I’m obsessed with food, as a way to combat fatigue resulting from a head injury many years ago. It shows up in my Dog Park Mysteries. My main character, starving artist Lia Anderson, shares my obsession. For her it’s a matter of eating healthy on a budget so she has enough energy for her
projects and doesn’t waste time being sick. She’s tried many things, though she’s not militant about a strict diet. She and her beau, Detective Peter Dourson, have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about his Pepsi addiction.
To date, Lia’s main rule is to eat some raw food every day. A raw food diet is very healthy, but it can be labor intensive, especially if you get into dehydrating. A 100% raw food diet is not workable for most busy people on a budget. A 50% raw food diet is doable.
Many very inexpensive foods are nutritional powerhouses. Lentils and other beans, oatmeal, canned tuna, cabbage, apples, Kale, avocado, eggs, bananas, and garlic, are a few. Turmeric and ginger are inexpensive if you buy them in bulk, and they are valuable superfoods. I do my best to get ½ tsp ginger and 1 tsp turmeric in my diet every day. I also take stinging nettle tea and raw cacao powder.
Dark greens are essential. Right now everyone’s darling is baby kale. This is lovely, tender stuff, but you can pack in more nutrition per dollar if you buy bags of chopped, full-grown kale. Just run your blender a little longer, and your green smoothie will be just fine. And a $60 Oster will do the job as well as a $400 Vita-mix.
The trouble with healthy, inexpensive food is, you have to fix it. So you’re running late, you dash out the door and your car gets sucked in by the nearest drive-through. Again. Meanwhile, all that lovely kale is rotting in the vegetable crisper.
The more processed and convenient food is, the more expensive it is. That quick dash into a convenience store for a cup of coffee every day winds up costing you more than a month’s worth of coffee made at home AND a pound of spirulina powder, or two pounds of cacao.
I keep a case of bottled water in the trunk of my car and I always have a supply of mixed nuts on hand. I make my own mix of pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, roasted almonds, and dried, tart cherries. That way, I always have something healthy on hand.
There are plenty of designer diets, and they all work for some people. The interesting thing is the most popular have this in common: They prohibit sugar (Especially soft drinks. Instead of satisfying, sugar just makes you want more of whatever. Which is why it’s in so many processed foods.). They all prohibit refined grains. Some prohibit wheat and corn, and some limit all grains (Surprised? Why do you think they feed grain to cattle? Because it makes them fat. Grains are also implicated in brain fog.). Milk products are also a no-no, though yogurt is an exception.
I gave up wheat, milk and corn this year, and I traded coffee for chicory and green tea, almond milk lattes. I suspect Lia is going to follow suit. And she’ll never feel better.
The Starving Artist Cookbook is written by Lia Anderson, star of C. A. Newsome’s Dog Park Mysteries. Inside you’ll learn her strategies for staying healthy on a budget. Explore her favorite recipes for one, including Pond Scum Smoothies, Easy-Peasy Ceviche, and Raw Chocolate Fudge. Learn how to peel an avocado and open a young coconut. A must for the health-conscious kitchen! This vegan, omnivore, and Aztec Diet friendly book also contains an extensive section on green smoothies.
C. A. Newsome is an author and painter living in Cincinnati with a pair of former street
urchins named Shadda and Chewbacca Wonderpup. They can be found every morning at the Mount Airy Dog Park.
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