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Poor city boy's Paleo...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Okay so I'm not exactly poor, and you might say I'm a "man" not a boy (28).

I do live in south OC (it's near LA county for those unfamiliar) and I'm not wealthy. It's been tough trying to find any meats and fish that I can trace to their origins. I find "grass fed beef" and "free range eggs" and stuff at places like Costco and Sprouts (won't set a foot in Whole Foods because it's prohibitively expensive and doesn't seem all that good anyway).

I want to buy a whole, free range chicken and experience the difference. I want to find a wide range of beef and lamb cuts that weren't taken from a bloated, sickly animal in a dirty slaughterhouse. Am I dreaming? Can this really be sourced at a reasonable price without driving 100 miles and buying half a F-ing cow? I can not fit half a cow in my apartment.

Am I imagining the benefits? Maybe the "grass fed" beef, "wild caught" salmon, and "free range" eggs from costco are just fine. Maybe even the standard products I still default to when I'm short on cash or in a hurry are okay?

Insights please, PlaeoHackers.

And, hey, if you live in the South OC and want to split half a cow and let me borrow your freezer, lets get in touch.

A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on August 28, 2013
at 03:34 AM

Something else you might want to consider is looking in the clearance section at Vons. You can sometimes find 100 percent organic grass fed beef or lamb or wild sustainable fish at fifty percent off

50ef4a664144b97faa37430916739309

on August 27, 2013
at 09:26 PM

Generally any meat or dish which would have cooked fat or runoff (chops, sausages, mince, some steaks) can have an additional slice of lard (or butter for more expensive option) added to the cooking process or fried and poured over the dish later. The flavours will usually match perfectly. It is the equivalent of Grok hunting and killing an extra-fat deer or mammoth :-) I find it works well with 36h+ IF (ADF) to get a really good feed before each fast.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 27, 2013
at 06:35 PM

(cont.) The canned fish idea is one I've already run with. I'll see if there's a 'real' butcher near by. One question: What do you do with lard or drippings? I've been downing cheap coconut cream as a supplementary, fairly healthy fat source but trying to reduce that, too.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 27, 2013
at 06:34 PM

Even though I'm not pursuing particularly low-carb version of Paleo (more in line with the Perfect Health Diet) and I'm not an exercise fiend, I can take some of your suggestion home. Thanks! I basically don't buy any sort of carb-laden meat product. I rarely buy any meat that isn't cut right off the animal and displayed in the counter. Though I've been eyeing Stater Bros' ground beef lately. We buy loads of cheap chicken thighs from Costco and freeze them individually or in twos, but I'm trying to get away from excessive chicken and back to grazing animals.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 27, 2013
at 06:25 PM

Finding them is only half the problem. I know it's out there. The other issue is that I can't afford the best quality meat/fish/eggs I can find...

0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 27, 2013
at 09:51 AM

Well, paleo really isn't one diet, it's more a range of diets. It could me anything from only meat+fat to almost no meat and mostly vegetables. The diets of ancient tribes were extremely different and maybe some people do better with one paleo diet than with a different one. But it's true that most paleo folks didn't eat a lot of meat, because you have to catch it first and that is not so easy. Even the Inuit didn't eat only meat. There animals were very high in fat, so it's not really a high-meat diet. And I do think high-meat isn't a good idea. Who doesn't want to eat veggies with butter?

52ad7ee5eef0d7339d0977bd7a2ceb8a

(416)

on August 26, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I thought paleo was a vegetable based diet anyway. :]

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4 Answers

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6
0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 26, 2013
at 04:52 PM

One easy solution, which is not that obvious to many people is: Eat less meat.

It's true that good quality meat is more expensive, but a paleo diet does not need to be a meat-based diet. It's important to include meat and/or fish, but you actually don't need to eat a lot of them.

Here is a list of options:

  • eat less meat (I already talked about that)
  • eat more organ meats (organs are less expensive than meats, but more nutritious. Liver is a prime example and one of the best things you can eat, although not everyone likes the flavor. Heart is actually pretty close to meat, next I'd say is tongue.). Find some recipes and try them. You might be surprised.
  • calculate the costs of your meals and see how much you need to be satiated until it's time for the next meal. There can be a huge difference in expenses between different meals, even though they offer you similar states of satiety. And also calculate how much every ingredient costs. This is the base for the next two ideas
  • Modify your meals. You can modify your meals, so they contain more of the cheaper ingredients and less of the more expensive ones. A lot of meals can be made substantially cheaper without making them less healthy or less satiating.
  • Substitute/Leave out expensive ingredients. Sometimes expensive ingredients in meals can be substituted or left out completely. It's important to calculate the cost of each ingredient as a base for you decisions. You might find that certain ingredients don't add much to the meal, but they do cost a bit.
  • Use everything. Use everything you buy. If you buy a chicken, not only do you have chicken, you also have bones to make broth
  • Plan your meals. Planning your meals can reduce the amount of food you throw out.
  • Buy in bulk, cook more food at once and then freeze it. This can reduce costs per meal and time per meal.
  • Make sure your diet does not raise your appetite. You might find that certain foods make you eat more over the course of the day. I am currently on a ketogenic diet and that reduced my hunger. Before, I could eat way more food, without being more satiated. This meant more calories and more money, without any real benefit.

I hope you can use some of those ideas.

