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Budget Paleo

For Paleo-ish to go mainstream, it's got to be somewhat price competitive

Let's face up to it and admit it: the obesity problem in America, and why it leads the way worldwide, can be reduced to an essential single development: cheap "food." I'm increasingly coming to the opinion that the primary cause underlying that, is the relative cheapness of liquid calories (albeit, not nutrition -- it's just raw caloric energy). And the rest of the world now follows suit because they too are learning -- from us -- how to supply more calories per dollar and the obvious choice for any company wanting to maximize profit is to deliver their calories in the form of a quickly digesting beverage.

Most of you have heard the arguments supporting that, so I'll not rehash it (feel free in comments). Now, health markers might be a different subject, but to my mind, there's no quicker way to get fat than to drink a lot of your calories, and this is what people are doing, especially kids.

It's not about factory farmed meats vs. grassfed and pastured. It's just not. It's the 20 oz sodas and sports drinks. It just is. I'll blog more about this, soon.

So here's a post to focus in on this issue, spurred on by an email I received.

I have been a follower of your blog for several months now, though I have only commented once or twice (usually your other readers have already said what I was thinking, and way more eloquently than I could).

Have tried to follow the "paleo" lifestyle thing, but having some difficulties, mostly due to budget constraints. No way in hell I could ever afford grass fed beef or anything, of course I have the land to raise my own, but not the time.

Found this article tonight that sums up my situation nicely. I know Mark Sisson has done several posts on "paleo on a budget", and I have followed several of those suggestions, but am finding it damn near impossible sometimes. I have a decent job and all, but once house & car notes, utilities, etc., have been paid, most weeks I have maybe $75 to buy 2 weeks worth of groceries for me and the kiddo. I know what I should be buying us, that's not the problem, the problem is a box of burger helper is cheaper and lasts longer. I have made several improvements, ain't brought bread into the house in months, and while my lovely child bitched incessantly at first about no bread and chips for weeks, now she doesn't even notice.

So, any advice for the broke-ass paleo? Surely this can't just be the diet to be followed only by the affluent foodies?

Thanks again, even if this doesn't generate a response or even a post, I truly appreciate you, your blog, and your brutal assessment of so many things.

Alright, I really couldn't get through that whole linked article, because my head was shouting "crock pot," and "chuck roast" the whole time.

The problem here is that people assume "kale chips" -- and fucking vegetables in general -- are superior to plain old meat, even the cheapest meat. How about this: liver is the most nutritious food on the planet, and one of the cheapest. Who, besides me, loathes the apologetically motivated faux emphasis on fucking vegetables in the Paleo community and elsewhere amongst "real foodists?  "They are uniformly full of shit because they are motivated by some sort of apologetic inferiority complex, and it's BULLSHIT! because we're right.  Let's just get it over with, already: a proper diet is a meat based diet. Shove your fucking organic vegetables up your ass! And while I'm at it: fuck "antioxidants." Yea, I'll play the rabbit now and then but my diet is animal based, and if you want real density of nutrition, so is yours. Vegetables ought to take the place of lettuce on a sandwich in a paleo context. It's garnish. Better yet, just dry 'em and use as a spice or herb. There.

For me, vegetables are couple times per week: potatoes. I actually enjoy those.

You see, here's one thing about all aspects of all diets and all eating lifestyles, including Paleo: nutritional density and cost are nowhere near correlated. Ounce per ounce and gram for gram, some of the most nutritionally vapid food is the most expensive, while some of the most nutritionally dense is the cheapest.

So there's my rather unhelpful input, but I count on commenters to tell how they budget for optimal nutrition.

Comments

  1. Kale chips is a perfect example! I feel like I see kale chips everywhere and it makes me roll my eyes every time. And I eat kale and collards on a fairly regular basis, but mostly as a vehicle for butter. What is the appeal of a kale chip anyway?

  2. dude, havent laughed that much from pure joy from a blog post in a LONG time. well done, sir. for me it’s all about eggs: cheap, superdense nutrition.

  3. anand srivastava says:

    I would like to say that use potatoes to keep your budget down.
    The only people who will be negatively impacted are those that have diabetes or bad sugar control problems.
    Rest of us can do very well on potatoes.
    Meat and potatoes has been staples of many many primitive communities.
    You can keep the rest of the vegetables/fruits low. Spend most of your food bill on these two items. Both can be very very cheap for the amount of healthy calories they give.

    If you are on a budget you cannot ignore potatoes.

  4. David Csonka says:

    I find it hard for me to stuff my face full of vegetables, even if soaked in butter. I just get tired of it. Angus burgers on the other hand, I never tire of. I eat somewhere around 4-6 angus burgers a day on average, and have been doing so now for about a month. No sign of dietary fatigue so far… so the experiment continues.

    • Wish I could do that. My husband starts going on about not being able to eat the same thing every day, and for him, if food doesn’t appeal to his eyes, he won’t eat it. Sigh.

      • David Csonka says:

        You should check out the book, Mindless Eating. There is a real psychological effect where eating the same food on a regular basis will cause you to eat less of it, and then just be sick of it.

      • Adria says:

        “If you don’t like it, honey, there’s the kitchen.”

        (Not to be unsympathetic to you, of course.)

  5. When I was a teenager I actually said the words, “I could be a meatatarian” because I would rather have eaten meat – any kind of meat – than anything else. Oh, what I could have accomplished then with the knowledge I have now!

    Take it from a fat girl gone Paleo who is still paying the thousands of dollars in doctor, hospital, lab, radiology, and specialist bills (only to come up with the accurate diagnosis of metabolic syndrome all on her own) – buying meat – any kind of meat – is far, FAR cheaper and a much better deal.

    Btw – this is coming from a single mom of two who also has a mortgage and a string budget. A near-death experience has a way of putting your priorities in order for you. Trust me – you don’t want to get to that point.

  6. Potatoes, especially russets are mind blowingly cheap if you get them in those 10lb bags. Depending on where you are sweet potatoes are also pretty cheap (I get ‘em at 79c/lb at Safeway).

    Beef liver and heart are ridiculously cheap. I get those at 1.79/lb and 1.29/lb respectively. If you watch the promotions at supermarkets you can buy bulk meat (chicken, pork, beef) for less than 1.99/lb. Canned salmon’s purty inexpensive too. YMMV.

    Milk and eggs are obvious choices. If you like yogurt, just get a cooler, put milk in some sort of container(s), put it in the cooler, pour in warm water, replace the water periodically to keep it warm, and after half a day or so you have a gallon of yogurt, easy.

    While I kinda agree that vegetables aren’t necessary, you still should watch out for certain nutrients like magnesium and potassium which aren’t as abundant in animal foods. Frozen vegetables like spinach or broccoli tend to go really cheap. Track your shit on Nutritiondata.com/fitday to get a feel for it.

    Example menu and prices.
    1 qt yogurt/6eggs: 95c/$1
    1lb heart/liver: 1.29/1.79
    3lb potatoes: $1

    Roughly $3.30-3.90/day and ~2000kcal, more if you cook it in some fat. I have to admit $75 for 2 weeks and 2 people is pretty tight though.

    Personally, if I don’t have enough money for that, I’d eat some lentils or beans. Those are even cheaper and are not THAT bad nutritionally.

  7. Offal.

    Tonight I ate a veal heart. 500g (a little more than a pound) costed me 2.50$
    A bigmac, which is supposed to be cheap, would cost me 5$ and not fill me up.

    • Yeah that’s my suggestion also. Liver, heart, tongue, etc, these cuts are all dirt cheap, at least here. They also happen to be healthier than just eating muscle (steak). In fact, I notice it is mostly the old people on a tight budget who seem to buy these cuts.

    • I fully agree. And you can go grass-fed with offal without breaking the bank. I pay $1.50 to $2 a pound for heart, tongue, liver, and so forth from grass-fed cows and pastured pigs.

  8. Eggs, hamburgers and ground beef are my staples and cheap. I tend to trade up for omega 3 eggs, ground round and a couple steaks a week, but this still keeps me under $75 for two weeks worth of meat. Going for regular eggs and cheaper ground beef would make it even easier. This can get even cheaper if you can get to a farmers market or meat market.Even cheaper if you can find some kind of farmers market nearby or a meat market.

    I think this brings up a good point. I don’t think eating all grassfed is really realistic and I’m annoyed by the “if your health is really important to you you’ll find a way” comments that get thrown around. Most people are going to be way better off just eating paleo…I don’t think the bar to entry should be set much higher.

    Im

  9. I’ve been intuitively eating less vegetables than this time last year, although I have roughly a weekly craving for some Romaine lettuce and celery.

    Your comment about “the apologetically motivated faux emphasis on fucking vegetables” made me chuckle and I felt relieved afterward. People, holy crap, eat what you need to eat. Stop eating what you “should” eat.

  10. This may be heresy here, but I think that 90% of a person’s dietary success will come from avoiding omega-6 oil, wheat and concentrated fructose…the “three horsemen” if you will. With that in mind, a person on a budget could move toward a more neolithic position and not live in fear of carb-induced death. Stephan ran a recent excellent post pointing out the lack of metabolic consequences in native populations subsisting on 70%+ carbs, with full agreement (in comments) from Dr. Kurt Harris.

    If you are not already diabetic, don’t be afraid to purchase and consume starch, even “highly-refined” starch (that phrase is almost meaningless). What I mean is, if a native population can eat highly refined cassava as a staple food and not develop metabolic consequences, then you can eat potatoes, and potato flakes, and put dextrose (glucose) in your coffee, etc.

    BTW, the head of the Washington Potato Commission is currently living on nothing but spuds for two months and getting along quite nicely…Stephan will be interviewing him in a few weeks when his experiment ends.

    I’m even going to say that you can take it one step further and consume white rice…lectins removed, primarily a starch source.

    If you avoid the big three, combine a few non-gluten starch sources with the cheapest read meat you can find and eggs, you really have a solid foundation and are doing better than nearly every other American in existence. Add good old cheap beef liver once a week and I think you’d be as healthy as you can be. (There ARE simple ways to cook liver so it is pretty good.) Butter is cheap and keeps things interesting, too.

    You can get some pretty cheap fish if you look for the frozen cuts and yes, even canned stuff. Canned tuna or salmon or mackerel or sardines or kipper snack or oysters may not be for everyone, but if they are preserved in olive oil or no oil, there’s really no problem with them.

    Beyond that, it comes down to boredom and the need to eat something different. That’s personal; you may find that you can do an awful lot with the items listed above and don’t need to branch out much. There are even a few different kinds of potatoes in most stores. But if you do, then add fruit, which can be very cheap, too. Frozen berries, not fresh. Bananas are a bargain. Buy the pre-sorted bag of small apples or oranges. I said “concentrated fructose” above…act like a tropical hunter-gatherer and don’t fear the fruit.

    As noted, this is not strictly paleo. But I’d say better to be 90% paleo and 100% healthier than the rest of your fellow countrymen. You don’t have to turn nutrition into a religion and you don’t have to break the budget to be healthy; you can buy everything I listed above at Wal-Mart.

