People frequently ask me how to eat paleo on a budget.  There's a perception that eating this way requires twice-monthly overnight shipments of hand-caught organic sustainable fair trade wild salmon from Alaska.  This is false.  Not only can you eat paleo on the cheap, but you will earn dividends with improved health.

  1. Forget organic.  Honestly.  I know this sounds blasphemous to some people, but it's more important to eat the right types of foods (fat/protein vs. processed carbs) than to eat organic.  Take the obvious example: "organic sugar".  I wonder how much healthier organic sugar is for you than processed sugar.  Sugar is sugar, people.  There are plenty of foods in Whole Foods that are not good for you.  Keep organic in perspective.
  2. Buy in bulk at a club store.  If you know someone who has a membership to Costco or Sam's Club, then go there and stock up.  Just like you would if you were trying to save money eating a standard diet.  Get canned tuna, crab, frozen shrimp.  And club stores are one of the best places to buy nuts in bulk.  You can get a very large jar of mixed nuts for under ten bucks.
  3. Join a meatshare.  This is buying in bulk too, but you can't get a side of grassfed beef from Costco (yet).   If you find a group that can go in on a whole cow or animal, you can get grassfed or pastured meats for not much more than store bought.
  4. Buy odd cuts.   Most people don't buy marrow bones — they're cheap.  Many organ meats aren't very expensive either, because there isn't as much demand.
  5. Eat at Chipotle
  6. Fast.  When you skip a couple meals, you usually don't eat full replacement meals when you break the fast.  And you get all the health benefits of intermittent fasting.  (Danger: do not go grocery shopping while hungry.)
  7. Hunt.  Jackson Landers saves thousands of dollars a year by hunting.  With a little up front cost for a gun, ammunition, registration, and a license, you can start supplying yourself with hundreds of pounds of high quality meat a year.  Requires time investment.  And clearly depends on your proximity to places where you can hunt.
  8. Invest in a freezer chest.  This gives you the freedom to buy higher quality meats in bulk, whether from hunting, a meatshare, or a store.
  9. Gather / Grow.  I personally don't gather any of my food, but some of you may be near wild berries part of the year.  Alternatively, you can grow a garden.  Seeds aren't terribly expensive, water is pretty much free, and you'll just need some soil and containers.  If you're a complete novice, I'd start with some herbs before you invest in any growing equipment.  But done properly, a garden can easily pay for itself.  Requires time investment. 
  10. Buy berries in season and freeze them.  Buy 'em when they're cheap, and eat 'em when they're expensive.  Freeze them in August, thaw out those raspberries in winter when the price has tripled.  They won't be quite as good fresh, but you'll still enjoy them.  
  11. Drink less alcohol.  This makes a BIG difference in New York City.  Two fewer drinks when I'm out on the weekend, call it $20 — over the course of a year, that's a thousand dollars.  (Wow — I don't even want to think how much money I've spent on alcohol in this city over the last five years.  Or rent.)
  12. Cut back on soap / shampoo.  This is not for everyone.  Richard Nikoley pulled it off, but this is a personal one that most folks may never be interested in.  Likely to get better results if you're healthy.
  13. Pay attention to how you save.  Spending less on cold medicines?  No longer paying for that acne cream?  Buying less dessert at restaurants?  Going to the doctor less often?  Able to drop any prescriptions?  Feeling more confident and decide to ask your boss for a raise?  And if you're just starting, take "before" pictures and get blood work done at the doctor.  You're going to want a record of your improvement so you can remember it later on.
  14. Splurge on animals, not plants.  When I have some disposable income, I pay up for animal products in a way that I don't for vegetables.  There is a bigger difference in quality between the worst beef and the best beef than between the worst lettuce and the best lettuce.  
  15. Take advantage of free stuff.  Sun is free.  Water is free.  Barefoot is free.  Sleep is free (as long as you don't get fired for sleeping in).  A sense of purpose is free.  

Don't use money as an excuse not to start eating paleo.  Give it a shot for a month.  And if you get results that are worth it, then you'll find ways to prioritize the things you care about.  Besides, look at how much money people spend on healthcare…clearly people who don't have their health are willing to spend a lot of money to get it back.  Better to not let it go in the first place.

