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The high cost of being Primal

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  • The high cost of being Primal

    I was wondering if anyone has a good sense of how much per day they spend on food.

    Please note if you eat all organic or not and roughly how many calories per day you consume.

    Also note if you have any free or unusually cheap sources of food (garden, friends with chickens, etc).

    Since I eat a finite variety of foods now, I have made a database listing how much each type of food costs compared with the calories and nutrients it provides. Doing this exercise has got me curious about strategies for making PB eating cheaper.

  • #2
    I spend about $1000 a year on grass fed beef and wild boar. That's about $20 a week. I also allow myself an additional $20 per week for veggies and other food stuff. So on average my food bill is $160 per month.

    Most of my food is organic. This summer I'll be gardening which will save me a bunch. I also hunt and occasionally get wild food from my family. Soon I should have a source for free-range chickens also. I buy pastured eggs from the Amish, and maybe some occasional goat milk to make fresh cheese. The majority of my diet is eggs and meat.

    A Primal lifestyle on a small (if not tiny) budget is completely do-able. I think I'm pretty much the model of this, with a bring-home pay of about $1200 a month. A big part of making it possible is finding local food sources outside of your regular grocery store. Getting to know your local butchers is a huge money saver.


    • #3
      Do you know roughly how many calories you consume a day?

      How many ounces/pounds of meat are you eating per week for $20?


      • #4
        Diana, how did you source wild boar?
        I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.


        • #5
          Hmm... well today was about 1700 calories. I range between 1200-1800 usually. On average 4-6 eggs. Meat varies, averaging half a pound I would guess. Sometimes much more. (2 lbs of ribs for lunch one day.) Today I ate closer to a pound.

          I can usually get my boar & beef at about 2.50/lb or less. Extra cuts (tongues, hearts, livers, kidneys) are closer to $1 thanks to a fantastic butcher. He saves them from other customers who don't want them. He also saved a huge box of pork fat and a good 30 lbs of beef fat for rendering. I'm saving now to purchase a quarter buffalo at $2.50/lb. That should run about 275 lbs of meat, plus the cost of processing, about $800.

          The boar was one of those cases of "a friend of a friend." My dad works with a guy (Blaine) who is setting up a farm for when he retires from the factory. Blaine knows a commercial boar breeder who only sells to farmers. So we made a connection through Blaine. Finding connections is BIG savings. You just have to keep your ears open for opportunities, and talk to people. You never know where you'll find a connection.


          • #6
            We typically go to the Farmer's market every 2 weeks so our bill is aorund $220 per month. We are looking into a variety of other resources to help cut down on costs like cowpooling and I am putting the finishing touches on our garden which will cut down some of our costs as well. The meat is what is expensive so it may require a little more creativity to find more affordable sources.

            I average between 1400-1700 calroies. Like Diana said you can do so on a budget but you must get creativity and make good connections. I am the only one working currently and we have a 6 month old so saving money is paramount.
            Today is a new day. You will get out of it just what you put into it. If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. And supposing you have tried and failed again and again, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'Failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.

            Mary Pickford


            • #7
              I just bought 50 lbs of grass fed beef for $300 (with shipping) from a ranch in Texas (I'm in Massachusetts). My servings are typically 4 oz so that should last... a long time! I have friends who know the ranchers, so I know the place is legit and good quality. I also spent $625 for a full share of the organic veggie CSA from our local farm. Nice folks, and this should supply our family with most of our veggies for 3/4 of the year. Besides that, there is the organic ground turkey and organic whole chicken (from the supermarket, together $12 a week), then fruit (probably $10-20 a week, including fresh and frozen). I don't eat dairy, but the kids have organic whole milk with DHA (algae source) at about $8 a week. Also my every two week trip to whole foods for wild salmon, mahi mahi, and all my nuts and seeds and oils. That's the most expensive trip - usually around $60. Oh, $3 a week for organic 85% cacao dark chocolate bars! This pretty much feeds the whole family (two adults and two toddlers), excepting when my husband works (he eats at his hospital's cafeteria). I make all my lunches from the above. The CSA and the bulk beef is a savior.


              • #8
                I don't have an exact number but I think we were up to about $1100/mth for two people and a toddler. That'll drop significantly soon since we just ordered 1/4 cow that'll be delivered in 2 weeks, my egg farmer is raising 4 chickens for me that will be ready in 2 weeks and I've finally started planning ahead enough to thaw out some of the 1/3 of a pig we have in the freezer instead of just stopping a whole foods every night. My free range eggs are $3/dz from a local farmer. I also put in two raised beds and am starting to get some chard, spinach and lettuce out of them. I've got tomatoes in along with a ton of herbs and this weekend I'll plan the rest of the warm weather crops. Oh...and our bill dropped slightly when we signed up for an organic produce delivery service last month. I spend $40/week on a box of organic (mostly local) produce that's delivered.

