Paleo diet on the budget
The Paleo diet is all about going back to the basics by eating fresh and whole foods that are free of grains, refined sugar and processed ingredients. Meals consist of grass fed meat, wild fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, oils, fruits and nuts. In a nutshell, everything that cavemen ate. We however, no longer use spears and rocks to hunt our food. Our hunting happens mainly at food markets with exchange of money, of course! And in our modern day food industry those wholesome caveman foods come with a price, that may seem daunting to some of us.
However, when you shift your mindset a bit and perform some simple budgeting and planning, this diet will be come out to be much cheaper than the average person’s diet in the U.S. All it takes is a bit of effort.
- Make a Budget: set an amount that you can spend on groceries weekly and stick to it.
- Make a Menu: plan your meals for the week; if you are a beginner start simple with the basic ingredients and then once you start getting used to it you can channel that inner chef and get fancier.
- Shop smart: a tip for shopping at a supermarket is going in a circle. You go from produce to meat and then to the dairy section; which are typically located at the three edges of the store. And you skip all the refined and processed foods at the center. Have your grocery list ready so you can be in and out, without any distractions. It is ideal to shop at a local farmer’s market, since that is where you will get the freshest food and you can score some great deals.
Tips for getting the best deals:
Meat: the main star of the diet and the trickiest to shop for. It is best to buy grass fed and organic meat. At a supermarket you can take advantage of sales, the meats on sale are probably not so fresh anymore so it is best to it cook right away. Stocking up on frozen meat is also an option. Buying from a local butcher if possible would be the best option.
Fowl: chicken is probably the most affordable and healthiest meat. Buy a whole chicken and prepare it, then you can throw into different dishes throughout the week. The same goes for turkey. Supermarkets always have deals and sales on these.
Fish: find a local fish market for the best deals and freshest seafood. If not available, frozen fish is always easy to get and store, the only offset is the taste of it.
Vegetables and Fruits: buy the fruits and veggies that are in season, these will be the cheapest because they are readily available and do not have to travel from around the globe. Buy frozen fruits and veggies, they will live in your freezer longer and are perfect for a quick smoothie or addition to a meal.
Eggs: these are the cheapest of the bunch. Make sure they are free range and organic, but even with these labels it’s not guaranteed that the chickens were on a healthy diet. The best and healthiest ones to get would be from a local farmer’s market.
Nuts: buy in bulk! Since these have a longer shelf life you can definitely stock up on them. Costco is a great place where you can buy a huge package of several sorts and since these should be eaten in moderation they will last for a while.
The other price to include in this calculation is the cost of healthcare. A diet filled with refined ingredients, processed foods, pasta, grains, sugars and all sorts of junk that appears as food these days definitely takes a toll on your health. Constant consumption of these foods has been linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. The price you may end up paying for your health care on long run will more than cover the difference in cost of food. Our bodies are the most expensive piece of machinery we will ever own and we must make sure we get the best quality fuel to keep them running well.