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The Cost of Protein

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  • #16
    Chicken livers here are less than $5 per kilo

    Is $200/mth a reasonable target? AFAIK, USA citizens spend the lowest percentage globally of their income on food. In part, that is due to subsidies on the major ingredients of processed foods and of the feed of factory farmed produce. To give up these products means giving up the benefits of the subsidies and accepting that you will spend more on food

    Not disparaging anyone here. We also have to recognise that the great economic superpower also has a high proportion of low income citizens compared to other first world countries
    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

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    • #17
      Good project Joanie. Good luck with it. I've been eating primal for 7-8 months and still haven't figured out the economics of it.

      I suspect it's actually cheaper, as I am managing to shop for four now, when I was shopping for three before (on the same budgt of $NZ200 pw). I'm not sure how this can be but I think it's due to cooking from scratch.

      But it's more work, for the last two months I feel like I've done nothing but shop and cook for everyone.
      Annie Ups the Ante
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread117711.html

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      • #18
        I can get a rather large pack of them here for 2.5
        Chicken livers here are less than $5 per kilo
        Organic chicken livers where I live are $5/lb (2.2 lbs = 1 kilo). CAFO chicken livers are around $2/lb.

        Free range/pastured eggs are $5/doz, cage free (an almost useless term which only means access to outdoors) organic are $3/doz, and CAFO eggs are about $1.75/doz.

        Walmart CAFO ground beef 94/6 (complete with pink slime) is just under $4/lb; grass fed 95/5 ground beef is $8/lb.

        I'm only posting that to show the disparity in what I once considered my go-to cheap proteins.

        And an example of produce (only where I live and the country is very large and food prices vary quite a bit): conventionally grown russet potatoes are about 40cents/lb while organic russets sell for about $1.20/lb.

        The dairy hit: non-dairy coffee creamer/quart is ~$2.19, CAFO half and half $2.99, and pastured half and half is $3.99.

        Is $200/mth a reasonable target?
        I arbitrarily chose that number because it is the amount that the Fed'l Govt gives a single person household that qualifies for the food stamp program. Approximately 15% (a record high here) of our citizens participate in this program. As a note, the average benefit is $133 rather than the full $200 because it's a sliding scale based on income.

        Annieh, I agree that if a household were eating mostly prepared or semi-prepared foods, that might offset the cost of going from CAFO to organic/ranged/wild. And I've read here on the forum that people from other countries are a sometimes bit appalled that we have to actually look for grass fed/pastured animal products here in the states. But for someone like me who probably was already cooking in nine days out of 10, the switch from CAFO to better quality has certainly made a hit on the old food budget.

        From what I've worked out so far, if a person wanted to be 100% Primal (i.e., no CAFO products at all) on $200/month, they would be able to do so, but their variety would be limited, and they'd almost have to supplement with protein powder if they wanted more than one meal a day, a variety of vegetables, the occasional cup of coffee with butter or other dairy in it, etc. It would be austere, but I think it could be done.

        Also, while my reference point might be a bit higher than national average on prices because I'm an urban dweller, there are certainly areas where food is higher: NYC's five boroughs, Boston, Chicago, a lot of Hawaii and Alaska, San Francisco, are just off the top of my head - there are many more, I'm sure.
        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

        B*tch-lite

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

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        • #19
          I notice your comment about not wanting to drive 50 miles to get pastured meat. While I totally agree that driving across town to save $2 is a waste, the travel can also be factored into the budget. Either this could become a family outing with a picnic along the way or you make a deal with yourself to save those miles some other way the rest of the month (carpooling, walking, taking the bus or skipping the outing that is farther away). When I buy in bulk, I get my pastured/ grass fed beef, bison, or yak meat for $6/lb. Considering the cost of many of the higher end cuts, I save big time. Plus happy food tastes better

          I love this project though as many people use cost as an excuse not to eat better. I could see this even becoming an e- book or something "The Primal Budget" with the "how to figure out the cost of your food" so that people can make better choices when money is tight. Those of us who do understand math/ money often forget that many people who are low income do not know how to figure this stuff out.

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          • #20
            Wow, america is really cheap. I also eat on a budget and the only things I eat are eggs, ground beef, left over crumbled "crap" from the butcher, non-organic bananas and raw butter (super cheap compared to the calories you get from it!) And when I have the time I can cycle 1,5 hr to a farm to get raw milk at €0,50 per liter.
            I don't eat veggies, i get all my micronitrients from the left over crap (which is pretty much all organ), eggs and dairy
            well then

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            • #21
              Mudflinger, you make very good points about the driving. I could get over my commitment issues, buy a big freezer, and stock up every three or four months. That would make a very small impact on the cost of the whole thing. And I'd be supporting smaller farmers which is dear to my heart.

              For low income I look at it in two ways. Temporarily low income (for eg., a student), and chronically low income (for eg. someone permanently disabled). What these two groups have in common is that they're kind of stuck. The expenditure for a large freezer (though you can sometimes find one on the cheap on craigslist) is one that may be tough either financially, or because you can't fit it in a dorm room/very small apt. Like the old song about "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer." IOW, if one has the wherewithal, one can save by buying bulk. But if one is stuck, s/he can only buy what fits in the freezer of a probably contractor grade refrigerator. And if that person doesn't have a car, then that person is further limited by what s/he can fit into one of those little collapsible four wheel carts that can be dragged onto a bus.

              So, this is kind of evolving for me also. While at first it was just dollars, it's now beginning to encompass circumstance. (Hey, maybe I'll take advantage of free tuition over 55 and go get an MSW).
              "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

              B*tch-lite

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

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
                Mudflinger, you make very good points about the driving. I could get over my commitment issues, buy a big freezer, and stock up every three or four months. That would make a very small impact on the cost of the whole thing. And I'd be supporting smaller farmers which is dear to my heart.

