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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Five Tips for Eating Paleo Frugally

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One of Ruth's money saving Paleo tips. Tip #2
I have this really wonderful friend, . I met her online, originally, because we're both part of the real food world, and she inspires me a lot with her breadth of knowledge, and has taught me a lot about what I know about healthy eating. We became "in person" friends after she traveled a really long way to be able to come foraging with me, and then I visited her in her hometown to try to go foraging with her there... but we didn't have so much success there... 
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.

Long-Term Frugality
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?

Linking up to the Homestead Barn Hop

3 comments:

  1. Yes, I feel so much healthier and cannot go back to processed foods. Sugar is still a problem for me, as in, I indulge way too often, but making my own "treats" has left me with a lesser craving for them when I'm out or at someone else's home. I do spend a lot more on meat and fish than I used to, but I feel so much better and I know my child is eating sooo well, its completely worth it to me.

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  2. I've been doing a lot of digging into the paleo/primal lifestyle, so this is very interesting. Thanks! :-)
    ~Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents

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  3. Love that I stumbled upon your blog and this post. I'm a SAMH who eats Paleo and drinks raw milk and is constantly trying to save money. Can't wait to explore more on here and in my town to see if I can save at our farmers market. :)

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