Diets Cost You Money

Basically, “diet,” in one way or another, is euphemism for “pay money.”

I aim to undercut that.

$1 Portion


You will hear much more from me on how you are being suckered into paying hundreds of percent more than you could, for food that makes you fat, acts like crack, and has less wholesome nutrition.

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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More


  1. John on June 9, 2016 at 21:09

    If I could eat for <$5/day I'd have too much money to spend on fun stuff which would further make me forget about eating!

  2. Myvd on June 10, 2016 at 06:55

    looking forward to this
    We are around 10-12 bucks for my wife and I per day and that includes the few supplements we take on a daily cost basis. Special nights/occasions/guests different ofcourse

    One caveat, I do have plenty of venison and wild boar in my freezer thanks to my father in law which helps with my food expenditures.

    I will say I haven’t in quite some time bought a (grass fed )steak for 19.99 a pound or some shit which just pisses me of.

    I’m amazed…AMAZED how screwed up the food scene is. And to break it down to its simplest..
    The main reason….majority of people DONT cook their own food. Even many “healthy folk”
    They live on healthy packaged shit. It should tell you something when you walk into Whole Foods and there right at the entrance is a plastic wrapped package with a hunk of meat, a few peeled carrots, an onion (peeled for you) and a few potatoes (peeled) and there is your “crockpot dinner” .
    Depending on the size of the chunk of the meat price changes, but if you would walk around the store and pick up these ingredients and PEEL the few items yourself you will pay 20-35% less for the same items. It’s all so weird to me. also at the core the “relationship ” with food is just all fucked up here in the U.S.

    Thanks Richard

    • Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2016 at 07:13

      So the way that pot worked out.

      1 smoked pork shank. $4.50.

      1 package navy beans. $1.

      1 quart Kithen Basics unsalted chicken stock. $2.50.

      In all, about 8 hearty portions for $8.

      (When cooking, add water as needed. No salt was needed at all, just black pepper.)

  3. Tim M. on June 10, 2016 at 14:18

    Over the last few years, I’ve been on a mission to work out a cheap but nutritious diet. I average about $4-5 per day for myself. My staples are potatoes, lentils, eggs, chicken, avocados, bananas and whatever other fruits and vegetables are on sale at Aldi’s or Sprouts. 10 lbs of potatoes at Aldi’s for $3.59. Eggs are $.89/dozen. Avocados are $0.50 to $0 .79. Boneless skinless chicken thighs at Sprouts for $1.49/lb.

    I started figuring this out a few years ago when there was a news story about not being able get enough protein foods on food stamps, which is about $6.50/day.. They had some reporter say that she had to resort to eating turkey necks for her protein. I laugh when they talk about people having to eat cat food. Cat food is relatively expensive. Even at Aldi’s it’s $0.45 for a small 3oz can. That’s $2.40/lb. Most of the time skinless, boneless chicken breasts are $1.99/lb. A 5oz. can of Aldi’s tuna is only $0.65.

    Just do the math. Do you want to spend $0.45 for a small can of cat food or spend the same amount for 6 eggs?

  4. EDR on June 10, 2016 at 15:18

    Excellent idea…and that dish looks very tasty. It doesn’t appear to be a coincidence that the colors on the plate match the food, either. 🙂

    Adding good quality starches ie peasant food as you’ve called it after reading up on your blog really fixed my messed up gut after going through my “carbs are evil!” low carb days (btw, thank you for doing what you do, Richard). I still have to be careful with the beans though as I work in an office…but a little a day helps keep the fartage away.

    As I’ve gotten older I’ve become strongly opposed to “diets” after growing up fat and trying so many fad “solutions” to weight loss…including that crappy Herbalife BS that I got hooked on in the early 90s (which I’m sad to say, I think are still in business). I never had any lasting success until I did my own thing, fixed my mental/emotional relationship with food and tossed out the diet books.

    There were some BBC specials out a few years back…The Men Who Made Us Fat and The Men Who Made Us Thin that delved into the business behind the fitness and diet crazes…turned my stomach in more ways than one…

  5. ChristyK on June 12, 2016 at 14:26

    I mainly eat vegan as a bag of rice (converted now that I learned about resistant starch) and a bag of beans – both cooked and cooled, along with some oats, fruits and vegetables has made my food costs so much lower. I do watch my protein intake and I’m doing OK.

    BTW – Last week I found your resistant starch articles and have been reading them for the past couple of days. I ordered the RS and probiotics you suggested and am trying it out. Are you still doing a resistant starch process and is it still working for you? Thanks for all of the information you so freely provided about it.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 13, 2016 at 06:44

      I pay attention to RS, but primarily with food (potatoes and beans, some oats too and whole grain bread). Always cooked and cooled stuff in the fridge or bread in freezer.

      Every now and then I also stir the powders in a morning drink.

  6. thhq on June 14, 2016 at 11:00

    Recently I’ve been paying attention to the Ludwig/Phinney/Volek high protein revamping of Atkins. To prevent lean mass loss it looks like 1.7 g protein/kg body mass is what it takes. So on 1500 kcal/day diet rations, about half your protein would come from protein. Whether you do this with tuna, cottage cheese or tofu it comes out about $10-15 per day just for the protein. And for any weight loss diet it’s advisable to ramp up the protein. Lost muscle mass is hard to get back in my experience.

    While paying for extra protein is worth it to crash diet your way out of obesity, it’s a very expensive way to live a normal life. I see this as a major problem for Paleo. What was hunted and gathered for free 40,000 years ago could easily set you back $50 a day for organic chard and grass-fed reindeer.

    • thhq on June 14, 2016 at 11:13

      Er, “calories from protein”, not “protein from protein”.

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