You may have heard about the benefits of eating a raw organic and vegan diet. Raw vegans generally do not eat food that is heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit or 48 degrees Celsius, which better preserves the nutritional content of most foods. Overheating foods can strip them of vitamins and nutrients.

Compared to cheap fast food and processed food products, buying all raw, organic food can seem like a luxury. Maintaining a raw vegan diet can become expensive, especially if you want to splurge on organic. Is going raw in this manner worth it? Let’s look at the costs.

When we compare packaged food options, it seems that the raw, organic products are generally more costly than just organic products. This is the case for convenience foods like bars and chips. I’m always tempted to buy these products, but I notice they’re typically more expensive at the grocery store. On my budget, these raw, organic snacks are simply too pricey to buy regularly.

If you have the money, there are a plethora of amazing, raw, organic vegan products to splurge on. For example, Brad’s Raw Foods makes flavored crunchy kale that costs $7.99 on their website for a 2.5-ounce package.

However, when I browse the organic section, I can find organic, non-raw chips and snacks for less money per ounce. For example, a 9-ounce package of Garden of Eatin’ Organic Red Hot Blues Chips costs $9.21 on their website. It’s difficult to compare snacks like this, but generally, I find that raw, organic snacks are more expensive per ounce than organic, non-raw snacks.

For those of us on a budget, products like those from Brad’s Raw Foods are not a regular purchase. Eating raw is worth it when you take the time to make your own food rather than relying on raw, packaged foods. For example, nuts, grains, lentils, and peas are cheaper to buy in bulk and dry than their organic, cooked, and refrigerated counterparts at the store.

Another aspect of cost is the materials you need to buy in order to slice, chop, juice, and dehydrate your own food. Quality kitchen tools such as a mandoline, dehydrator, and juicer are fantastic aides for making all of your own raw meals, but they can add up in price if you’re new to raw diets. To make the burden more cost-effective, consider these five ways to eat raw without all the expensive tools.

A raw diet can be worth it beyond the monetary cost of the food you’re buying and the gadgets to prepare it. In her article 3 Added Benefits of the Raw Vegan Lifestyle, Maria Mooney summed up why maintaining a raw, vegan diet is worth it for her:

“When breakfast, lunch or dinner can be a bowl of fruit and a big handful of raw cashews, I can see how that can be viewed as uncomplicated, but really, I like to believe I have simply moved back to the basics in many areas of my life (and raw veganism has facilitated that switch for me). Do I really need another handbag? Are regular manicures necessary? Do I really need to go out or will some silent alone time do more to energize me? I’ve become much more in tune with my whole [body’s] needs, mental, spiritual, physical and emotional, as I have settled into the raw vegan way,” Mooney said.

Ultimately, if you’re like Mooney, you could end up spending less money on your lifestyle as a result of going raw and vegan. To make a raw organic and vegan diet worth it for you, focus on simple foods that you can prepare yourself and buy fairly cheaply, such as whole fruit, sprouts, nuts, and seeds. What are your thoughts on this question? Let us know in the comments below!

Image source: Basil Pesto Raw Zucchini Pasta