I'm absolutely brand new to this whole raw food movement, but I would love to give it a try and (attempt) to vastly improve my dietary and lifestyle habits.
I picked up a nice looking cook book and frankly after reading the first 30 pages it seemed daunting - lots of ingredients I had heard of but never used, etc.
The one thing common to most recipes was the use of a vita-mix and/or a dehydrator (they recommended excalibur in the book).
As a 24 year old, I just frankly can't justify spending 600 bucks combined on those two toys. So basically my question is, is there a cheaper alternative that will get the job done modestly well and not cost an arm and a leg?
Hi, I have hearing and reading about "needing" a vitmix since I was just a plain old vegetarian and it is just not a necessity. It doesn't even have a glass carafe. I have a $20 black and decker blender that does have a glass carafe and it works great. I also have a ninja blender that I got as gift that works as a food processor.
As far as a dehydrator, I asked the same question here not that log ago. I am so glad I didn't buy one. If you eat the recipes from that cookbook you may wind up feeling pretty bad after a few weeks. I was only able to do the gourmet raw thing for 2 weeks it made me so sick. I really recommend reading 80/10/10 by Doug Graham. It is a much simpler raw lifestyle and also a healthier one. It also won't cost you any extra money in kitchen equipment.
It's best to try out recipes that don't require a dehydrator when you're just getting started. You can easily be raw without ever dehydrating food, but it's a nifty device for treats.
If you can, get your hands on Jennifer Cornbleet's book Raw Foods for 1 or 2 People. Everything in the book can be made with a knife and a regular blender. She has a book devoted to raw desserts, too, and there isn't a bad recipe (or the need for a dehydrator) in the bunch.
I have a Vita-Mix and I never use it. I hate smoothies of all kinds and would much rather just eat greens and drink green juice than blend anything. So, like me, you might find that your tastes in raw food mean you don't need to spend a lot of cash to eat the way you'd like.
If you ultimately decide that you want a dehydrator and/or high speed blender, there's always craigslist and ebay.