A common complaint/issue raised with people starting out eating paleo is the cost. Too expensive and unrealistic! Yes this is a bigger factor for some than others- i.e. salary restrictions, large families etc….but truth be told, it’s really not that bad. Yes I agree, it is very easy to buy a bag of rice or pasta or tins of beans or bread etc and they last you for weeks and weeks. But that just makes it convenient because you can store these items for so long without worrying about expiration dates.You can store a lot of paleo food as well! Personally, I am uncomfortable eating things that have such long use by dates….I want my food fresh…the fresher the better. I think for me it applies more to the milk you can buy these days which lasts for something like two months from the way it has been preserved!? Can you imagine the amount of chemicals and heat that liquid has undergone to reach that state! Shudder.
And no paleo is not a chicken, broccoli and coconut oil diet either. I don’t sit around eating grass and leaves all day….nor do I have a room full of knives, bows and arrows for hunting my own game……fishing is my only option but given my predisposition to getting sea sick, lack of patience or technique I think I ll leave it to the professionals (side note: I am forever grateful to those guys like in Deadliest Catch because I looooooove lobster and crab and prawns….and all fish in general)
Below are a few small tips that go a long way.
1. Get the finger out! And that’s the hard bit (and the bit I still struggle with). To make it cheap you have to just face the music and cook in bulk. Make one-pot wonders or cook up double everything and you will easily spread the cost. And you can freeze a tonne of the food so you don’t get stuck eating chicken and broccoli for two weeks straight….unless you re into that sort of thing….
2. Buy local-the cost of food increases the longer it has to travel. Fact. It is left up to the customer to cover the cost of transport and preservation unfortunately. So by going local, even buying direct from a farm if at all possible will save you money and in addition you will get fresher and more nutrient dense food which is in season.
3. Go for the cheap cut-the breast is the least tasty bit of the chicken! The fattier cuts of beef are much jucier and full of fat!! (very pro fat over here!!) Seriously you just need to give the cheaper cuts of meat a chance. And organ meat! Don’t even get me started here…..sounds gross? Yes BUT did you know that organ meat is 10x more nutrient dense than muscle meat like chicken breast, steak etc. That most certainly is good enough for me! I literally eat this recipe for chicken liver pate that I posted by the spoonful!
4. Buy in bulk the items that are on sale-this applies to perishable goods as well! You have a freezer to stock up!
5. Make bone broth-I cannot emphasise the goodness of this stuff. It is so nutrient rich because you are literally extracting the minerals from the bones by boiling them. Minerals don’t get destroyed by heating and are instead transferred to the broth-so if you buy cheap buts of meat or whole chicken etc, throw the bones into a massive pot and boil away. If you use oxtail or marrow you can literally reuse these bones until they dissolve so just stored them in your freezer after use. Any veg that is going off or reaching its use-by date can be thrown in here too to make a massive stew/soup etc. Himself had a great idea recently. He went through a phase of juicing and instead of throwing out the pulp, he started throwing it into the broth.
6. Buy and use root veg-easily the cheapest veg you can get and a great addition to anything. Stock up on onions, sweet potatos (moderation), parsnips, carrots, turnips etc….usually these are very fresh too because they are grown in Ireland.
7. Use your local butcher
8. Buy pantry items like nut flours in bulk
9. Grown your own
10. Buy tinned fish-watch out for BPA but stocking up on mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines is cheap and cheerful
11. Get some chickens-lifestyle permitting. Something tells me that my neighbours would not appreciate a load of chickens running around the apartment. Nor would Himself…..someday.
12. Get your priorities straight-I spend a fortune on food every month. Well a fortune from other peoples’ POV, not mine. On the other hand, I don’t drink much, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs. I want to be at my healthiest so I can live a long and illness/disease-free life. I want to only put good quality WHOLE NATURAL food into my body. I have personally made this choice and I feel better for it. I don’t really see the loss from a cost-benefit POV. At the end of the day the choice to spend more on food does mean sacrificing other things….but I can easily go without the most expensive TV SKY package, or driving less to save money or what have you….the gift of a long and healthy life is far far far more important to me than any monetary item. And the same will apply to my family in the future. I don’t want to offend anyone with this point, but you do have to make this decision-many of you already have! Think about how much you spend on gym membership/crossfit. That’s a sacrifice for the sake of health.
13. Only buy organic from the Dirty Dozen List-I have two lists for you. Get familiar with these. When eating paleo, you do not have to buy everything organic and at the highest quality possible all the time. However, it is important to take note of two lists- the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen. The dirty dozen is a list of the most chemically sprayed food and should ALWAYS be purchased organic to avoid exposure. The clean fifteen lists vegetables which you can save money on and not have to worry too much about.
Here is the link to the lists http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
Some other great articles on the topic:
-really good because she gives tips for those who are on a tight, medium, care-free budget