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Low Carb vs. Additives, Preservatives, etc. Dilemna

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  • Low Carb vs. Additives, Preservatives, etc. Dilemna

    Hi Guys:

    I'm in a little of a fix because of economic conditions. The option is a grocery shopping allocation of $400 per month instead of $140. Grassfed beefs are expensive. Trying to eat salads or spinach in a variety that won't drive one nuts is also expensive.

    Here is the problem:

    Since I'm eating lots of salads/vegetables, things like bacon bits add taste and variety. Since I'm not eating bread and carbs, I need something to snack on, I might have some salami instead, but that has a trace of preservatives.

    Basically, offered the choice of going WHOLE AND NATURAL carbs (potatoes, pastas, brown bread, orange juices, etc) at a 1/3 split with fats and protein


    reducing on carbs, not being a nazi about it, but reducing the split to carbs 10%, and the rest nuts, fats, protein, veggies, fruits...BUT with a diet soda here and there. Maybe you use some

    Maybe some of you might see it as a pick your poison, but what's better? Orange juice, organic potato chips, or non-organic salami, flavored water....etc. Basically, I know what I want, I take what I can get. I strive to reduce carbs significantly from a typical SAD, but a few items that are not organic might slip in here and there.

    Main problem is finances.

    Note: By non-organic I'm NOT talking about food products like those packs of cheese with 100 slices, but more like actual food like sausages, only with preservatives.

    I'm on week 5 of primal, main challenge is keeping variety. I'm finding it difficult to eat the amount of vegetables I need to be eating, most of my calories are from fat and protein.

    My dilemna is organic/whole/clean but with much more carbs/grains or minimal carbs, meats with veggies, but a preservative slipping in here and there. Is regular soda better for the body than a stevia sweetened drink since it has "real sugar"?

    Guys I know neither is optimal, but hey, I'm not yet a noveau riche. There's the economy, and savings and allocation of finances to other areas one has to take care of

  • #2

    There are some non-animal fats that are quite good and inexpensive that you could add. Organic shredded coconut and flaxseeds are quite cheap. I put both on fruit/veggie salads.

    Also consider buying some wild canned salmon. They do add conventional salt to a lot of it but I wouldn't worry about that too much.

    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


    • #3

      Isn't Flaxseed high in carb content?


      • #4

        I don't really understand your dilemma... also don't understand your budget concerns. $400/month is my grocery budget for my husband and I, including some household products like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, ziploc bags, etc... so not all food.

        And we do fine. In fact, we're buying 1/4 cow (should get the meat any day now!) - it will reduce our budget about $25/week, and we also joined our local CSA so we get local mostly-organic produce for about $25/week - so basically we'll have $50 to spend in the grocery store each week. It's doable.

        Also I'm not sure why you need the sodas... just drink water. If you need variety, squeeze in a lemon or make some tea or decaf coffee or drink coconut water (no sweeteners added).

        Are you having trouble getting calories in? What's the real problem here? I read your post pretty carefully I think but I'm confused about the issue at hand.

        Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


        • #5

          Skip the product, buy ingredients and make your own food.

          I don't consider brown bread (whole wheat?), pasta, orange juice to be whole and natural.

          Grass-fed is not essential to avoid the ills of the SAD diet. Even CAFO grain-fed meat prepared at home is better than "lunch meat" or other products.

          It's grandma, but you can call me sir.


          • #6

            Sir Grandma, I totally agree with you.

            Also - if you're eating CAFO meat it's easy (and cheap) to supplement Omega 3 with fish oil.

            I don't get why it's:

            organic potato chips / orange juice / wheat pasta / bread


            meat / fruit / veggies / FLAVORED WATERS/ DIET DRINKS ?

            Why the fancy drinks for your primal-esque diet? I soooo don't understand.

            Also it seems like you think you need to be eating tons of veggies - eat as many as you want, and don't worry about it beyond that. They may be the base of the primal pyramid but that's due to their bulk, not due to the calories from them. Most of your calories should come from fat, then protein - then carbs last.

            Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


            • #7

              This post makes no sense to me, either. You think that if you can't afford organic meat, then you may as well drink soda pop instead of water?


              • #8

                Also, nobody "needs" to snack on anything.

                You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


                • #9

                  I too have some trouble figuring out what seems to be your problem. When finances are limited compromises may be necessary. Still let's not confuse reasonable Primal compromises (CAFO meat plus Omega 3 supplement instead of grass fed) and non-Primal substitutes (chips? diet soda? orange juice?)

                  No offense, but you may want to spend some more time looking at the resources Mark has posted here.

                  Since it seems budget is your main concern, start with these resources:







                  • #10

                    Yeah. I don't get it, either.

                    I'm on a tight grocery budget, and often that means CAFO meat and conventional produce. I wash the produce well and take fish oil capsules (Costco has inexpensive ones that Rob Wolff recommends.) I drink water, coffee, and herbal teas.

                    "Tight budget" does not mean I have to consume soda (instead of water), salami (instead of ground beef) and bread (instead of unsweetened dessicated coconut).

                    In short, you've drawn a false dichotomy. Why?

                    Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm!

                    Latest post: Stop Being Stupid


                    • #11

                      I think I wasn't clear with my post.

                      1. I'm ALREADY trying out primal, I'm on week 5. I don't even do "cheat" days.

                      2. I'm NOT eating chocolate cakes, dominos pizzas, and big gulps from 711 every day, nor do I want to. That was not the point of the post

                      3. I'm not "rich".

                      4. I get hungry a lot.

                      5. I'm not a marathon runner, but I've been lifting weights and I go out for a run 2 times a week or so...and in summer/spring play sports and do sprints (but reduce the cardio). So I'm pretty active, have been since my teens (I'm 28).

                      6. One of the problems so far is that I get bored with the variety of food. Occasionally I'd like something other than egg or smoothie for breakfast Also I find many vegetables bland. I've tried sauteeing spinach. Collard greens. Steaming vegetables. I don't like them Salads are easier but even then if I have them too often I get restless, perhaps I hiaven't learnt enough recipes.

                      What I was seeking here is guidance on which is a better alternative. Sorry for mentioning sodas.

                      Basically what I meant was between

                      Choice A: Eating 100% whole and "natural", which would include "whole grains" like brown bread without HFCS, potatoes, legumes, but STILL with meat and vegetables, just that the ratio would be carbs 33/protein 33/fat 33. This is more affordable from a financial perspective. For example, lets say this was the meditterenean diet, if I was shopping as if a typical French or Italian would.


                      Choice B: Eliminating carbs, but allowing preservatives to slip in here and there. For EXAMPLE, bacon bits in an otherwise "clean" salad. Or a sausage link for breakfast. This is more expensive.

                      I cannot afford more than $70 to $80 for grocery shopping every two weeks, I'm married but from single income household (my wife's a student). This is not to make it out like I'm suffering or unwilling. I've already said I'm trying Primal, the goal on this is to seek out ways for 100% compliance.

                      What I'm hoping for is 100% clean compliance ideally. If that is not very workable, then which is worse:

                      - eating carbs regularly, even if whole?

                      - allowing some preservatives to slip in, but with carbs virtually eliminated?

                      @Stabby, thanks for the suggestions...I'll try out the coconut flakes.

                      I'll continue searching the site as well for more of the answers to these



                      • #12

                        1. One, drop the OJ. It's sugar water; you might as well drink Kool Aid and pop a Vitamin C tab.

                        2. Stay away from wheat. Wheat is the most cardinal sin, the very worst carb because of so many side effects beyond carbs.

                        3. No Bacos. Soy product, a strong competitor with wheat for worst possible food stuff.

                        4. Personally, I'd do potatoes or sweet potatoes in moderation. Some beans, not real paleo but good nutrition otherwise. White rice is probably the least offensive grain food.