How do you guys eat paleo on the cheap?  I'm sure I've missed tons of stuff.  Tips?  Tricks?  Links?

———-

Update Tuesday AM: Some awesome ideas from the comments.

  • Eggs!  Cheap, filling, healthy, and you can cook them all sorts of different ways.
  • Befriend a farmer.  You may get some freebies (like lard, fatback) and you'll be aware of extra cuts that are high quality, but might not be selling well that you can get at a steep discount. 
  • Befriend a hunter. It's hard to eat a full deer yourself.  Part of the beauty of hunting is sharing.  Let your buddy be the big man who gets to provide meat to others.  
  • Buy whole chickens and butcher cuts yourself. 
  • Make your lunch in advance.  Cook in large batches so you don't have to buy lunch at work.
  • Don't make an itemized shopping list.  Buy what is reasonably priced and find a way to use those ingredients.
  • Switch to hard alcohol.  File this under "buy in bulk – alcohol edition".
  • Buy family packs of meat, then freeze individual cuts.

57 Responses to “How to eat wild on the cheap”

  1. Paleo-Gal says:

    I’ve recently started up a blog about Paleo and Lacto-Paleo meals that can be made for £1 a portion, along with how to get things cheaply, what’s currently in season (hint: it’s the cheap stuff!) and updates on offers available at UK supermarkets, butchers and indoor markets.
    It probably isn’t the healthiest Paleo diet, but, for a very tight budget, it’s good, even if just for 2 meals a week! And considering most students’ diets, I think I’m doing well! :p
    Shameless plug: onepoundmeals.blog.com

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  3. anx says:

    You aren’t brilliant much, aren’t you? It’s OK, you’re only 28, lots and lots to learn… got to love those clueless people posting their idiocy "advice" articles online. Your degree wasn’t in science, quite obviously. Pathetic.

    • Hughes says:

       Hey anx when you are trying to insult people use correct grammar. For example when you say you aren’t brilliant much aren’t you, you are actually saying he is brilliant. But I guess that is what makes you so brilliant. By the way I would try this lifestyle and diet instead of insulting it, maybe you would be less irritable.

    • Andrew says:

       Anx, what is your problem? Nobody coerced you into reading the article. Furthermore, you didn’t provide one peice of counter-evidence or even an argument for others to ruminate on.

      Do you know what they call something that shits all over something? An Asshole. 

      Congrats on your new title. It must be so exciting.

    • Andrew says:

       Anx, what is your problem? Nobody coerced you into reading the article. Furthermore, you didn’t provide one peice of counter-evidence or even an argument for others to ruminate on.

      Do you know what they call something that shits all over something? An Asshole. 

      Congrats on your new title. It must be so exciting.

    • Andrew says:

       Anx, what is your problem? Nobody coerced you into reading the article. Furthermore, you didn’t provide one peice of counter-evidence or even an argument for others to ruminate on.

      Do you know what they call something that shits all over something? An Asshole. 

      Congrats on your new title. It must be so exciting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, Anx. I am continually amazed at the cowards who unleash vitriol when they’re guaranteed online anonymity. By the pedestrian and snarky, middle-school girl tone of your comment, your degree certainly wasn’t in English, quite obviously. Pathetic. Grow up, or have the sack to spew your snark face-to-face.

  4.  I’m currently living on a food budget of 20-40 RMB per day, which works out to 3-6 USD per day. 

    Obviously the exchange rate helps a bit. But yeah I know a lot about eating cheap. 

    One of the most important things, paradoxically, is not to reduce the price of items you buy at the grocery store, but to eliminate cravings that may drive you to eat at a restaurant. 

    I’ve learned how to put together just 5 daily meals that satisfy all cravings. They also avoid triggering my many food intolerances. 

    I’ll list price factors first, then cravings factors. 

    Price: 

    • Eat tons of boiled eggs, it increases cholesterol and therefore testosterone, and delivers lots of fat calories, which helps cut down on expensive meat. 
    • Buy whole ingredients with low price per weight (frozen shrimp only exception, for fast craving-killer meals)

    Everything else is focused on avoiding binges by eliminating cravings. Here are all the cravings I’ve identified. 

