Paleo is so expensive!

I recently read an interesting blog post by Robb Wolf with this same title.  So I stole the title from him. And I am sure he won’t mind.

It seems there is a lot of interest in learning about how to eat Paleo – or what I believe is just eating real food – without breaking the bank.  It is something I hear all the time – that eating healthy is too expensive.  And I thought now would be a good time to share a little bit about what I do, and offer some tips so you, too, can eat real and thrive.

To start it is important to dispel a myth or two.

There are a ton of myths about Paleo itself.  That it is a meat-eaters “diet”.  That it is too restrictive. That there is nothing you can eat! When I talk about Paleo eating I am in fact talking about real food eating.  I am talking about eating sustainablely-sourced animal proteins and a ton of vegetables, fruits, too. There are other variances to this lifestyle and certainly some specific foods that I might not add in because of my own autoimmunity issues.  And maybe you wouldn’t either. That is a post for another day (and you can certainly contact me for a free health assessment to see what might be best for you to eat).  I am cognizant of the fact that not everyone is all the way here – Paleo.  Some lean Paleo or at least want to focus on eating real food.  For the purposes of what I write, when I say Paleo I mean eating real food and taking out those foods that cause inflammation in the body – namely gluten, dairy, grains, and refined sugar.  If you can leave those out, almost anything else can stay in.

And that, my friends, is a lot of food! 

This is how I think about spending money on food.

If your goal for your life is to live it, well – meaning with energy to spare and so that you can enter “old” age feeling good  – then eating real food would be a great option for you. When I think about spending money on good, real food I don’t have to remind myself anymore about why I am doing the spending.  I spend it on real food now so it is less likely I will need to spend money on pharmaceuticals later. {This article is but one of many showing how duped we are by the government when it comes to promoting real food as a benefit to our health and longevity}.

This isn’t just about finding the cheapest meat or even convenience in general of food shopping.  It is about making a commitment to your self that eating this way is important — for you, and those around you.  With that commitment, finding the best source of meat, the most local and fresh ingredients becomes…easier.  Because it’s your choice.

And the bottom line is that if you can’t afford certain types of food, you don’t have to buy them. I encourage my clients to make the best choices they can to fit their budget and get as many real-food foods in their diet as possible.

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty  – and multitude of options!

Once you make the decision to add in real food there are a ton of options for buying real food.  Real food with real ingredients does tend to cost more than those highly processed foods and packaged foods and again, this is where your goal for how you want to live comes into play. When it comes to protein and meat, you might not be able to afford everything organic or even grass fed. “Good” meat can be…expensive I ain’t gonna lie.  But, if I’m going to eat it, making it be good for me is important. There is just too much information out there on why grass fed is so much better for you{And even more info dispelling common myths about eating read meat}. 

For me, spending money for grass fed meat falls under the category of “pay now or pay later — either way you are paying”.  And there are places like Trader Joe’s and even Market Basket have good sources of grass fed meats for less than say US Wellness Meats.  I mostly shop there for a few reasons: Their meats are grass fed and grass finished (which means no grains are used to “fatten” the animal). There is no sugar used in their products.  I order on line and it gets delivered to my door in three days, and oh, right, the meat tastes delicious!  Bonus.  In all, I spend about $100 a month on meat – a staple in my diet. And I love that I am buying directly from the farmers.

But what about the rest of the food?

I know that organic vegetables and fruit can be relatively expensive. In some cases the expense is worth it as the number of pesticides in some fruits and vegetables is too staggering for me to consider eating. I refer to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists of foods when making decisions on buying these items. And I buy conventional where I can to save money.

learn how to eat real food without breaking the bank with the tips in this post! #liveverrwellOne of the best ways to save money on fruits and veggies is to grow your own or join a Community Shared Agriculture/farm share.  In my house, we do both!  My husband built some really great raised beds and we grow kale, squash, herbs, berries, onions, to name a few.  We supplement it with our CSA, Dragonfly Farms.  I love them because not only do they use sustainable practices with growing, I save money on produce! I spent $385 for my farm share that will go from June through October.  That is about $77 a month – less than $20 a week – on vegetables! It’s local and I get more veggies than I know what to do with!  To find a farm share near you check out Local Harvest.

And don’t forget about farmer’s markets.  Talk about eating fresh, local food for less money…

There are good online food options that can save you dough!

I am pretty particular about certain foods. I’ve learned too much about what the government has done to push foods that make us unwell, so it is hard to continue to buy certain foods that I know just don’t do a body good. I am always looking to find both convenience and a cheaper price tag on food, especially those that are packaged in some way, and those I don’t feel like making {Mamma needs a break from cooking from time to time!}  When I do find something that fits the bill – I jump on it. I have found some of the best, organic, healthy foods on Thrive Market.  I don’t need a lot from Thrive and only order on average 1x a month to supplement to my grocery shopping for items that would cost a lot more in the supermarket — like sweet potato chips, coconut treats, and this quick, easy and delicious Paleo pizza mix. I’ve even gotten my dish detergent for less on Thrive Market.  I like the convenience of ordering what I need and having it delivered to my door.

My best advice on saving money with food.

Aside from making the commitment to eating real food and all of the suggestions above on how you can buy real food for less, my biggest piece of advice is one that I work on with my Pantry Raid clients all the time.  Planning.  I have written before about how having a list with you when you shop is ultra important.  Of equal importance might be having your meal plan set before you shop.  When you buy foods that you plan to make, you shop more efficiently, which in turn saves you money.  You are less likely to buy what you don’t need when you shop from a list.  And if your vision is clear on how you want to live your life — how you want to eat, what you want to eat — it will make making decisions on what goes on that list much easier, and allow you to shop more consciously.

Saving money on food shopping – or rather putting your money in the right place when it comes to food shopping – is about being specific with what will help you attain the wellness you are looking for. And if spending the least for that food is important then break down your food to what you can get cheapest and where, and then go there – list in hand.  Whether it is Market Basket or Trader Joe’s, or a Costco (they have some organic options, too!) for those with more mouths to feed, find the best portions of produce, organic and not, for the best prices, for your meal plan!

Paleo or any other form of real food eating does not have to be expensive.

It’s all in the mindset, and where you decide to put your money. I truly do believe that we are what we eat.  That if we want our body to respond well to age we must give it the best chance to heal itself, and thrive.  So that can mean eating conventional grapes – they are better for you than preservative filled, packaged foods with unrecognizable labels that your body has no chance of utilizing, and that cost just as much money.

if-you-cant-pronounce-it-dont-eat-it1I spend on average, $150 on food a week – this includes meat, veggies, eggs, fruit, jars of applesauce, packages of pizza mix, chocolate covered coconut chips, and cans of coconut milk.  Not everything is organic – but it is bought with a real purpose. I shop this way because I really love food; good health is important to me. And my goal is to eat real food so that I can nourish my body best.

It makes what I buy worth every penny.

{Robb Wolf followed up his post about Paleo being expensive with this great post answering your burning budget questions about the Paleo Diet.  It’s worth the read}.

What is your biggest hurdle when it comes to shopping for healthy food? Tell me about your biggest challenge with buying real food for your budget in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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