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Halfway primal on a college budget-- hurting more than helping?

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  • Halfway primal on a college budget-- hurting more than helping?

    I'm excited to be going primal, and I'm already past the carb flu! I feel better, and so does my stomach.

    However, I'm poor-- that's the way of life for a college student. I cook nearly every day, but I rely on free food to keep my budget in check-- and there is always free food on a college campus. Keeping carb-free is easy enough, my worry is my fat intake.

    Grass-fed beef is an impossibility. Organic is too expensive. Exotic ingredients are obviously out of my price range. At church events and such, I can easily scavenge for meat, but it's often cooked in unhealthy oils. One might describe my diet as "Atkins, but with a lot of local fruits and veggies." I'm afraid I'm poisoning my body completely negating the long term benefits of going Primal.

  • #2
    I remember when I was living in an apartment off campus. Before I got a part-time job, I was being sustained almost entirely by breakfast cereals, ramen noodles, and mac & cheese. I ate so much. I would go through a box of cereal every 3 days, a gallon of milk every 4. Now I eat eggs and either bacon or pork roll for breakfast and lunch, and I can eat only twice a day and not be very hungry. I haven't had dinner at all this week, and I'm not feeling the need to eat because I'm not that hungry. The hardest part is giving up all the free pizza at school activities.

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    • #3
      It's true! Just today, I passed by free fried chicken, Papa John's pizza, and chocolate cake on campus. Forgot the sugar temptations! "The best way to get college kids to an event is free food."-- our dean. :-P

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      • #4
        Stir fry is the easiest thing to make IMO. Just cook your meat or heat it up if it's frozen & add veggies. Wheat-free tamari might be a good investment for flavor, otherwise just add seasonings.

        Why are you doing zero-carb?
        Depression Lies

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TigerSummoner View Post
          I'm excited to be going primal, and I'm already past the carb flu! I feel better, and so does my stomach.

          However, I'm poor-- that's the way of life for a college student. I cook nearly every day, but I rely on free food to keep my budget in check-- and there is always free food on a college campus. Keeping carb-free is easy enough, my worry is my fat intake.

          Grass-fed beef is an impossibility. Organic is too expensive. Exotic ingredients are obviously out of my price range. At church events and such, I can easily scavenge for meat, but it's often cooked in unhealthy oils. One might describe my diet as "Atkins, but with a lot of local fruits and veggies." I'm afraid I'm poisoning my body completely negating the long term benefits of going Primal.
          The short answer is "NO, it isn't hurting more than helping." Eliminating grains is going to reap benefits for you no matter what. In regard to the meats and oils, just do the best you can. Invest in some quality fish oils to get those much-needed Omega 3s, eat avocados, and choose less fatty cuts if you can. Cook your own meat in quality oils when you can, and don't stress too much about it. Every little bit counts.

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          • #6
            Worry less! If you are cutting out grains and not substituting with other processed junk, then you are doing better than 95% of the population EASILY. At this point worrying about the rest of it will do you more harm than your diet!
            Life is short: Void the warranty.

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            • #7
              I live in the dorms and do it just fine, I spend approx. $200 a month on food, and that's with all grass-fed beef, local veggies, and coconut oil+milk. I could do it cheaper with conventional meat, eggs, and without coconut oil.

              Here's how I do it: For veggies: Free cafeteria veggies & a CSA box. I researched all the CSA's in the area and found one that's 12-15 pounds of food for $30. I split it with my roommate, but I could have done it once every 2 weeks. That's about $15/wk. Then, since I don't have transportation and the closest place is Whole Foods, I buy whatever is on sale once every 2 weeks. Last week, for $34, I ended up with: 3lbs of local, "natural" (i know) chicken thighs, one pound of pastured lamb, a pound of grass-fed beef, a can of wild salmon, a dozen eggs, and a few filets of fish. It would be even cheaper if I did TJ'S, locals farmers markets, or was less selective about my meat. Every 2 weeks I get 3 dozen cage free, local eggs - but again, this could be done cheaper.
              And one of my best finds is the "free fat". Walk up to the butcher at Whole Foods, and ask if they have any extra fat. Grass-fed is optimal, but you usually have to call ahead for that. They'll wrap up a ton and send you on your way. That's "free fat" for 3 months!


              Every 3 months, I get from Amazon: 12 cans of Thai Kitchen Milk & a huge can of coconut oil.

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              • #8
                halfway is better than nothing! I wish I discovered primal living when I was in college. I *thought* I was being healthy in college (the CW way) but it caught up to me and my hormones.
                I'm too stubborn to give up so I keep on trying.

                You're never going to get to the top of the stairs if you don't walk up them.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by lexsi340 View Post
                  I live in the dorms and do it just fine, I spend approx. $200 a month on food, and that's with all grass-fed beef, local veggies, and coconut oil+milk. I could do it cheaper with conventional meat, eggs, and without coconut oil.

                  Here's how I do it: For veggies: Free cafeteria veggies & a CSA box. I researched all the CSA's in the area and found one that's 12-15 pounds of food for $30. I split it with my roommate, but I could have done it once every 2 weeks. That's about $15/wk. Then, since I don't have transportation and the closest place is Whole Foods, I buy whatever is on sale once every 2 weeks. Last week, for $34, I ended up with: 3lbs of local, "natural" (i know) chicken thighs, one pound of pastured lamb, a pound of grass-fed beef, a can of wild salmon, a dozen eggs, and a few filets of fish. It would be even cheaper if I did TJ'S, locals farmers markets, or was less selective about my meat. Every 2 weeks I get 3 dozen cage free, local eggs - but again, this could be done cheaper.
                  And one of my best finds is the "free fat". Walk up to the butcher at Whole Foods, and ask if they have any extra fat. Grass-fed is optimal, but you usually have to call ahead for that. They'll wrap up a ton and send you on your way. That's "free fat" for 3 months!