    Craving/satiator list:

    • fresh fatty animal meat – needed daily. fat feels like heroin after deprivation.
    • fermented food – its presence lowers other cravings’ strength; its absence isn’t detectable
    • hot crispy texture – solved with fried shrimp
    • intense flavor or else sweet flavor (they’re substitutes) – solved with kimchi
    • carbs to prevent ketosis – carb deficit leads to low willpower, fruit/restaurant binging
    • umami – makes your eyes roll back in your head. multiple sources.
    • hot happy non-protein fullness – satisfied via big meals of flavored/textured carbs or else root/tuber/bulbs
    • steady blood sugar upkeep – classic hunger. requires fast prep meal options

    I identified all these cravings the hard way:

    1. eliminated all foods but meat
    2. veered between enervating fat deprivation and nauseating fat overconsumption
    3. found the perfect meat source (live bought muscular snakehead fish, which thrive in toxic fish farms)
    4. gradually tested additional ingredients – rejected fruit, processed food, wheat, sugar, onions, etc
    5. struggled not to cheat, pitting willpower against various cravings
    6. gradually developed dietary elements to eliminate each craving

    I had to do it this way because of all my food intolerances, which generate IBS and chronic fatigue.

    Everything I eat now is neolithic, except perhaps I eat more potatoes than our ancestors would’ve been able to find. 

    Details on my current diet are available here: http://josephsblog.typepad.com/shorts/fresh-fish-diet/

    • Steph says:

       Overconsumption of fish leads to high purine levels in the blood which can cause all kinds of health issues including kidney stones; be sure to balance our your diet.  Too much of any one thing over time may have negative effects on your health.  Be safe!

  5. Hunter says:

    My Costco has grass-fed ground beef, I didn’t notice it at first but they started carrying it sometime a while back. I also get plenty of wild fish from Costco, both frozen and fresh. The only shrimp they have though are farmed so I avoid those.

  6. Hunter says:

    My Costco has grass-fed ground beef, I didn’t notice it at first but they started carrying it sometime a while back. I also get plenty of wild fish from Costco, both frozen and fresh. The only shrimp they have though are farmed so I avoid those.

  7. Ira says:

    After sending you my comment about canned fish, I thought, wow, John hasn’t written much at all about fish or going fishing, and that’s about as wild and as fresh as you can get. Here in New York, getting a spot on an ocean fishing boat from Sheepshead Bay or elsewhere, even renting equipment, is easy and fairly inexpensive, and it makes a lot of sense to brush up on your cleaning, gutting, filleting skills, etc.; you can quickly fill a freezer. Get used to eating cheaper, more commonly available smaller fish like porgies, whiting, bluefish, even local seabass, etc. -Ira

  8. Dan M. says:

    There is nothing wild about eating at a fast food restaurant, or fedexing meat. This whole paleo diet seems so convoluted and… Desperately clinging onto the notion that older is better, more genuine, more authentic. No, we should not be eating sugar and junk food and processed mush, but to avoid all starches and legumes simply because pre-agrarian people did not eat it? To think that eating canned tuna and frozen shrimp from Costco somehow connects you back to your ancestors is silly.

     

    I just don’t get it.

    • Larry says:

      It’s not so much about a connection to our ancestors ( see John’s posts on re-enactors) so much as the realization that we have the same dietary adaptations as they do and then trying to recreate the same nutritional palette for ourselves.

    • Roland says:

       Paleo eaters don’t avoid those things because cavemen didn’t.  That’ cavemen didn’t eat them (much) was the clue to investigate whether those foods are healthy or not for us.

  9. Dan M. says:

    There is nothing wild about eating at a fast food restaurant, or fedexing meat. This whole paleo diet seems so convoluted and… Desperately clinging onto the notion that older is better, more genuine, more authentic. No, we should not be eating sugar and junk food and processed mush, but to avoid all starches and legumes simply because pre-agrarian people did not eat it? To think that eating canned tuna and frozen shrimp from Costco somehow connects you back to your ancestors is silly.

