5

votes

NYC guys and gals... how do you make paleo work in the big city?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 01, 2012 at 5:46 PM

I know there are a couple of you so far...So i am wondering..in this city that we live in, with incredibly limited finances, (just scrapping by as an artist)..

How do you guys make Paleo eating work here? Do you do what i do, Deli/Bodega Salads no dressing...Whole Foods open bar? Do you take the subway home at lunch to cook? Do you Urbanspoon all your menus beforehand if friends ask to have dinner?

Im looking for tips..because im really struggling to make it work right now. Trying to focus more on my art, working a little less..finding it hard to afford anyhting but chicken and eggs... Grazz-fed beef is looking like a thing of the past right now :(

Any advice New Yorkers?

Oh! And... Do you Guys pay Manhattan black box Crossfit fees? Or do your own thing? Would love to know how you gals make it work with all of that!

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on April 04, 2012
at 05:38 AM

You can buy sushi quality fish in K-Town (the supermarket there sells it.) It is farmed, and you have to cut it yourself, but it is a yummy quick protein lunch.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:36 AM

Trader Joes has Kerrygold for around $3. Just try to go at off peak times.

B442730f74eed4f00b7d6027a7109977

(100)

on March 02, 2012
at 02:44 AM

Thanks to Melissa for the meatshare idea. Just put in for part of a pig.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on March 01, 2012
at 09:40 PM

Love Fleisher's - buy most of our meat there

4d6aa1a676240b15dc569ff8ade0500f

(2546)

on March 01, 2012
at 08:39 PM

apparently fresh direct prices are even more expensive than the farmer's market! nuts! i can regularly find $6/lbs of grass-fed ground beef at the market or a dozen eggs for $4 (granted this varies). also, trader joe's has great deals on canned fish.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on March 01, 2012
at 08:20 PM

i'D LOVE THIS! i live just north of the park and run there in the warmer months. totally interested in a group :)

D826ee7c5f65d509348f7fe8aeeafdd4

(368)

on March 01, 2012
at 07:57 PM

I was actually going to sign up for this myself. I'd love to help/join but I don't have a car or large freezer for storage :(

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Cool, I'll have to check out Fleisher's.

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:47 PM

The amount I spend on groceries per week is always changing, so I decided to calculate how much each typical meal costs me on a typical day (slow day at work). $4.57 for breakfast, $3.94 for lunch, $5.78 for dinner, a total of $14.29/day, or $100.03 a week. That's for 1 person, so needless to say I'm very impressed you can feed 2 on $125. I do feel pretty good about this, as this includes 6 pasture eggs, 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef, salmon, lots of pasture butter, and lots of organic veggies, berries, and sweet potatoes every day. I'm definitely going to check out Meatshare though!

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:22 PM

OH! Ground beef from Fleisher's (they deliver!) is only $6.49/lb. It's grassfed/grain finished most of the year, and they carry 100% grassfed seasonally since everything is raised locally. But even the grain finished meat has decent omega-3/omega-6 ratios. http://www.fleishers.com/about-our-meat/our-pastured-meats/meat-pastured-beef.

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:22 PM

On FD, Organic Valley is $3.99 per 8oz block (sometimes goes on sale for $3.49). They don't sell Kerrygold. The D'Ags near me does, and I think it's $4.99 or so. I think the quality is the same. I prefer the taste of OV slightly, but there isn't a huge difference. I have no idea if one or the other has better amounts of omega-3, CLA, etc.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:16 PM

great answer! how does organic valley compare in price and quality to something like kerrygold?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 01, 2012
at 06:14 PM

consider joining meetup.com/meatshare. Actually, we are looking for a co-organizer so you might be able to barter some of your time for some meat.

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11 Answers

3
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on March 02, 2012
at 10:57 AM

It's really not that hard. While I don't actually live in Manhattan, I'm not very far.

You can hit the farmer's market at Union Square and other places, there are several vendors there that sell grassfed beef and tons of veggies/fruit/etc. Barring that, you can order over the web. I like Northstar Bison myself, though there's US Wellnessmeats and other places.

For general stuff, I buy from Costco, then, anything that's not available there, I hit the local supermarket for.

