Born in 1979, Brandi Rollins grew up on the poor side of San Francisco surrounded by siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. Since she was a child, Brandi has had a strong love for food. At age 8, she was already a pro at making fried chicken, French fries, ramen noodles, and pancakes. With the help of a home education class in junior high school, she eventually added breads, cakes, and cookies to the list, and became known as the Betty Crocker in the family. Though these weren’t the healthiest of foods, Brandi was a chef in the making.
As she grew older, Brandi’s eating habits only worsened. By the time she graduated from college she weighed almost 220lb, and was fatigued, inactive, and unhappy. Something had to change and one day it did. While sitting at a cheap Chinese restaurant, Brandi decided to call a friend to chat. Little did she know, she was going to receive a 3-hour lecture on healthy eating. Fortunately, she got the message and immediately hit the books in search for the perfect human diet.
As Brandi searched for the perfect diet, she eventually found the raw foods diet. It made complete sense. When you cook food, you destroy a lot of its nutrients. Can you guess what happens when you don’t cook food? All the nutrients are still there. Correct! Class is over and Brandi immediately jumped into the raw foods diet. Although she only ate raw foods for three months, this short experience changed her life. Being raw vegan ultimately gave her a glimpse into who she was. She was not a grouchy, tired, and unhappy person. Rather, she was a person who was full of life, joy, and laughter. Yippee!
Eventually, life caught up with Brandi and it took her 2 years before she revisited the raw foods diet. The 2nd time Brandi became raw vegan it was not because she was searching for the perfect diet; rather, it was because she knew that this diet was going to allow her to fulfill her dreams and potential as a human being.
Since 2006, Brandi has been committed to fulfilling her dreams and maintaining her raw vegan lifestyle; however, it has had its obstacles. One major challenge was figuring out how to afford this seemingly expensive lifestyle while on a small student stipend. And let’s just say, it took her a long to figure it out. For most of her time as a raw vegan, Brandi’s grocery bills were out of control. She would spend $500-$600 a month just to feed herself. Her justification was simple: fruits and vegetables are expensive, so being raw vegan is going to be expensive. But the truth was that she was not managing her grocery bills and, as a result, was wasting a lot of money and food, and driving herself into debt.
Then it all changed. The economy went into a crisis and all the major credit card companies increased their interest rates as much as possible. All of sudden, Brandi had to deal with the debt she had accrued from failing to manage her food bills. Though it took her a few months, she finally decided to take steps towards reducing her debt. Her first step was obvious: she had to tackle her grocery bills. She made very small adjustments at first, and it was the feeling of success from these small steps that planted the seeds for Raw Foods on a Budget. Over a few short months, Brandi was able to reduce her monthly food bills in half!
Released in 2011, Raw Foods on a Budget was the first comprehensive guide to eating raw foods while living on a limited budget. The book was designed by Brandi and a team of readers to provide raw food newcomers and long-term enthusiasts with all the materials they need to enjoy a raw foods lifestyle while successfully staying on a tight budget. The book takes a holistic approach to budgeting by showing readers how small changes can help reduce and keep their food bills low. Eating raw foods while on a limited budget is more than just finding low-cost fruits and vegetables, rather it encompasses how and where you buy food; how you store, prepare, and eat food; and your overall relationship with food and your budget. Raw Foods on a Budget provides over 70 strategies to help readers master these different dimensions of budgeting, and it also gives readers step-by-step instructions in creating their own monthly raw food budget. In addition, the book contains over 90 delicious low-cost recipes for juices, smoothies, nut milks, breakfast, entrees and sides, soups, salads, dressings and dips, breads and crackers, desserts, and even recipes for preparing dried and frozen foods. Each recipe also contains valuable nutrition information and recipe cost tables and tips!
Currently, Brandi lives in State College, Pennsylvania where she is a researcher studying the development of food preferences and eating for pleasure in childhood at Penn State University. Brandi enjoys gardening, writing, dancing, spending time with family and friends, hiking, being active, and making jewelry. Brandi can be reached at [email protected]