     

    I just don’t get it.

  10. Dan M. says:

    There is nothing wild about eating at a fast food restaurant, or fedexing meat. This whole paleo diet seems so convoluted and… Desperately clinging onto the notion that older is better, more genuine, more authentic. No, we should not be eating sugar and junk food and processed mush, but to avoid all starches and legumes simply because pre-agrarian people did not eat it? To think that eating canned tuna and frozen shrimp from Costco somehow connects you back to your ancestors is silly.

     

    I just don’t get it.

  11. Jai says:

    So… I have a Costco card. If anyone reading has a car and doesn’t mind picking up/dropping off in Manhattan, I’m happy to share the membership if you’re willing to help me get there and back every now and then. There are two Costcos nearby that I know of: 117th and Pleasant Ave, and the one in Queens near Socrates Park. (The one in Queens has free parking, I think, and there’s usually street parking available near the Manhattan location.) I think I can bring in up to two people at a time, if that’s helpful.

     

    My gmail account name is jaicat, for contact purposes.

  12. Simon says:

    Eggs aren’t really all that cheap, especially if you’re buying the good ones (pastured and/or high in omega 3) They come out to about the same price per gram of protein as the best cuts of beef do. 

  13. Matt says:

    This is spot on with what I’ve been doing since I’ve started paleo. I purchased a 7 cu. ft. freezer and a Sam’s club membership. I buy their roasts in 2 packs and cook one on the weekend and eat it all week long for lunch. I also pick up their 4lb bags of frozen broccoli ($5 a piece) and go for some whole chicken breasts and some deli sliced turkey. I only grocery shop once a month. I’ve recently found a vendor who sells grass fed beef ($6/pound of ground beef) locally and have purchased from them a couple of times. I’m also going to be deer hunting in a few weeks. Fortunately the area I’m hunting in NW Oklahoma is over loaded with deer, especially does. I can take 2 does in the rifle season and then another one in the special doe only rifle season in December. I may need to  buy another freezer as I just found out that wild hogs have been spotted by some of my family around my hunting land (being a "nuisance animal" there is no season for wild hogs and no limit). Here’s to hoping I get a nice pig as well. Unfortunately, since I do not have the ability or location to process all of those animals myself, I’ll have to take it to a butcher and it’ll cost me about $100 per animal to process. But that will easily be my meat supply until next season!

  14. Tomorrow is 1 month full Paleo error free. There are many ways I’ve saved going Paleo although I haven’t done the math.

    1) Diet soda. I used to hoof it down like they were discontinuing it.

    2) Beer/alcohol. Don’t know how much, but the guy at the wine store unfollowed me on Twitter. I guess because he hasn’t seen me in a while…

    3) Dining out. WIth more control dining at home, I’ve saved countelss $. And helps keep me error free.

    4) Like many commenters and in the post I overcook and have meals ready to save and to stay on track (small investment in the really good Tuperware is worth it!).

    5) I find I need less sleep so I’m more productive, even if I want to just write comments on a blog or a post myself.

    5) Clothes. I have a ton of clothes that I am either fitting into or will shortly. I have a free wardrobe waiting for me. With suits, rack that up in the thousands. There’s more, but I’ll leave it there

    Thanks for the post.

    ~Mike

    mikelamonica.wordpress.com

    You might like to see my post on a recent crossfit event I covered!

  15. Ira says:

    I dunno how "purist" you want to be, but much canned fish is actually wild-caught. Canned salmon is usually wild-caught in Alaska, often at the peak of the season, and goes on sale, sometimes under store labels, from time to time. Canned sardines have less mercury than tuna, ’cause you’re eating low on the food-chain, and you may be contributing less to over-fishing. Vary with kippered or pickled herring, and mackerel, etc., and you have a lot of food and economic value there, as well as being very easy to open and eat on-the-run. Save on refrigeration/electricity costs, as well. -Ira

  16. M says:

    If you want to buy your food on the cheap you might try checking out your local “ethnic” stores, you can often find much better prices there as well as items you just can’t get at the big box super markets or health food stores.