    Scott W

    • For me, the bare minimum is no gluten, no industrial oils (there’s your Omega 6 there) and no refined sugar. You can eat that on a food stamp budget, but you need to stick to onions, garlic, celery, carrots, apples (buy the bags – much better deal) and bananas for your produce ration. Frozen spinach is also cheap-as-free.

      I do find i have to peel potatoes or I have gut troubles with them.

    • “This may be heresy here, but I think that 90% of a person’s dietary success will come from avoiding omega-6 oil, wheat and concentrated fructose…the “three horsemen” if you will.”

      Interesting. May you or someone expand on this? Concentrated fructose and wheat is easy to avoid. Just don’t eat breads, and just don’t drink anything with added sugar that’s sweet. Omega-6 is a little murkier……is for example panfrying potatoes with coconut oil or butter “safe”?

      “Industrial oils”–is that vegetable oils, any oil from as upermarket (including coconut oil?).

    • Dave, RN says:

      I FINALLY found a way to cook beef liver so it tastes good.
      1. Cook a lb of bacon
      2. Fry liver in bacon fat
      3. While frying, sprinkle on chili powder

  11. I want to make sure I understand what you’re saying. I’m new to paleo. I recently read Robb Wolf’s book, followed up by Mark Sisson’s. I get the science. I’m sold on that.

    If I’m reading you right, you’re saying that it’s possible, perhaps preferable, to eat meat and nothing but meat. Going through those two books and various blogs my impression of Paleo/Primal was “Meat and vegetables” in tandem.

    I’m wondering now if I wasn’t just assuming that and letting it color my understanding as I read.

    I’m not a “vegetable guy” and never have been. I hate just about any cooked vegetable and most raw. I tried to go paleo two weeks ago with some sort of meat or fish on top of a spinach salad. I fell off the wagon because I felt like absolute crap within four days. I intend to go again, no excuses.

    I haven’t read all of your blog history like I have with Robb, do you have a link to what you actually eat during the day? Is it really “all meat”?

    • Hey Chris,

      I think Robb and Mark push vegetables mainly to make the diet less confusing and more accessible to new comers who would get the wrong message if we told them that vegetables are probably not what they think they are nutritionally compared to meat and organs. There is more to it than that though and it’s not always black and white. To some people with compromised health, vegetables can even make them feel worse.

      There are so many ways to eat paleo. You can eat lots of vegetables, including starchy vegetables or you can go on the other end of the spectrum and eat absolutely zero carbohydrates.

      Whatever you do, continue educating yourself and listening to your body. Some people’s machineries are messed up and can’t eat a Paleo diet with a ratio of macro-nutrient that would be perfectly fine for others.

      As for not feeling good in the beginning, it’s perfectly normal if you jumped in with almost no carbohydrates. You body has to switch to using fat for fuel instead of carbs and it isn’t used to that. Feeling a bit off in the first three weeks or so is normal. If you still feel bad after a month then something is wrong, it’s not the detox that the vegetarians talk about all the time.

      Anyway, I hope this helps.

    • Veggies are something that many like in their diets… but the fact is that if you’re eating nutritious animal products and not denaturing nutrients by charring them into bricks on the grill (give it to me rare!), plant foods really aren’t necessary. Eating just muscle meat is not necessarily a feasible way to achieve this, particularly cheaper grain-fed muscle meat: The nutrients in an animal are accumulated there after being absorbed from the food they eat, and if they’re eating nutritionally deficient food (grains) they’re going to be nutritionally deficient themselves. Fortunately, while they can spare nutrients on their muscle tissues to a degree, they still pack it into the organs (and things like eggs, which are supposed to grow new chickens even at the expense of the hen’s nutrition) as well as milk (again, the body puts the offspring’s need first to a degree). As a result, cheap organ meats are packed with nutrients, eggs are a pretty much perfect protein source, and raw milk is, technically, a “whole food” containing pretty much all you need to live on (if you can only get pasteurized, consider turning it into yogurt as suggested. Casein in cow milk has an effect similar to gluten in the gut, and heat-treating it protects it from being broken down in your stomach. Let friendly bacteria do it for you).

      If you must for some reason only eat lean muscle meats, adding some veggies would probably be beneficial. They do contain a lot of nutrients that you need. It’s just that a cow is a lot better at breaking down leafy greens (especially grass) to get at those nutrients than you are, and concentrating and packaging them nicely alongside the macronutrients you truly need (fat and protein), so why not eat the cow instead? If you take advantage of the organ meats and fat deposits you can easily get all the nutrition you need.

    • Chris:

      Check out the “Food Porn” category to see what I eat.

      “If I’m reading you right, you’re saying that it’s possible, perhaps preferable, to eat meat and nothing but meat. Going through those two books and various blogs my impression of Paleo/Primal was “Meat and vegetables” in tandem.”

      Understand that I’m not slamming veggies, per se, just the overemphasis on them, and I’m just doing it in my “over-the-top” ranting style. Much of what I write is like that. Not to be taken totally literally all the time.

      Veggies are fine and I eat my share of them. I just don’t fool myself into thinking they’re some super-food panacea. Nope. That’s liver and eggs.

      One way I do love veggies is in salads, but that’s mostly because of the blue cheese dressing. Best to make your own.

      • One way I do love veggies is in salads, but that’s mostly because of the blue cheese dressing. Best to make your own.

        That is about the only way I eat non-starchy vegetables in a salad loaded with cheese, avocado, and olive or macadamia oil.

        Though Darya Pino has me trying and eating some very tasty (and quick to make) vegetable dishes. I also love making a blended cauliflower soup.

      • I’ve made Darya’s roasted curry cauliflower and it was great. In fact, other than salads and potatoes done in various ways, I almost always roast veggies, now: squash, cauliflower, asparagus…

        Just toss in the wok in your favorite fat or combo of same to coat, then strain (too much fat makes them soggy), then on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 for about 20m, give or take until toasty. Season & serve.

      • This is pretty much my daily salad: spinach, red pepper, broccoli, avocado, cheddar, bacon, olive oil, vinegar. It’s so damn good.

        I have some macadamia nut oil but have never thought to use it on salad…it’s that good, eh?

      • Chris,

        This is key:

        “Understand that I’m not slamming veggies, per se, just the overemphasis on them, and I’m just doing it in my “over-the-top” ranting style. Much of what I write is like that. Not to be taken totally literally all the time.”

        I’m a nobody, but I shall give you advice anyway. Keep educating yourself. The information is out there. We’re lucky that these guys (Richard, DeVany, and so many others) are here online and sharing with us, but there’s tons of great stuff all over the place.

        I was a very hardcore vegan (in terms of sticking to the diet; not in terms of giving a shit about what anyone else ate) for a few years and I felt wonderfully great. It is with total shock that I report that I feel even better now. Didn’t think I could feel any better than I already was. I wake up now and can’t believe how great I feel, and it all started 3 months ago or so and due to this website.

      • So when are you getting a new email address? :)

      • You mean and like have a real name and everything? I just might have to do that.

      • Hi Richard,

        I’ve googled paleo blue cheese dressing and got nothing! Can you share the recipe?

      • That’s cause cheese isn’t paleo.

        you can do it two ways:

        1. oil, vinegar and blue cheese crumbles.

        2. mayo, sour cream, blue cheese. for the later I use the food processor to get a creamy consitency and then add in more BC for the chunks.

      • Excellent, thank you!

  12. I managed to find packages of frozen fish, two fillets per package for a buck a piece. I can’t get grass fed either but I don’t sweat it. The only thing I wish I could do is supplement a bit with fish oil but budget won’t allow that atm. good luck to you!

  13. Agree so much on the liquid calorie thing. I read a smart commenter somewhere who pointed out that our stomachs are evolved to respond just one way to the presence of liquid – “Hey, some water just came down…pass it through.” Stomach doesn’t know that the liquid is pure sugar crap and so loaded with calories that it should meter it through over the course of the next two hours.

    I started drinking nothing but water a year or so ago and now its amazing how freaking good cold water tastes when I’m really thirsty. Geez, I’m getting thirsty just writing this.

    Scott W

    OK I lied…I do drink wine or beer once a week or so.

  14. I did a post on this topic, showing the price breakdown of a meat, fat and vegetables day that cost only $5.16 for nearly 2500 calories. Half pound of beef, quarter pound of pork, 4 eggs, and 8 tablespoons of butter form the basis of the diet. The “secret” is just purchase only meats that are on special at the markets that advertize the lowest prices on meats. Butter and usually lard costs much less than olive oil, so there’s no olive oil in my plan. Vegetables only cost me less than $2.00 for a day’s supply.

    If I shop for the cheapest meats available in my town (Phoenix, AZ) I can eat about 2500 kcal of primal food on less than $5.16 per day. Best prices on meat I find at a local supermarket named Food City, owned by immigrants specializing in the Mexican food market…they have inexpensive leaf lard, eggs, and beef often less than $2.00 a pound, and pork often less than $1.00 per pound. $75 for two people for two weeks is more than $10 per day. One of the people in question is apparently a child, so won’t need an adult portion. Focus on inexpensive fats and meats. Think peasant food, not gourmet.

    • Don, have you tried Ranch Market? They have some great deals on organ meats every now and then.

    • Don, I thought this post that you did was very eye opening when I first saw it about a year ago. I was just starting down the paleo path and wondering how I was going to afford it. You showed that paleo can be done on a food stamp budget – so no excuses for me. Someone with a really tight finances might not be able to afford grassfed this and organic that, but they can eat well on this budget and cover all of their nutritional needs. You provide a great starting point in this post. Well done.

  15. I spent five months living (mostly broke) in the mountains. There was only one local grocery store, but it was one of those with higher prices on mostly everything but the occasional wacky awesome deal.

    Wacky awesome deals fed me for five months.

    One week the chicken would be 99c/lb, the next week 3lb chubs of ground beef would be 99c/lb, then pork, then some weird random cut of beef. I scored a bunch of ham for cheap early in the season and spent months hoping it would come back! Bulk cheese (ie 2lbs) can be had under $4/lb, sometimes for half that. The good bacon *is* worth it, but can be had for 75c/serving.

    $2.50/person/day can be tight, but stick to the basics – meat, bacon, eggs, cheese, butter. Potatoes are a pure carb carrier for dairy products so, sure, you *could* buy potatoes, but I think it’s cheaper to skip them and eat the stuff you wanted anyway.

    If there’d been a costco in town, I probably wouldn’t have saved money – it was the specials that really brought my expenses down.

  16. Meat is great. Veggies are great. They are all good. That is, if you buy quality. Eating cheap nutrient food is short-sighted. It is cheap only if you don’t look past your grocery receipt; if you don’t look at the cost to your health; if you ignore what it’s going to cost you in food satisfaction, peace of mind, and medical costs.

