13

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Best strategies on a budget

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 18, 2010 at 1:04 AM

For those of us who are on a budget or do not have access to pastured meat, what would be some good strategies?

One could for instance buy lean conventional beef and complement it with pastured butter and cream and/or pastured eggs, chicken and pork. is it true though that conventionally raised beef still has a better fatty acid profile than pastured chicken and pork?

Any other ideas or suggestions?

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on February 19, 2010
at 11:06 PM

Melissa, you're an inspiration.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 19, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Yeh a tin of sardines is about 1g O-3, but just a tablespoon of olive oil is 1.3g of 0-6. If you were eating *only* sardines in olive oil, then it'd be an ok ratio, but it wouldn't much balance out 0-6 from anything else.

70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on February 19, 2010
at 06:07 PM

Why drain the sardines of the olive oil? To reduce consumption of mono/polyunsaturates? Cheers

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 18, 2010
at 01:48 PM

I organize everything through a Meetup group.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 18, 2010
at 10:51 AM

I buy sardines tinned in spring water, as cheap as the oil ones. A lot of seafood is tinned in brine, which is pretty much fine, thought the salt is a worry of course. You can get some in olive oil, which would be a net benefit, especially if you mostly drain/dry them of the oil. I personally don't worry about conventional offal, I've never knowingly had any grass-fed meat in my life! The only difference is that I make sure I cook through my organs quite substantially, whereas good organic meat I'd eat rarer.

C150e1706e1299323591da93208e603f

(240)

on February 18, 2010
at 10:02 AM

I would like to inquire abot the possibility of making such deals here. I imagine it's possible, as pretty much everything is negotiable over here (Argentina), but don't think such communities exist. Maybe I should start looking for like-minded people.

C150e1706e1299323591da93208e603f

(240)

on February 18, 2010
at 09:58 AM

this "nutritiondata.com" website is very useful, their breakdown of micronutrients is pretty complete. What kind of tinned sardines do you buy (I imagine that it would defeat the purpose if they were to contain vegetable oil)? And yes, offals are very cheap, but I don't know if I should worry too much about conventionally raised liver, as it is difficult to procure grass fed one here.

C150e1706e1299323591da93208e603f

(240)

on February 18, 2010
at 01:35 AM

Interesting link.

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9 Answers

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17
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 18, 2010
at 02:31 AM

I am totally poor, right above the poverty line, and I eat paleo and only pastured meat. The secret is trying to get deals on meat and eating less popular cuts. I am a member of a meatshare, which means I pool money with people to buy a cow/pig/lamb for cheaper than the grocery store or farmer's market. When I don't have that meat, I go for cheap cuts like short ribs, liver, heart, and bone marrow. A crock pot does a great job making tough cuts tasty. Be prepared to not waste anything. The drippings in the crock pot? Put em in the fridge, the fat on the top can be used to saute vegetables. Bones? You bet they got right back in the crock pot to make soup with.

I also enjoy canned wild fish like salmon and sardines. Oh, and I love the local bar that does $1 oysters during happy hour ;)

I fill in the gaps with filling vegetables- yams, carrots, beets, etc.

C150e1706e1299323591da93208e603f

(240)

on February 18, 2010
at 10:02 AM

I would like to inquire abot the possibility of making such deals here. I imagine it's possible, as pretty much everything is negotiable over here (Argentina), but don't think such communities exist. Maybe I should start looking for like-minded people.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 18, 2010
at 01:48 PM

I organize everything through a Meetup group.

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on February 19, 2010
at 11:06 PM

Melissa, you're an inspiration.

best answer

11
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 18, 2010
at 08:47 AM

In terms of micronutrients you can do very well on non-pastured meat. On paper it doesn't look much different to pastured meat in these terms, but it would be very worrying if the difference were as extreme as for eggs. The omega 3/6 difference will be very extreme (and in my view, sub-optimal even in grass-fed meat), but I balance this out, formerly, by eating as much tinned sardines/salmon (cheap staples) as meat and now with fish oil.

For general micronutrients, you're really just looking at getting enough cheap meat and vegetables; you can't eat that much protein or that much bulky veg, so that's an upper limit on your costs. The important thing is to focus on covering these nutritional bases and then getting all the rest of your calories from fat, which is as cheap per calorie as it gets. My present staples are 0.5kg+ of very cheap minced meat (??1.99/kg) per day, a can of spinach and calories from pure fat. (My butter is pastured, but is still as cheap as the cheapest starch per calorie). Basic formula, find the cheapest muscle meat, find a cheap source of vegetables that cover a lot of nutritional bases (spinach, crucifers etc) and get calories from fat.

Also I'd look closely at the actual costs of things for what you're getting, they can be quite counter-intuitive. Here, joints of meat are regularly half the price of other meats for protein/calories, but look expensive and are perceived as such (they're actually cheaper than tinned sardines). Ditto, I used to buy lots of eggs, assuming they were cheaper than meat, but it turned out I was better off cooking an entire beef joint. Naturally any offal you can find/stomach will be incredibly cheap, kidneys stewed with whatever vegetables I have to hand are a regular staple and liver is pretty much the cheapest and most nutritious thing there is.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 18, 2010
at 10:51 AM

I buy sardines tinned in spring water, as cheap as the oil ones. A lot of seafood is tinned in brine, which is pretty much fine, thought the salt is a worry of course. You can get some in olive oil, which would be a net benefit, especially if you mostly drain/dry them of the oil. I personally don't worry about conventional offal, I've never knowingly had any grass-fed meat in my life! The only difference is that I make sure I cook through my organs quite substantially, whereas good organic meat I'd eat rarer.