                For low income I look at it in two ways. Temporarily low income (for eg., a student), and chronically low income (for eg. someone permanently disabled). What these two groups have in common is that they're kind of stuck. The expenditure for a large freezer (though you can sometimes find one on the cheap on craigslist) is one that may be tough either financially, or because you can't fit it in a dorm room/very small apt. Like the old song about "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer." IOW, if one has the wherewithal, one can save by buying bulk. But if one is stuck, s/he can only buy what fits in the freezer of a probably contractor grade refrigerator. And if that person doesn't have a car, then that person is further limited by what s/he can fit into one of those little collapsible four wheel carts that can be dragged onto a bus.

                So, this is kind of evolving for me also. While at first it was just dollars, it's now beginning to encompass circumstance. (Hey, maybe I'll take advantage of free tuition over 55 and go get an MSW).
                Really good points here. I kinda forgot the college days when I was so poor I lived on pop corn for 3 days that I got in my Christmas stocking until I went to work (fast food) and could eat again. Something to consider though is that many low income people figure out ways to afford big TVs and even cable, and many do have cars also. The smaller chest freezers are like the size of a smallish dresser and can be found for like $50 used on CL (I just bought a new one for <$200 from Sam's club). I think the bigger problem is saving up the $ for a bulk buy and I doubt many farms are set up to take food stamps. What I have found quite often is that many people have the mentality of trading the steak dinner tomorrow for the cookie today. Sacrifice and patience are becoming a rare thing in our society.

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                • #23
                  We are eagerly awaiting getting a chest freezer... I can get local, grass-fed, humanely raised and no-stress killed beef (I know the farmer/rancher, and he really does raise his beef nicely) for probably a third less than what I've been paying for it in smaller packages, and have a whole bunch of "other" stuff that I want: bones, organs, tallow.

                  We seem to have reached the point now where we are truly buying and eating less. It's taken awhile, and some adjustments. Adding some saturated fat to a meal seems to be a less costly/highly nutritious way to extend the main dish... might be the genesis of things like rich gravies, cream sauces, and buttered veggies.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Mud Flinger View Post
                    I notice your comment about not wanting to drive 50 miles to get pastured meat. While I totally agree that driving across town to save $2 is a waste, the travel can also be factored into the budget. Either this could become a family outing with a picnic along the way or you make a deal with yourself to save those miles some other way the rest of the month (carpooling, walking, taking the bus or skipping the outing that is farther away). When I buy in bulk, I get my pastured/ grass fed beef, bison, or yak meat for $6/lb. Considering the cost of many of the higher end cuts, I save big time. Plus happy food tastes better

                    I love this project though as many people use cost as an excuse not to eat better. I could see this even becoming an e- book or something "The Primal Budget" with the "how to figure out the cost of your food" so that people can make better choices when money is tight. Those of us who do understand math/ money often forget that many people who are low income do not know how to figure this stuff out.
                    Very good point. If you can get half a cow or pig at a fraction of the price of retail cuts, its worth the drive. Hubby drives 10 hours to hunt once a year. And even factoring in the cost of fuel, food, ammo, licenses, etc., the game that comes home cut, wrapped and flash frozen is still cheaper and healthier than the beef equivalent.

                    More factors in to the cost of food than just the list or sale price. Smart shopping, planning, less waste, cutting costs in other areas, regiona pricing, timing the sales, buying in season and stockpiling the deals...all will impact what you pay for food.

                    And its not just low income people who don't know how to figure this out. People with money can be just as ignorant. I've done everything from keeping a price book to living on a cash budget to 'extreme couponing' and I could tell you precisely how much I spent on food in a month, including the money put away each month to pay for that hunting trip and game meat. I've asked others in my income bracket with same sized families what they spend on groceries in a month and some have no idea, or spend 2x or 3x what I spend and never have anything to eat in the house.
                    Sandra
                    *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

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Ayla2010 View Post
                      Wow good luck with it. I can see it can be done.
                      I would like to spend less on food ourselves, but I can't see where I can.
                      I have found the easiest way to save money on anything is to start right where you are. You say, I eat x,y,z how can I find cheaper x,y,z? Then you are eating the cheaper x,y,z for a while and you see if you can find it even cheaper. I usually get stuck trying to improve (in any area of my life) with looking at way too many options and rejecting too many because they're not "the best". It works better to just look for anything that is simply "better".

                      Another way to reduce costs is to reduce waste. Certain cuts of meat can produce better leftovers. Some days I'm just not quite so hungry so that's the day I'll choose to cook a whole chicken. I'll just eat the wings and save the legs/thighs for another meal and the breasts for when we make tacos. And then there are the bones for soup. I've been known to save all the meat from the odd bits I buy to make broth (pig tails, beef joints) and have that meat for a meal.
                      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                      • #26
                        We don't have much waste now.
                        We don't have to spend less on food, id just like to, without compromising on the quality we buy. I guess I just need to be concious of what I am buying each shopping trip. Occasionally ill buy something between shopping days, as we have run out of apples say, but there is other fruits, so I don't need to do that.

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                        • #27
                          JoanieL, thanks for doing this. Now that my family eats out much less and has given up pre-prepared meals, our cash flow permits us to buy what we like. But I often think about families who might like to eat better and can't figure out how. Or even if a primal diet is sustainable in the 1st world.
                          50yo, 5'3"
                          SW-195
                          CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
                          GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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