    Being able to look long-term may be a luxury, but if you can budget something for savings or an investment, then think about eating paleo the same way.

  17. To me nothing is better than a good beef stew, chunks of beef, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes. That just feels like what a natural mix of food would have been several thousand years ago. A sweet potato with lots of butter on it is also delicious, as is an omelet with onions, green pepper, cheese and salsa.

  18. It is amazing how much extra money there is to buy real food, when you are not wasting money on soda and other snacks. Buy a pressure cooker and inexpensive roasts. The meat comes out fall apart tender and you can throw some root vegetables in there too, if you want a little starch.

  19. I think Don’s post is an excellent explanation of how to eat Paleo on a tight budget. And I know there are a lot of people who are hungry and don’t have enough to eat in this country. For them and the person who’s email kicked this topic off, I hope suggestions like Don’s help and that they can find a way to replace processed empty calories with nurturing whole foods (basically meat and veggies for me).

    On the other hand, I think there are a lot of people who are unwilling to spend a reasonable fraction of their income on healthy food (I think this has been largely driven by the market and industrialization), and who don’t care enough to support non-industrial food production. I know lots of people who make good livings, have big big houses, drive new cars, lots of toys, eat out regularly, etc. and tell me they can’t afford real food / grass-fed meat / raw milk / organic veggies / (pick one). To them I call BULLSHIT. They’ve got two refrigerators full of crap, but they can’t afford to replace one of those with a freezer full of grass-fed beef at $5-7/lb? Right. They can afford Starbucks at $5.00/cup, but $5-10/gallon is too much to pay a farmer for their work for hormone- and antibiotic-free raw milk? They don’t have time to fix real food, but they apparently have time for a Playstation and a Wii? And what about the money spent on beer, soda, chips, crackers, cereal, and all sorts of other worthless nutrient deficient crap that takes up most of the space in the so-called grocery stores and in their cupboards?

    I refuse to be an apologist for eating grass-fed meat. It’s right for the animals, right for the farmers, right for the environment, and best for the people eating the meat. And far more people can afford it and have access to it than will admit to it, if they decided it was worth the effort and money.

    • Dave, RN says:

      nd if you look around, you can find grassfed at good prices. I found local, organically raised, grassfed, hormone free beef for $3.95 a lb. I bought a half a cow. Another local place had grassfed liver heart and tonue for $2.00 a lb.

      You have to retrain yourself to cook if you eat grassfed. You can’t cook it like store bought. Slow and low does the trick. I put a t-bone in a food grade sealable bag (like a freezer bag) add spices and maybe some olive oil. You can even throw in some carrots, then submerse it in a cooler with 150 degree water for 4-6 hours. Pefect every time.

  20. “Ounce per ounce and gram for gram, some of the most nutritionally vapid food is the most expensive, while some of the most nutritionally dense is the cheapest.”

    An even better way to figure it is calorie for calorie. Bacon or salami costs more per pound but you know what? They’re high in fat and have a lot of water removed, both of which increase their density. Calorie for calorie a wheel of sheep cheese from Costco is a pretty good grassfed deal. Generally buying packaged salami/sausage whatever, I check the nutrition label to see if grams fat is at least as high as grams protein. For dairy products the same, and both should be higher than carbs.

    My family’s diet is based on turnips, onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes, eggs, butter, cheese and cheap meat. Greens if they come attached with the root veggies, broccoli/cauliflower/asparagus occasionally if the price is right, and “salad” if a guest brings it or it comes free in a restaurant. Seeds feature once in awhile as well-soaked or sprouted beans, usually baked with bacon.

  21. $75/14 days= ~5.35/day.

    Here’s the plan: Go to sprouts, and pick up any meat you want for $1.99. That’s what I see all the time, especially since my wife likes chicken breasts (yuck) so I pick them up there. They regularly go on sale for $1.99/pound.

    Look at the veggies you can buy for 69-99 cents/pound. If you want carbs, go for potatos or sweet potatos or butternut squash. If not, go for squash and zucchini and onions. Cabbage is good, and usually cheap.

    Get the largest containers of coconut oil and butter (real butter) you can find to keep costs down. Buy spices in bulk at Sprouts or shop around.

    Now here’s the menu: Combine 1.5 pounds of meat with 1 pound of the veggies of your choice in a skillet. Throw in a dollop of good fat like butter or coconut oil. Add spices and play with it. There is a total of $3 of meat, $1 of veggies, and perhaps 50 cents of spices and fats. Hell, load it up with fat to make sure you’re never hungry and we’ll just call it a full $1 and we’ve spent $5.

    $5 for veggies, carbs if you want them, and between 160 and 190 grams of protein depending on the type of meat you got.

    $5/day brings us up to $70 in two weeks. Take that last $5 in your budget and splurge wherever you want. Buy a couple of good 80%+ dark chocolate bars. Buy one chocolate bar, and a container of Breyer’s ice cream (the kind with no HFCS, just sugar!) and pig out.

    You’re getting a ton of protein, every other week ice cream carb reloads, and you’re never hungry. Cycle through the veggies in your price range.

    Oh, and if you spend money on cable television, satellite, etc., dump it. Put up an antenna if the kiddo wants to watch cartoons, and apply the difference to your budget. All of the sudden you’re eating grass fed beef half the time, an occasional steak, and maybe an extra chocolate bar/week. :)

    I eat grassfed ground beef, to the tune of 1 to 2 pounds/day, and the first question I ask when people tell me they can’t afford that is “Do you have satellite or cable?” The last time I asked it, my buddy told me he did, and with the movie channels he was spending $90/month!!! That $3/day buys a lot of real food. Not so much at Starbucks or Mcdonalds, but it makes a big difference in groceries.

  22. Nathaniel says:

    My financial circumstances are rather poor right now, so for me it is all about potatoes and eggs, in large part. And whole milk. Cheap and very satisfying. I buy beef when I can, usually a few times a week.

    I know it would offend some paleo purists, but I think it is a quite wholesome diet.

  23. Yes, liver’s a good option.

    In point of fact there’s been a recent post by Chris Masterjohn suggesting that some of the problem with the current Western diet is that people have been scared off liver and eggs. However, liver and egg yolk are both high in choline, which he says helps to clear fat from the liver:

    “More specifically, I currently believe that dietary fat, whether saturated or unsaturated, and anything that the liver likes to turn into fat, like fructose and ethanol, will promote the accumulation of fat as long as we don’t get enough choline. …”

    http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/11/sweet-truth-about-liver-and-egg-yolks.html

    Come to that, eggs are not dear either, so there’s another good, cheap food.

    The reason for the obesity epidemic? It can be nothing other than processed food. It seems it’s unlikely to be carbohydrate-consumption as such, because there are isolated communities that eat a fairly high proportion of their calories as carbohydrate but are not fat. I was astounded to find that in 1952, before the obesity epidemic, a researcher called Zelman took eighteen months to find 20 obese subject who were *not* alcoholics. The 1950s diet may not have been low-carb, but it was much closer to real food not pre-packaged junk. It seems it’s not just carbohydrates that are the problem but *refined* carbohydrates – and as the amount of those have gone up in the diet – packet food is laced with them – we’ve reaped the consequences.

    And it looks like it’s also what people *don’t* eat.

  24. Pam Maltzman says:

    One thing not really emphasized above, which saves a LOT of money, is that you should have a freezer if at all possible. The first one I got was a manual defrost, but it was only $50 plus the cost of renting a truck to move it. If you already have a truck and friends to help you move it, well, even cheaper. The sellers were trading up to a newer and bigger model, so I got a good deal. It was already ~10 years old, and I had it for about 8 years until recently, when I let the local power company pick it up and give me a $50 rebate.

    Now we have a frost-free freezer that was given to us by a friend who was moving out of the area. Works just great.

    I shop whatever is on sale. If you buy California-grown chickens (for instance), you can buy them in the supermarkets, and you can even buy them at Whole Foods (at twice the price). I load up when they’re on sale. I even got some which were marked down from their sale price because it was the last night of the sale.

    I have a big refrigerator (bought used, works great), and one 12-cubic-foot upright freezer. This time of year, a lot of things are on sale.

    A couple of days ago, I got my first item of free-range meat… it was a turkey, marked down from $2.49/pound to $0.89/pound. I’m looking forward to cooking and eating it. There will be many more available around January 1, 2011. I will buy as many as I can afford and will fit in the freezer.

    Local classified advertising is full of bargains on used appliances which still work great. Or, you can even occasionally get them free from your local freecycle.org list.

    I am not able (yet) to afford grass-fed (got a 30% pay cut a few years back, and am still working through the aftermath of that), but we are going to move from So. Cal. to Northern Arizona in this coming year, and we expect to save a lot of money by doing so. If the budget allows, we will be buying at least some grass-fed meat.

    I know of at least one rancher (in northern Arizona) who raises poultry, sheep, and goats, and I can buy meat, cheese, raw milk, and eggs from him. Maybe I will end up with my own small flock of chickens.

    For myself, I’m not buying soda, bread, spuds, rice, or dessert items anymore. I’ve got blood-sugar problems.

    Yeah, I can believe that free-range is better… but until I can afford it, I will do the best with what I have available.

    • Aaron Curl says:

      Same here. I will eat grass fed critters when I make my first million, but until then the meat I am eating is making me feel just fine. I know this from my experiences, not someone telling me. I will not stand for a blogger to tell me I HAVE to eat grass fed animals because they are better! This is no different than the government telling me to eat 6-11 servings of grain.

  25. Although I don’t know if it is similar to how food prices developed in the West, in China all the processed foods and fast food restaurants are very expensive compared to traditional food.

    Kind of sad that so many people in China aspire to be able eat at Haagen Daas, PizzaHut, KFC etc.

    The China study may have been debunked but what Chinese people were eating before they became influenced by western ‘food’ was a lot healthier.

  26. Aaron Curl says:

    I have been eating “paleo” for about one year. Do I buy all the grass fed perfect food? NO Do you have to? NO! I call BULLSHIT! I can tell I am eating good by the way I FEEL! FUCK GRASS FED FUCKING COWS! Granted, if I could afford meat that is twice as expensive as grain fed I would consume it. I spend exactly 55 dollars a week on meat and veggies a week. I run 3 times a week, bike 2 times a week and do bodyweight exercises 3 times a week with awesome energy! I don’t know if I could feel any better eating grass fed animals. The only way I will know is to try. When I make a million from blogging and affiliate marketing I will let everyone know!……lol……..Honestly, for someone to say I am not truly “paleo” because I don’t consume grass fed meat should be shot. This kind of thinking is real similar to veganism-religion. The paleo crowd is leaning towards vegans in their thinking when the mindset talks gospel such as “only grassfed organic blah blah” BULLSHIT! Oh YAH!

  27. I buy whatever type of meat is on sale, this week it is cube steak. I get large bags of tilapia from Asia for about $2.50 per pound.

    I avoid buying cuts of meat where I am paying for bones.