70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on February 19, 2010
at 06:07 PM

Why drain the sardines of the olive oil? To reduce consumption of mono/polyunsaturates? Cheers

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 19, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Yeh a tin of sardines is about 1g O-3, but just a tablespoon of olive oil is 1.3g of 0-6. If you were eating *only* sardines in olive oil, then it'd be an ok ratio, but it wouldn't much balance out 0-6 from anything else.

C150e1706e1299323591da93208e603f

(240)

on February 18, 2010
at 09:58 AM

this "nutritiondata.com" website is very useful, their breakdown of micronutrients is pretty complete. What kind of tinned sardines do you buy (I imagine that it would defeat the purpose if they were to contain vegetable oil)? And yes, offals are very cheap, but I don't know if I should worry too much about conventionally raised liver, as it is difficult to procure grass fed one here.

8
0637289bb4a0ab314d80fa4de627d395

(1015)

on February 18, 2010
at 01:17 AM

Please see the following link that describes a paleo diet on a shoe-string budget.

http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2009/08/nutritionally-complete-inexpensive-low.html

C150e1706e1299323591da93208e603f

(240)

on February 18, 2010
at 01:35 AM

Interesting link.

6
70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on February 19, 2010
at 06:29 PM

Personally (also on a tight budget) I buy non-organic conventionally grown meats. Cheap cuts always, including offal and bones.

If worried about fatty acid profile, try to emphasise ruminants (lamb, beef, veal) over poultry due to better omega-3 balance, and also lamb over beef/veal when possible (see this thread for instance http://paleohacks.com/questions/381/grass-fed-lamb). However, I do oscillate between periods of buying mainly lean meat (or removing the fat from fatty cuts) due to concerns about omega-3/-6 imbalance, and other periods of thinking "what the hell, any saturated fat is better than none" where I eat pretty much all the cheap meat fat I can get... Still not sure which is the best option healthwise (though the latter is definitely easier on the budget, and so delicious!).

My main sources of calories are eggs (bog standard, from supermarket), cheap cuts of beef, marrow bones, tinned fish (sardines and mackerel), chicken breast, pastured butter, and coconut products (milk, dessicated, creamed). To which I add moderate amounts of in-season or frozen veggies (whichever is cheaper) for variety.

Other strategies I use:

  • When I occasionally buy salmon, I buy frozen wild salmon rather than fresh. This is relatively easy to find and a lot cheaper (it is actually considerably cheaper than fresh farmed salmon). Just bear in mind that wild salmon cooks more quickly than farmed and tends to try out, so it's easier to overcook. Canned wild pacific salmon is another good option (different texture, though).

  • I don't bother with nuts (except very occasionally) as they have too much polyunsaturates, they're expensive, and easy to binge on so don't last very long either. Plus they can easily be rancid when you buy them, giving them a worse fatty acid profile.

Hope this helps :)

4
Eb2d0a3a9b3d909d62b479a0af24d431

(155)

on February 20, 2010
at 08:17 AM

I dont know how strict your paleo style is but I have been back packing the last 3 months on a pretty tight budget and I have still been able to maintain a low carb, paleoish diet. My main stables have been:

Cottage cheese - High protein Swiss cheese - High protien + sat fat Spinach - Nutrient dense vegetable Canned tomatoes - Very cheap source of carotenoids. Tuna - Protein Almonds - If you shop around some supermarkets (whole foods) sell them quite cheaply. Coconut milk - Cheap source of fat

Whenever I had access to a kitchen I would also buy eggs or meat that was on sale which can be very cheap too.

My best advice is to go to your regular grocery store and just spend a long time going through the different products and there prices, you may find some cheap products that you may have never thought of. Also, some people just get into the habit of buying the same product without considering other options but stores are always changing their product range and new sales vary week to week.

4
B694ff94abba729b4d1568fc12ff3285

(169)

on February 18, 2010
at 08:29 AM

Ten money saving tips on "my paleo kitchen". I really like this post since I'm a student and can't afford a whole lot.

http://www.mypaleokitchen.com/?p=52

2
5ebeec76e20738d0a17cd724d64b1e0f

on March 02, 2010
at 02:32 AM

One idea: you might try talking to your local butcher. Ask for fatty cuts that they might normally toss; can be very cheap. Can also be a good source of lard.

1
E258d3ab9815cad55f90ae462b85c1cf

on February 21, 2010
at 04:26 AM

If you are in the mid-west US, you can not go wrong by utilizing a bulk supplier like GFS Foods.

We are lucky enough to have one near. If you are lacto-paleo and a bacon eater you can pick up a 15LB case of bacon for about $27 and a 10LB blocks of cheese for less than $2 a pound.

I was worried about nitrates and bacon, but maybe bacon is not so bad after all.

If you save the rendered fat from the bacon like we do, you can cook just about anything in it or mix it into soup base. Pound for pound bacon is calorie rich.

You might also consider buying bulk frozen fish there. The large fillets can be expensive, but they also carry bags of really inexpensive one-to-two ounce fillets that are too small for restaurant main-course use, but skillet fried in sets of three make a great meal.

I have not tried any of the other meat there as we have a local butcher that lets us buy bulk grass-fed beef, but I imagine the prices are also good.

1
01cb59e52ccd12110de78e5068c6e4e1

on February 18, 2010
at 05:32 AM

Melissa that is awesome!

Bertrand think of it this way: Is it better to eat lots of ho-ho's because you can't afford no-hormone/grass-fed beef? Of course not. My suggestion is to do the best you can with the budget you've got. Be honest with how much you eat out. We were amazed at how much money we waste on crappy Applebee's steaks when we could go Melissa's route and buy cheaper cuts more often.

Eggs are also a good filler. Lots of protein and relatively inexpensive-ish. Anything you can make for dinner that will also last for tomorrow's lunch helps stretch the budget. Good luck!

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