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New to PB and Need Advice!

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  • New to PB and Need Advice!

    Hello, everyone. I just finished the book, and am excited to start living the primal way! First, a little bit about me: I am a 23 year old male finishing up college. I have battled some health issues the last few years, and have been in search for a healthy lifestyle for about five years now. I have an automimmune disease (Hashimotos Thyroiditis) that has caused me just about every physical symptom you can think of. I have bounced around with different diet and exercise plans quite a bit, trying to find one that helps me feel the best. I am what many would probably refer to as a "gym rat" However, I was, for the most part, adhering to "Conventional Wisdom's" suggestions...bad idea. I definitely have been caught up in "chronic cardio and strength training," which always leads to poor results and an eventaul state of exhaustion and burnout. As for my diet, I thought I was doing the right things by eating fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and LOTS of whole grains and legumes...basically a low fat, high carb diet. I did, coincidently, change my diet about a month ago, decreasing my carb intake and increasing my fat intake to help stabilize my ever-fluctuating blood sugar levels. This just reinforces what I was doing, and this book has given me great optimism in changing my lifestyle according to The Primal Blueprint Laws. Better insulin regulation, along with short, intense workouts seems like a great fit for me! I am about one week in and already seeing some results!

    Nonetheless, I need some advice. Being a college student, I am obviously on a budget. I eat a TON (3300 + calories a day), and my grocery bill is upwards of $500 a month already. The main problem I am having is the quality of my meat and vegetables. I shop at walmart, and buy canned and packaged tuna and salmon; frozen, imported (farm raised I beleive) salmon and shrimp; and frozen "all natural" chicken and ground turkey. As for veggies, I buy a lot of plain frozen vegetables (great value brand), and some fresh, but not organic vegetables. I also eat an enourmous amount of raw nuts and seeds, which I mainly order off of amazon. I am basically eating all the right things, but not the best quality because I can't afford the organic . Does anybody have any suggestions? I am a little worried that all the meat and vegetables I eat are likely to be contaminated and treated with chemicals.....So, I am basically asking for some advice on how I can, affordably, clean up my diet.
    I appreciate any suggestions!

  • #2
    IMHO, I think if you do the best with the tools God gave ya (finances, resolve, etc), then you're already 90% better off than everyone still following CW. Get the best of what you can afford. I have no shame in admitting my freezer is full of frozen veggies (Birds Eye Steam Fresh), and critter. The fridge is loaded with yogurt, cheese, and leftovers.
    When we are in a better financial position someday, we will, by all means, spring for good quality grass fed critter, pastured butter, and organic veggies. Until then, we are doing our best to live the Primal way on what we can afford (Walmart critter, frozen veggies, regular butter). Personally, I feel that I am reaping the benefits of the lifestyle. I notice it when I go running, especially, and lift weights. Moving up 10 lbs every week or two, and increasing my speed effortlessly by miles, makes me feel like Wonder Woman!
    --Trish (Bork)


    • #3
      Agree - choosing the right foods to eat is far more important than how those foods are produced.

      On that point, you should cut down your nut and seed intake. They are very high in polyunsaturated fats
      Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

      Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine


      • #4
        If you need to cut down on cost, focus on the basics: meat, fat, and vegetables. Nuts and seeds are expensive for the nutrition they provide, if you need a snack, hard-boiled eggs are nutritious and cheap.

        Regarding "cleaning up" your diet, I would say for now don't stress about it for now. The benefits from switching to Primal eating are orders of magnitude greater than the disadvantages of eating conventionally-produced meat and produce. Once you've figured out how to meet your daily/weekly needs with the basics you can decide whether you'd rather pay more for a nut/seed indulgence, or clean meat and/or produce. The motto here is "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good".


        • #5
          I am a VERY broke college student as well - and although I am living with my parents now, will not be next year. I've devised this as my shopping list for next year:

          For protein(all this probably actually lasts 1.5-2 weeks):
          Bacon (TJ's)
          Sausage (TJ's)
          Canned tuna (TJ's)
          Frozen chicken/Whole chicken (after a certain time these babies are 50% off!)
          OR whatever meat is on sale to throw in the crockpot. Usually this is good enough (frozen wild fish is sometimes cheap)

          For veggies:
          WHATEVER IS ON SALE! Seriously - view the ads early, and just do that. This ups variety & saves money.
          But generally: Broccoli, spinach, mushrooms.

