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Cook an Extraordinary Feast on a Budget

Cook an Extraordinary Feast on a Budget

By Scott Blossom, Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner

In the United States it is nearly Thanksgiving Day, the start of the winter holiday season. At Doctor Blossom we strive to make everyday a day of Thanks and Giving!  This holiday season we have a suggestion about how you might to do that too with a delicious, healthy, and affordable Thanksgiving feast that is both beautiful to look at and beautiful in spirit as it offers a chance to share what you save with others.

We encourage everyone to eat organically grown foods most of the time, but when it comes to the traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, the non-vegetarian, organic version is three-to-six times more expensive than the non-organic, non-vegetarian one. It can be enticing to forego the vastly more expensive organic option especially if you are on a tight budget. We don’t recommend the non-organic version though because its price is artificially low, does not take into account the hidden environmental costs, and supports cruel factory farm practices.

This year, as an alternative, you might consider our Holiday Kitchari Feast. It offers an organic meal without spending any more than you would for a non-organic, non-vegetarian feast. There are several benefits: savings without compromising your commitment to eating organic foods; supporting organic farmers; and an opportunity to support your community and help others with the money you have saved. Perhaps a contribution to a local food bank or homeless shelter?

Let’s do the numbers…

  • According to the Wall Street Journal’s a traditional non-vegetarian holiday feast for 10 people using organic ingredients will cost from $150 to $300 –about $15-30 per person.
  • Our organic Kitchari Feast for 10 people will cost $50-$60, about $5-6 per person. [1]

It includes:

Kitchari- Mung bean and Rice Stew
Green Beans with Turmeric

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ginger

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Arugula and Avocado Salad

Cilantro Chutney

Baked Pears and Apples with Spiced Maple Glaze

If you add organic wine,  the price goes up $6 –$7 more per person.

The Savings…

When you have a vegetarian feast you save roughly $10-$25 per person compared to the non-vegetarian organic meal. For a party of ten that saves you $100 to $250 dollars.  By tailoring this vegetarian celebration to what is available locally, you will obviate shipping costs and save even more.

Feeding America, an organization that feeds over 37 million hungry Americans every year, can serve 8 meals for a dollar. So just by staying vegetarian, even for one holiday meal, and donating the savings you could make a huge difference in the lives of hungry people.

Spreading the love through food…

Our Kitchari Feast is probably a pretty different vision of holiday food than the one you grew up with or even had in mind for your celebrations this year.  So why do it?

Consider these alarming facts: Approximately one in seven households were food insecure (hungry) in 2010, the highest number ever recorded in the United States. [2] ‘s 2011 hunger study reports that “the number of hungry children their network serves has increased 50 percent since 2006.”[3]

By donating money that you will save by going vegetarian you can help mitigate one of the fastest growing trends in America: hunger.

Your holiday Kitchari Feast is rich in complete proteins and fats, the nutrients that leave you feeling well satisfied.  And the meal becomes ever more satisfying when you choose foods that nourish not only your family, but also your community and are more environmentally sustainable, too. You can find these and other great recipes here on Care2 and at

Scott Blossom is an Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit to learn more about Ayurvedic food recipes, whole-food cleansing, and health consultations. Thanks to Crystal Davis, Christine Desser, and Michael Blossom for their editorial input.

[1] Cost calculated from the Park Slope Food Coop pricelist




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2:39PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

thanks for sharing

10:32AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Thanks for posting.

9:44AM PST on Jan 13, 2012

Thank you

5:52PM PST on Jan 12, 2012

Thanks for this article.

12:40PM PST on Nov 26, 2011

I love food with asian spices

8:06PM PST on Nov 25, 2011


3:33PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

some good ideas here.

1:43PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Vegetarian menu, Yum ! It sounds delicious !

1:24PM PST on Nov 24, 2011


12:17PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Thank you for the article and great website. I wish the recipes included photos of the actual dish(es), however, they do sound good so I'll give thema try. :)

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