How to Save Money on Fruit
Getting good quality fruit is a pain and a stumbling block for many, including myself. Everything is picked unripe and consequently does not taste remotely sweet, in addition to having a terrible texture that would make you want to gag. Not only that, but prices have become so insane that my recommendations on fruit choices are limited.
My first recommendation is to always check your local grocery store's weekly ad. You can access them online and they usually start on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Some grocery stores have special "48 hour" sales each week as well as sales exclusive to a particular day like Friday.
Farmer's Markets are an option but may not be practical given your location and schedule. You may be able to haggle with them at the end of the day when they're packing up to go home, so that could be a great way to save some money.
Affordable Fruit Options for Fall:
Affordable Fruit Options for Winter:
Affordable Fruit Options for Spring:
mango (later spring)
Full transparency here: These options get old, real quick, especially given the quality of these fruits at most grocery stores. You can only stomach so many unsweet or bitter fruits until you burnout. There were many seasons where I got burnt out on apples, pears, and bananas because those were the only affordable organic fruit options I could find and have access to. Consequently, I became miserable trying to get well, but the sacrifice was worth the experience. I'm trying to save everyone here the mental anguish of trying to find suitable fruit to get well while simultaneously save you time and money in this almost futile pursuit for decent quality produce.
The Cheapest Organic Fruit to Detox With Year-Round: Apples
With enough time dealing with poor fruit quality and selection during the Fall and Winter months, you'll eventually find the most stable fruit option that can detoxify you to an adequate level are the organic apples. Dr. Morse has confirmed that you can detox on apples just like you can detox on grapes. I used to be able to recommend organic pears but the prices have sky rocketed to about $3 per pound for organic Bosc, Anjou, or Bartlett pears compared to the prices for organic apples. You can still find organic gala, fuji, pink lady, and ambrosia apples for $2 per pound or less at many grocery stores. Those 4 types of apples seem to be your cheapest options for organic sub-acid fruit you are going to find at all of the major grocery stores. The only other option for cheap fruit lies in the organic bananas, but those won't detoxify you to the level that the apples would.
The organic apples will move lymph faster than the sweet fruits, and are present at just about every grocery store throughout the entire year. When it's time to dig deep in a detox, you always have the lemons and limes to rely on as a supplement to the organic apples. In the spring, honeydew melons and mangos are fantastic affordable options, but you need to wait for the season and the prices just seem to skyrocket every year. Lemons are affordable and present year-round but they are not practical for long-term fasts compared to apples. I've also dealt with too many unripe or moldy overripe lemons than I can tolerate.
2nd and 3rd Place for the Cheapest Fruit to Detoxify With Year-Round: Mangoes and Papaya
These tropical fruits are both excellent for detoxification and are relatively inexpensive to boot. Both mangoes and papaya are found on the "Clean 15" list, meaning these fruits are ranked to have some of the least pesticide content in them compared to the dozens of other produce options tested. Papaya ranks 5th on the list and Mangoes rank 12th, which is excellent. This means you don't have to get either fruit organic. These fruits are available year-round at most grocery stores, and most importantly: both fruit will detoxify you.
You can find mangoes for less than $1 each when on sale. There are varieties of mangoes other than the popular "Tommy Atkins" variety like the ataulfo mangos that you can often find on sale for 2 for $1. Many grocers even sell crates of mangos for a discount. Ask around and see if your grocery can give you a discount by buying in bulk. A crate of mangoes will detoxify you far more than the "Banana Box" detailed below.
Papayas can be found on sale for $1 a pound at select grocers year-round. That's really the only price per pound I would spend as papayas can easily weigh 4 or 5 pounds. Both mangoes and papaya are extremely easy to digest in the GI Tract and are suitable for anyone with stomach problems or digestive pain.
Here's the problem and why mangoes and papayas rank below apples: They're almost always unripe or horribly overripe. If I had a nickel for every time I bit into a bad mango, I'd have a good chunk of change. There are plenty of mangoes out there that leave a burning acid hit on your lips when you're eating them. You can find papayas on grocery shelves right now that you can easily poke your pinky finger cleanly through with minimal force. Then there's the papayas that have skins as hard as a rock and have inedible insides. Trader Joe's seem to always have inedible papayas every time I purchase from them. Ultimately, you're going to have more issues finding good papayas and mangoes than you are going to find edible gala, fuji, pink lady, or ambrosia apples. If you have access to quality tropical fruit that is ripe and sweet, then have at it. For everyone else, you may need to look elsewhere for your fruit options.
If Money Were no Obstacle
If money is no issue for you and you're willing to spend over $1000 a month on produce to do the diet, then my recommendation is to look to organic berries as your fruit of choice. Organic berries are available at pretty much every grocery store during the entire year. You'll be paying an arm and a leg for the berries, but at least they taste decent and they're available. I could live off berries and not get bored from them, but I can't afford them so I have to get creative with the lower-cost options and focus on the apples. Ultimately: Do the best you can with what you have available.