0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 27, 2013
at 09:51 AM

Well, paleo really isn't one diet, it's more a range of diets. It could me anything from only meat+fat to almost no meat and mostly vegetables. The diets of ancient tribes were extremely different and maybe some people do better with one paleo diet than with a different one. But it's true that most paleo folks didn't eat a lot of meat, because you have to catch it first and that is not so easy. Even the Inuit didn't eat only meat. There animals were very high in fat, so it's not really a high-meat diet. And I do think high-meat isn't a good idea. Who doesn't want to eat veggies with butter?

52ad7ee5eef0d7339d0977bd7a2ceb8a

(416)

on August 26, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I thought paleo was a vegetable based diet anyway. :]

1
50ef4a664144b97faa37430916739309

on August 27, 2013
at 06:28 AM

You needn't feel that you "aren't Paleo" if your circumstances limit how much popular Paleo ideas you can reasonably pursue. A pragmatic approach might be to focus on the low hanging fruit first; such as low carb foods, short-interval exercise and plenty of quality sleep.

If supermarket meat and dairy are the best pragmatic option, you will still gain most of the health Paleo/Primal benefits relative to a standard Western diet. A few rules of thumb can allow you to avoid the higher carb/higher antibiotic meat and dairy; even given the pathetic state of current food labelling laws. Some I can think of offhand:

  • The more carbs in the meat product (flour, sugar, inedible cellulose, etc) the cheaper it will be by weight. So decide on your daily carb-ceiling and find out how much carbs you are willing to pay to avoid.
  • Unminced products are harder to adulterate and thanks to fat fearing customers, non-lean cuts of meat are often a good deal cheaper to buy anyway.
  • Invest tupperware or freezerbags. When you do buy in bulk (up to the volume limit of your freezer) you want to be able to remove and defrost suitable portions - instead of a giant clump of frozen chops.
  • If the meat doesn't have enough fat for your exercise needs, a very cheap low-carb energy source is lard or animal drippings. Obviously you would add this to the cooking process instead of directly to the tongue.
  • Likewise, to be less hungry, avoid either grills that siphon off all the energy-providing fat or re-add the drippings before eating.
  • If modern requirements are met; cage, barn and free range eggs all provide competing approaches to bird welfare instead of a strict good/bad value judgement. So I've found certified barn-laid eggs to be cheaper than free range whilst having probably best overall balance of priorities.
  • Canned fish can be cheap depending on your locale; they typically have to test for heavy metals so there isn't much risk.

If you do get half a cow and a freezer to put it in; best to get it through a butcher so they can cut it up into reasonable bits before you put it in the freezer. You can also save on energy costs by replacing frozen meat with half filled bottles of water as you eat up the meat supply.

If you live very close to a supermarket or butcher, you can simply buy your meat on ad-hoc basis. Let them worry about stocking and refrigerating meat while you buy, cook and eat without worrying about freezer volume or defrosting or meal planning.

I've heard of some people having organic meat delivered to them through the post (vacuum packed I assume).

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 27, 2013
at 06:35 PM

(cont.) The canned fish idea is one I've already run with. I'll see if there's a 'real' butcher near by. One question: What do you do with lard or drippings? I've been downing cheap coconut cream as a supplementary, fairly healthy fat source but trying to reduce that, too.

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 27, 2013
at 06:34 PM

Even though I'm not pursuing particularly low-carb version of Paleo (more in line with the Perfect Health Diet) and I'm not an exercise fiend, I can take some of your suggestion home. Thanks! I basically don't buy any sort of carb-laden meat product. I rarely buy any meat that isn't cut right off the animal and displayed in the counter. Though I've been eyeing Stater Bros' ground beef lately. We buy loads of cheap chicken thighs from Costco and freeze them individually or in twos, but I'm trying to get away from excessive chicken and back to grazing animals.

50ef4a664144b97faa37430916739309

on August 27, 2013
at 09:26 PM

Generally any meat or dish which would have cooked fat or runoff (chops, sausages, mince, some steaks) can have an additional slice of lard (or butter for more expensive option) added to the cooking process or fried and poured over the dish later. The flavours will usually match perfectly. It is the equivalent of Grok hunting and killing an extra-fat deer or mammoth :-) I find it works well with 36h+ IF (ADF) to get a really good feed before each fast.

1
1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

on August 26, 2013
at 04:28 PM

If you have approximately 1 cubic foot of freezer space, you can store approximately 27 lbs of meat (and if more, ~27 per cubic foot). If you can find or organize a local meatshare, perhaps on something like http://www.meetup.com, that may be the cheapest option.

Farm-fresh, properly raised meats do seem to make a large difference (as compared to supermarkets' meats), as do freshly caught wild fish.

Best of luck!

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on August 27, 2013
at 05:04 AM

I think the best thing you can do is go with the best quality meat/fish/eggs you can find. Or you could try intermittent fasting, if that's your thing...

Medium avatar

(624)

on August 27, 2013
at 06:25 PM

Finding them is only half the problem. I know it's out there. The other issue is that I can't afford the best quality meat/fish/eggs I can find...

A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on August 28, 2013
at 03:34 AM

Something else you might want to consider is looking in the clearance section at Vons. You can sometimes find 100 percent organic grass fed beef or lamb or wild sustainable fish at fifty percent off

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