New and can use some help!!
Hi everyone, my name is Laurie, and I (as well as my family) are just getting started with primal eating. We do have some budget concerns, so I am trying to figure out the best places to "make cuts" nutritionally, and the places where we really need to go all out and do it "the right way."
To give you an idea of what we are dealing with... we are soon to be a family of 8 (our next little one should arrive in June). Thankfully our kids are still somewhat young (8 and under), so are not HUGE eaters yet... I do fear the coming teenage years though. Anyway, I "thought" we were doing a pretty good job of eating - a couple of servings of fruit for everyone each day, and a serving or two of veggies. Then of course we did lots of grains, some legumes, and just a little meat (because it was expensive). I made pretty much everything from scratch. I would buy a 25 pound bag of bread flour from Costco to make bread from. Clearly those days are over, and our budget for food will go up. The good news is that my husband did just get a fairly decent raise at work. The bad news is that we are still a family of 8, and even with that raise, he makes no where near 6 figures, so something has to give.
Okay, so I really wish it was just as simple as eating veggies, meat, eggs, and some fruit and seeds. Clearly it is NOT. So, meat, how important is grass fed? It seems to me that this is a big one! Now, there is no way we have the budget for ALL grass fed meat, but I'm thinking if it's grass fed about 1/3 of the time and lean most of the rest of the time, and an occasional rotisserie chicken from Costco the rest of the time we will be good - for the most part??? Pork - just try and get organic? What should I do there? Eggs - we did just buy some baby chicks, but they are not laying yet, and they will not keep up with our eggs needs (probably will provide for about 1/3 of our egg needs). The rest of our eggs will need to be purchased. We are in a rural area, so it's possible I may be able to find a couple of families who are getting too many eggs from their chickens and are willing to sell their eggs at a decent price. If I go to the store though, should I get the Omega 3 eggs? Are they really any better then the mass produced ones? Fruit and veggies - which are the most important to eat organic? I'm already buying organic spinach. I have special "wash" that I use for other fruits and veggies? Is that "wash" good, or should I just use water or something else. Also, how many seeds and nuts are too much? They are a cheaper source of high calorie food, so to fill us up I have been taking advantage of lots of seeds and nuts, and cooking with almond flour and coconut flour.
Anyway, all of this to say, if you really didn't have the money to go all out, what would you do? What is the best way to get the most "bang for my buck" with the food I buy?
Thanks for any and all help you can offer!!
How much starch are you okay with? Potatoes, rice, seasonal squashes, and green plantains are very budget friendly in my area. There are a million ways to prepare them so nobody gets bored. For best satiety I eat an amount roughly equal in size of the meat and never outside of meals.
For beef: grass-finishing is lovely but not as crucial as hormone/antibiotic-free. In some areas the best supplier may not be certified organic (you could google the individual brands and make a judgment call). Buy things with two uses, e.g. fatty ground beef where you save the drip and saute green cabbage later, or less popular bone-in cuts and save the bones for soup. The "complementary protein" of bone stock is no joke--it's way more filling than its calories would suggest.
Pork: I adore shoulders and rumps but quality is important so I don't buy it as often. I buy quality bacon often enough to keep some saved fat in stock.
Eggs: Pretty important IMO. The best eggs are true foraging birds (NOT vegetarian). Opinions are split on the flax meal used in o-3 eggs but I consider it a good signifier that at least it's not a useless battery egg so I dig them.
I don't buy any organic plants unless they're significantly fresher/nicer looking. I depend on a lot of conventional bananas, carrots, and onions. Rinsing leaves, stalks, and berries is probably wise.
I actually find nuts/seeds not very filling and expensive so I use them for garnish only. As a fat source I'd place them a notch below animal fat and oily fruits and would rather snack on something like raw veggies dipped in sour cream or guacamole, but if the kids love them have at it.
Welcome aboard! In a perfect world, where money was not an issue, then yes all grassfed meat, happy free range chicken eggs, organic local produce would be ideal. However, reality is-do what you can do, and don't stress out about the rest
Buy meat in bulk, like a beef share. Usually much cheaper to do it this way.