Workouts: I have a bunch of dumbbells in various sizes. They don't take up too much room because I hide them under an ottoman that sits infront of one of the couches in the living room. I work out while listening to metal. I also have an exercise bike in the basement, but I use this at the highest resistance setting and only for a short time (~30mins-~40mins).

I fast walk about 20 minutes to/from the train station and work. You can make a game of going around the tourists, news stands, fire hydrants, flier/free news/ads boxes, etc, or piss off the bikers by walking in their lanes (jk). Sometimes I find it a lot more expedient to walk next to the sidewalk than on it due to the high concentration of slow walkers.

Also, there are others like me that like to race, so make an effort to walk faster than the other guy without breaking into a run. Some get pissed off, others also love the challenge as I do. :)

At lunch, I fast walk through Central Park, so it's about a total of an hour of walking a day, more on the weekends. This also provides a good bit of sun exposure.

I cook my meals on the weekends, and pack them in the morning, bring them in glass pyrex containers, use a metal fork/spoon and stainless steel thermos. I avoid using plastic (well the pyrex container has a plastic lid, but I don't heat it), and avoid the probably BPA lined coffee/water paper cups at the work by using my thermos. Snacks are jerky, nuts, berries, also packed.

Going out drinking, I usually just have either red wine, or tequila with a side of soda water (aka seltzer, but the bar dudes seem to prefer soda-water as a name), or whiskey. Except for too much wine, drinking this way, I never get a hang over. I do eat some bar food, for example buffalo wings, but you can also order things like a Caesar salad and avoid the croutons/dressing. If they have sweet potato fries, I do order those, even though sometimes they have a flour coating - I don't get much of a reaction to the small amount. Avoid things like mayo and ketchup as the mayo's from industrial oils, likely soy, and the ketchup's made with HFCS, but the ketchup in very small amounts isn't that terrible - the mayo's far worse.

Grilled shrimp if they have it, or a shrimp cocktail's great too.

Going out for food, sashimi works best, or a lean steak, or maybe a seafood soup without noodles. Obviously if the group is going to a sandwich, pasta, or pizza place, you're not going to participate.

3
4d6aa1a676240b15dc569ff8ade0500f

(2546)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:08 PM

my boyfriend volunteers at the local CSA for distribution day and so we get ALL of our veggies and fruit FOR FREE straight from the farm. we also order meats straight from the farm and it's much cheaper than eating from the farmer's market or such. we both take all of our meals with us for the day (not much eating out over here, as tempting as it can be), and bring our coffee in to-go mugs. i also know a couple of people who help out at the farmer's market stands selling stuff and they get a nice discount on the meats in exchange. recently, i also learned how to make a few foods that are more expensive to buy than it's to make from scratch ingredients -- like yogurt and cheese (which is shockingly simple). so i buy the best milk i can find at the farmer's market and produce my own. this year i'm gonna try an experiment with growing supplemental veggies and herbs on my balcony (which is teeny, but i think i can figure it out).

2
43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:11 PM

It's tough to eat paleo without spending a lot in NYC. I buy most of my food from FreshDirect. Grass-fed ground beef is $8/lb, but it often goes on sale for $6, so I'll buy about 20lbs and stick it in the freezer. Unfortunately I don't get to eat steak too much since it's so pricey.

I eat lots of pasture eggs, but rarely any chicken because I just don't care for it. The eggs I buy from FD are $5.49/dozen (!), but I think pasture eggs are worth it since I eat so many.

I'm a big fan of Bumble Bee canned Wild Alaska Pink Salmon, it's about $3.50 for a 15oz can. Break it up, mix it with 2 beaten eggs, divide into 4 patties, cook it in a pan with butter, and you've got some tasty and cheap salmon cakes. I get 2 meals out of 1 can; the leftovers heat up great in the microwave. Add a vegetable and some butter, and I think it's a solid meal.

The rest of my diet is mostly made up of Organic Valley Pasture Butter (expensive, but I think high-quality fat is really worth it), frozen broccoli and spinach, organic sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, celery, carrots, frozen raspberries, and apples.