    For instance, I get my goat meat (which is a good paleo choice around here as it is local and pastured) at the local carnicería (Mexican meat market)and a lot of fresh vegetables from the Asian markets and the mercados at substantial savings. I get my coconut milk from the indian market for half what I would pay at a chain supermarket (same brand).

    Picking your own produce is also a good way to go if you have access. I was able to harvest 60 lbs of organic heirloom blueberries this year for around $2.00 a pound. For people who live in the city “pick your own fruit” places could make a good group field trip.

    • Roland says:

       This is an excellent tip!  I buy a lot of seafood at the Asian market.  It’s unusual stuff at times, but a weird looking shrimp seems to taste as good as a normal looking shrimp, and I get to use the heads in my broth!

      They have fish I’ve only seen in National Geographic, too!

  17. Eric M says:

    Make extra food for dinner and eat the left overs for lunch the next few days. The initial cost will only be a little more and it will save you alot by not having to buy lunch.

  18. Victoria says:

     My biggest suggestions to friends that gripe about the high cost of "healthy" food, is to stop making an itemized shopping list.  Don’t go into the store thinking "I need a T-bone steak to make this recipe", or "I’m going to buy some raspberries", but go in and see what’s reasonably priced and figure out what to do with it.  When my brother lived in Japan I sent him a "mystery meat box" from a cool butcher… No hint on what would be in the box (every one was different, depended what he had left over", but it’s cool to figure out how to cook something new.  My exciting find of the day… my grocery store now sells beef fat!!

  19. Jim says:

    John two questions:

    1)  Can you do a post sometime on fasting?  A sizable % of your audience probably doesn’t know anything about fasting, and getting your condensed take on it would be interesting and great exposure to a world of health we don’t know about.

    2)  Do you think healthy people will naturally have better skin/hair if they don’t use soap/shampoo?  What’s your logic on this?

    • Turtle says:

      Since I’m sure Paleo people didn’t eat three square meals a day, as they had to find/chase their food, I’m sure some fasting was involved.  I think this is a good idea.

      I would advise against it if you have a school exam / job interview / athletic competition the next day.

      Bonus: fasting is really cheap!

  20. Turtle says:

    I thought I understood the Paleo thing, but now maybe I don’t.  When I think (guess, actually, since we don’t really know) how Paleo people ate, I assume that they were like many primitives now, in that they ate mostly plant based foods, and ate meat when they were lucky enough to catch or scavenge something.  Like maybe a couple times per week.  Anyone who has ever tried primitive hunting and trapping would realize they are not eating 2-3 servings of meat per day.  It’s a lot of work to get animal protein.  (without modern tools)

    It seems that many people into Paleo are refugees from Adkins and looking for a legitimate excuse to continue eating that much meat.  I am not trying to be provocative, I just don’t understand the logic.

    Also, there was a comment suggesting the consumption of ONE DOZEN EGGS PER DAY!!!  Wow, that is a lot of cholesterol.  The only way someone could maintain a diet like that, is if they raised birds in captivity.  Which, of course, is not true to the Paleo concept.

    I do agree with the spirit of the article; you can do this inexpensively if you are willing to get creative.  And rather than cut out alcohol entirely, you can ferment fruit juices, something that is a very possible, low-tech, Paelo thing to do.  You just have to prevent the damn monkeys (or roommies) from getting into your stash of fermenting hooch!

    • Paleolady says:

      People often think of hunting in the large game sense.  And in that way, yes, it is true that it took a lot of effort for the meat, and may not have happened as frequently as we consume large animals.  However!  Small game was quite common in the diet (think fish, squirrel, rabbits, etc), and were easier to catch (nets, traps).  So, the idea that meat needs to be a rare part of your diet is something I disagree with.  However, I do think that some body types are more geared towards eating a more vegetable based diet, and some geared towards eating a more meat diet.  Just listen to you body to find out what is optimal for you.

