Trying to maintain a raw vegan diet during the wintertime can be difficult. Coming from the abundance of fruits you can get from the spring and summer and moving on to the very little fruits available in fall and winter time can be a harsh reality check. When the only fruits you can find at Whole Foods are apples and oranges during the winter, it can be difficult to follow a raw vegan diet because variety is what makes a raw diet fun for us. (And not everyone likes apples and oranges). However, there is a way around this!
Most people don't know, but Asian supermarkets actually have an abundance of ripe tropical produce you can't find in other stores during the winter. They are usually priced competitively cheap as well! Here is my experience with these supermarkets.
Many fruits are also available to buy in boxes, so you can also get a box discount. For example, a big box of champagne mangoes for under 10 dollars!
They also have fruits at major discounts many times because the fruits look "uglier" than the other fruits or are going to go bad in a few days, but these fruits are ripe right now and taste great. The other day I got 6 persimmons for 2 dollars for example.
Here is what you can expect from a fantastic Asian Market. The fruits you will find are Champagne Mangoes, Young Thai Coconuts, Persimmons, Pomelos, Jackfruit, Durian, Dragonfruits, Avocados, Papaya, Rambutans, Longans, Lychees, Cherimoya, Kiwis, Korean melons, Guavas, bananas, passion fruits, starfruit, santol, breadfruit, kumquats, etc.
The Greens and Vegetables you will find are bok choy, nappa cabbage, so many different mushrooms, dandelion greens, bittermelon, lemongrass, mint, green onions, japanese eggplant, daikon raddish, ginger, zucchini, edamame, burdok, celery, carrot, cucumber, kale, cilantro, spinach, okra, hot peppers, squash, tomatoes, dill, holy basil, etc.
These greens are also excellent to make healthy soups and stir fries with on occasion as treats when following a detox diet. The herbs are also great for making detox teas.
Frozen Sections also carry frozen fruits like mangosteens, sapodillas, sugarcane durians, and other fruits. You can make frozen fruit ice creams with these in the blender or juicer. Check the frozen section to try something you haven't before!
Other finds you can get for cheaper vs a health food store are seaweeds! Cheap dried seaweeds are abundant in Asian markets. Nori, dulse, wakame, kelp are all seaweeds you can find for cheap and can be used in raw vegan recipes!
You can also find dried fruits like tamarind, Sun-dried gigs, boxes of dates galore!
Sesame seeds are also great to buy at the Asian supermarket and make a nice addition to your salads.
So look up your nearest Asian Market and go exploring! Your dollar will go a long way here!
*These stores usually have an impressive produce display of all kinds of exotic fruits and greens, but not all of these supermarkets are created the same. Look for one that is kept clean and orderly. I have been to ones that were not so clean - steer clear from these ones.
*Read reviews for the Asian markets online.
*Not all Asian markets have good quality produce either. Check to see if the produce is molded. Definitely do not buy any coconuts that have any hints of green or purple on the outside. These coconuts are bad.
Until next time,
- Ailin Duran D.S.