7

votes

Budget-friendly Meat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 01, 2012 at 2:20 PM

My doctor has recommended the Paleo diet to me to help with losing weight, and fighting off the first signs of diabetes. I understand it's a lifetime commitment, and one I'm willing to make. The diet doesn't scare me, but the cost does. I have a family of five, and we live off of one income while I'm in school full time. I'd like to purchase grass-fed beef and free range chicken, but the cost is daunting. Will it greatly effect my diet to purchase grain fed meat? I do think our budget will increase by cutting out all processed foods, but I'm not confident that it will be such a great increase that doubling our meat budget will be an option.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 01, 2012
at 11:10 PM

In terms of absolute amounts, the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is negligible (Beef is naturally low in PUFA.)

99aca1e07394135ea1e040582ce54b4d

(334)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:58 PM

+1 In the UK, I'm finding that cheaper cuts of grass fed meats are around the same price as lean cuts from the supermarket - but slow cook them and they're way tastier as well as more healthy.

Fc891327db916c10347b008acde0daca

(1022)

on March 01, 2012
at 04:31 PM

in germany, definately not!!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 01, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Eggs, organ meats, bones, gelatin and ground grass-fed beef.

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on March 01, 2012
at 02:24 PM

hooray for a doctor who gives out this advice!

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12 Answers

14
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on March 01, 2012
at 02:37 PM

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Concentrate on eating the right categories of food (meats, vegetables, fruit, etc..) at first. Then you can work on improving the quality of foods in each category.

Too many people give up on a change when they can't be perfect. Just worry about moving forward, not about getting things perfect the first time.

8
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 01, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Skip the grass-fed and free-range buzzwords if the cost is daunting. An overwhelming majority (SWAG: 80-90%) of paleo benefits can be had without purchasing overpriced meats.

6
B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on March 01, 2012
at 02:46 PM

I'd say, that since the reason we avoid grain fed meats is due to the amount/quality of the fat in the meat, buy lean cuts of grocery store meat, and cook with healthy fat like butter/coconut oil(can be had cheap on amazon)/lard. Eggs are fairly inexpensive as well. That's what I'd do anyway if I couldn't get my grass fed beef.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 01, 2012
at 11:10 PM

In terms of absolute amounts, the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is negligible (Beef is naturally low in PUFA.)

5
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on March 01, 2012
at 02:26 PM

Hi Kayle.

Skipping processed foods and buying fresh meat you can afford (even if it is not grass fed) and you will do fine.

Here are some other tips to help you out:

http://paleodietnews.com/1970/following-the-paleo-diet-on-a-budget/

3
8487a2f7fb8be0a568275667af0794c8

on March 01, 2012
at 04:46 PM

Buy directly from a farmer, buying a side of cow is much cheaper and you can usually arrange a payment plan. We stick with local meats (antibiotic, hormone free) if we can't afford grassfed which can be hugely expensive.We don't bother buying leaner cuts either, we all seem to be benefitting from the paleo diet still. Its so much more important to cut the grains, processed sugar and legumes. Good luck.

2
35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on March 01, 2012
at 03:25 PM

Like others have said, you can reap a lot of the benefits with conventionally raised meats, especially if you A) buy leaner cuts, B) cook with healthy oils (olive, coconut & ghee) and C) eat wild caught oily fish (look for canned salmon & sardines).

With a family of 5 to feed, cutting out junk may save you some money, but you are going to need to replace that junk with a lot of nutrient rich meats, vegetables, fruit & possibly dairy for the kids. If you do find yourself with a little bugetary breathing room, go for grassfed ground beef and/or grassfed organ meats (like liver) over things like pastured chicken & pork. The differential in price between grass fed & conventional is better for ground beef, organ meats and beef roasts/stew meat compared to true pastured chicken or pork. At least in my part of the country, I hear in other areas the differential is not quite as high on pork. (I live in California where there's extensive grazing area in the eastern & middle parts of the state, so we get good beef producers in our farmers markets.)