  28. I used to feel this way.. meats and eggs, who needs the veggies. Unfortunately, I have gout. I can lose weight insanely doing paleo eating (45 lbs in 8 weeks) but it sets off my gout like you wouldn’t believe. And as much as I like weight loss and would rather eat just the yummy meat/egg stuff, I also value the ability to walk.

    After significant time spent experimenting on myself, with both doctor-approved medications and diet, I found that a small line in Sisson’s book turned out to be rather important for me — that meats and eggs tend to have a net acid effect on the body once digested, whereas most veggies and some fruits have a net alkaline effect. Wheat is also acidic, but I don’t go there.

    Once I added a few daily helpings of greens to my diet, mainly from an organic mixed greens package at safeway, I was able to eat paleo, and even occasionally have alcohol without setting off the gout. There are tables available on the net which detail the acidity or alkalinity of various foods, but generally, salad type stuff helps get you alkaline or neutral.

    So if you’re already suffering from metabolic syndrome and have gout (which is associated somewhat strongly), make sure you keep your overall food input slightly alkaline.

    • anand srivastava says:

      you might want to read the perfecthealthdiet.com blog. It had some articles on perils of low carb dieting. You might find some good pointers there.
      http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=1177
      It seems ketogenesis generates small amount of uric acid which may set off gout in some people.

  29. Tim Starr says:

    I get chicken thighs at Costco for $1/pound. Can’t beat that price for any kind of meat. Fry it up in bacon grease, yum! Bacon & eggs for breakfast can also be gotten nice & cheap. Haven’t been able to find ground beef for less than $3/pound, though.

    • Pam Maltzman says:

      Where I am, the supermarkets also have on sale chicken breasts for 99 cents per pound intermittently.

      Whole chickens are even cheaper–they go on sale for 77 to 79 cents per pound; and the one time recently where they were marked down further on the last night of the sale, they were down to 53 cents per pound.

      I’m in So. Cal., in the high desert just north of L.A.

  30. For a while in my SAD days I fed myself on $10 a week. Lots of bread, peanut butter, 39 cent lowfat yogurts, pancake mix, etc. When I occasionally found ground beef for $1 per pound at walmart I’d snap it up, but I was suffering under the “less meat is better” delusion anyways. Between that and working night shifts (no vitamin D) it’s no wonder I felt awful (only slightly better when I added vitamins). I still managed to get 2500 calories a day (which I need) and load up on “healthy” whole grains.

    Now I’ve got a freezer full of liver at 0.97/pound and thick, fatty chuck roast I got for 2.99/pound, and I suspect the total nutrition represented there (about 3 weeks worth of food) is greater than the total nutrition of all the food I consumed in that entire 6-month period I mentioned above. Add the eggs and butter in the fridge (I go grass-fed on the butter when I can afford it, though I don’t sweat it when I can’t) and it’s no wonder I feel so much better. Best ever, really. It’s not that much more expensive per day, either. Maybe $20 per week. I have a preference for beef but if I bought pork or poultry instead I’m sure I could easily get it into the $15 per week range.

    Now, on top of that I do toss in some baby spinach, walnuts, and a nibble of dark chocolate here and there… but we’re talking very small amounts. If I crave dessert, a handful of frozen blueberries half-thawed and rolled in cinnamon are great. All of those things are nutritionally unnecessary, however, so I consider them luxury purchases.

    I’m too cheap to supplement vitamin D, so I go stand shirtless in the backyard for at least 30 minutes whenever it’s sunny. This time of year, that also means doing some calisthenics to keep from freezing!

  31. I suspect the OP is a Brit of some sort, but a great source of cheap meat calories for me back in the day (and they’re available at pretty much any grocery store) are the 10-pound bags of chicken legs/drumsticks. When I was really poor back in the mid-nineties I lived on these–back then the bags were $3.90, these days I see them for about $5.90 but that’s still pretty damn cheap. Eggs are always good. And don’t rule out frozen broccoli, cauliflower, etc. These days I’m lucky enough to be able to do the grassfed but if my fortunes changed you better believe I’d be hitting up the ten pound bags of chicken again!

  32. Someone please correct me if i’m wrong, but if you’re going to eat “regular” meat, grain fed and easily available, isn’t that pretty much the same thing as eating grains in the first place? Isn’t the whole point to get away from all grains, including animal-fed grains? So as preferable as grass-fed meat is, on my budget it really is an elitist diet in that only some people can afford to eat this way. That doesn’t mean i don’t love it and believe in it…….i’m eating eggs, sardines, salmon (not cheap either) and other seafood i deem “healthy”. And supplementing with potatoes, and salads and fruits. But for the average person, paying for grass-fed meat is going to be tough on any budget.

    • @Gabriele, Grass fed meat is a luxury. You get most of the benefit from meat with regular grocery store meat.

      Eliminating junk food will free up enough money in most households for meat and veg.

      My beef is with government subsidies that support corn and other grains but don’t help the (mostly small) vegetable farmers. In my opinion, removing subidies of big grain farmers and supporting local farmers instead would not only make fiscal sense but would send an important message about how the governemnts think that people should be eating.

    • I am result-oriented and over the past 25 months I have gotten terrific results with regular meat, the cheaper the better. I lost 45 pounds and have gotten ridiculously strong for a middle-aged guy.

      I don’t think that eating grass-fed beef is going to make me any stronger, faster or handsomer so I’ve never been tempted to purchase it.

    • “Someone please correct me if i’m wrong, but if you’re going to eat “regular” meat, grain fed and easily available, isn’t that pretty much the same thing as eating grains in the first place? ”

      Not even close. You’re not what you eat (fat doesn’t make you fat and grains don’t make the cow a seed) but how your genes express. In the case of cows, grain feeding does skew the omega-6/3 ratio negatively somewhat, but there’s very little PUFA in beef and other red meat anyway, so it’s just not a big deal.

      The very best reason to eat grassfed other than it tastes better (I think), is respect for the animal’s natural eating behavior. That’s a good reason to do it if you can, but in the end your own health should be your top priority.

      • I have to disagree with this. Grain feeding cows does a whole lot more than skew the omega 6/3 ratio. Grains are not a natural food for cows, and they get very, very sick eating it. Then, they are pumped full of antibiotics to compensate and keep them alive just long enough to reach the slaughterhouse. They have deadly abscesses and infections from this diet. This is not to mention the hormones and other chemicals they are fed. How is it in any way healthy to eat this meat? This is one of the most unnatural things someone could eat who is trying to emulate paleolithic nutrition. The hormones they are injected with are linked to human cancers. If your health is your top priority you would really think twice about eating this meat.

      • “Grains are not a natural food for cows, and they get very, very sick eating it. Then, they are pumped full of antibiotics to compensate and keep them alive just long enough to reach the slaughterhouse.”

        I think you’re falling a little hard for the hype, Gabrielle.

        Here’s read this by a GRASSFED rancher, Ted Slanker, who actually knows something about it.

        http://www.texasgrassfedbeef.com/john_robbins_is_a_nut_case.htm

      • Antibiotics aside, Ted still rants against feeding cows grain:
        http://www.texasgrassfedbeef.com/grass_fed_beef_in_a_nutshell.htm

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        “Then, they are pumped full of antibiotics to compensate and keep them alive just long enough to reach the slaughterhouse.” I talk to a cattle rancher frequently at a favorite bar & grill i like to go to. They pasture their cattle for one month, than feed them grain for one month, than back to the pasture, not off to market. This goes on for their entire lives until ready for market.

      • The place I work in AZ is surrounded by CAFOs (feedlots) and industrial dairies. There are literally hundreds of thousands of cattle (perhaps more than a million) within a 10 mile radius. The steers in the CAFOs come in as calves and never go on pasture. They stay in the exact same lot until they’re full grown and then a new batch of small ones comes in to replace them. Most of the dairies have no pasture at all either; I’ve seen one that had a small area and had a small herd on it.

      • and as Dr. Harris points out on his website, take a fish oil capsule and you’ve restored the 6/3 ratio.

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        That’s what I do, but I take 2. I also buy grass fed beef. Not from the rancher I talked about above.
        http:///www.openspacegrassfedbeef.

      • Lute Nikoley says:
  33. Fats are pretty cheap when you look at how many calories a teaspoon of olive oil has.

  34. Lets back up a minute. Should Paleo go mainstream?

    I rather like walking into a Walmart and being the only person not 200lbs overweight, riding a scooter.

    I could not afford grass-fed for a long time. What did I do? I cut out the non-necessities (does an active person actually have the time or need for cable?). I made proper nutrition a priority. I started saving up what I could and splitting a pig or a cow with a like-minded person. I learned to cook and came to love offal, which is more nutritious and cheaper than most industrially raised meat. And now for special occasions I will strive to get a grass-fed/pastured animal for meal. (Check out how I got my pastured Thanksgiving bird FOR FREE: http://paleohund.blogspot.com/2010/11/turkey-day-2-of-3-processing-birds.html)

    The reason I took to Paleo is the emphasis on high quality meat.

    • “Lets back up a minute. Should Paleo go mainstream?”

      I dunno? It’s kinda like asking if reality and living in accordance with one’s nature should go mainstream. I can only think of negative consequences if it doesn’t.

      Two reasons I want paleo-ish to be mainstream, at least in terms of awareness if not compliance:

      1. I actually do care about people (but don’t tell anyone I said that and I’ll flat out deny it if you do :)

      2. Mainstream equals more compliance equals more clout. From a self-defense perspective, less chance that small farmers and ranchers get shut out via protectionist legislation.

      • I would think pushing people to go grass-fed/pastured versus industrial would be better for the small farmers and ranchers. The health people gain from going paleo/primal speaks for itself. And having these people invest in their local farms who have, say grass fed/finished cows, would give these farmers and ranchers the clout WE seek.

        I agree with you. If USDA regs cut off my ability to get grass-fed beef, I would go ballistic.

      • Dave, RN says:

        Paloe should go mainstream. Think of the countless billions of $$ saved in healthcare. Diabetes and pre-diabetes will affect HALF of the states population by 2020. Just thin kof the costs associated with that. Or should I say profits associated with that. Call me cynical, but that’s why paleo will never go mainstream. There’s too much money to be made off of chronically sick people.

      • unfortunately, there IS too much money being made from chronically-sick people…. i’m tempted to rant — probably a reaction to being around CW people during the thanksgiving period! may people become aware that primal is THE healthy way to go, no matter HOW!

    • “I rather like walking into a Walmart and being the only person not 200lbs overweight, riding a scooter.”

      With respect, I think that’s short-sighted.

      Imagine health care not being so much of an issue. Imagine YOUR money not being used by the government to pay for things that others have done to themselves.

      I know. Not terribly realistic, but imagine it.

      If 1,000X more people followed Paleo principles than currently do, imagine the consequences.

      I’ve never written “imagine” so much in my life. I feel like a dorkfag.

