. At a previous home, an arable farm, there were copious amounts of dandelion leaves and nettles, several plum trees, an apple tree, a pear tree and yet more blackberry bushes. You just don’t know what’s around until you go actively looking.
Other People’s Produce
Perhaps you have a friend, relative or neighbour who grows their own produce, but has too much of it? This is very common amongst those with allotments who grow food for the fun of it but then have masses of excess produce which they are happy to give away. If, despite asking around, you cannot find someone who fits this description there’s nothing to stop you advertising! It could be as simple as placing a postcard in a local shop window stating what you’re looking for or posting in a local Facebook Group. You can say you’re happy to pay for any locally grown produce that needs a good home, and you may well need to, but it’s going to be at a fraction of what you’d pay in the shops (and will no doubt taste a whole lot better), and you might even find they’re simply happy for it to go to a good home. Definitely worth a shot.
Fruit Picking or Work Exchange
There’s always plenty of opportunities to work on a farm, in a vineyard or similar in return for free food and accommodation. It may not suit you or your lifestyle if you’re a parent, or with little free time, but if you’re young, free and single it could be the perfect working holiday, or a great way to see the world while travelling from one farm to the next!
As you can see there are no end to the places to go to find all the new foods you could possibly want. To find suppliers local to you, here’s some ideas to set you off on the right track.
How To Find New Suppliers or Shops Near You
- Search the internet using a search engine such as Google using terms such as “free food” “organic food” “raw food” “free produce” and see what comes up in the results for you.
- Ask around – friends, family, neighbours, chat groups on the internet
- Keep an eye out in local newspapers for new shops, pick-your-own etc.
- Take a fresh look at the places you already visit, visiting aisles you normally rush by, or shops you normally walk past (sometimes you can find some really yummy condiments in the herbs & spices section, such as sun-dried tomatoes in oil, tamari, olive paste and so on. These aren’t usually raw but they’re great for those transitioning or who aren’t purists).
- Look out for delivery vans passing by and note down their telephone number!
- Follow links from one website to another
Do you have any great resources or ideas to add? I’d love to know them and for you to share them with other readers. If so please post them below in the comments and I’ll add them to the directory I’m creating right now. TIA!
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