       

      And I recommend you do some reading up on cholesterol.  Watch movies like Fat Head, or check out Gary Taubes.  Cholesterol is not the evil it has been made out to be.  The science that was based on was faulty.  Current research has shown that there is no causation between dietary cholesterol and heart disease.  Rather, high cholesterol rates occur in the blood when their is oxidative damage in the arteries.  The cholesterol is merely there to repair the damage that grains have caused.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree with what you’ve said here. Plant foods are much easier to find and gather than animals are to hunt, and require fewer calories to acquire. I’m also puzzled as to why nobody so far has mentioned one of the easiest ways to eat Paleo on a budget — eat more vegetables, which are cheap, and less meat, which is not as cheap.

      • Eric M says:

        true. i like to go through spells of just eating veggies to kinda of simulate the fact that animals were not always available, and then go through periods where i eat much more meat simulating a large catch. seems to work

        • Victoria says:

          Without modern, cultivated, fruits and vegetables, in most environments it would be very difficult to get enough calories from fruits and veggies alone.  Heck- those people that eat only raw fruit are eating BUSHELS of fruit per day, and a lot of them still fail to thrive (and lets not think about how much fructose they’re eating).  Have you ever tried foraging?  I was raised in rural NJ (yes, it exists), and spent all my summers outside.  I loved gathering stuff, and would sometimes bring home a bucket of wineberries or blackberries, or bags of chestnuts or hickory nuts, but here’s the thing… they were very temporary supplies of food, and with the exception of nuts, not calorie dense at all.  Currently I have a huge bag of watercress in my fridge that I gathered from a local stream bed.  The patch is HUGE, but even if you harvested it all, you probably don’t have 2000 calories of food.  You literally can’t eat enough of it to sustain yourself.  Meat is calorie dense.  It may take a lot of energy to hunt down an animal, but the payback is huge.  A bad day of either hunting or gathering will leave you with an empty stomach, but a successful day of hunting has a much better payout than a successful day foraging.  Just my 2c.

  21. Anonymous says:

     Organic is sooo important.  The pesticides in the SAD are so much worse for us than you’re giving credit for.  A great deal of our health problems are due to the pesticides on our food.  You’re an idiot, you pompous ass.

    • Travis says:

      Valid point about the pesticides, but it’s equally important for me to pay my rent and bills on time.  I’m on a tight budget, so I don’t always buy organic.   Budget and common sense are soooooooo  important.  Some plant foods, for example are best bought organic (leafy greens), while some are OK from traditional sources (oranges have thick skins).

      The root cause the health problems related to the Western diet:  sugar and grains.  Pesticides aren’t great, but I just named two of the biggest offenders.  

      Invalid insult directed toward Mr. Durant.   Grow up, anonymous.  

    • Larry says:

      "Anonymous" raised a very good point…and then destroyed his/her own credibility with an unwarranted insult. What’s up with that?

      • Anonymous says:

         The insult was a reference to how Mr. Durant constantly comes off as an authority because he sees himself as some sort of self-appointed primal leader.  Mark Sisson and Robb Wolff are highly respected because they’ve earned it.  This clown is trying desperately to forge his way into every aspect of the media to spread the "primal message."   He is simply a blogger who is writing a book that no one will read.  Just because he says something on his blog does not mean it is so.  He is, in fact,  a pompous ass.  Have you seen him on television?  Embarrassing.

        • Roland says:

           The "authority" you mentioned, Robb Wolf, has given the advice that it’s more important to get the food right rather than worry about organic, grass fed, pastured, etc. when money is tight.  I think that’s the same advice that this guy just gave.

          You should listen to Robb’s podcast. He has some nuggets.

          • Anonymous says:

             I’m not talking about the specifics of what Robb has said in comparison w/ Johnny boy, here.  I have listened to Robb’s podcasts and I disagree with his take on organic as much as I disagree with Durant’s.  The difference is Robb IS an authority.  John just thinks he is.  And his appearance on Colbert was soooooo pompous.  That is why I am kicking the box out from under his feet.  If you’re just looking to lose weight, then fine.  Skip organic and grass fed and pastured meats.  But if we’re talking about what Paleo/Primal is all about (living a healthy life according to the bodies evolution has granted us, then organic is very important.

          • John says:

            Thank you, Travis, Larry, and Roland for getting my back. But I regret to inform everyone that I am, in fact, a pompous ass.