                  Every 3 months, I get from Amazon: 12 cans of Thai Kitchen Milk & a huge can of coconut oil.
                  Great advice.

                  I've started my own site regarding Primal/Paleo in college (see signature), and being another student as well, it's just a matter of finding the right deals in the right places and at the right times.

                  See if you can find any farmer's markets or CSAs in the area. Going for pastured meat and organic veggies isn't always possible. Never let perfect be the enemy of the good.

                  What worries you about your fat intake? Unable to get as much as you wish?
                  Are you a college student, trying to navigate college while being Primal? Do you know any other PB college students on a tight budget? Heck, for that matter, are YOU trying to live Primal on a budget? Enroll at Primal University!

                  For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.
                  -- Blaise Pascal

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                  • #10
                    This will be in order of posts:

                    I meant "refined carbohydrates." I get plenty of carbohydrates from fruits and veggies. I love stir fries! Making them into cabbage wraps is also a lot of fun.

                    I did just go out and buy a bunch of fish oil capsules. I don't particularly care to take supplements, but this one isn't so bad.

                    Hah! Thank you Gunnk. You hit my major problem-- I'm a worrier. I worry myself sick! The GRE this weekend had me lying awake at night (and no thanks to my partying neighbors. But who can blame them-- WE BEAT FLORIDA!)

                    Lexsi, those are really good ideas. We don't have a cafeteria here (despite being a major university), so I can appropriate my food budget however I want. I need to get in on a CFA-- there is one right by me, too, so I have no excuse. My university offers cheap meat from the laboratory slaughter house, whenever there was a "school project." It's pretty much the best kept open secret here, and visitors always remark on the quality of non-grass-fed, pasture raised beef.

                    Primalprincess, I'm pretty sure my hormones have already caught up :-P but in a good way. I just keep putting on muscle and there's no stopping it. Primal workout + eating just stepped my workout to a whole new level.

                    Velocity, you are completely right. Finding the right deals is tough when you compete with a horde of thrifty moms though, which I seem to every Friday morning :-P

                    EDIT: I meant "non-grass-fed beef." Whoops.
                    Last edited by TigerSummoner; 10-16-2011, 07:21 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TigerSummoner View Post
                      Velocity, you are completely right. Finding the right deals is tough when you compete with a horde of thrifty moms though, which I seem to every Friday morning :-P
                      Just use your Primalness and grab the lion's share for yourself.

                      ...wait, just noticed. Auburn doesn't have dining facilities, did I read that right??


                      Also, if you're talking about the plain GRE, don't worry about it. It's no tougher than the SAT. Seriously. I took it without studying one whit and blew it out of the water.
                      Last edited by Velocity; 10-16-2011, 04:06 PM.
                      Are you a college student, trying to navigate college while being Primal? Do you know any other PB college students on a tight budget? Heck, for that matter, are YOU trying to live Primal on a budget? Enroll at Primal University!

                      For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.
                      -- Blaise Pascal

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I just took it for the second time. First time I did very well, but this second time... well.. :-) :-) :-) I don't get the official scores back until November, so I'm not going to jinx it until then, but I think I might have just made my grad school dreams come true.

                        And yeah, Auburn has "dining services" now, but it's just a collection of fast food. As a senior, I don't have to buy campus dining dollars, so I don't-- why waste my money on junk food. Auburn used to have a cafeteria before I was a student, but the quality was so poor they let Chik-Fil-A, McDonalds and Co handle the food from then on out.

                        EDIT: Spelling errors. Embarrassing.
                        Last edited by TigerSummoner; 10-16-2011, 09:02 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Check out Latino/Asian markets for reasonably priced meats, and also good spices for cheap. I find the produce really good quality too. Good luck, and welcome.
                          Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!

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                          • #14
                            Oh someone mentioned their budget for eating in college... I worked ~15 hrs a week on-campus with a full course load. I spent $40-50 a week on groceries, so maybe $200 a month. If you have access to a fridge and stove, you can definitely reduce this (keep in mind those costs included some things like toilet paper, I was living in an apartment) and eat pretty well. Chicken, peppers & onions were my go-to food.
                            Depression Lies

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TigerSummoner View Post
                              I did just go out and buy a bunch of fish oil capsules. I don't particularly care to take supplements, but this one isn't so bad.

                              DIT: I meant "non-grass-fed beef." Whoops.
                              The worst part of non-grass fed beef is that you're messing with your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. I eat a lot of conventional meat and just have a couple capsules of high potency fish oil (i take 4 1000mg capsules a day). Also I love organ meats so "Pet Burger" from USWellness is something I eat a good bit of. Usually I'll have about 3-7 pounds of meat a week depending on activity and where my mood is and about half of it will be pet burger (not officially for human consumption but made to the same standards and FREAKING DELISH), the other half will be made up of conventional pork, beef and chicken.

                              You can also always pick up "Grass Fed Tallow" from USWellness which is a great (and a tub goes a pretty long way) way to add good fat rich in Omega-3's to dishes.

                              If you don't have issues with soreness or joint pain then you're probably young and healthy enough to get away with the high omega-6's and can just keep grass fed on your radar for going to in the future.

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