Day 19-23. Eating Paleo on a Budget.
This is a topic we discussed at our group Q&A. Have a question, problem or tip you want to share with the group? Join us Thursday evenings during the BCCC at 6:30pm in the coaches’ lounge!
Raise your hand if the first time you went shopping for BCCC Paleo food at the grocery store, you got sticker shock.
….Raises hands and ducks.
It’s true. When you compare a grocery cart full of the makings of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a box of breakfast cereal that will get you through the week, I guess organic spinach, broccoli, and cherries and wild-caught king salmon and grassfed beef from Whole Foods seems completely unsustainable.
Let’s be real here. I can sit and wax philosophical about things like “better flavor” and “better nutrient profile” and of course the hot-button issue of sustainability. I do think that in the grand scheme of budgeting, feeding/fueling your body should not be a low priority on your spending list (interesting side note here, courtesy of Michael Pollan – in years past, Americans spend up to 18-20% of their income on food. Today, we spend 6-9% of our income on food. To our detriment? I think so.)
I cannot and will not make these decisions for you. But, I don’t know your life and your finances, and I want you to be empowered to decide what works for you.
I will never judge you if you tell me you can’t afford grassfed beef. I promise. I don’t buy grassfed beef all the time. And my husband and I don’t have cable or an expensive car, but I do have an iPhone. So I’m definitely not St. Judgey McJudgerson here. The point is that eating healthfully SHOULD be a priority, but it can be done without making you literally have to sell your worldly possessions and live in a cave.
First off, let’s discuss a few things.
And here are some resources about applying this knowledge in a practical way. I’m including them here for your edification, but the point I want you to take away from all of this is – do the best you can with the knowledge and resources you have.
Is farmed seafood always the worst option? Maybe not.
What’s the best use of your money? Diane of Practical Paleo lays it out.
How do I specifically apply this to my life?
Well, to be honest, this is something that I’m perpetually working on improving. I’m the first to admit that when life gets hectic, I immediately reach for food-on-the-go that is always MUCH more expensive than anything I can make myself. However – when I’m shopping, hands down, I make sure that I’m getting the highest quality FAT sources possible.
- Bacon from pastured pigs from Fair Food Farmstand (I always reserve the fat to cook with later).
- Kerrygold butter or whatever pastured raw butter is for sale at Fair Food.
- Coconut oil/milk
- Pastured lard from Wyebrook Farms
- Any fatty cuts of meat that I don’t intend to drain or trim the fat from, I always spend more money for the higher quality.
- Grassfed ghee
- Tallow from US Wellness Meats
If I need to keep my budget down, I buy lean cuts of conventional meat (or plan to trim the fat or drain it in the case of ground meat) and add fat back in by using one of my high quality reserves (above).
I’ve also been a lot better about not letting things go to waste. I make broth from all my carcasses. We use our crockpot to use up vegetables that are going bad and tenderize the tougher, cheaper cuts of meat.
We also participate in a CSA – which stands for Community Supported Agriculture – in which we pay a farmer directly at the beginning of the season to subsidize deliveries of fresh produce every other week. Double bonus – I support a local farmer and not Mr. Whole Foods, and the stuff is delicious and actually way cheaper than the grocery store.
I’m not participating this time around because my freezer is too-full, but a Cowshare is another way to get great quality beef (or other meat, it’s not just for cows anymore) at a pretty substantial discount from buying by the pound at the store. A bunch of CFCC’ers are getting a Philly Cowshare delivery this week, so look for some great recipes from that soon I’m sure.
Also, you’ll probably start to notice this yourselves now that your eyes are opened – but buying “gluten-free” products that are imitations of the stuff you love and miss is ALWAYS going to be more expensive than the real thing. I went into a grocery store once looking for gluten free bread (which I NEVER buy, but I was interested in a grilled cheese sandwich, OKAY?) and it was $9.00. NINE DOLLARS FOR A LOAF OF BREAD. Which is another reason that in the long run, SWYPO will do you no favors. Heh.
So, please weigh in! How do you keep things within your budget when you’re on the BCCC (and off it)? Where have you scored great deals on good quality food?