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Primal on a budget and ramblings from a newbie....

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  • Primal on a budget and ramblings from a newbie....

    I just ordered the book (I like to read up and feel like I have the big picture...) My dad does Atkins, but all the greasy garbage he eats makes me nauseated. I'm hoping it's not too similar. Counting carbs and eating 10 slices of bacon feels like a fad diet to me... I want a lifestyle that is sustainable.

    A bit about me... I never developed weight issues until my mid-twenties.... I was naturally lean and very thin eating ALOT (always been a foodie) any garbage I wanted (in fact too skinny for a male... about 5'8 and 120 lbs...) I was put on an SSRI medication for anxiety issues and my weight skyrocked to a whopping 215 lbs over about a 3 year period.... I'm now 2 and 1/2 years off the medications and feeling great :-) I've lost a portion of the weight with no effort... and I now sit at about 180 lbs... That being said, however, my body never recovered fully from the damage. I have stretch marks on my stomach and have QUITE the potbelly despite some intense full body lifting sessions at the gym 3x a week. Granted, I am now almost 31 years old now and know that it does get more difficult with age (the desk job DOES NOT HELP MATTERS.) Also, insulin resistance does run in the family... I struggle with my soft addiction to anything sweet and starchy on a daily basis. The medication is not entirely to blame though it was the catalyst.

    I'm nervous about going primal for few reasons. I have a very sensitive digestive system. Fatty foods, red meat, olive oil, and soy make me really ill (IBS with both D and C.) I strongly dislike eggs...I'm also concerned (not because I don't think I could make the lifestyle changes) but because I live on VERY tight budget. I could eat fresh veggies and organic meats and fruits forever and be satisfied... I am just concerned about making ends meet. I invested in a foodsaver so that I can cook in bulk, freeze, and have my own little preprepped meals to make it easier. I'm questioning whether or not this is the right lifestyle for me given my finances, hatred (yes hatred) of eggs, and sensitive tummy..

    I live in Minneapolis, MN. We do have Trader Joes and Whole Foods here. Any suggestions as to how to make this work on a budget? Also, any of you folks out there with sensitive digestive tracts care to chime in about what works for you? Is this lifestyle sustainable for a busy guy on the go? Also, how do you all deal with the peer pressure from co-workers and family members pushing junk on you constantly?

    Sorry for the ramble.... I'm nervous and excited at the same time :-)

  • #2

    You're coming into this pretty skeptical, that's really very typical. What does your daily diet look like up until this point?

    Addressing belly issues first; Myself and Mark (the author) and a lot of users on this forum will attest to the same conclusion: Eating Primally will help your IBS symtoms. Are you sure it's your meat eating that causes stomach issues? I wouldn't be surprised if you're grain/carb intake is high causing your symptoms. I have suffered from IBS, acid reflux issues, and generally just bad gas. Since switching Primal, I've eaten (a lot of bacon)tons of meat and lost 25 pounds, including adding a lot of muscle...and...NO stomach problems!

    As far as PB being a "fad diet", I'm going to come right out and say (as Mark says in the book) this is NOT a diet. Eating this way mimics how pre-agricultural humans survived before the introduction of the all-mighty grain, it's what your body wants. Sustaining this lifestyle is VERY easy once you immerse yourself in it.

    I'm also in a "food saver," but we are fortunate that the meat we by there is hormone and antibiotic free, so we spend $200 a month on meat and shove it in the freezer. We save so much money eating Primal, we don't eat out multiple times a week like we used to when eating the typical American Diet.

    Once you make the transition, all the junk loses much of it's appeal, thus making it easier to resist the pressure. Once you start losing weight and feel better, you'll know it works.

    Ask tons of questions on here; everyone has their own experience transitioning to the PB and can probably cover many of the same concerns you have.

    Check back here often, post your diet, let us know how it goes!


    • #3

      All I can say is give it a try, you will either notice a big change in your self or not and it's all natural and can't hurt you. I began by eliminating one thing at a time, grains the first week, sugar the second and so on. Kept it from being so scary.

      I can ditto the no diet thing. This has become a life change for me because my digestive distress is so gone that I don't want to ever go back.

      I also save money while eating PB. Hubby and I buy in bulk and freeze. Fresh fruit & veges bought as I go so not to let anything go bad and be thrown away. Takes planning. I also have a food bag and every morning I take to work my breakfast and lunch, snacks, etc.

      Welcome and Good luck

      Primal Since 10/2009


      • #4

        My body did have to adjust to a higher fat diet. For the first couple of weeks I had minor reflux after meals. It lessened somewhat when I took supplemental lipase with meals, and it eventually went away completely. You can find lipases in health food stores. Ask where they keep the digestive enzymes. Alternatively, it might make sense for you to start with a slightly lower fat consumption (more like Cordain's Paleo than Mark's Primal), and then ramp up the fat intake as your body adjusts.

        Regarding people pushing junk food on you: if you're strict with yourself for several days, you'll probably find that the junk just isn't appealing anymore. And if you make sure you eat to the point of satiety at regular meal times, you'll probably find it much easier to say "no thanks."

        I have more trouble at 'eating events' like Thanksgiving. Everyone is sitting around chatting, it is too crowded to move around much, and it is too cold/dark to go outside. Thanksgiving didn't go terribly; I had mostly Primal stuff with a few cheats (sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, primal pumpkin pie). But I'm still not feeling back to normal, and other than the pie, the cheats weren't even worth it. Now I know that I'm going to have to be much more conscious and deliberate about what I put on my plate at Xmas events.


