I don't care what anyone here eats but I also noticed a significant taste difference in grass fed to regular. Regular meats don't taste as good to me anymore so I spend the money. At least ground beef is only nominally more expensive but the chicken (my primary source of protein) is. Whole cuts of beef also are, so I don't get them. Sometimes I'll pick up a pack of stew/stir fry beef. I miss having a large hunk of steak but I can't afford the grass fed cuts. Hopefully I'll be able to use some of my tax return for a CSA meat share. That'd be sweet.
I can't afford grass-fed meat either so I generally purchase lean meats and then supplement my diet with healthy fats such as coconut oil and real butter. Most large grocery stores will grind meat for free so look for chuck roast and the like on sale and then have them grind it for you. It's usually cheaper, and you'll also know that your ground meat is fresh and from the same animal rather than some pre-ground meat that can come from multiple sources and dubious origins. Lastly, take avail of canned salmon and tuna, all of which is wild-caught in the U.S. and can typically be purchased for less than three dollars a pound. You won't find a better buy on wild-caught fish and be sure to buy the 'traditional' kind that includes the bones and skin.
It has been posted on here few times that the best bang for your buck are: quality eggs, quality nasty-bits (tongue, liver, heart, etc), quality "regular" cuts. For example, eggs - one dozen from a farmers market type place (check craigslist too - no idea where you are but lots of times people who raise eggs aren't going to set up a stand at a market or sell to local stores) may cost 4$ a dozen. If you buy the biggest ones you can (my latest dozen from the local cooperative store were easily jumbo sized eggs), so 2 per serving is plenty. That is 6 meals of quality protein for $4. Or 4 meals, if you want three eggs. I also I will get to know the sellers at farmers markets and get discounts on the cuts most don't buy - tongue, heart. I haven't gotten the nerve to try liver yet but tongue and heart are muscle and taste pretty much just like regular meat (both cow tongue and heart and chicken hearts). Good luck and nice job doing this during college - I don't think I ever could have walked away from the beer and cookies
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