  35. My favourite ‘steal’ here in England is the market stall that sells pheasants and wild rabbits alongside the fish and poultry. The pheasant is a by-product – some wealthy guy paid 20 pounds or so to shoot it. The rabbit was shot for pest control. Both cost very little (if you know a friendly landowner the rabbit can be free), and neither is factory food. When you have eaten the meat, use the carcase for soup.

    • Pheasant is awesome. Haven’t had it since I was a kid but I still remember how delicate it was. And the birds were shot by my own grandparents out in the wild.

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        Hey, that’s not fair, I got some of those pheasants, sage hens and chuckar, maybe you just don’t remember.

        dad

    • Of course in the gool ol’ USA land of the free there is not a state in the union that allows the sale of wild game.

      SOOO much wild game and feral hogs go to waste every year that could be sold for incredibly cheap all natural truly organic meat.

      Sweet potatoes are another insanely cheap vegetable….

  36. Richard, I just want to suggest you don’t forget fried fast food as being a major culprit in the obesity epidemic. I would wager you could give up sodas, sports drinks, etc (liquid fructose) and still be in a pickle if you’re eating fried fast food daily. The omega-6 load is unnatural and damaging.

    • I suspect you’re right about that, Ed. But of the two, I also suspect the drinks are the primary culprits.

    • Ed, did you see “Fat Head” by Tom Naughton? If not, I suggest you get yourself a copy. Mr. Naughton did a rebuttal documentary to “Super-size Me” in which he ate nothing but fast food for 28 days (his doc was going on holidays so he ended the experiment early). During that time he lost 12lbs. What he did differently is he only consumed water or sugar free drinks and didn’t eat the bread that came with his burgers.

      Now, I’m not suggesting that fast food is “good” for you and neither was Tom. But that isn’t the point. Its all about jacked up and chronically raised insulin responses people. Pay attention. Fast food isn’t to blame for obesity.

      • Correction, Becky. Tom ate the bread with the burgers and breakfast sandwiches. What he passed on was the fries. This is how he kept his average carbs ~ 100g per day.

      • Really….I stand corrected. Looks I’ll have to go back to the movie and pay closer attention. LMAO. Could swear he said he removes the buns…but perhaps I’m confusing the movie with current habits. *shrug*

      • Dan Linehan says:

        He only removes the buns towards the very end of the movie when he is getting ready for the third blood test.

      • Becky, I specifically am referring to fried fast food, not all fast food. Hamburgers aren’t deep fried, they’re cooked on a grill or griddle. All restaurants, fast food or otherwise, deep fry in vegetable oil, which is 45%-60% omega-6. When you think of the volume of chicken nuggets, Church’s, KFC, not to mention taco shells and tortilla chips, that are consumed in America, you’ll see the scope of the issue. America eats roughly the same amount of sugar as the UK, but twice the nut and seed oils (vegetable oils), and we are substantially sicker, and it’s not our health care system to blame. If you’re interested in more, look up publications by Dr Bill Lands. He has a great one surveying global nut and seed oil consumption and correlates it with homicide. Wow. I believe that was co-authored with Hibbeln.
        I do think that eliminating sugar or vegetable oil will make the other one less toxic, see Stephan Guyenet’s blog for thorough reporting. But IMO, vegetable oil is the worse of the two. I think you can ameliorate sugar with choline, see Chris Masterjohn’s brilliant series coming out right now. But nothing can ameliorate high omega-6. (of course I could be wrong! I don’t know far more than I do know, and I’m still learning!)

      • Tim Starr says:

        Last I checked, KFC fries their chicken in palm oil, which is good veggie oil.

      • Negatory. Refined palm oil is not good oil. Unrefined palm oil (the smelly red stuff) is good oil, better than coconut. The refined stuff sucks.

      • Jeff, Do you have a reference for that? Believe you but fielded a question recently from someone who turns down processed food that contains palm oil in favor of processed food that contains non-saturated fats, and was pumping up palm oil as the one reasonably healthy part of the Luna bar she was eating. We did get down a beneficial sidetrack of coconut vs soy oil but would like to go back re: palm as needed. Thx.

      • There are those who suggest that the ratio of Omega 3s to 6s is more important than the amount of 6s. So, you can ameliorate the high omega 6 intake by intake of quality fish oil. That said, if you’re eating high quantities of breaded foods that are then fried in vegetable oil, you’re going to get fat.

      • See http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/05/eicosanoids-and-ischemic-heart-diseas.html for discussion (including references) of n-6:n-3 ratios. (The prior post in that series discusses how that impacts heart disease.) In summary, it’s not just the ratios, the volumes matter too.

      • Again ed (sorry, I’m having a problem capitalizing “e’s”), no one is saying that fast food is good for you. Not even close but it isn’t the fats in fast food…3, 6, 9 whatever…that are making people fat. Chronic overconsumption of sugar (glucose, fructose) that causes chronically raised insulin and results in insulin resistance is the major culprit. Your original comment was about the fats in fast food causing obesity which just isn’t true though your are correct in saying that they aren’t healthy.

        Peace, bro! We are all still learning…including the experts.

    • Lute Nikoley says:

      Watch the move “Fat Head”

  37. Game meat! My father and brother are avid hunters and always bless me with a half freezer full of elk and/or deer, for free!. My cousin also raises buffalo, so once in awhile I get some of that too!! Last year our furnace broke right before Christmas, and it totally broke us to fix it. We dumped the cable, etc…but it was the gift of 40 pounds of game meat that really saved us until the next few paychecks came in. Venison is not my favorite, but it can be prepared so many ways to make it palatable. I asked for (and received) a meat hammer for xmas last year, and it’s perfect for tougher game meat.

  38. income spent on food-The U.S. percentage is 6.1 percent. The next lowest figure comes from consumers in the United Kingdom at 8.3 percent German consumers spend 10.9 percent of their disposable income on food at home, followed by Japan (13….4 percent), South Korea (13.4 percent), and France (13.6 Middle income countries include South Africa (17.5 percent) and Mexico (21.7 percent). China (28.3 percent) and Russia (36.7 percent) are seeing rapid decreases in food expenditure percentages but are still relatively high. India (39.4 percent) and Indonesia (49.9 percent) are among the highest when it comes to the amount of disposable income spent on food.

    Even the highest quality food that people think is so costly is a good deal here if you know where to get it

  39. I don’t understand the apparent anger at the suggestion that grass-fed meat is a better choice for those who can afford it. Nobody’s telling anyone they HAVE to eat grass-fed. In fact, I’ve heard both Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf go to great pains to explain that it’s not a “requirement”, though they both agree that it is a better choice for those who can do it. Fat is a very significant part of my (and most Paleo eaters’ diets) and toxins are stored in fats. Therefore if I’m going to eat large quantities of animal fat I personally want it to be from animals that have minimal exposure to chemicals and toxins. For those who can’t access grass-fed meat Cordain and Wolf and others I’ve read propose eating lean meats and augmenting that with clean fats. Yes, I can look, feel, and perform better on a Paleo diet made up of the cheapest industrially produced chemical-laden meat and fat I can find, but I’m in this for the long haul (and for my childrens’ long haul), so for me that also means minimizing my exposure to things (like hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, and excess omega 6 fats) that may have a negative effect in the long term that may not be obvious in the short term.

    • “I don’t understand the apparent anger at the suggestion that grass-fed meat is a better choice for those who can afford it.”

      For my part, not anger at all and in fact I agree grassfed is a better choice for those who can spring. And, I also agree it’s a good idea to evaluate one’s priorities (e.g., grassfed vs. Starbucks, etc.).

  40. A lot of interesting stuff here. First my apologies for my first comment, up a bit, I was on my iphone and missed some stuff. But, my point there remains the same: 1) one doesn’t need to eat grassfed to reap huge health benefits and 2) of course people can scrape by on other things and spend alot of their free time to find some way to save money and buy grassfed. I’ll even go so far as to say maybe they should, but…refer back to 1.

    I think (many) paleo adherents tend to be those who are happy to spend their free time reading the latest on paleo blogs and putting the latest advice into practice (lots of fish oil, err, not so much fish oil, butter is good, excpet maybe it is bad?). Not everyone wants to do this, people do have other interests and hobbies, and this is where I find the argument that “if people think it is really important they will find a way” annoying. Of course we could all spend more time on ways to do things better…heating your house, better deal on car, best exercise methodology…but I think the question is what is enough? What is enough for the single mom with little money to spend on food? I hate to say it, since its not original, but…what is paleo enough?

  41. I do not buy grass fed / pastured meats.

    I know when my grocer typically marks down their meats, between 9-10 am.

    I buy most of my beef and pork on sale. Recently found pork shoulder for .60 per POUND, bought for of them. Another example, I bought 4 frozen turkeys the DAY after Thanksgiving.

    Lastly, I keep canned salmon in the cupboard…. it works… I have NOT been ill/sick in 20+ months.

    Steve

  42. - The key to eating healthily and in a paleo way is really to buy what’s on sale or special, and use the Internet to figure out how to cook what you bought. That gives you variety. Barring that, here are a few suggestions:

    - Buying and roasting several chickens on Sunday is a really cheap and easy way to feed a family. Eat the legs, thighs and wings. Save the breast meat for salads during the week (sorry, Mark, but while I believe in a high protein diet, I believe you have to have at least SOME vegetables every day.) Use the carcass to make a chicken-vegetable soup.)

    - Others have mentioned the beauty of roasts and stews. Such cuts tend to be relatively cheap, come in large amounts. This means — again — you can cook large batches on Sundays or Saturdays that will last you the rest of the week.

    - Look for specials on skirt steaks and hangar steaks. These are your cheaper cuts of beef — but you do not sacrifice on flavor or tenderness. Yum.

    - If you live in a major metropolitan area, Asian groceries are one of the best places to shop — fresh stuff cheap. One of the easier places to find delicious pork belly, as well as fresh but affordable seafood.

    • “Look for specials on skirt steaks and hangar steaks. These are your cheaper cuts of beef — but you do not sacrifice on flavor or tenderness. Yum.”

      Grilled a grassfed skirt steak last night. Ounce for ounce in flavor vs. cost, skirt, hangar and flap (bavette) is probably the best deal there is compared to good steaks. A good filet cost 4x as much and it has nowhere near 4x the flavor.

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        I had skirt steak at Viva Los Gatos for lunch yesterday (was there with my sis for lunch) and it was awesome, with some spinach and fries. Right in your neighborhood, Richard.

      • Richard, Any noteworthy adjustments on grill time/temp/tecnhique for skirt vs., say, ribeye?

      • Well the skirts I typically get are very thin, so totally different. As hot a grill as you can get, and just a couple of minutes per side, uncovered.

  43. Ya know why organ meats are cheap? Cause they taste like fucking shit! To get a child to eat organ meat is damn near impossible. Ground beef and root vegetables are the way to go for cheap. I didn’t see a lot of comments about diary products. Milk, like eggs is cheap. I’ll let you decide if it needs to be grass fucking fed.

    • “Ya know why organ meats are cheap? Cause they taste like fucking shit!”

