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Staying paleo on unemployment

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  • Staying paleo on unemployment

    Has anyone stayed paleo while on unemployment? I am trying to rework our budget (family of four, single income) to allow us to still eat healthy and primal, but we will be taking in about half of our usual income and are not eligible for food assistance. Any tips or tricks that anyone can share would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    Cook real food: Cheaper than prepared, packaged and fast-food. Good luck in finding your next job.
    F, 48, 5'10"
    Start Date: 25-06-12 @ 161lbs
    Goal Reached: 30-09-12 @ 143lb. Now bouncing between 145lb - 149lb. I'd like less bounce and more consistency :-)

    Started Cross Fit 20.12.12 ---- Can't wait to submit my success story on the 1st anniversary of starting primal.


    • #3
      I see that you are in the US.

      First, I recommend bone broths as a cornerstone to your diet. Bone broth every day provides a *lot* of nutrition, and can decrease your need/requirements for meat/protein (i found an article on it somewhere, but now I can't find it).

      Typically, we can get stock bones at the butcher for relatively cheap, as well as fish heads at the fish shop for very little money, and we roast our chickens and then make stock from them as well.

      Second, go for marrow -- most people don't want marrow bones in the US -- but it's very healthy and good for you. If you can get marrow into the diet in some way, you'll be doing well.

      Third, go for offal -- in the US, it is less expensive. We introduced offal into our diets by way of mincing it (butcher did it for us) and adding it to our muscle meat (usually 1/2 muscle, 1/2 offal). These seasoned meat balls helped get us comfortable witht he idea that we were eating offal, and now DS considers chicken livers 'chicken nuggets' and insists that *that's* what McD's serves in the kid menus. LOL He was sorely disappointed when our neighbor shared some "real" chicken nuggets with him. "Tasted terrible" he said. LOL

      Finally, go for seasonal produce as much as you can, and if possible, with a local or wholesale supplier. At this point, I wouldn't worry about organic, whatever, unless you can get that less expensive.

      You might ask around, too. COmmunity gardens and CSAs often have "donation" shares for people who are on tough times. You can go and plead your case, and see if you'll qualify. We even donated to the donation shares of the CSA that we went to back in the US.

      Growing what you can, learning to ferment, can, freeze and so on will also help -- at least through winters. It takes volume, but if you have a big freezer, you can do a good bit just with that. In our household, we'd need 40kgs of berries a year -- but our freezer can't hold that, so "DIY" isn't possible here like it is in the US. But, if you can get summer berries (U-pick, for example), then freeze them individually on cookie sheets in your freezer, then bag them up and put them into the deep freeze for later.

      Simple apple sauce might be a good thing to make in the fall -- to have apples in the winter. YOu can also make apple-mixtures (apple-pear, apple-berry, apple-rhubarb, etc).

      Cabbages tend to grow year round, but making sauerkraut in summer and fall is excellent. And freezing as much fresh as you can, as well as pickling in general. I love fermenting.

      I dont' have the storage to do as much as I would like, honestly. But still, I'm happy.

      Do these ideas help at all?


      • #4
        Also, don't be afraid to go for cheap and filling: onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins and squash/gourds -- things like garlic, ginger, etc. . .these tend to be inexpensive.

        You can make so many soups using these ingredients with your bone broths, a few fresh herbs (start growing your own; very cost effective -- seeds are the cheapest way to start them, too -- unless your friend has a garden and is willing to divide and help you with it), and then add to that a green on the side of some kind (or a green inside such as adding kale to the soup, cut in ribbons).

        Honestly, soup goes *such* a long way and is very filling.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Michelle1015 View Post
          Has anyone stayed paleo while on unemployment? I am trying to rework our budget (family of four, single income) to allow us to still eat healthy and primal, but we will be taking in about half of our usual income and are not eligible for food assistance. Any tips or tricks that anyone can share would be much appreciated!
          Lots of good advice so far, particularly bone broths, soups, and making friends with inexpensive vegetable matter. Cabbage, spinach, carrots, potatoes, etc.

          Even if you are ineligible for food assistance from the govt. there are still churches and other organizations that run food pantries that will let you stop in once a month. A lot of them will dump off lots of grains on you, but many, particularly this time of year, will have assorted free veggies out and much of the canned goods they give are still useable and they'll often throw in some frozen chicken or bacon or sausage.

          Some of them also have programs to buy discounted meat (about half price).

          Even Goodwill can offer food support if you have been turned down for SNAP you just have to show them your rejection (or acceptance) letter to prove you applied.

          Going to the farmer's market around noon or whenever they're wrapping up will often provide opportunities to get veggies half price so they can move them.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michelle1015 View Post
            Has anyone stayed paleo while on unemployment? I am trying to rework our budget (family of four, single income) to allow us to still eat healthy and primal, but we will be taking in about half of our usual income and are not eligible for food assistance. Any tips or tricks that anyone can share would be much appreciated!
            There many threads here about the true cost of primal eating, how to eat primal on a budget, etc., and I've shared lots of tips on how to grocery shop and cook on a budget. How much you can scale back really depends on HOW you are spending your food dollars right now.

            If you're eating alot of organic, pastured and grassfed foods now, consider *temporarily* using standard grocery store versions of the same foods.

            Shop the sales and plan your menus around cheaper, in season veggies and frozen veggies.

