Shopping Paleo Affordably

November 10, 20151234Views
Gearing up to start shopping Paleo can be a little nerve-wracking. The price tags on the pasture-raised filet mignon can be jaw dropping. I’m right there with you. I’m flabbergasted when I see $20 a pound for ground bison at my local butcher shop. But I can also tell you that this is definitely do-able. I started eating Paleo in college when I was strapped for cash and alcohol took way too high a priority in my spending habits. It took a while to get used to and there were definitely some failed experiences but now it’s second nature and I can even budget to afford my grass-fed beef, eggs from pastured chickens, and farmers market veggies.

It is a learning process and it really has to be. You’re learning how to eat differently. That means different ingredients, different recipes, different cooking methods, and a different way of evaluating what’s for dinner. Plus you may notice over time like I did that you start learning more about your values and beliefs. I didn’t think much about food before adopting the Paleo lifestyle. Since, I transitioned into caring more about myself, the people around me, the things I am eating, the earth supporting that life cycle, and the people outside of my community. It’s all interconnected and it’s life, not an industry.
Ok back on track with budgeting versus life philosophy. In going through college and life as a young adult, I picked up a few things that may help you on your transition as well:

  1. Eggs – Oh my goodness I think I ate only eggs for a couple months when I was first out on my own. They are easy to cook, filling, and cheap. Seriously. I can buy 18 cage free (doesn’t say pastured), local eggs for $2.99 at the Durham co-op. If I eat, say, 3 for a meal that’s less than $.50 for that meal. Don’t like plain eggs? Slap that sucker on a fried tomato slice, hard boil for a salad, or break over sweet potato hash.
  2. Don’t get hung up on local, organic, free range, etc – First off, these labels don’t always mean what you think they would. Paying extra for free-range is like playing Russian Roulette as to whether you are throwing your money away. These chickens may have had extremely restricted access to a dirt yard that they never even ventured out in. If you are interested, grass-fed, grass-finished, 100% grass-fed, and pastured really carried some weight (at least last I checked, sometimes it feels like I’m trying to keep one step ahead of a moving train). It is far more important to actually get the nutrients provided by meats and veggies than to stress about organic. Grain fed, CAFO beef still has less omega-6s than almonds, to put it in perspective. Pesticides and antibiotics aren’t good by a long shot, but are secondary in importance compared to nutrients.
  3. Shop around – I could buy $20 a pound ground bison at the butcher’s market down the street…or I could buy the same vacuum-sealed brand at Food Lion for $8 a pound (often yellow tagged for quick sale!). If you don’t want to or don’t have time to shop around my sympathies. I don’t either. Luckily for the weeks where I just need food now Sam’s Club has 100% grass-fed ground beef and their chicken is Step 2 on the Global Animal Partnership. I stock up and throw it in the freezer for when I have a week that I just can’t make it to the Durham co-op (one city over). Speaking of the co-op, we have one in Raleigh. I don’t go because their food is priced an absurd amount higher than Durham’s. Local chuck steak there is $13 per lb., Whole Foods charges $8, and the Durham co-op charges $7. In some locations, Wal-Mart carries grass-fed and pastured meats. The one near me has humane certified, pastured eggs but they’re the same price as humane-certified anywhere else.
  4. Learn to cook the cheaper cuts – I bought chuck steak because, after reading Joel Salatin’s Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, I declared to Adam that I’d had the last straw and couldn’t stomach supporting conventional farming anymore (meat and veggie). I also can’t afford grass-fed, pastured T-bones. The stupid chuck steak was SO tough. Even after I marinated it. So I ran it through my handy-dandy mandolin attachment on the food processor and made shaved steak. It was excellent, we had shaved steak salads and sandwiches! Crockpots and stews are also excellent options for tougher cuts. Unfortunately Adam does not like “pot roast” which seems to include stew, brisket, or any beef I put in the crockpot so mostly I reserve that for southwestern chicken. Chicken thighs are cheaper and very easy to cook. Try Cornell chicken or just wash it with eggs and throw in the oven. The skin gets crispy and it’s great for sandwiches or with a creamy sauce. Making and stripping a whole chicken is another great option. I cook a lot on the weekend so that I can do the longer roasts (without using the crockpot and having it declared “pot roast”).
  5. Amazon – Amazon’s pretty useful for the things Sam’s Club and Costco won’t carry. Definitely keep in mind that you should not just assume Amazon is cheaper. For instance a large tub of coconut oil is $7 cheaper at Sam’s Club. However, coconut aminos, salts, tapioca starch, coconut flour, coconut flakes, and other dried goods are available and cheaper than, for instance, Whole Foods.

Source: Rx Primal Blog

Becky Davis

Becky Davis

Hello, I'm Becky! I'm here to help you make the Paleo diet an easy part of your daily life. With my quick recipes, tips, and strategies readers and clients add healthy practices and stick with them! To hear a little more about my background, check out the "About Me" section or find me on social media.

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