      I like liver, provided it’s cooked properly (in bacon drippings, for me). But if one just can’t get to where they like them there are several ways to get the nutrition.

      1. See if you like processed liver such as liverwurst or pate.

      2. Get a meat grinder and add it to ground beef. Won’t even know it’s there.

      • Great idea for grinding the meats together. I’m going to try that with venison ground and beef to add some fat to make it easier to cook.

      • I might also add that if you can get it, wild venison liver (and heart) is far superior to beef or calf, in my view. When we hunted deer when I was a kid, liver would always be consumed the day of the kill.

      • 1. See if you like processed liver such as liverwurst or pate.

        2. Get a meat grinder and add it to ground beef. Won’t even know it’s there.

        I’ll have to give this a try.

      • These days, it might be a good idea to grind your own beef, period — then you don’t have to worry about whether your grocer cleans his grinding equipment properly (many don’t) or whether the grocer’s supplier applies proper sanitary precautions (probably not.) You don’t necessarily need a meat grinder — it takes me about 15 minutes to grind up a pound of chuck steak using a food processor, and the resulting texture is great (in my opinion).

        And yes, if you do that, you might as well throw in some organ meats.

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        For dinner last night we had turkey vegetable soup, along with the giblet gravy left over from Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious, and as Richard said “chuck full of nutrition”. And we love liver especially when accompanied by almost blackened sauteed onions.

    • Are you fucking kidding? I loved offals as a kid and my children love them too. The problem is people don’t know how to prepare them. I mistakenly overcooked rabbit liver last time and it tasted indeed like shit. Kidneys have to be cleaned correctly or it will keep the urine taste.
      And they are cheap because no one buys them. BTW they aren’t really cheap here in Europe, calf liver comes at more than 20€ a kilo (if you’re lucky) and don’t talk about sweetbread which is pricewise more in line with truffels, caviar and foie gras.

      • “I loved offals as a kid and my children love them too.”

        The French know how to cook them. When I lived there, eating on the French Navy’s dime and in their facilities, we had some sort of offal 1-2x per week: liver, tripe, kidney, and boudin noir. Loved the liver, liked the sauce they do the kidneys in but didn’t care for the texture, hated everything about tripe, and loved loved loved the boudin noir (my favorite).

      • Yes boudin is awesome, the best boudin is the antilles variety, they are smaller and spiced with habanero chili.

        http://www.google.fr/images?hl=fr&q=boudin+antillais&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=KB71TOvXMMiYOpG_yNkI&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=3&ved=0CDoQsAQwAg

        As for tripes, it’s indeed often quit difficult and even for Frenchs it’s not the thing of everyone.
        In the Balkans they have also extremly good recipes for liver. The best liver I had yet was in the Greek restaurant held by a Kosovari that was across my workplace when I worked in Germany. We were so good customers there, that we often got family suggestions, i.e. things they prepared for themselves that was not available on the cards. This meant mainly the cheaper cuts and the offals from lambs and other meats they bought in big quantities. They also pan fried feta cheese and prepared it breaded like schnitzel really good.

    • Well, I disagree with you on the flavor of organ meats — perhaps you’re not cooking them properly? Certainly it takes skill (and often, time) to cook them most deliciously.

      As for trying to get a child to eat organ meat: do what my parents did. “You don’t want to eat what I made you? Then you’ll eat nothing, that’s fine by me.” They’ll come around when they get hungry enough.

      Milk and eggs are indeed cheap, and I love and consume them regularly. But if I’m not mistaken, I don’t think that counts as paleo?

    • Nathan S says:

      my lamb’s liver fried in bacon/pancetta, onions, red wine, butter, sea salt definitely doesn’t
      taste ‘fucking shit’.
      - do some research-nothing cheap about calves liver/lambs brain/ox hearts-usually only found in top such as St John, London and other michelin starred restaurants- not that that matters.
      My five year old son has never had a chance to get used the taste ofSAD and totally digs lambs/ox hearts/pigs head -brawn/liver/ and he hasn’t been sick in 3 years as i haven’t since eating a offal laden diet.
      If only offal was still cheap. However, nutrionally and taste wise it packs a mighly punch

  44. v, you should try barbecuing the hearts. Here in Brazil chicken hearts are pretty much a staple in BBQ places. People don’t eat it in their homes, but you can find it in every BBQ house. And it is delicious.

    I really enjoy some chicken hearts, but I like to eat mine well done. The taste and texture are better and it is almost like eating a snack. Paleo snack, that is.

  45. “Who, besides me, loathes the apologetically motivated faux emphasis on fucking vegetables in the Paleo community and elsewhere amongst “real foodists? ”

    I hate the emphasis on trying to re-create shit food. If I see one more ‘pulverized vegetables made into a pizza crust”, I might just scream. Seriously- eat a steak, it’s delicious.

    OK- doing this on a budget. I’m lucky because I have access to venison (thank you friends that hunt) and eggs (thank you chickens!) at home for free or very little cost ($$ wise, it does take my time, but I love it). Depends where you live, but some people trophy hunt and have no real use for the venison they hunt (crazy!). It’s not too expensive to have it processed, or butcher it yourself- that’s what we do. Raising chickens is fun, and if you have kids, is a good lesson in responsibility and other things. There’s the initial investment of getting set up, but once you’re going, running costs are cheap.

    More conventional methods- pork shoulder (make your own carnitas… awesome), liver, ground beef, off cuts, eggs, potatoes. Learn where to buy them too- someone said ethnic food shops… great suggestion.

    I get pissed at friends that say it’s so expensive to eat healthily- not as this reader is expressing, but saying they need to spend $300 every 2 weeks to eat well. Bullshit. Buy what’s on sale and learn to cook it, don’t go in thinking you need a certain cut of meat or a certain vegetable and buy it no matter the cost. You have a brain, use it!

    • “I hate the emphasis on trying to re-create shit food. If I see one more ‘pulverized vegetables made into a pizza crust”, I might just scream. Seriously- eat a steak, it’s delicious.”

      Ha ha ha. Yea, I’ve done that a few times, but now I got the Meatza route and everyone likes it better. On the other hand, the pizza thing is something I get because at least, typically, one is putting some sort of meat, veggies, cheese on it, so it’s a vehicle.

      What I do not get at all is the “paleo” pancakes, muffins, cookies.

  46. One point nobody made yet, one important point to get foood cheap is to cook. I’m actually waiting to get my kitchen renovated and have therefore only very limited cooking possibility, so we live since 3 weeks only with the help of the rice cooker, the microwave oven and 1 heater. Our eating budget exploded from all the takeaway, delivery and pre-prepared food.

  47. Jennifer Calloway says:

    Why go to the grocery store at all? Cut out the middle man. He always exacts his price. Get a freezer and go straight to the farmer. I admit this is easier said than done in many places, but is well worth the effort. We live in a small to medium-sized university town and buy our grassfed beef straight from a local farmer at less than $2.00/lb. This includes ALL cuts–including the filet. On top of that, the farmer has offered me a freezer full of grassfed beef liver for FREE because none of his customers want it, and he just uses it as fish bait. Oh, the benefits of an uneducated populace for those of us who are paleo (in a university town, no less–the irony, the irony).

    Obtaining food this way is better for every entity involved: The farmer makes more money than he would were he to send his cows ‘to market’; it’s cheaper for us; and better for the cows since they’re grassfed. Our kids even get to go into the pasture and pet the cows if we decide to visit the farm. To top it all off, the farmer even delivers the beef to our home.

    Grow your own garden, even a small container garden if you’re in a city apartment and/or don’t have much land. All of this will cut down costs drastically.

    Find your farmers and get to know them! This is possible even if you live in a larger city. The logistics of getting the food to your home will be different than mine, but the benefits will be the same.

    It might be a lot more effort than simply going to the store and picking up what’s cheap and available (in essence letting someone else control what you eat), but, again, it’s well worth that effort. You just have to make it your priority. Not simply A PRIORITY, but THE PRIORITY. It’s time to take back control of what we eat.

    Love your blog, Richard.

    • I like the grocery store because I can buy individually wrapped small quantities of meat … I’m cooking for one so it’s awful convenient to get a quantity of beef or pork that is appropriate size for dinner.

      • Well the freezer idea is still good. I usually buy large portions of meat and then break it down into meal size portions for me and the dogs. This works out great if you split a whole animal with a few families.

    • Yup, I’ve gotten to know a rancher through my relatively new local farmers market. They’re thrilled to find someone who will buy the stuff most people don’t want – organs & boney cuts – & I’ve gotten some great deals & even some freebies (I got a pack of free lamb hearts at the last market). I have plans to get a freezer so I can buy in bulk from them, but for now buying enough for a couple of weeks has worked out great.

      • Haha- the first time my folks bought a lamb, they unpacked the box and begrudged the fact that there were no kidneys. Next season we mentioned it to the farmer, who said ‘Oh- no one ever wants those’. When we unpacked the box that year, we had 17 pairs of kidneys…

        I’m getting ready to send my cattle to the butchers, and am optimistic that some of the people I’m selling to (In halves and quarters), won’t want the organs (and tongue)… more for me!

      • Jennifer Calloway says:

        The same applies to the bones as well. Many people don’t want those either. Excellent free stock for soups and sauces.

  48. Don’t know if this has been posted or not. But I’d say read this:

    And put that into practice. I’d also repeat what a few other people have said – don’t go in with an agenda and keep an open mind. I buy what’s on sale and freeze it. Depending on how flexible your budget is, that could REALLY help you out. There are times when I’ll spend $50 at the grocery store in a week because meat is on sale, and then other weeks where I’ll spend around $15 because I’m stocked up. You need to pick your battles on this one.

  49. Nobody mentioned almonds yet. Also, cash-only grocery stores.

    A 1 lb bag of almonds at my cash-only grocery is $3.99 and has almost 2500 kCal. Not as cheap as burger helper, but not that much more expensive calorie-for-calorie. The same bag at Walmart is over $7.

    • Most almonds in the U.S. are pasteurized and full of pesticides. You definitely will not get much nutrition out of those.

  50. I am the one who wrote richard. first of all, thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. a lot of great ideas and realistic break down of things (suppose I couldn’t see the forest for the trees kinda thing).
    couple things….. not sure who, and no offense, but the use of the term “food stamp budget”. back several years ago, we got food stamps, and affording food was never an issue! we got way more in food stamps (200-350/month) than I spend now, but as the system is set up, I could work full time, go to college full time, and not get a dime of assistance cause I made $25/month too much to qualify.
    as far as grassfed vs grocery store meat- I wish I could afford it for many reasons, not just because it’s better for me or better tasting (an environmentally conscious gun toting southern gal!). sure I could get rid of the cable, etc and afford it, and probably be a hell of a lot more active, but I guess my priorities and dedication just ain’t there yet (besides not being able to see my man-candy on the screen on a weekly basis! priorities! man-candy is a TOP priority!)
    as far as offal, bought some liver about a month or so ago (inspired by a food porn), so now I have a 13 year old girl who jumps up & down excitedly when she sees liver in the freezer & bugs me to hurry up & fix it. she wants to get chickens & goats this spring, maybe some rabbits, but says she will refuse to eat any of them (plus it’s easy to find a dog & cat sitter for spring break or scout camp, but finding a goat sitter…..?). for a few months long long ago, I worked at a local slaughter house, & could take home all the oxtails, livers, hearts, etc cause nobody wanted them & they would be tossed in the remnant barrels. I don’t even know if he is still open, but may be worth swallowing my pride & checking on it. was raised by my grandparents, so I great up raising hunt fishing or growing most of what we ate. we went to town once a month or so for sugar, flour, coffee, etc. one day I will return back to that lifestyle (once my reti
    rement account is well funded ).
    sorry for rambling so much. thanks again every body for the feed back.