Also, if the budget is a consideration and you have a small plot of land, you might consider digging up part of your lawn to grow food this summer. This can free up some budget that can go to grassfed in the temperate months at least.

1
Fd8cf1696bb79f053b2e02037c1be724

(100)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:17 PM

Totally agree with Talldog -- don't sweat it. But would also suggest that you shop around. I find wide variance in price at local farms / farmer's markets / health food stores -- eventually you may find one or two reasonably priced local sources for properly raised meat products. Doing that, plus switching to less expensive cuts, meant (for us at least) that everything did pretty much even out given the money we now "save" by not buying processed foods and by doing more of our own cooking.

99aca1e07394135ea1e040582ce54b4d

(334)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:58 PM

+1 In the UK, I'm finding that cheaper cuts of grass fed meats are around the same price as lean cuts from the supermarket - but slow cook them and they're way tastier as well as more healthy.

1
901d843c6a01089575ef1751a9e6e9fd

on March 01, 2012
at 04:26 PM

You don't say which country you're in, but unless you're in the USA, don't assume all supermarket beef is grain-fed. In the UK and Europe, for example, grass-fed beef is the norm.

Fc891327db916c10347b008acde0daca

(1022)

on March 01, 2012
at 04:31 PM

in germany, definately not!!

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 01, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Congrats on finding an enlightened doctor!

Agree with Korion's comment.

Personally, I think that avoiding the hormones and antibiotics in conventionally-produced meat & dairy is a great investment in the long-term health and fertility of your children.

I found it much easier to make the decision to go grass-fed/organic at the beginning of changing my lifestyle. I got very creative in terms of finding clean food I could afford!

There are several threads on this site about eating clean Paleo on a budget. You can do a more search, too.

Eatwild.com is a great resource. Shopping at your farmer's market/food co-op is helpful.

ETA: This film about food sourcing is free to watch until the 3rd of March, 2012.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/26/fresh-video-documentary.aspx?e_cid=20120301_DNL_FDML_spotlight

1
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on March 01, 2012
at 03:49 PM

The quality of the meat should not affect your diet with regards weight loss and diabetes. That said, there's more to health than weight you may be surprised how much you can save with a fresh way of approaching food. Organ meats around me (from grass-fed animals) are ridiculously cheap, and my bone broths are so tasty and satisfying now that some days I don't need anything else.

Absolutely don't let the challenge put you off making whatever steps you can, but don't let it overwhelm the excitement of exploring new possibilities.

0
627cf3f5d1ddfb4c2f4c96169420f55f

on March 01, 2012
at 08:23 PM

Eat as much grass-fed ground beef as you can. From there, eat leaner CAFO meats. Keep things as simple as you can.

Ground beef is a hell of a lot cheaper than any cut which is what I LOVE! It's the cheapest per lb and gives you more calories! Since it's grass-fed it truly is all awesome fat. Lots of monounsaturated and saturated with a decent amount of omega 3 and of course CLA!

0
219ce991d8c94447870c824680de53e0

(457)

on March 01, 2012
at 04:13 PM

I am in the same boat in terms of budget and I have found that a couple of "typical" grocery stores in my area offer the basic grain fed meats, a step up version that is raised without all the hormones and antibiotics, and then the holy grail grass fed pastured meats. I went with the middle grade and have seen SIGNIFICANT weight loss (lost 40 lbs in just over first 5 months) and health improvements without breaking the bank. Please keep in mine that I wasnt that heavy looking to start with 6'2" 250 down to 210. So if you consider that it definitly worked just fine. Blood pressure is lower, all other blood work is in line with desireable levels. I would follow the other advise of spending some money on the coconut oil. It does seem to help even though it can be a bit pricey when comparing to conventional cooking oils. Just my two cents, good luck and if you stick with it you WILL see the benefits.

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