                ETA: That number also includes things like toilet paper and laundry detergent since I usually get those at the grocery store too. Whole Foods really is Whole Paycheck for us


                • #9
                  I'm lower middle class with a below-median income (nationally) living in an extremely affluent area, so buying food is difficult. There is a preponderance of butchers sourcing local, grassfed meat, but apart from the organs none of it is affordable. I used to buy at Whole Paycheck, but I'm mainly spending my food budget at Safeway and Trader Joe's now.

                  The key to inexpensive, quality primal living is checking the labels and finding the sources of meat. When I shopped at Whole Paycheck I couldn't get below ~$8 for meat, now I buy grassfed Australian lamb for $3-5 per pound at Safeway, and supplement it with some $6 per pound wild salmon from Trader's. Veggies I get from the farmers market, as even conventional there is far higher quality for less than or comparable prices to Traders and Safeway (excluding greens such as spinach, which are extremely cheap at Traders). Store brands versus name brands are good as well.

                  I eat a huge amount of food, mainly meat, which is difficult to do affordably. I either eat the lamb or conventional beef, and supplement with some fish oil. Much cheaper than organic grass-fed wonder food.


                  • #10
                    I can't give you an exact number on how many calories I consume but for my family of 3 we spend between $50 and $70 a week for food. We were eating all grass fed local meat until our house decided to start falling apart a few weeks ago so now we just eat regular meat from the grocery store, and I am learning to shop the sales and freeze the extra like today I got 10 huge porkchops for $10. I get 2-3 dozen free range eggs from my mom a week for free because she has chickens but only eats a dozen eggs every month so that helps a lot. But for a typical day this is what we eat: breakfast 1 pound meat with 1 pound bag of frozen veggies cooked in butter or coconut oil split between 2 adults and a toddler, and my husband and I eat 2 eggs each with that, my son eats fruit and cheese or veggies for a snack and some combo of leftover meats and veggies for lunch, if my husband or I is hungry for lunch we take a few slices of lunchmeat and roll it up with a slice of cheese and eat it but most the time we are still full from breakfast. Thyen my son eats another snack of either leftovers or a small amount of fruit. Dinner is either a salad with whatever we can find to put in it or a bag of frozen veggies and a hamburger patty/porkchop/steak or chicken thigh and drumstick, veggies always cooked in butter or coconut oil. If my husband or I feels like a snack he goes for a spoon of almond butter, I go for a avocado. Once or twice a week we have a can of coconut milk made into a smoothie with frozen fruit as a treat. We eat a lot of frozen veggies but this summer I will have a garden so that we can eat a lot of fresh veggies and I can dry, freeze or can what we don't eat so I will have extra for the winter.
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                    • #11
                      Hmmm. For me alone (when hubby was gone on deployment) and having kids every couple of weeks, i think i was averaging about $250 a month? I don't do grass fed always, though, but often. And the kids were two weekends a month, plus some other times depending on the month. I make things last a loooooooooong time. My "typical" eats include mixed sauteed/steamed veggies (usually adds up to $10-$12 a week), eggs, bacon, chicken, ground beef, occasional roasts and cream for coffee. Treats are yogurt, cheese, etc, but I can do without those and eat well and not be hungry. I usually eat between 1400-1600 calories a day (averaged).

                      I take fish oil to help with the Omega 3s, although some meat is grass fed only. I vary it depending on the budget for the week!
                      sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


                      • #12
                        I don't go to any lengths to buy organic, grass-fed, or anything else. I live on about 12 lb of beef a week, plus eggs, butter, and some veggies. Costs me $160 a month or so, and I probably average about 2000 calories a day.

                        I don't get why people talk about paleo being expensive...I spend a lot less than I did when I ate packaged/processed food.


                        • #13
                          I too think eating primal cost less. No packaged/processed or fast food. To me that means I'm saving.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mstrudle View Post
                            now I buy grassfed Australian lamb for $3-5 per pound at Safeway, .
                            holy cow, that's about $8 to 15 per kilo... we pay twice that here, and it doesn't have to fly overseas!


                            • #15
                              I've been buying my meat once a week (4lbs of boston burger, 4-8lbs of chicken on the bone, and usually another type of meat like pork chops or tri-tip) and it's around $20-$35 for that amount of meat, which will keep my, my wife, and three kids fed for the next week (we also do meals of eggs which are $1 a dozen that are farm-raised and of course the veggies/fruits, along with more "normal" staples of cereal and bread for the kids).
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