                        • #13


                          I think perhaps you're just still just in a bit of a transition from CW eating to Primal. Honestly, depending on your previous diet, I think it can take a few months to start feeling "comfortable" with your meals, and maybe even a bit longer to start really learning how to COOK this way (unless your FNW and then you're already a foodie!)

                          I am also not rich, and I think there are a LOT of people here that are working on limited incomes (Check out Diana Renata's journal on that too). I do more conventionally raised meats and non-organic veggies (but do wash them thoroughly). I shop at stores like Food For Less, or Trader Joe's, and shop specials at the grocery stores for veggies and meats. Basically I just get more veggies and salad stuff instead of the breads and boxed stuff I used to so I've found it can even out.

                          You say you get hungry a lot-- I'd look into that a bit more. My guess is you're not getting enough fats. I know that I can eat a big salad, or veggies and meat, but if I don't have enough fats (oil or avocado, etc), I will be hungry again soon after. If I do add these things, it can carry me much much longer. So perhaps just add in a bit more fat to help keep you satiated longer.

                          As for the food boredom, I feel you on that. I was getting there until I started looking through the recipes posted here and on FNW's blog and picking out one or two to try a week. I made shepherd's pie last weekend and LOVED it! Felt like I was cheating, LOL. And I'm going to make an oopsie pizza this weekend when my kids are here, which looks fabulous! For veggies, I cook in coconut oil, then steam lightly. Then I usually eat them with chicken, and add some kind of "dressing"-- either balsamic vinegar and oil with spices, or sometimes a spicier oil-- sesame oil on occasion with some sesame seeds sprinkled on. On occasion I'll go indian, so mix in a little greek yogurt and curry. I'd try maybe making a salad/veggie dressing and tossing it on, that might help. Part of the boredom however may be due to still being in the CW mode, like I said above. I know that when I'm eating my lunch at work it's tasty and I enjoy it, but I sit with people who are eating burritoes, and pizza, etc. I'm finally now starting to not be attracted to that smell anymore, but it took a good three months to get there. I'm guessing in 3-6 more, it won't but me at all. I think it just takes time.

                          Long winded post, I know, but I think maybe focusing on changing up your recipes, making them more filling, and finding the ingredients cheaper may be more profitable for you in the long run than the choices you were putting forth.


                          sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


                          • #14


                            Hear ya on the money issue. I've been unemployed for awhile, getting unemployment but it's not much, and things are expensive here in San Francisco.

                            Here are some things I figured out:

                            *Whole Foods is pretty expensive overall, but they have a big bottle of good EVOO for $6.99, which is way cheaper than the grocery store by my house. They also have their house brand (365) of coconut oil for $ I go there for oils only. It lasts a long time.

                            *Make friends with the meat and fish guys at the grocery store! They save all kinds of cool bones and trimmings for me; when they know they have some stuff approaching the 'use by' date, they'll tell me the day before, so I can come in early the next day and scoop up the bargains. I got a package of 12 chicken thighs for $3.12 (less than half the normal price)the other day, cooked half and wrapped the other half individually for the freezer.

                            *If you have a Farmers' Market in your area, they often have awesome deals on produce...but if you come by near the end of the day, when they're looking at putting stuff back on the trucks? I have gotten huge shopping bags of veggies for a couple of bucks.

                            I know it seems like a lot of work, but it's worth it to stay relatively 'clean' in your diet. If you're in tight financial times, the last thing you need is to get sick! Grok spent a lot of time finding food for his family; even when things are tough, we still have it pretty good in comparison, right?

                            Best of luck to you; Grok On!!!


                            • #15

                              I addition to the suggestions above:

                              Eggs. Clean eggs are relatively cheap. They are easy to prepare and, hard boiled, make a great snack.

                              Organic butter is also not going to break the bank - especially if you quit the sugar water. Use it liberally.

                              +1 to Kuno - Get really aggressive in seeking out bargains in the meat department - I can get local, pastured ox tails, liver (beef and lamb), and tongue relatively cheaply here. I could get pastured kidneys too, but..well...homey don't play that. Make friends with the bargain cuts that no one else wants, and introduce some of them to your slow cooker.