I would love to hear from other NYCer's re: cheap(er) sources of grass-fed beef and pasture eggs (but hopefully still convenient).

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on March 01, 2012
at 09:40 PM

Love Fleisher's - buy most of our meat there

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:22 PM

On FD, Organic Valley is $3.99 per 8oz block (sometimes goes on sale for $3.49). They don't sell Kerrygold. The D'Ags near me does, and I think it's $4.99 or so. I think the quality is the same. I prefer the taste of OV slightly, but there isn't a huge difference. I have no idea if one or the other has better amounts of omega-3, CLA, etc.

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Cool, I'll have to check out Fleisher's.

4d6aa1a676240b15dc569ff8ade0500f

(2546)

on March 01, 2012
at 08:39 PM

apparently fresh direct prices are even more expensive than the farmer's market! nuts! i can regularly find $6/lbs of grass-fed ground beef at the market or a dozen eggs for $4 (granted this varies). also, trader joe's has great deals on canned fish.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:16 PM

great answer! how does organic valley compare in price and quality to something like kerrygold?

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:22 PM

OH! Ground beef from Fleisher's (they deliver!) is only $6.49/lb. It's grassfed/grain finished most of the year, and they carry 100% grassfed seasonally since everything is raised locally. But even the grain finished meat has decent omega-3/omega-6 ratios. http://www.fleishers.com/about-our-meat/our-pastured-meats/meat-pastured-beef.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:36 AM

Trader Joes has Kerrygold for around $3. Just try to go at off peak times.

1
80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on March 02, 2012
at 02:30 AM

Fairway + a CSA. It's really that simple.

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 01, 2012
at 06:51 PM

I make pretty much all my food. I refuse to "eat before going out to eat" to keep the bill down so a meal at a restaurant is a rare occasion. Sashimi is my favourite and I miss it but just can't afford it 'cause I know how much I can put away. Curses! BUT when I make my own food I know exactly what I'm getting.

I utilize Trader Joe's, several different green markets, China Town, K-Town, Whole Foods. I eat organic/free range as much as my budget allows. Protein, berries, certain veg, dairy = yes. All other items? It depends on the dough in my pocket at the time. I kind of use the rule of thumb that I had when I traveled through Central America - if I could peel it then I would eat it :)

Sometimes its simply seared steak with roasted tuber or sweet potato and greens. Maybe I'll roast a whole chicken and that can be utilized in so many ways. Same thing with pork shoulder, loin or a roast. If I can multi-task it then we have a winner.

Example: I cut up and roasted a 4lb chicken last night that had been marinated in goat yogurt, citrus juice, a bunch of spices. The yogurt and citrus help keep it tender and moist. 425 for about 40 minutes, let it rest for about 15 minutes. That was dinner with sweet potato and braised kale, asparagus, mushroom. The rest will now be used as: shredded and added to cauliflower fried rice, salad, and lettuce wraps. A spicy green soup/stew with butternut squash that will be topped with radish, avocado, cilantro. The leftover bones will be roasted then made into stock. All the extra veg, mushroom, asparagus, greens, avocado, radish, and such will also be adapted into the other meals.

Yes I eat other things, eggs fruit kimchi fish etc., but if I cook big then I never have to worry about those days when cooking is lame and something from a restaurant looks oh so very appealing. Just drag it out of the fridge and munch away.

Great.. now I want sashimi.. :)

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on April 04, 2012
at 05:38 AM

You can buy sushi quality fish in K-Town (the supermarket there sells it.) It is farmed, and you have to cut it yourself, but it is a yummy quick protein lunch.

1
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:17 PM

We do Fresh Direct (FD) and Meatshare. With Meatshare you can get great grass-fed and compassionate-raised meat for only $4/lb.

Breakfast - pastured eggs (from FD, $4.89/doz) and bacon

Lunch - big-ass salad (lettuce and extras from FD, chicken sausage from Trader Joe's) or left-over meat and real sauerkraut

Dinner - meat from Meatshare (or FD), produce from FD

I spend about $125/week for two people. I think that might be on the high end...?