            Anon, feel free to criticize my points, but let’s tone down the personal stuff.

            Cheers all

            J

          • Larry says:

            John, good to know that I have a consistent source of "pompous ass-ery"! ;^)

          • Victoria says:

            What source can you reference to show how important organic fruits and vegetables are for better health? You’re making some bold claims without any evidence.  In fact, a brief search of scholarly works show that there have been no significant findings that organic vegetables are consistently or considerably better for you than those grown conventionally.  While there are some suggestions that compounds in organic produce have benefits in vitro, they fail to hold up in in vivo models.

             

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20691244

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359265

             

            Spend your money where you want to, but for me it won’t be on organic produce.

             

            And chill…  no one’s forcing you to read this blog or watch the Colbert Report.  Heck… watching TV probably isn’t  living a healthy life according to the bodies [sic] evolution”

             

             

             

        • Larry says:

          I’ve never met Mr. Durant but I never saw him as an "authority" so much as a well versed enthusiast. He also has an exuberance that plays well for the media. That, plus being the organizer of events  like the NYC Barefoot Run, pretty much makes him an able  paleo spokesperson. Had I not seen him on Colbert, I might have never even heard of paleo health. So tell us, John. Are you a pompous ass? ;^)

        • Travis says:

           This is clearly quite personal for you.  Why don’t you just take it up with him face to face instead of hiding behind anonymity?   Sorry, he doesn’t strike me as a pompous ass, but guess who does?

  22. Roland says:

    When I’m out somewhere and just need to eat real fast, I just go for the meat. Most Mexican or burger joints can handle a  big side of meat. I’ll worry about the veggies later.

    Here’s an interesting take on organic vs non-organic.

     

  23. Zander says:

    At my local grocer they have fresh cuts in the fridge, but they knock 20%-30% off the slightly older meats they have to freeze. I end up getting grass fed beef for about $5/Lb. Hard to beat that.  I end up putting the fresh stuff in the freezer anyway, so why not save. 

    I buy larger "family" packs of meats at the regular grocery and then throw all the individual cuts into individual plastic bags (old grocery bags) before putting them in the freezer. This way I don’t end up thawing more food than I can eat in a day.

    Always cook double at dinner so that you end up with breakfast and maybe lunch as well. Far cheaper than buying lunch at the office and healthier. 

     

  24. Chris says:

    Switch to hard alcohol.  A $20 bottle of wine will get you through a meal.  A $30 bottle of Tanq 10 will get you through a week or two.  Of course, you have to enjoy your booze on the rocks, ’cause cocktails are full of sugar.  A classic martini is always delicious and about as Paleo as you can get with booze.

    Another great thing about eggs is that they are so cheap, you can afford to buy better.  Getting locally raised organic, free-range eggs at the food co-op is still very cheap, even though it’s more expensive than the regular super-cheap factory eggs.

    As far as toiletries go, there is a middle ground between having a cabinet full of name-brand fragranced soaps, creams, and conditioners, and stopping washing like RN.  I cut my hair short with electric clippers ($10 x1 over a decade ago) and use a fragrance-free bar soap to wash my hair and body.  I use a minimal amount of Mitchum’s fragrance-free anti-perspirant.  And get generic or on-sale toothpaste with generic toothbrush.  I shave infrequently, usually just going from woolly to five o’clock shadow with the electric clippers.  This costs me maybe $5-10 per month to keep the bathroom stocked.  My personal experience is that being healthy and fit cuts down significantly on all types of odors, from armpit stink to flatulence.  Also, toss anything with manmade fibers.  For some reason, natural fibers result in less odor and odor trapping.  This doesn’t mean you have to dress like a hippy, by the way.

    I have to say, however, that I enjoy my lifestyle.  I like to not smell like a corporate lab experiment, and I like the smell of wool and leather.  However, if I had a shock of hair like Elvis and needed to pimp out my smells to be comfortable, I wouldn’t live this way to keep Paleo or cut down on costs.

