The articles on 'Paleo on a budget' doesn't seem to hold good in my case for two reasons
I don't know how it is outside India but getting grain free and using meat instead makes a major imbalance in my budget. We don't have the concept of 'buy in bulk and pay less', not atleast in my place. Grassfed ones are almost double the grain-fed/caged ones. Not trying to be perfectionist, but my budget allows me to have them occasionally only...
Ghee and coconut oil are my options for cooking fat and their price is much more than regular vegetable oil used at home for cooking.
Would appreciate advice, especially from a fellow Indian Paleo mama/papa....
I'm already on a traditional 'healthy' Indian diet, so I have no room to cut down on junk food to save money. I have no job, stay with my family who wouldn't go Paleo...
asked bySwati (150)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on February 21, 2013
at 02:38 AM
Healthy fats like ghee and coconut oil are VERY expensive here, too, as are grass fed and pastured meat, eggs, and dairy. We pay 2 to 3 times the price of the conventional products.
It's a big stretch for our budget as well. My husband and I forgo other things in order to put a healthier grade of food on the table. We save some by NOT buying a lot of the junk food we used to buy and by making whatever we can from scratch since ingredients are almost always cheaper than products (e.g. I buy butter and make my own ghee).
I have no knowledge of India--please forgive my ignorance, but I would think the following would be affordable:
- Eggs. If it's not possible to get pastured eggs, that's OK. If you live in the countryside, are raising your own chickens an option?
- Vegetables should be available in abundance. If you can't get organic, then conventionally grown is OK.
- Is fish affordable?
- Paleo permits rice. White rice is best.
- Some paleo approaches permit dairy. Especially in the absence of other meats, dairy may be a good source of fat and of protein. If you can't get pastured, conventional is OK.
Do they really feed your cattle and other meat sources a lot of corn and soy as they do in the US? Seems like the feed would have to be imported there and it would be much cheaper to pasture. Our animals are fed corn and soy because the cost of growing them is subsidized by the government, making it very cheap to feed them a lot of grain to fatten them up quickly for market.
on February 20, 2013
at 09:32 AM
You don't have to buy grassfed meat if you can't afford it. Also, you don't have to cut down rice completely if you can tolerate it (just don't make it a staple food). Instead, go for any good-looking red meat once a week, white meat once or twice a week, wild fish/shellfish 3-4 times a week. Top that with veggies, fruits, and rice twice a week. For oils though, do go for ghee, coconut oil and olive oil. If you really can't afford these at all, try butter, lard, tallow etc. Vegetable oils/margarine are really bad.
on February 23, 2013
at 02:49 PM
I had an idea that Paleo needs me to have meat/fish/egg in all 3 meals. I went through other questions here in PH and also asked one myself. Looks like I had a misconception in that area.
If I need not have animal non-veg protein in each meal, my budget will not be as crunched as I originally thought it would
on February 20, 2013
at 12:06 PM
By 'white meat' she just means turkey, chicken, pork. Eat all the thighs & drumsticks you want. Much cheaper than breast meat. Get it with skin & bones still in. You can use your leftover animal fats (rendered skins) to fry up your veggies. That'll help with fat cost. Save your bones and make an occasional mineral broth, too. Basically free nutrition.
There are definitely degrees of Paleo. Do your best.
on February 21, 2013
at 04:16 PM
One other inexpensive meat to consider is canned fish. Naipaul's "A House for Mr. Biswas", about the great Indian diaspora in Trinidad, mentions this. It's part of Biswas' revolt against the traditional mediocre starch/vegetable oil vegetarian diet he was raised on.
on November 13, 2013
at 05:14 AM
Dear Swati, How r u doing now ?? R u still on paleo diet?
on February 28, 2013
at 03:33 PM
If you have the space, raising some of your own food will certainly help. Chickens don't take up much space and they are dual purpose - meat and eggs. (triple when considering all the tasty broth)
Vegetables can be raised in very small areas - even city balconies and roofs can support a lot of intensively grown greens etc. If like here greens are very expensive, this can improve your nutrient/budget situation a lot.