I also wanted to add that there's some fantastic seasonal fruits out there that are delicious, but they also cost and arm and a leg. These include pomegranates, organic cherries, dragon fruit, organic honeycrisp and envy apples, and figs. Delicious options but are so insanely expensive nowadays that one should focus your attention on bananas, mangoes, apples, pears, and lemons, with apples being the safest ticket to help you detox long term.
The Cheapest Cooked Option for a Maintenance Diet: Sweet Potatoes
The cheapest cooked alkaline food you could purchase in grocery stores are sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are easier to digest and less mucus forming than any other grain out there, including organic corn. You can find them for less than $1.50 per pound for the conventional option. Sweet potatoes have ranked in the "Clean 15" for the past 2 years, meaning they were independently tested to have lower pesticide content compared to other produce. This means you could purchase conventionally raised sweet potatoes over organic ones because of the lower pesticide content. Sweet potatoes do not have the acid blowback that rice or beans would have. They won't trigger any allergic reaction that corn may bring. They are far less abrasive and heavy on the GI tract than millet, quinoa, or amaranth. Sweet potatoes fill that void for a starchy vegetable that could satisfy your need for a cooked food.
With that said, many people (myself included) really don't enjoy the taste of the typical orange sweet potatoes. The work around is to use the other sweet potato varieties such as the Japanese purple sweet potatoes or the white sweet potatoes. These other varieties taste better than the orange variety but they do cost more. The pricing for the other varieties hovers around $2.50 per pound, so they're not that budget friendly, but they do not cause excess mucus and acidosis like other maintenance foods so that must be emphasized.
You could look to carrots as a alternative to sweet potatoes that also consistently rank in the "Clean 15" as well. Carrots won't produce the mucus that grains would and would satisfy that itch for cooked foods. They also serve as a solid raw option to eat on their own or in a salad. I love to go to baby carrots as a good and cheap raw vegetable with some homemade salsa or guac. You can buy a pound of carrots for less than a dollar, so they should absolutely be a staple that you can even pair with sweet potatoes for your vegetable soups, stews, and salads. Carrots would be a great foundation in your slow cooker and Instant Pot recipes.
Ultimate Tip to Save Money Going Raw
The Banana Box (It's on Like Donkey Kong)
Yes, bananas will not detox you to the level that the sub-acid fruits will. However, we all need a foundation of raw foods to rely on each and every week just in case one runs out of other fruits or if the fruit they do have doesn't work out. Bananas offer you the absolute cheapest option to fall back upon or fill the void of the other fruits you would rely upon for a detox.
Ask any produce department grocery store employee for an organic box of bananas. The employee will literally go in the back, grab a box of bananas that hasn't been unpacked and charge you the rate for 90-100 bananas for the box. You can literally get enough bananas to last you a week for under $25. The catch here is that the bananas will be green, so the trick is to purchase 2 boxes on split days of the week, this way you will always have ripe bananas to enjoy that won't go bad so quickly. Add some raw and organic honey to your bananas or throw them in a blender (w/ organic coconut palm sugar and water) if you get burned out from just eating the bananas alone.
The problem is that 90-100 bananas may be too much for most individuals other than athletes or those with active lifestyles. If you split the organic bananas with a partner, then the 90-100 will be sufficient. Otherwise, you'll invite a ton of fruit flies into your apartment and have some rotting bananas you couldn't get to in time. My advice here if you're just buying food for yourself is to give some of the bananas away to friends and family. People won't typically decline a bunch or two of bananas! They're also a great gift to anyone that is homeless or needing financial assistance. You can even give some bananas to the store employees or other customers leaving the grocery store on your way out! Spread the love of fruit and make someone's day with the wonderful gift of fruit (make sure you tell them to eat them ripe and how to identity what ripe bananas look like).
Be warned though, you may get weird stares or comments from the employees and customers when they see you buying 40+ bananas in one haul, so be prepared for that. Anyone with a large family will absolutely benefit from this. With the cost of living skyrocketing exponentially, boxes of organic bananas may be the last lifeline many have when they don't necessarily want to eat rice and beans all day (hello candida and acidosis).
2 boxes of organic bananas (purchased at the beginning and end of the week) and some raw/organic honey or organic cane/coconut palm sugar should run you less than $50 per week and you will live healthier and happier than most Americans living off of peanut butter, eggs, oatmeal and bread (typical "budget" foods apart from rice, beans, and ramen).
Budget Smoothie Options
Check out the "Equipment" page to see my recommendation for a blender. You want the blenders that have the blades that detach from the cup you put the food/fluid in for ease of cleaning. When truly cash strapped and all you have are bananas, you can add cane sugar or honey for more flavor.
