Going Primal on a budget?
My struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has made me willing to try anything that might help. I cut gluten out of my diet recently and I have felt a slight increase in energy levels (even though I only started buying gluten-free cereal, bread, pasta and flour, so I'm still eating grains), so am curious to see how much better I can get. My only worry is how much it's going to cost. I'm a student and my partner works at a couple of pennies above minimum wage. We spend £180 per month on food and that's all we can afford with our income. I just don't see any way we can possibly buy that much meat and vegetables and eggs and things (especially if it's all to be free-range and not fed on corn) for only £180 per month for 2 people.
Can someone convince me it's possible?
Also, I'm not convinced I can give up cake. I'm known for my love of cake, to the point where I received 2 big cakes, a big tub of brownies and 12 cupcakes when I invited 7 people to my birthday party. There's also one week out of every month where it's more than your life's worth to tell me not to eat chocolate...
I would stop buying the gluten free items, and go cold turkey for NO GRAINS. Grit it out for a couple of weeks, and you may find your desire for them has vanished. That gluten-free stuff is EXPENSIVE. Also, eating all those starches, sets you up for a vicious cycle of wanting more of them.
Don't worry about grass-fed/organic until you have the basics down. Meat, eggs, vegetables, a little fruit, a little nuts, a little cheese.
You CAN give up cake. You don't need to give up chocolate.
Frozen section for organic veggies.
Canned/frozen fish, watch the additives. Big Lots and Dollar stores, Prospector Liquidation and Grocery Outlet.
Boxed coconut milk from Asian and Russian markets (aroy-d is my favorite).
Whole foods has cheap beef that's at least pasture-centered if not truly grass-fed perfectly.
Trader Joe's has free-range chicken legs for something like $3.00 a pound.
Make your own tallow. Can't beat something like 20,000 healthy calories for $5.00.
Ideas abound, people will keep chiming in for you!
It's not the desire for them I'm worried about, it's the cost of eating meat and vegetables instead of them. Gluten free stuff isn't all that expensive. Gluten free cereal is about the same price as most branded breakfast cereals, gluten free pasta only increased our monthly food spend by about £3, and I make my own gluten-free bread and the flour isn't that expensive when you buy it in bulk. However, meat, nuts and cheese all cost a fortune compared to cereal, bread and pasta. As are eggs and vegetables when bought in such quantities. I'm just not convinced we can afford it.
Originally Posted by Sabine
Our freezer is tiny, unfortunately. We can barely fit what we already have in there.
Originally Posted by Knifegill
I hate coconut milk.
There are no whole foods around here.
I don't think Trader Joe's exists in the UK.
I don't even know that tallow is.
Thanks for the ideas guys but I think food prices are just too high, that's why I shop in Lidl, only buying what I can't get in Lidl in Asda.
Tallow is like lard, You chop and simmer the hard fat from the heart and kidneys to get a sort of hard butter to cook with. Isn't Scotland teeming with animals fed properly? It should be easy to buy a cheap whole chicken and throw it in the stew pot. Liver is always affordable, and beef heart makes a fine staple meat. It's more nutritious and less expensive than other muscle meats and has coenzyme Q10, copper, zinc and more. Find a local source of beef heart. That cuts your meat costs down to about 1/4 what they were already. This is easy. You just have to be willing to make a few phone calls and find local animal food sources.
Not sure what else you've been eating, but with kids at home it seemed my grocery cart was loaded up on bars (granola, meal, fruit&grain, etc), pop, juice, gatorade, pop tarts, etc. I can by four dozen eggs for the cost of 1 case of pop. I can save $5 a week by not getting an afternoon candy bar from the machine --> that about covers my weekly baby spinach costs. A box of snack cakes and a bag cookies might total $6/week, which could get us a good amount of cheese to snack on.
I personally haven't made a transition to organic, grass-fed, free-range food. It's not that I don't see the health benefit, but I think nutrition gain in switching to real food from junk food is bigger than the gain in switching from production farmed food to more natural food. I'm sure plenty would argue with me, but as a newbie starting out I only give myself as much change as I can handle at one time.
Do you live near any farms that produce and sell grass-fed and pastured products or produce?
I called one up and offered my gardening skills in barter for meat and eggs with some produce thrown in when in available.
I now "work" on average between 3 and 5 hours a week and come home with 3 dozen eggs and about 6lbs ground beef,
sometimes a chicken and sometimes produce. I get my exercise in and as a bonus I get to spend the morning outside breathing in the clean air and have a freezer/frig stocked with good food. I consider myself very blessed and hope you may be able to work something like this out. Gardening may not be your thing but you may have another skill to offer.
I understand the CFS symptoms and wish you the best.
Well, you can try. If you are happy with your current weight, you can eat more carbs (potatoes, rice) than many of us, although it would be much better if you tried an elimination diet like Whole 30 (http://whole9life.com/2012/08/the-whole30-program/) in your first month. It would help you figure out what causes your health problems.
Originally Posted by JustSteph
Do you eat offal? It is amazingly nutritious and quite cheap in many countries. For veggies, you need to respect the season and buy what is good and cheap. These days, I eat mostly carrots, squashes and pumpkins, beets, cabbage, parsnips etc. I stopped buying tomatoes (I use canned ones if needed for a recipe) because they are getting ridiculously expensive and aren't as tasty as in August.
Get bones (quite inexpensive in most places), make bone broth and use it for thick soups (with a lot of vegetables). Make stews from vegetables and meat - the less expensive cuts are perfect for this purpose. Even tough cuts will melt in the mouth after a couple of hours in the crockpot (if you don't have one, I wholeheartedly recommend getting it). If you cannot afford a lot of meat, eat eggs for protein. What really keeps you satiated on this diet is fat, which is another inexpensive item.
To put it short, I am sure you will manage if you really want to. Quit buying grains and any processed food. Start cooking from scratch. Search the forum for advice - people often ask about how to do this on a tight budget. http://onepoundmeals.blog.com/ - this guy even posts his recipes of cheap meals.
I will keep my fingers crossed you. If you succeed, it will probably be a life-changing experience, like for many people here.
Boxed cereal is pretty expensive if you compare it oz for oz to some cuts of meat. If you then compare nutritive value, you'll find that cereal is very expensive.
If you approach Primal from a mindset of making small changes over time, you'll do it. If you approach it from, "no way, too expensive, too different, I want my cake," you might not.