|One of Ruth's money saving Paleo tips. Tip #2|
Ruth blogs at Paleo Diet Basics, which is chock full of great healthy living advice and recipes, and very many of them are equally suitable for a frugal lifestyle.
I asked Ruth if she could write a guest blog post for you readers about how she keeps this healthy lifestyle from eating away at her pocketbook too much. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do!
Before I get into how to be frugal while eating a paleo diet, let me define paleo and explain what frugality means to me.
What is Paleo?
1. Eating highly nutrient-dense foods (i.e. ingredients packed with lots of vitamins and mineral per bite).
2. Eating unprocessed foods with as few toxins/additives /GMOs/ chemicals as possible. This includes eating meat from animals raised naturally and humanely.
3. Keeping sugar to a minimum.
4. Not eating large quantities of carbs. Some paleo people eat very low carbs, and no starchy carbs - no rice, root vegetables etc. - whatsoever, but one diet does not fit all. Others, myself included, find they are healthier with moderate amounts of starchy carbs.
In practical terms:
I eat plenty of meat (including organ meats), fish, eggs, vegetables, healthy fats.
I eat moderate amounts of fruit, rice, starchy root vegetables and nuts. I avoid sweets for the most part, (you have to make an exception for all natural ice cream!). I also eat some dairy: yogurt, butter, and small amounts of cheese.
I avoid gluten grains, corn, and legumes.
Although Penny does not call herself paleo, I think my diet and hers have a great deal in common – especially the emphasis on high-quality real foods that our great-grandmothers would recognize, and the absence of packaged, industrial food-like products. I’d feel comfortable eating anything she puts on the table, and I couldn't say that about most people.
I learned (the hard way, unfortunately), over many years of suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, that buying cheap processed food does not pay long-term. The money I saved at the checkout counter I paid in ill health, which limited my ability to work and generally have a good quality of life. Switching to a paleo diet has made the difference between dragging myself around every day and actually living. For instance, margarine may be much cheaper than butter, but the long-term cost to my health (and taste buds) is just too high! Margarine is a false economy.
That said, I’m always looking for ways to stay within a reasonable food budget while not compromising on health. Here are my five top tips on how to eat paleo frugally.
TIP #1: Eat Eggs as a Major Source of Protein
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods around. Because of their versatility, they can be used in more than one meal a day. Organic or free range eggs cost much more than battery eggs, but much less than beef, chicken, or fish. I save money by purchasing good quality eggs directly from the farmer.
TIP #2 Make Your Own Yogurt
A liter of regular, pasteurized milk costs about $1.50 locally. This produces five servings of 200 ml. at $0.30 each. A 200 ml. container of yogurt from the supermarket costs $1.03 – so homemade yogurt is less than a third of the price of buying the ready product. Additionally, I find my homemade yogurt much tastier than store bought and it has more probiotic bacteria because I leave it to ferment longer than they do for commercial yogurt. It’s easy to make with no special equipment. Penny and I make it basically the same way.
TIP #3 Make Bone Broth Regularly
You can get bones cheaply or perhaps even for free if you have a particularly nice butcher. Use the bones to make one of the most nutritious foods around. I use broth as a base for all my soups, I add it to sauces and to various other meat and vegetable dishes, or even drink a warm cup of broth – especially on a cold day. For more info on bone broth, download this bone broth guide for free.
TIP #4 Buy Foods from a Local Co-op
I recently found a new paleo co-op and bought a bulk supply of good quality European butter for about half the price it costs in stores. As the co-op grows, I expect to be able to save significantly by making bulk purchases of other paleo staples.
TIP #5 Eat Lots of Vegetables
The paleo diet is low-ish on carbs, which leaves you eating more proteins and good fats. Proteins and fats are more expensive than carbs, making paleo a relatively expensive diet (but not as far as long-term frugality). So if in pre-paleo days, I might put rice, meat and a vegetable side dish on my plate, today a comparable meal would have a relatively smaller portion of rice and larger portion of meat and vegetables.
To keep things from getting out of hand price-wise, I make sure to fill up on lots of delicious organic vegetables, which I buy from a CSA, (less expensive than buying vegetables from a health food store), rather than a very large serving of expensive meat or fish. This not only keeps my budget under control, but I enjoy eating my meat with lots tasty side dishes. This way you saving on costs while still eating a healthy paleo diet.
Have you been on the Paleo diet or a Paleo type diet? What do you do to keep the costs down?
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