If you have absolutely no space at home - see if there is any garden/allotment space somewhere nearby. Borrow some yard space from friends/family. Once you have some home raised food, you can usually find someone to barter with for what they raise.
If the choice is between eating lentils/beans/rice or regular old caged chicken eggs, go for the eggs every time. Don't sweat the grass fed/pastured bit (if that is even an issue in India?) In the US, corn/soy fed meat is standard, but in most of the world it hasn't caught on yet. Our emphasis on it may not apply to you. If the standard is free roaming, producers probably don't bother mentioning it.
Dairy may not be "paleo" (it's considered primal), but IMO so long as you don't have health issues with it, it's worlds better than grains and beans.
If you still need to use some grains/legumes to make the budget work - white basmati rice is much better than any other grain. Hull free lentils like masoor or toor dal are much much better than hull on large beans. Fermentation as mentioned above helps with the anti-nutrient problem.
Consider using tubers like sweet potatoes or potatoes rather than grains/legumes. If you are lean, higher starches is not a big deal. Those of us who are overweight/diabetic etc have to emphasize the high animal food issue more than the healthy lean. In the case of overweight/diabetic etc, eating the higher expense animal foods often gets balanced out by lower costs for health care and medication.
on February 28, 2013
at 02:31 PM
Hi Swati, hope you are doing well with Paleo in India. I think you can get fresh water/ocean fish in Orissa but am not sure, you can find desi chickens or mutton if possible. If you find yourself struck with food choices you can always add some fermented or sprouted grains in your diet. If you like you can prepare fermented batter dosaa - soak 2 cups rice, 1 cup urad daal (husk removed white color lentils) and 1 tsp fenugreek seeds for 24 hours, then grind them mix well, add 1 tbsp salt and leave the mixture in some warm spot of your kitchen, usually a place with 30-35 degrees C, after 15-24 hours, depending upon temparature, you will see the batter will rise and double in volume due to lacto fermentation. You can prepare pan cake like dosaas and eat them with coconut chutneys. Really nourishing if meat options are limited. Also you can sprout any other grain you want to eat, just soak them well for at least 24 hours and them keep changing soaking water, longer the soaking process, the better removal of anti nutrients is possible. All this takes long time for preparations, you can ferment and grind large batch of dosaa batter over weekend and eat throughout the week, many south Indians do that! Let me know if you have more questions.
on February 21, 2013
at 06:09 PM
I would imagine a perfect paleo in India since it is still a developing country with not so modernized industrial processed foods. I am pretty sure you can get grassfed mutton (goat meat) almost everywhere in India. there is no question about that. Also you can look for Desi chicken breeds, when you go to a chicken butcher shop, you will find many broiler white feather farmed chickens (not good) and also some 3-4 big colorful brown hens which are laying desi hens heritage breeds, they are truly paleo, they are completely free range and their meat tastes awesome in masala curries. Where do you live in India? There are organic food stores in almost all major big cities where you can get organic groceries and fresh organic vegetables, sometimes organic certified milk too which is not a necessity in India since majority of cattle is not grainfed. Ghee, butter are so commonly available but definitely not cheap I know. You can get One KG ( 2.2 lb) 24 letter mantra organic grassfed ghee for 500 INR (10 dollars!) which will nourish you for more than a month! if you live in a village, it would be best place to live in! you can get fresh grassfed milk, grassfed goat, free range country chickens all around with their delicious eggs. Coastal cities are seafood destinations with fresh out of the sea sardines, anchovies, mussels, clams, Indian mackerel avaialble sooooo cheap! You can buy 1 KG Sardines ( 2.2 lbs) for just INR 250 which is less than 5 dollars!
India is a paleo heaven with coconuts freely available so cheap, you can enjoy great range from coconut water, fresh coconut for curries, virgin coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut malaai ... endless options.
Please don't make world feel bad about India, it is Paleolithic everywhere! Just find your ways .. Feel free to ask me any doubts depending upon your location.