            Fill your freezer with clearance priced meats (if the store says 'limit 4 per customer' buy 4 because its a loss leader and you won't find it much cheaper) and plan your meals around what's in the freezer.

            If primal eating is a high priority, cut other areas of your budget first. ZERO eating out, no starbucks, movies, pedicures, booze, gym memberships, subscriptions, apps, clothing, etc. Cut your kids hair yourself or barter services. Drive less and save on fuel. Use coupons for household and personal care items. Every dollar counts!
            *My obligatory intro

            There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

            DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes


            • #7
              eggs are super cheap and versatile.

              ethnic markets often have better deals on produce than traditional grocery stores.

              but fattier cuts instead of lean. ribs or shanks, instead of loin.
              As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

              Ernest Hemingway


              • #8
                Someone mentioned going back to traditional vs organic to save money. To help decide which foods should stay organic if you possibly can, and which you can think about going back to traditional, the Environmental Working Group puts out a Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list.

                You can find them here: EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
                "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


                Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


                • #9
                  These are all great tips for everyone to follow!

                  From my experience, I would add, think of ways to simplify recipes. Saving one or two ingredients frees them up for eating another day. For example, I recently made a pot of zuppa toscana at home. It contained bacon, onions, garlic, potatoes, sausage, chicken broth, and heavy cream. The next time I made it, I left out the potatoes, bacon, and onions. It simplified into a kind of "sausage chowder" and was still very good but with fewer ingredients, thus saving money.

                  You may already do this, but when I shop for groceries I always shop according to the unit price per ounce, which is listed in tiny print on price stickers on the shelves. Generally larger packages have a lower price per ounce but not all the time, so be sure to check! While buying meat the other day I chose a large package of chicken legs that had a big sale sticker stating they were $0.86 per pound. Then I noticed that the small package of the same chicken legs was only $0.71 per pound, so I put the big one back and got a small one.

                  Good luck,
                  My Writing Blog
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                  • #10
                    Simply eating more veggies & less meat can stretch your $s a lot farther. Not for the kids, but as an adult, you could do IF, saves you a bit of money

                    As mentioned, eggs are economical little powerhouses. Ordering online & in bulk can be useful to save for cost & gas to travel to buy special items or staple items. Also, like noodoletoy mentioned, Asian, Middle Eastern & Hispanic/Caribbean grocers will have cool items their cultures consider staples for cheaper than grocery or health food stores + cool alternate veggies you can't get elsewhere. Discount veggies even fruits, just a little past their prime, can be pickled or canned or just eaten, if you act fast. I bought 3 med avos/dollar today, discounted coz they were a little on the soft side, Perfect for guac. I bought a dozen. I found discounted wild frozen pacific salmon for $8 per 2 lb package & bought 8 packages & tossed em in the freezer. When I find discounted quality foods, I pounce. Whole foods will have local grass-fed beef for $4/lb this Friday. I'll be there early....

                    Oh also, see if you have any org farms nearby or even 10-30 mls away. Call them & see of they have kids tours of the farm. Get to know these farmers, ain't nothing wrong w/ makin' friends w/ people who grow tons of food & have natural animals too. If you have a back yard & can, get some chickens(no roosters or yer neighbors will turn you in). Rabbits are quiet & they are good eating, pure protein & no fat. Kids won't want to eat their pets, so that might not be doable...

                    Get creative. It can be done, even with the kids & a singular income.
                    "Science is not belief but the will to find out." ~ Anonymous
                    "Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart." ~ Gandhi
                    "The flogging will continue until morale improves." ~ Unknown


                    • #11
                      Check out the nourishing traditions cookbook (often available at the library) and weston A price. This style of eating focuses on keeping the nutrient dense foods that are encouraged in primal eating, but adds in beans, rice, and some grains that have been soaked and prepared in a way that will greatly reduce the anti-nutrients. Dried beans with rice are quite filling and inexpensive and if made with homemade chicken stock and a good source of fat can be fine.
                      Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )



                      • #12
                        This is just like every other "paleo on a budget" thread, you just happen to be on unemployment instead of a college student or starving artist or whatever. Try the search box for dozens of similar topics in addition to the good advice already posted here!
                        carl's cave


                        • #13
                          Thanks everyone for your advice! I am currently trying to decide which bills not to pay so we can still eat anything at all (I wish I was joking), but I have compiled all the ideas I haven't yet implemented into my shopping and will give it a go!


                          • #14
                            If you want to talk budgeting/planning in PM, I'd be happy to help.

                            When DH and I were married, we started out on a $35k/annum income in a fairly high COL area (philly surrounds). Over the decade, he just about kept up with inflation, but we always lived really well -- being WAPF/Primal since about 2000 (we were married in 2002, but living together before then, obviously). My income was secondary/discretionary (paying my debts, travel, etc).

                            We are currently living on a very low income (due to our business) in a very high COL area. We still have no debt (other than my student loans, which we pay), and we still eat primal (paying over $350/wk on food, because food is expensive here).

                            So, I'd be happy to help. PM is easier.


                            • #15
                              - Sale vegetables w/ cheap meats and/or organs cooked together as soups or stews.

                              - If you must have cheap, empty starch calories, consider white rice instead of bread and pasta.

                              - No eating out

                              - Waste nothing. Get creative w/ leftovers.

                              - Consider IF

                              Best of luck on your job search!