    When we did Atkins in the late ’90s and first switched away from a carb-based diet, our food costs did go up.  This is because we were buying pasta, rice, vegetables, not "low-fat cookies" and Cheerios.  If you are eating processed and pre-packaged foods now, you will probably break even, but if you are buying unprocessed grains, you are going to spend more.  Sorry,

  25. one says:

     Good post…this seems to be a big issue for a lot of people. Fasting is definitely a huge help. Just imagine how much you can save if you can manage perfectly fine without breakfast 50% or more days every week…something I personally don’t find very difficult eating paleo. Eggs are cheap, I eat them in abundance, and hard-boiled they are a great travel food. I also just discovered chicken livers, at less than a dollar/lb. at my local grocery it’s one of my new favorites. I like the point you made about spending that extra money, when you have it, to indulge in the better quality meats as opposed to vegetables. I do the same, and I’ve adopted a different attitude toward indulgence…whereas before going paleo I may have spent 3-4 bucs on a milkshake or 7-8 bucs on beer to treat myself, I now look at it like this: I’m going to spend a little extra for a special treat…why make it a milkshake or something that isn’t healthy when I could spend it on something that not only is going to go toward building good health, but is in the end going to be more pleasurable and satisfying than the alternative? So I’ll take that beer money and buy some really good grassfed beef, or uncured bacon, or some smoked salmon, or some ground buffalo, something I may not normally buy as often. Hunting is a great option as well, and if you can’t do it yourself, chances are you know someone or know someone who knows someone from whom you can get something. I’m about to get some elk from a family friend who hunts. I remember years ago when I still ate cereal balking at the prices in that region of the grocery store. Thankfully now those types of things are expenses that when eliminated end up saving you a lot of money. And seriously, how can people complain about good, real food being too expensive when the cost of buying cheap, fake food is thousands of dollars of doctor’s bills down the road? It’s illogical. I used to live in Philadelphia, and I’d go to Reading Terminal Market and fill up my backpack with enough food for a week for about 15 dollars. Seek and ye shall find.

  26. Carl Stawicki says:

    My grocery budget broke even after converting from SAD to Paleo. It was primarily because of all the take-out I was eating while SAD. One tip I can offer is to buy whole chickens and learn to butcher yourself. This is WAY cheaper than buying pieces, especially boneless breasts, plus you end up with a carcass, neck, gizzards, etc.

  27. Geoff says:

     My best piece of advice as far as eating paleo on a budget is EGGS, EGGS and more EGGS! The most expensive eggs you’ll find at the supermarket are $6 for a dozen, and you can easily get out of there for under 4 with the cheap stuff. A dozen eggs a day will account for a good 50% or more of your calories and certainly not break the bank.

  28. Jake says:

    Fast -good idea. Think how much time and money you would save if you fasted instead of going out for lunch.

     

    Buy grass fed butter in the summer and freeze it. This seems to be a seasonal product.

  29. Heath Putnam says:

    Get to know a farmer who produces meat.

    Tell him you want to buy the stuff that he can’t sell for top dollar.

    If a farmer is mostly selling high-end meat to rich people (e.g. at a farmers market), he’ll be stuck with good stuff that he can’t market. E.g. the guy who raises Wagyu cows is sold out of tenderloin – guaranteed. But he might have a bunch of ground beef or brisket that he can’t sell.

    If you will take what the guy can’t sell, he ought to be reasonable with you – because he’s got no better alternative.

     

  30. Great post! I wrote about Priorities for Eating Paleo on a Budget that might also be helpful for people. What I did was outline where you should spend vs save when it comes to quality in fats, proteins and carbs (veggies/fruit) with regards to which are most important to eat high quality vs lower.

    I also included a PDF guide called "Quality Matters" that covers the levels of quality that exist out there and what’s baseline, better and best to opt for when shopping. Let me know if you have any feedback on that handout- it’s been shared over and over so if it needs some updates, I’m happy to do it.

    Enjoy!

    http://www.balancedbites.com/2010/10/priorities-for-eating-paleo-on-budget.html

    Diane @ Balanced Bites


    • Zev Averbach says:

      Don’t forget meat CSAs!  I spend $6-7 a pound for a nice assortment of beef, lamb and pork, and they FedEx it to me from upstate NY, so it saves me a lot of time too. 

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