        • #5

          Welcome, kallen. I understand your sceptism, but I think you'll find great success... The people here are well-informed and are tremendously helpful along the way.

          The great thing about primal eating is that since it's not a "diet", you can tailor it to your needs. Some people here are carnivores (strictly meat,) others may eat "bigass salads" everyday, some are coconut oil fans and others just prefer a nice stick of butter, etc. etc.. So sad to hear that you aren't an egg fan, maybe they'll grow on you, I eat almost two dozen a week and love it! With onions, cheese, peppers, hamburger meat, even bananas and cinnamon.. Yum!

          In regards to the price, you'd be surprised at how many of us don't go the organic/grass-fed/pastured route. I, for one, am not one of those people. Being a poor college student, I buy regular vegetables, "CAFO" meat and standard eggs at the local grocery store. But think of it this way, you're better off than where were you were before, right? I believe you can be primal on a budget of 50 bucks/week. And that's coming from somebody who eats a LOT of vegetables.

          Also, a good cheap alternative "meal" is a nice fatty shake. A can of coconut milk is about a buck (although I wouldn't go full throttle with the stuff until your body adjusts to the high fat content), then add some frozen fruit, maybe a little cocoa if that's your thing, some ice and a generous amount of protein powder. Try dark cherries, it makes the shake thick and creamy. Amazing!

          You also might want to search for "discount" groceries around your area. We don't have any here in Jacksonville, but I visited one in the next town over and the savings were fantastic. Although everything was packaged, it was exclusively organic but incredibly cheap (cheaper than the "normal" stuff!) The one around here was called Bent n Dent I believe... Good luck!

          On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at


          • #6

            I was just talking to my cousin yesterday about our grocery bills. She eats SAD, while we are free of multiple allergens (corn, gluten, dairy, soy--which luckily forced us to eat all REAL FOOD) and eat in an almost-primal fashion (some legumes and all tubers). I was surprised to learn we spend the same amount of money on foods for the same sized families. Once you cut out most/all factory processed, pre-packaged foods, its amazing how much you can save. I shop at a local farmer's market weekly, which is where I get all of my produce (often local, sometimes organically grown but not always) and it costs 3x LESS than the produce at the grocery store. I also buy some meat straight from a farmer--grass fed, great quality for a decent price. My splurges are grass fed beef/pork, coconut flour and oil, and I try to stick to antibiotic/hormone free poultry. But I am lenient, and whenever we have less for food, I just buy cheaper REAL FOOD. I might make a few more meals out of (soaked and sprouted) beans then, w/ a little less meat. It is amazing how inexpensive it *can* be to drop processed foods though--they really do add up!

            Also, you might have a sensitivity to may want to just avoid them for a bit. My son used to get rashes and reactions from eating eggs, but since cutting out gluten and dairy (along w/ corn and soy) and adding in nutrient dense foods along w/ fermented foods (homemade sauerkraut, juice kefir, etc.) he now tolerates them very well.

            Good luck!!! My dh has terrible IBS that seems to clear up very well when he eats more primally....This *could* be what you're looking for!

            Edited to add: I am a stay at home mom, so I do have time to do all the cooking from scratch. I might check out Mark's daily meals to get some ideas--if you can prepare salads the night b/4 those are great to eat for lunch, and a slab of meat w/ a side of veggies isn't all that difficult to make quickly for dinner. (Vegetable/green) smoothies in the morning w/ some nuts might be a quick solution if you can't do eggs but want a fast meal... Just some thoughts!


            • #7

              kallen, have you ever tried duck eggs? We had backyard ducks (sold them a couple of months ago and got chickens) and our next door neighbor who hadn't been able to eat chicken eggs for years found that she was not allergic to duck eggs. Oddly enough, my OH, who is not allergic to chicken eggs, has a profound allergy to duck eggs, which is why we now have chickens. Duck eggs are delicious, slightly larger than chicken eggs, with rich yolks. They are available online and in Asian grocery stores.


              • #8

                You guys are AMAZING. Thank you so much for the supportive start-up advice and tips. I'm now more excited than ever to do it, and make a lifestyle of it. Thanks again!!!


                • #9

                  You mentioned your dad is doing Atkins - I was talking to someone else just the other day about Atkins vs. Primal/Paleo. I think Atkins was on the right track, but he just missed many of the details. It seems he was trying to find the best way to loose weight, not the best way to eat/live. So he kind of "stopped" at the "eat more fat, less carbs" and didn't continue on to specify (or maybe realize) things like:

                  1. Healthy fats vs other fats (ie: fats from grass-fed animals vs. fats in vegetable and seed oils - basically the O3 vs O6 thing.)

                  2. Avoiding processed junk (ie: all the Atkins bread/muffin/pancake mixes that came out a few years back).

                  3. Getting lots of exercise and sunlight.


                  • #10

                    NeoPaleo, that healthy fats comment reminded me, kallen, if your ever out and looking to buy something quick and still primal/paleo to eat, you could try getting a salad w/ some kind of grilled meat, and bring your own homemade dressing. (You could make some and just keep it w/ you in your car/bag/etc.) Use extra virgin olive oil as the base, or another *good* fat plus vinegar or whatever you like...I think making the switch to healthy fats is one of the most important changes ANY of us can make in our diets!

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