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:47 PM

The amount I spend on groceries per week is always changing, so I decided to calculate how much each typical meal costs me on a typical day (slow day at work). $4.57 for breakfast, $3.94 for lunch, $5.78 for dinner, a total of $14.29/day, or $100.03 a week. That's for 1 person, so needless to say I'm very impressed you can feed 2 on $125. I do feel pretty good about this, as this includes 6 pasture eggs, 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef, salmon, lots of pasture butter, and lots of organic veggies, berries, and sweet potatoes every day. I'm definitely going to check out Meatshare though!

1
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:13 PM

Why buy salads and pre-made Whole Foods bar food? Sounds pricey. I buy everything at the produce market/butcher and just make meals at home and pack a lunch for work And yes, if I go out for dinner I make sure I know ahead of time there's safe stuff on the menu.

0
8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on April 04, 2012
at 03:52 AM

Frozen vegetables organic from whole foods (they have organic kale collard greens, onion, all the other usuals), bottled egg whites, canned fish from trader joes -- all quick, durable, cheap, and healthy -- not as good as the freshest sources but its cheaper and still great value, and MUCH more convenient, and did i mention, Durable??

At work I just microwave the frozen veggies with egg whites, mix in some coconut butter after to make an egg white omelet, I realize that I'm missing out on the yolk but not having to deal with it is so much easier to make an omelet at work with the microwave!

0
16d5d61046d3b3db6d24483fa0b79cc8

on March 01, 2012
at 08:42 PM

I don't live in the city, just work (Astoria). I look at it as a give and take situation. I used to go out drinking almost every wknd and spend money every night eating out or getting stuff to go. But since I've gone paleo, I just use that money for lunch at work. I usually just bring a bag of broccoli with me and buy something local from around here like some fresh rotisserie chicken or some good gourmet burgers (no bun, cheese, sauces).

For dinner, I usually make a few lbs of chopped meat every few days and have a little bit at dinner and/or breakfast depending on how hungry I am. If I'm pretty tight with money that day or week, I'll bring a tupperware filled with the meat with me for lunch.

It's tough and sometimes its hard for me to look in the mirror at spending close to $25-30 on lunch but like I said, that money isn't being used to get drunk anymore. I'm actually saving money now come to think of it.

0
D826ee7c5f65d509348f7fe8aeeafdd4

(368)

on March 01, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Intermittent fasting, and cooking everything for myself has helped my wallet big time.

Also, I'd love to see more paleo/training groups going on, especially in central park, I have a bunch of kettlebells and live within kettlebell-lugging distance to the park. If anyone's interested when the weather warms up let me know.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on March 01, 2012
at 08:20 PM

i'D LOVE THIS! i live just north of the park and run there in the warmer months. totally interested in a group :)

0
E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

on March 01, 2012
at 06:14 PM

Great question. Will be interested to see the other posts. I'm having the same trouble, especially since starting crossfit, which is competing with my rent and loan payments for highest monthly expense in my budget, ha.

I shop at the grocery store as much as possible and do my best to make food at home and bring it to work. Once I started doing that, I saved a ton of money because, let's face it, eating out in NYC is ridiculously expensive. That is especially true for paleo becuase once you've removed all the processed junk from a restaurant meal, it's half of what you would normally eat! so you end up spending a bunch and still feeling hungry!

When I'm in a pinch in do the bodega salad bar thing, where I can buy food by weight, so a couple roast chicken thighs with veggies on the side comes out to $6. But then I have little control over how the meal is prepared. I think in those situations, the idea is not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good (and cheap!). Save today and spend your money on a perfect paleo meal another day.

Also, since I went paleo, I straight-up eat less. So that helps on the margins and allows me to treat myself to steak at home about once or twice a week.

I hate cooking, unfortunately, so I try to make giant dinners and eat the leftovers for lunch. I have found Trader Joes to have most of what I need at the lowest prices I have seen (including pretty good deals on wild-caught salmon and grassfed beef from Australia--though it doesn't taste that great to be honest).

Next steps: I'm going to try and motivate myself to go to the farmer's markets all around town on the weekends and see if I can get some good deals there. I've also been meaning to research the mail-away beef sources to see if they're any cheaper.

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