Eggs and produce-farmers markets are a great place to find these things, otherwise you can often times find resources on Craigs List.
Look into U Pick farms-many times you can pick your own strawberries, cherries, apples, peaches, blueberries etc for cheaper and many things freeze nicely (flash freezing strawberries and blueberries especially).
Road side produce stands from hobby farmers are another cheap produce outlet
Make seasonal items like jam, when produce is in season and cheap, and then freeze (jam isn't primal but my family isn't primal and my crock pot strawberry rhubarb jam is a lot better quality than Smuckers!). Crock pot applesauce is another family favorite over here that freezes well.
Greenhouses that sell flowers and such will often also carry fresh produce, that they grow on the side and sell for cheap. I get amazing prices on asparagus and rhubarb from a local green house.
For off season times, frozen veggies are better than fresh, since the fresh stuff may have to travel across the country to get to your store. Frozen produce is frozen very shortly after it's harvested, keeping more of the nutrients. Canned is a last option, due to the bpa lining in cans, as well as added salt etc.
Last edited by mom23kids; 04-30-2013 at 04:14 PM.
Don't stress to much about the whole grass fed thing, great if you can, but get the diet foundations in first, getting chickens is a great start and do a veggie plot, get the kids involved, let yourself adapt slowly as you learn more and get a better handle on your budget process, I suspect you may find you will manage quite well and still be able to afford some quality meats as nutrition improves then volumes of empty calories drop a bit.
Also look at other household expenditures, can any of these be trimmed to allow more investment in health.
Hi Laurie! Maybe I can help ease a few future fears for you. We're family of 7 and our children's ages are 16 (17 next week) 11, 5, almost 4, and 2. We started primal a year ago. Since ditching the grains, our children eat normal portions of food, and are no longer constantly hungry. The heathy fats, veggies, and fruits keep them fuller longer and therefore no more hunger 1 or 2 after eating. Groceries last longer
I agree, especially with trimming household expenditures. For example-- for our family we cut out cable a year ago. We are a large family and spend time together in and outdoors. We do subscribe to Netflix and watch what we want when we want. This is just one example of how we are able to buy quality foods and for our family it has been very rewarding. We've never been big on watching a lot of television so it works for us. We also generally make our own laundry detergent. Anyway, hope you find this helpful!
Originally Posted by Omni
It's very easy to tell the difference, and how much difference, there is between eggs. CW have light yellow yolks, pastured chickens (on healthy grasses) with a little supplement, have dark orange yolks. If you're fortunate to have enough grass for lots of chickens, maybe you could trade with other growers for meat, veggies, etc.
Stock Pot. Stories of the olden days often have a huge soup pot over the fire. This is no small thing. Any butcher will sell you bones cheaply. You especially want joint bones. Find a really big pot or cauldron (at the Good Will?), fill it with water and bones to cover the bottom and simmer 3 days. Remove the bones. What you have now is beef stock (or chicken, etc.) to which you can add almost anything. You can keep it on the simmer, or refrigerate over night. It's delicious and an incredible source of vitamins and minerals. Stocks and Soups - YouTube
Ferment everything yourself. Fermenting Sauerkraut with Daniel Vitalis, Part 1 - YouTube
If you can't ferment it, can it or freeze it in season when it's really cheap.
Cattlemen want their cow-calf operations closed before snowfall (so they can become snowbirds and visit you). Thus their last butchering product is usually much cheaper. Consider meeting a snowbird cattleman so he can bring it to you.
Good to hear that confirmation from a family situation, there is only two of us but our overall food consumption has dropped about 1/3.
Originally Posted by BrownEyedGirl74
You should consider getting potatoes delivered to your house by the pallet.
Thanks everyone! I kind of wish we were all overweight and could live off of stored body fat for awhile... unfortunately that's not the case for us. Anyway, I will definitely look into trying to let some local eggs from some small farms. As for meat, I'll try not to stress too much about it.
Thanks for the reminder about household expenditures as well. Unfortunately we have cut out things like cable years ago. We also get free internet and have free phone through the internet (due to my husband's job). We never ate out before, so there will be no savings there. Not really sure where else to cut?!