    • Why swallow your pride? Go in and offer to pay for them. Have a price fixed in your head, (50 cents a pound or something) and buy it. If he gives it to you for free, all the better. Heck, make the rounds and ask.

    • Move in small steps, I guarantee the priority with grow.

      Waste is another part that really changed for me. When you have more money and time invested in food, you prepare it more carefully, and less sits in the fridge to eventually go bad and get tossed in the trash. Many soggy 3-day-old pieces of frozen pizza used to end up in the garbage, along with cold coagulated masses of leftover mac-n-cheese. Now, no grilled meat ever ends up in the trash.

  51. Buy one whole chicken – not pieces. Learn to chop it up yourself.
    Cut into thighs, wings, (boneless) breasts and legs.
    Trim the tenderloins from the breasts and take all the excess fat and skin from the carcass. Freeze this together (should be between 100g-200g).
    Freeze the carcass and neck for making stock.
    Eat thighs wings and legs one night.
    Eat breasts (preferably stuffed with something fatty) the next.
    When you have done this a couple of times you have a collection of fatty tenderloin meat to make your own ground chicken and enough carcasses to make 1-2 litres of beautiful stock.

    • Good advice. For me, I prefer to just cook the whole chicken and get 3 or 4 meals for one small amount of work. I brown it well on both sides in a dutch oven. While it’s browning I throw in a chopped onion, stalk of celery, 4″ twig of rosemary, and several peeled and busted garlic cloves. Then (with it legs up) I put the cover on and throw it in the oven for 90 minutes at 250 degrees F. When it comes out it’s ready to fall off the bones and has a good cup and a half or more of fantastic juice for stock or gravy.

  52. This could possibly be your best post yet!

    So many meals i have overdone the veggies just trying to get in what i thought was necessary, sometimes actually forcing myself to eat shit i dont even like.

    From now on its “Fuck you, meat and potatoes please”.

    • Thanks, but it’s weird to me. I did not put much effort into that post at all.

      Don’t take me too literally on the veggies. Yes, fuck ‘em as compared to meat products and fuck the emphasis on them over meat as I hope rang loud & clear in the post (my true intent). But I’ve also found that roasting them (as described in a comment here is now my preferred method. Of course, you can do cookie sheet fries as well, and I do (as well as deeped in coconut oil and tallow).

      And salads with blue cheese dressing or, EVOO with either lemon, lime, ACV, balsamic or some combo. Greek Kalamata EVOO is by far the best. Italians suck ass for OO, in my opinion.

      R

      • The most important part in preparing vegetables is the fat. French do not know how to prepare vegetables correctly, the Germans are far better for that, they know (I should better say, they knew because the new generation is as infected by CW than you USans and eat more fast and Italian food than real german fare) that the important part is the fat. Spinach with cream+eggs. Kale and other cruciferian, lard and speck. Peas and beans with butter ans/or cream.
        Vegetables are good if they carry a lot of good fat, be it olive oil when roasted or butter or cream.
        I recently made some Brussel sprouts, I never was a fan of them so I never bought them, but I got them cheap from a neighbour gardener. I cooked them in water like ever, but then put Mascarpone (at least 300g) at the end, it made a killing. The children asked for more even don’t bothering for more meat.

      • Here’s my favorite way to do brussels sprouts.

        http://freetheanimal.com/2009/06/skillet-fried-pork-chops-and-roasted-brussels-sprouts.html

        http://28cooks.blogspot.com/2007/01/balsamic-brussel-sprouts-brussel.html

        However, better results when you split them in half lengthwise.

      • Yea i wasnt being completely serious when i said it was your best post. It was just one of those things where a bell goes off and is a huge wake up call. Sometimes you(i) get so wrapped in what other people do or suggest that i forget whats best for me.

        I will continue to enjoy veggies, just not to some paleo-nazi like extent where they become the bulk of the diet at the expense of my enjoyment of eating.

  53. Phocion Timon says:

    I don’t like vegetables, never have. I eat some spinach with my scratch-made blue cheese dressing maybe twice per week but other than that, I avoid rabbit food. I eat about an ounce of macadamia nuts every day or two. Every now and then I’ll do a yam with butter, salt, and a touch of cinnamon.

    I eat meat: beef, bacon, “breakfast” sausage links, chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, beef heart when I can find it, etc., with maybe sauteed onions and mushrooms and garlic. Eggs are prominently featured on my menu. Cheap, tough cuts of meat can be tenderized with a Crockpot or a low-heat oven (210F – 250F) for several hours. Lots of salted butter. Lots of bacon grease. Lots of beef tallow. All these foods are high in nutrient density. It doesn’t take much for satiety and thus keeps cost down.

  54. Dave from Hawaii says:

    A good, cheap source of protein if you have the land and a little time to spare in care, is to get your own egg laying chickens and let them roam the land, eating grass and bugs. There eggs are rich in Omega 3s.

  55. Student here. Full time. I work to pay tuition and living expenses (as in I’m completely on my own, no loans)I spend $80/mo that lasts me 7 days. Lots of meat, bison (cheap here for some reason), beef, thrift cuts, organ meat (hell yes, liver! its a f#%king multivitamin right there) bacon, eggs, organic whole milk, cottage cheese (thanks Martin B). One bag of frozen veggies, a small pack of salad greens and some sweet potatoes (1.99/kg). Fasting helps too. saves $$. makes you lose weight as a bonus. who’d a thunk.

    Ro

  56. There’s no reason to not eat grass fed meat if you want it. Go to your state ag department website and email them to send you a list of all of the slaughter houses in your state. Get that list and call the closer ones and tell them you are looking for pastured meat. You should be able to find some good meat that way. And not that exhorbitantly priced stuff that the online meat places sell it for, either! Sheesh, those people are rip off artists.

    I eat grass fed meat because I grow it myself, but it’s out there for anyone to find if you put a little effort into it. And yes, you’ll need a freezer, but the savings will come with buying in bulk.

    Supermarket meat is pretty much tasteless, so while it’s convenient, you’ll like the real stuff better.

  57. I just put up a blog post comparing the cost per calorie of various paleo or primal foods with non-paleo foods.

    http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2010/11/primal-vs-industrial-foods-cost.html

  58. John Durant of Hunter-Gather did a post a few eeks back on eating paleo on the cheap. I thought it would be a relevant contribution:

    http://hunter-gatherer.com/blog/how-eat-wild-cheap

  59. You know what, Richard?

    Fuck you. You want to be a caveman? Cavemen didn’t spend $600 on half a grass-fed organic fucking cow. Cavemen hunted. You want to fucking get some free meat? Some broke-ass paleo food? Stop being pussies and go hunting. $1 of lead is a freezer full of awesome venison. Kill the fucking deer yourself, rip it’s fucking skin off, and eat the damned thing. There you go. You’ll even get some damned exercise cleaning it and maybe even some Vitamin D while you’re outside hunting instead of bitching on your computer!

    Love the site.

    • “You know what, Richard?

      Fuck you.”

      Now you’re talkin’ :)

      Yea, you do have a point. When growing up in Nevada, bird & deer hunting and fishing trips were a regular thing and we could fish right in the river we lived alongside for rainbow and brown trout.

      A couple of things have changed. Here in the bay area of CA there’s really no easily accessible place to hunt except for private clubs that are expensive. For deer you have to put in for a drawing for a tag now and usually don’t get it here in CA, and it’s hit & miss for both NV and OR and even if you do the long trip increases cost/lb substantially. My brother still goes to the trouble and I think his venison comes in north of $20/lb.

      Here’s the last one he got but had to go all the way to Utah to get it.

      http://freetheanimal.com/2008/09/stop-the-preses.html

      I did get some good meat from that, though.

      But I hear ya. I have great memories of my dad getting a deer halfway down a pretty deep canyon and the only way to get it out was to hike down, drag it to the canyon floor, gut it, then drag it a couple of miles out the canyon. And these were mule deer.

      I should however, look into fishing in the area. That might be doable without inordinate fuss.

      • I guess I forgot how great we have it in Arkansas in that regard. I can take up to 5 deer and 4 turkey a year, and that’s not even with the purchase of a fowl stamp. Not to mention unlimited small game.

        I don’t remember whether it’s legal in CA, I used to live in Fremont myself — but out here if you want fish for strictly nutritional purposes, you put out a dozen or so jug lines and check them 3 hours later to collect your month’s worth of free food.

        You ever come to Arkansas and I’ll help you get as much venison or fish as you can handle.

  60. According to Nutritiondata, 2 pound of ground beef, 90/10 is 1920 calories and 224 grames of protein.

    2 pounds of broccoli is 256 calories, 32 g of protein

    2 pound of bread is 2358, 96 g of protein.

    I pretty much only go to Trader Joes in the Los Angeles area. I can get 1 lbs of grassfed ground beef for $5.99. I believe their regular ground beef is something like $3.99 lb. I can get not really that much broccoli, certainly not 1 pounds, for 1.99 a bag (bulk, unbagged broccoli is probably cheaper, but I’m going under the assumption of people shopping for time and convenience)

    And a loaf of bread, that haven’t bought in so long that I’m not sure how many ounces are in one loaf, but let’s say that around 2 loaves is around 2 lbs. I see loaves of wheat bread for 3.99 or 4.99 in the groceries.

    So, it seems that, calorie per calorie, you’re going to be getting more for your money if you just eat the meat. You get almost as much calories and twice the amount of protein from ground beef as you would from bread, yet there’s the idea that bread is so much cheaper than meat. And sure, nobody wants to eat ground beef everyday forever, but on a budget, pack in as much really calorically, really protein dense food as you can and you’ll end up saving money. If you supplement your diet with other tasty things like veggies, even if paleo friendly… I find that’s what runs up my grocery bills is when I make a salad with all the fixings, versus just getting a pound or so of a simple meat for my lunch. Just a container of parmesan cheese to top a little bit on my salad is more than a pound of cheap ground beef! Avocados are one of the most delicious things ever but out of season they can be a dollar apiece! Good fruit is pretty expensive, too. A great treat once in awhile, but forget about eating 3 – 5 servings of them a day unless you want to take money away from spending on protein.

