The first time my husband got down on one knee, it was to beg me to eat meat.
It was 4 years ago during a workshift. At the time he, Cara and I all worked at the same gym. We were chatting in between clients and I had shared that I was experiencing some ongoing joint and knee pain. The first thing that came into question among us was my diet. You see, at the time I was a vegetarian and had been for three years. It was then that my husband-to-be got down on one knee, grabbed my hand and asked, “Will you please, please eat meat? I’m serious.”
Sam was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2010. Through his own research and networking with other fitness professionals he discovered the Paleo diet. The key that opened the door to Sam managing his autoimmune disorder without a bunch of medications was refining his diet. There were certain foods that he ate that were causing inflammation in his body and exacerbating his symptoms. These things included grains, dairy, legumes and refined sugars. When he cut these out and started only eating meat, fruit, vegetables, nut and some seeds, his symptoms went away almost completely and he started taking very little in the way of medication. The Paleo diet literally saved his life.
So, when I was talking about my pain, he felt compelled to share this with me because he knew from experience that there was a better way to live. That I didn’t have to be in pain everyday. And looking back on it now, I wasn’t only experiencing joint and knee pain. I had acne, my hair wasn’t all that healthy looking and I wasn’t sleeping well, which lended to fatigue and bouts of depression.
I’m not going to go into major detail about my switch from vegetarianism to Paleo (you can read more about that here), but suffice it to say that when I started eating more optimally, specifically, when I went Paleo, all of those physical symptoms changed for me for the better. All of them.
And so, I’m preaching the #GrassfedMeatheads gospel truth. I believe that this is the way that we were designed to eat. And, I truly believe that if you eat this way, your quality of life will most definitely improve. Are you feeling me?
Okay. Let’s say that you’ve decided to take the #GrassfedMeatheads plunge. One of the first concerns that come up when our clients are making the switch to Paleo is cost. All of this organic, grassfed stuff is so expensive….how can I manage to feed my whole family this way? And believe me, between my husband’s appetite and now another mouth to feed, I get it. It can be tough. So, below I outline 6 ways to do Paleo on a budget:
- Go Big!
You can save money on a lot of items by buying them in bulk.
We use coconut oil for just about everything in our house from cooking, to skin care to greasing squeaky door hinges, so we go through a lot of it! A 2-pack of 42 oz. jars of coconut oil from Costco is around $30. That is how much one jar around the same size costs at other grocery stores. Two 42 oz. jars will typically last us about a month.
Another way to buy in bulk is to hit up your local ranchers. We buy our beef from our local purveyors, Rudio Creek Ranch. In grocery stores, grassfed ground beef costs between $8-$12 per pound. When we buy a quarter of a cow from Rudio Creek, it’s around $6 a pound. We buy a quarter of a cow because that’s what fits in the freezer on top of our refrigerator. If you have a chest freezer, then you can buy an even bigger cut and get even more savings (plus, they might even throw in a couple of steaks!).
- Buy in Season
When buying in season fruits and vegetables from your local farmer’s market or directly from the farm itself, you can get some great fresh and delicious produce at wonderfully low prices. At certain times of the year, growers will have a surplus in different crops and will discount these items in order to sell them before they go to waste. And, sometimes when you go to the farmers market near the end of the day, they may give you an even bigger bargain in order to avoid wasting what hadn’t been sold.
Beyond all of the savings of buying directly from the growers, you’ll get to know and support your local farmers. Locally grown food tastes better, is better for you and supports our farmers and their families. And, that’s pretty cool.
- Look for Discounted Meats
Every grocery store has discounted meat, even organic grassfed meat. Check and see what’s available when you’re out buying groceries. Meats that are getting close to their “sell by” date will often be sold at a very discounted price. If you see something, pick it up and cook it for dinner that night!
- Buy Organ Meats
I know this may have your stomach turning, but hear me out. Organ meats such as kidney, liver, heart and brain are some of the most nutrient dense foods we can eat. When compared to the normal muscle meat that we eat, organ meats are extremely rich in essential vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. Since organ meats are not a very popular choice among us, they are typically very cheap in comparison to muscle meat. So, you get to eat the most nutritious part of the animal and save a few bucks! Go ahead. Eat your heart out. (Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself there.) It’s definitely an acquired taste so you may need to get a little creative in how to serve it up. Maybe try this liver pâté recipe by The Paleo Mom.
- Cut Corners on Organic Produce
When it comes to organic fruits and vegetables, the biggest thing to worry about is not nutritional value, but the use of pesticides and other synthetic substances when growing the food plants. The debate on the nutritional value of organic versus nonorganic foods will go on until the end of time, however there is no overwhelming evidence that organic fruits and vegetables are shown to be more nutritious than nonorganic. The overall quality of organic produce is definitely better, but for our intents and purposes we’re just looking to save a little on the grocery bill.
When trying to decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic versus nonorganic, use this guide to help determine which ones have most likely been affected by leftover pesticide residue. The lower it is on the list, the less likely it is to have left over chemicals.
- Recognize the Value
I’m going to get real with you for a minute. We spend way more money on things that are less important than food.
Somebody once said to me, “If you want to know what somebody values, look at their bank statement.” So….what’s important to you? Cable? Cell phones for everyone in the family? Eating out? Starbucks? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have these things or even that they’re bad (hey, I’ll be the first to admit that I love watching trashy TV with a chai tea latte in hand), I’m trying to help you re-frame your perspective.
When you spend more money on nutritious foods you save money is two ways: you end up buying less junk food and you actually end up eating less. Eating a wholesome Paleo meal keeps our hunger levels satisfied for longer so you actually don’t end up needing to spend as much overall on snack foods.
And, it goes beyond just monetary value. Consider the story that I shared with you in the beginning. Taking care of my health and eating real, wholesome foods drastically improved my quality of life. Eating Paleo saved my husband’s life. You can’t place a dollar value on that. Poor nutrition can lead to all kinds of health problems and illnesses including being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke and some cancers just to name a few. Managing these conditions is way more expensive than allocating more money to the grocery budget.
Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good
With all of that said, the reality is that we all have limited resources. When improving your nutrition habits, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. What I mean to say is, do the best you can with the resources you have. Maybe you’re only able to eat Paleo 80% of the time. Or even 50% of the time. Hey, 50% is better than 0%! Every little step you take toward optimal nutrition is a step in the right direction, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not always able to afford the best of everything all of the time. You, too, can still be a #GrassfedMeathead!
Want more help or information about adjusting to the Paleo lifestyle? Sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter to immediately begin receiving workout tips, recipe ideas and mindset advice, plus get a FREE copy of our Ebook “The Whole Animal.” Click this link to get started ———> http://bit.ly/movementduets_newslettersignup