Option 1: Organic ripe bananas with pitted dates
Option 2: Organic ripe bananas with frozen conventional mangos
Option 3: Boxed coconut water with organic ripe bananas and apple/pear slices
Option 4: Organic ripe bananas with organic apple slices
Option 5: Organic ripe bananas with organic pear slices
Option 6: Pitted dates, organic ripe bananas, and apple/pear slices
Option 7: Organic ripe bananas, organic apple slices and organic pear slices
Budget Semi-Raw Diet Plans
If you're on a shoestring budget and you don't just want to eat bananas all day or you want to have some cooked food in the evening for balance, then look no further.
Your options for inexpensive cooked foods consist of the following:
Conventional sweet potatoes
Organic polenta/corn tortillas
Sweet potatoes are my go-to preference for clients to incorporate in their cooked maintenance meals.
Organic red or gold potatoes are just too expensive to consider for a budget plan, plus they're mucus forming and bloating.
Sweet potatoes are easier to digest, less mucus forming, and have the benefit of being on the "Clean 15" list, meaning you don't have to get them organic.
Organic quinoa and millet are pseudo-grains that are not as acidic as every other grain, meaning their acid-ash from digestion is more alkaline than that of grains. However, these seed-like grains are very abrasive to the GI tract. Anyone with digestive problems like IBS and Crohn's will absolutely suffer eating more than a cup of cooked quinoa, if not much less. Quinoa is cheap to get organic and is present in every grocery store, but that digestive blowback needs to be emphasized. Proceed with caution.
I do not recommend rice in your maintenance diet, no matter how cheap it is. Rice is extremely cheap and easy to cook, but it is not a health promoting food and it is acid forming. You will produce loads of mucus and congestion eating rice, and that is the opposite of what we want to accomplish when we are not trying to detox. I can immediately feel the mucus congestion in my chest after eating just 2 cups of white rice.
Organic oats are also cheap, but they're also acidic, mucus forming and sticky to your bowels. The same argument against rice applies for the oats. Stay away from the sticky, gloopy, congesting and constipating grains that feed fungus and leave you bloated.
Organic polenta is superior to oatmeal as its less congesting, less mucus forming and overall less acidic. No one digests corn well but organic polenta is a suitable substitute to oatmeal and rice for a maintenance diet. You're better off with polenta than you are with quinoa, but sweet potatoes are superior for your long-term budget meal options.
Sweet potatoes have gone up in price but they can be found for under $1.50 per pound for the conventional (non-organic) variety. Quinoa can be found for under $2.00 per pound for organic. Polenta can be found in small bags from brands like Bob's Red Mill for under $5. 10 pounds of any of these options can run you around $15-$20 along with a banana box that runs under $25. That's under $50 a week to feed you without creating tons of mucus and acids. Not too bad in a world as expensive as it is today.
You can alternate these cooked options or incorporate other cheap fruit you may find on sale for breakfast and/or lunch. This is just a good foundation to keep your food costs under $50 per week while staying on a mostly raw diet.
Sample Budget Cooked Daily Menus
Sample Budget Cooked Day 1
Breakfast: Bananas with honey drizzled on top
Lunch: Banana and frozen strawberry smoothie
Dinner: Air-fried Sweet potatoes with boiled/steamed green beans/asparagus/carrots/beets
Sample Budget Cooked Day 2
Breakfast: Banana and cane sugar smoothie
Lunch: Banana and frozen mango smoothie
Dinner: Quinoa/millet with giant spinach salad and carrot sticks with lemons juice squeezed on top
Sample Budget Cooked Day 3
Breakfast: Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon with honey drizzled on top
Lunch: Apples and/or Pear Mono fruit meal
Dinner: Boiled Polenta with boiled/steamed green beans/carrots/asparagus/beets
Sample Budget Cooked Day 4
Breakfast: Banana slices with blended frozen mango puree poured on top
Lunch: Giant tender green salad bowl with steamed veggies layered on top
Dinner: Vegan tacos using corn tortillas filled with steamed veggies, avocado, and home-made salsa
Sample Budget Cooked Day 5
Breakfast: Fruit salad comprising of banana, apple and pear slices
Lunch: Boiled sweet potatoes with a tender green salad
Dinner: Vegetable soup (slow cooked medley of sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, celery, etc)
Sample Budget Cooked Day 6
Breakfast: Coconut covered Date rolls
Lunch: Boiled sweet potatoes and tender green salad
Dinner: Leftover and reheated steamed sweet potatoes with cooked carrots on a bed of tender greens
Sample Budget Cooked Day 7
Lunch: Air-fried carrots on a bed of tender greens
Dinner: Steamed vegetables on a bed of steamed quinoa