    I will say, however, that I’m a single person and I’m pretty content to just eat 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef or a rib eye a day, with maybe an onion if I feel like it, without having to worry about providing variety for a family. Recipes are fun, but the fewer ingredients you put in your food, the less your food will cost and probably still be as nutritionally valid if it’s primarily meat based.

  61. Grassfed organs are definately affordable sources of nutrition. Dunno if this has been mentioned, but spleen is an excellent source of iron, even more so than kidney. Also, I would recommend grassfed fat (suet, back fat, etc.)- they are usually cheaper than butter and plant based oils.

  62. For the record, I fucking LOVE Kale chips ;-)

    For budget paleo, crockpot is king. Stews are cheap and delicious.

  63. Holy shit! What a shitstorm here.
    I just got to chime in though, (Richard, I love you because you are so much like I am, tell it like it is and FUCK ‘EM if they get offended.)
    I think that while HFCS and other nasty additives certainly have their cases to making us fat, I think we really are getting there because WE EAT TOO FUCKING MUCH.
    I recently visited Boston, and I was FUCKING GOBSMACKED at a restaurant with the portion sizes. I am a chef, and I couldn’t believe what what was being served. I was literally looking at platter of shit food, still steaming as it was being served, like a big load of shit!
    Yes, we need WILD vegetables and other shit in our diet, mainly to compliment what we are eating in terms of protein. We need good quality protein as much as possible, but we need WAY less than what we normally eat.

    The bulk of our calories is supposed to come from quality animal fats, then quality protein, then maybe a bit of natural carbs, like berries. Most of us need like, max 10 ounces of Quality complete protein per day right? An athlete may need more.

    I used to eat like, 4X that amount. No wonder it is so fucking expensive on Paleo. LOL

  64. Corey Friese says:

    Go to your local butcher, whether it be a grocery store or small shop should not make a difference. Ask for beef fat trimmings. Most of the time they’ll give it to you for free and if not, it’s maybe 99 cents a pound. A pound of beef fat is around 3500 kcals. I can always pick out the fat that was cut off of a ribeye or a new york. That is the best. I can literally just it it plain with some lean meat. The rest of the fat is better for making tallow. Grain-fed beef lacks O3, but the O6 is very low, which is the more important statistic. Supplementing with krill/fish oil will balance it out nicely.

  65. I apologize, because I didn’t read all the comments, but as a single mama trying to feed myself and my little one on a paleo diet, this struck a cord w/ me.
    First, as far as veggies go, I pretty much only buy frozen. I like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus. A lot of companies offer coupons, and if your store doubles, you can get some great deals (check the manufacturer’s websites, or coupon sites like redplum.com or coupons.com, or I like to read deal blogs to find sale/coupon match ups). I usually buy them for around $1 or less/bag. Just a few bags will do it for the week. As far as kale and other greens, I usually buy them bagged (Glory Foods brand) because they offer great coupons and my store doubles them making them super cheap. I like to make stir fries w/ them, scramble them in my eggs, or make kale and sausage soup (broth, red pepper flakes, kale, a splash of cream if you eat milk and sausage or whatever meat you have on hand). My last “trick” for getting veggies on the cheap is to shop the “discount rack”. Most stores discount vegetables for immediate sale, and I usually just wash, chop, bag and freeze these for later use. When I find bananas, I mash them, put them in ice cube trays, freeze them, and bag them. My little one likes to snack on the frozen cubes.
    We also eat a lot of eggs. I like buying free range eggs, but I’ll buy the store brand in a pinch. You’d be surprised how often there are coupons available for eggs, so you can usually get the free range for around $2 and store brands for under $1/dozen.
    Other than that, we just eat whatever meat is on sale. I like bone-in chicken because I can make broth with the bones, and it’s cheaper as it is). We also buy a lot of ground meat, and I’ll use it for a variety of things (meatballs without breading, bunless burgers, and even make my own sausage by browning it in a frying pan w/ fennel and whatever other spices I feel like). Stock up on meat when you see it at a great price, and freeze it in individual portions for later use. That way, you never have to pay an unreasonable amount for meat.
    Good luck!

  66. There is no mention of FISH!

    Fish/seafood was a huge, huge source of calories throughout human history. We lived and evolved near streams for most of our history. A can of tuna (wild, no additives, low mercury, high omega 3) is only 1.99 at my local supermarket. That and an apple will fill me up from breakfast until i get home from work. (aside from a handful of nuts for lunch)

  67. CroMagnon says:

    As several posters already mentioned organ meat tastes like shit if you don’t know how to cook them :) Here in Turkey (as well as in the rest of the Balkans) we have a very simple recipe for liver (called Albanian liver for some reason(:
    get some beef liver, remove the membrane if it is still there, toss them with some nut flour, salt and paprika (most people use regular flour for it but i go for nut flour for obvious reasons) until they are coated well. Heat up some coconut oil (or lard, beef tallow whatever you want)…but really really heat it up…almost smoking….and then start frying the livers. Do not put more than a handful each time to the pan (for about 12 inch pan), constantly stir them for about a minute or two. Until their colors change that is…take them out, put them in a container with a lid, go on with the next batch. They will be soft and delicious :))

    Also fir tripe we do make a lovely soup here, with garlic and vinegar..yummy..I’ll post the recipe if I found it. As for kidneys and hearts (lamb mostly) I suggest barbecuing them…toss them on the grill…keep about a minute each side..remove…sprinkle it with some cumin, oregano, salt and pepper..eat!

    The trick with organ meat is that you don’t cook them too long..if you do they become tough and you don’t want that. Also making stews out of organ meat (livers, hearts, kidneys etc) with some garlic pepper, onions and tomatoes is also a great way to eat them.

    On a different note you guys should realize that meat is dirt cheap in the U.S. When I was a student in the US (lived there for about 7 years doing phd) I was always amazed how cheap most types of meats are compared to Turkey (except fish, which is very very cheap here). Even on a TA stipend I mostly ate beef,lamb, pork, cheese, eggs while most of my American friends stuff themselves with corn in disguise :)

    Just to give you an idea, a pound of ground beef is $8.5!! A good cut of meat, say a ribeye is $12..and trust me most people here earn less than an average American. I am lucky, I have a good job and feed my family with mainly meat and fish but most people go for chicken or fish (a pound of fresh caught sardines are about a dollar for example) when they want protein…or eggs and milk..but like in the US, grains and sugar made up most of the calories people comsume here…it is unfortunate trend all over the world.

    Lastly, Richard, I love your posts, esp. food porn :)

  68. Shebeeste says:

    Re: Liquid calories. I’ve always been fitter than your average American, despite loving sugar and carbs. I’ve always said my secret was not drinking soda and not driving a car. I bet anyone could benefit from cutting out “candy water” and getting places under one’s own power, without changing anything else in their lifestyle. Though I gotta say that I’ve never been healthier (mentally or physically) than when I started doing my version of cheat-laden paleo. I was sickest when I was a vegan.

    • William in DC says:

      Sheb, may you describe your “cheat-laden” version of Paleo? Is it similar to Tim Ferris?

  69. Shebeeste says:

    I’m not familiar with Ferriss’ work. Can you point me to a good place to start? I’m mostly influence by Primal Blueprint. And I just cheat a lot. I’m lacto-paleo, and don’t keep grains or sugar in my kitchen, but I fall victim to pastries, ice cream and potato chips all too regularly. My weight’s crept up a bit since the holidays started (coworkers, homemade fudge, ’nuff said) but even doing mostly paleo (I’d say I’m about 70/30), I’m maintaining my mental and physical health and fitness. 20 pound weightloss, better moods, you know the drill. That might not work for everyone. I’m also planning to go strict (no nuts, no dairy, no coffee, etc.) in January to keep from straying too far. Other than that I walk and ride a lot, do bike sprints as necessary, and lift and do bodyweight (per Mark Sisson’s 5 essential movements) once in a blue moon.

  70. William in DC says:

    Intersting I somewhat do the same as you. I don’t cook or add sugar to anything at the house, and I don’t eat grains at the house. Once or thrice a week I’ll eat some cheesecake or pizza or french fries. I do eat dairy. I’m probably 75/25. My weight is fine. I suspect as Richard made in another post, the biggest culprit is sugar. I think just minimizing concentrated/added sugar, grains and vegetable oils is half the battle IMO, you throw in an active lifestyle that’s probably 75%–assuming no genetic conditions, or that one is not starting from a position of already being very obese.

    Anyway, Tim Ferris doesn’t have a “method” per se, but he’s famous in the personal development world for having have traveled many places, and tried many things. He’s of four-hour work week fame (NY times best seller). He has a cheat day, drinks diet/zero calorie drinks , etc. He just 1. avoids any carb that can be white (even if it’s whole, if it *could* be white, it’s disqualified–this basically amounts to avoiding GRAINS (not carbs)), 2. Recommends fewer but often repeated meal and meal variations 3. No drinking of calories ((this one is controversial in dietary communities–I still consume diet drinks as the lesser of evils vs. a regular sugar drink) and 4. Has a “cheat” day.

    Robb Wolf recently did a guest post on his blog: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/09/19/paleo-diet-solution/

  71. ch*ist people – get creative – there are SOOO many cuts of meat and organs (even from grass fed) that the butchers can’t get more than bottom dollar for – (and then there are the road-kill eaters, too much for me admittedly)

    crock pot it – add the obligatory veg garnish and enjoy!

  72. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. There’s still plenty of meat on that bone. Now you take this home, throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato. Baby, you’ve got a stew going.” – Carl Weathers

  73. Hey, in case you didn’t see it, this post got picked up on Mark’s Daily Apple link love:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/weekend-link-love-120/

    A few comments about it, mostly negative.

  74. I posted about Priorities for Eating Paleo on a Budget here:

    You might enjoy this post and the PDF download too.

  75. Hi,

    just a question. Isn’t offal like liver or kidneys or other glands supposed to concentrate all the crap that an animal has been exposed to?

    SO if you buy your meat ” regular” and do not take care of its origin, how it as been fed, how it has been treated, don’t you tae the irrik to eat a concentrated toxic waste?

    And what about these cows fed with …cows ( leading to the mad cow disease) ? If you buy cheap offal, maybe you’ll expose yourself to it. I know we don’t know much more about this disease now but..as a precaution, shouldn’t we care? How can i be sure that the cheap cow meat i buy is not loaded of that crap?

    SOrry for my bad english.

    • Yes, for the reasons you mention, I personally would avoid organ meats from industrially raised and fed animals. At home we only eat grass-fed/pastured meats and we will only eat organ meats from these sources.

      (Your English is better than any of my other languages (none))

      John

  76. Noelle says:

    how it Has been , don’t you take the risk,

  77. In the 4hr Body the go over how to eat the slow carb diet on a budget. I use the same principals for paleo.

  78. great article! … and i totally agree with what william said about Mr Ferris. I read his book and its allgright with some good tips.

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