          &Every once in awhile I need to stock up coconut oil, but you can just use bacon grease to save money!

          My meat won't be the BEST when I'm away from home, but if I shop sales at the natural markets/farmers markets I'm good - and I always get organic veggies/eggs. But you can limit this to the dirty dozen (can't remember at the moment - but spinach & berries are important to keep organic).
          & By the way, we shop almost fully organic & CW for three people (including one HUNGRY man), and our grocery bills barely total $500 - if it was just me I'm pretty sure I could limit it to $200 (with good quality)

          I would definitely suggest not shopping at Walmart unless this is absolutely the only place around you, you can do Costco and again, this will take a little work but look up grocery ads online - it will requiring making a few stops, but its worth it. Good luck!!

          Also, during season, Farmer's market is EXTREMELY reasonable.
          Last edited by lexsi340; 02-04-2011, 11:55 PM.


          • #6
            Hey, don't knock Wally World. I found free range, hormone/everything-free, happy chicken there!
            --Trish (Bork)
            FOOD PORN BLOG!


            • #7
              Sorry Trish! I personally went there for years because I lived in a small town and it was all that was around - and around 10th grade saw an awful film on where their products come from.. I will NEVER go back.
              But I don't knock anyone who goes there I do think it's great they are selling free-range chicken.


              • #8
                If you have a Costco near you they sell organic chicken and ground beef in bulk at a very reasonable price. Cook what you need and freeze the rest for a later date.
                "If man made it, don't eat it" - Jack Lallane

                People say I am on a "crazy" diet. What is so crazy about eating veggies, fruits, seafood and organ meats? Just because I don't eat whole wheat and processed food doesn't make my diet "crazy". Maybe everyone else with a SAD are the "crazy" ones for putting that junk in their system.


                • #9
                  With Hashimoto's (which I have too) you will help yourself soooo much by getting off gluten! There is lots and lots of evidence that gluten is a key trigger for it (and other autoimmune conditions) via leaky gut syndrome -- although it's a pretty uncommon condition, I think, in a young man (I'm the much more typical middle-aged woman).

                  Cut the grains (and gluten from other sources, like prepared foods) and almost certainly your TPO antibodies will go waaaay down. I'll admit my Hashimoto's was fortunately pretty borderline when diagnosed, but my antibodies are now virtually undetectible. Still take hormone replacement, but it's great to know the condition is not active/progressing.


                  • #10
                    But you can limit this to the dirty dozen (can't remember at the moment - but spinach & berries are important to keep organic).
                    Here's a list of the dozen to try to get organic if possible:

                    Sounds like you are doing great though. Also, would add some good fats to keep you satiated... Coconut oil or butter, and avocados if they are on sale. I only bring this up because your list included ground turkey & frozen chicken which can be very lean. Maybe cook the chicken with coconut oil or bacon grease? Yum!

                    I've had subacute thyroiditis for about a year and a half... Similar but not exactly the same as Hashimoto's. PB is really helping me keep the blood sugar stable & I feel better in general (no brain fog or lethargy after the carb flu passed). Hoping you find great results through eating better foods. And i agree with others who say don't let perfect be the enemy of good! Wishing you the best of health!
                    Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the great info, everyone!
                      I keep hearing negative info about polyunsaturated fats, and am a little confused. I know it is important to keep a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 (omega-6=polunsaturated, correct??)....With that in mind, if I consume a lot of nuts and seeds, would I benefit in taking an omega-3 supplement, to make sure I am consuming a higher amount of omega-3 than omega-6?
                      If someone could clear this up for me, that would be great!


                      • #12
                        Wouldn't it make more sense and more savings to cut the nuts and not need the additional supplement?

                        I second the recommendation to buy what's on sale. I get pastured/grainfed/wild-caught protein "Reduced for Quick Sale" for less than the cost of their factory-farmed equivalents all the time. Veggies: fresh-frozen are not only economical but often better for you than "fresh" (when "fresh" means picked unripe and many days' cross-country shipping farm-to-shelf).
                        "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                        "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                        If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                        beachrat's new primal journal