I am coming off of a crock pot chili high so this felt like an appropriate thing to be writing about. Andddd we had a slight tragedy involving the oven this week so we are sticking to safer heat sources for a second. Just kidding, but it was a serious burn. So my other half is mainlining kombucha and probiotics to combat the nuclear bomb of an antibiotic he was prescribed because, surprise, it got infected. For those of you asking why we don’t have children… the answer is I have one.
Anyway, I get asked all the time how we can afford to eat the way we do and how to decide what to prioritize. I can’t stress enough that this has been an ever evolving thing for the past few YEARS. Even with all of the reading and podcast listening I do all day, it takes time to figure out what you are truly supposed to be eating and what works for your body. As it turns out, not everything you read on the internet is true. So I totally understand why it is hard to sift through all the bull shit and mainstream lies to figure out what you are supposed to be consuming.
The answer is simple yet so hard for people to believe. I didn’t believe it for YEARS and it is really hard to undo all of the false knowledge you have been fed. The simple answer? Eat real foods. Foods that can be found in nature. Foods without labels. Foods that your body can break down and use as fuel. Things your body recognizes as actual food. Not things that are made in a factory or chemistry lab. Listen to how your body responds to those foods. Feel like shit after? Don’t eat that any more. That’s it. Easy.
And I know it is not that easy. But I can tell you it definitely isn’t hard. Over the years we have figured out how to shop on a budget, what to save on and what to sell your kidney for. I have a love affair going with Whole foods so you better believe I know how to shop that store and still own a home. And if you say that Whole Paycheck joke I will actually run you off the road the next time I see you. So these are my tips for eating healthy/clean/ paleo/ whatever you call it while you are still on a Target budget. (ME)
TIPS FOR EATING PALEO ON A BUDGET
- Prioritize what you buy organic vs conventional:
- If you can not afford to buy everything organic or don’t have a huge selection where you are, decide what is most important to you. Personally, I care a lot more about the quality and sourcing of my meat. I care how it was raised and what it was fed because we aren’t what we eat; We are what we eat EATS. And if the animals are eating a highly processed diet full of damaged fats, that is what you are eating. When it comes to produce, this is where I choose to be a little more relaxed. You can always scrub the hell out of your produce or buy things that ware on the clean 15 list if you are super paranoid. Or, grow your own if the season permits!! I am going to try DESPERATELY to keep my garden alive for more than 2 months this year. But if you kill any plant within a 3 mile radius like me, shop at your local farmers market, family farm or if you are so privileged like me… Produce Junction!
- Know your boundaries:
- I am the actual WORST with this. But I luckily have a husband that reminds me I can not buy 3 cartons of pasture raised eggs for $7.99. Knowing what you (and your family) are willing to spend on the entire trip and on certain items is so important. Be willing to skip things one week if they are not on sale, or get something that is more in your price range. Or try to make it yourself!! Siete makes the most amazing grain free cassava & coconut and almond flour tortillas. But when they aren’t on sale they just might not be in the budget. So get a little adventurous and make your own! Google is your best friend for paleo recipes.
- Shop the numbers:
- Whole Foods has a 5 step animal welfare rating for beef, chicken and pork. I absolutely love this system because it leaves no questions. To even get into the store and achieve a ranking on 1 the scale “farmers and ranchers must focus intently on the welfare of their animals and meet more than 100 animal-welfare standards. Each step above that requires more.” To achieve a ranking of 5 the farm is animal centered, they live their life on pasture and live as naturally as possible. To see the full explanation click here! So if your budget only allows for animals at the 1 rating you can still know that you are buying better quality meat compared to what you will buy at any other grocery store. Even their lunch meat has ratings on it!
- Go to more than one store:
- You can hate me for it, but you are going to have to go to more than one store to get everything you want but stay within your budget. The 3 stores I ALWAYS go to are Whole Foods, Produce Junction, and Trader Joes. There are plenty of other stores closer but their food quality is nowhere near what I feel comfortable putting in my body. Plus they don’t have half of the stuff I love! So plan your path, pick a good time to go (hello Friday nights) and have fun with it.
- Skip the Paleo treats:
- When people get into Paleo (Read: Me) they are so excited to find out that there are Paleo “compliant” treats. Avoid the temptation for a few reasons! Just because they are Paleo doesn’t make them good for you or a good habit to maintain. Instead of replacing your bad habits with ok ingredients, work on breaking the need to have dessert! It’s the habits that will be your downfall (or best fried!) in the long run. Besides that, the ingredients are EXPENSIVE. Do you know how many almonds it must take to make almond flour?? Yeah.. a shit load. That would explain the $8-$10 price tag. So skip the baked goods and treats.
- Buy and cook in bulk:
- This one is brought to you by Billy and I absolutely love it. This has been the secret to my success and decreased time spent during food prep. Produce Junction really helps with this, but you can also do this at Costco or BJ’s. 3 heads of cauliflower might cost you $4 but from that you can make cauli rice, cauli mash, buffalo cauliflower, cauli crust and just good old steamed cauliflower with grass fed butter. Use your crockpot, mass cook zoodles, shredded chicken, potatoes ( I know potatoes aren’t paleo, but they work for us) and home made mayo. Set yourself up for success and save a few $$ by buying in bulk.
- Know when to skip the fun stuff:
- This is a little different than the paleo treats because I mean everything else you definitely don’t need to feed yourself for the week. I would mainline cold brew or invent in IV if I could, but that shit is like $10 for a “big” one and $3-$4 for a can. So once a month, sure, I’ll grab one and hide it from Billy. But that definitely isnt a staple. If it fits in your budget? Awesome. Load up on Jacksons honest chips, Plantain Chips, Epic pork rinds, Rx bars, Epic bars (bison, chicken, pork, Turkey, Venison), Lara bars, Goat yogurt, LaCroix, Chameleon cold brew, kombucha or whatever else you don’t NEED but definitely drool over.
Here are a few of my reciepts from our trips to whole foods. The total might seem like a lot on a few of them but keep in mind the quality of what we are getting and that someo f these things are used for more than one meal or are a once a month purchase. Also our life might be a little different than yours!! We dont have any kids so we choose to spend or money on higher quality food because we cook at home every night.
I am debating getting my paycheck sent directly to Whole Foods and Target. Besides that all our money is going to Lowes and Home Depot and I am not sad about it at ALL. There are some awesome DIY projects coming in the furture for turning a hideous house to something you love on a budget. Tips on wrangling 3 pets while painting will be included.