Wednesdays used to be our Guest Blogger Series day; but, there’s just so many new and wonderful Paleo and real-food bloggers out there that we’ve expanded our series. We hope you enjoy the new view points and unique content; if so, we encourage you to show these guest bloggers your support by visiting their blog and social media links at the end of this post!
Today The Paleo Mama visits to give you her tricks to making paleo affordable for her family. This is a topic that is very much needed in our community, but very few are able to speak to it. We feel very lucky to find someone who can!
“Paleo eating just simply costs too much for me!” I really can’t tell you how many times I have heard that statement, seen that comment on my blog, or watched someone throw in the Paleo towel because they felt like Paleo was expensive. I wanna just yell at them, “Diabetes is expensive…Constantly buying larger clothes is expensive…Your children’s dental work is expensive.” However, instead I choose to write this simple article on how Paleo can be very budget-friendly. Eating Paleo has its degrees of affordability. You get to choose where your budget fits.
Six months ago we lost A LOT of money on the sale of our house. I had to do some major food budget renovation, however, during it all, we stayed true to Paleo. Our Paleo affordability went from, “Well-Off Paleo,” to “Barely Surviving Paleo,” but I made it work for us. Whatever your budget may be, Paleo CAN work for you.
Here’s some ideas and tips on how to make Paleo work for your budget:
“Barely Surviving Paleo”
The thing with “Barely Surviving Paleo” is that is much more time-consuming because you need to shop around for the best deal. This may mean shopping at 3 different places during the week. But once you find the best deals, stock up if you can afford it!
1. Buy local produce over organic produce. GASP, did I just say that? Yes, buying local from a local Farmer’s Market is your best bet. Wouldn’t you rather buy something that was harvested a few miles away instead of something organic that was harvested 2,000 miles away?
2. Buy whole chickens. Shop around for the cheapest price. I found whole, pastured, free-range chickens at my local Farmer’s Market (2) for only $15! This is as cheap as commercial, feed-lot chickens! So, I go early to the market and grab a few for the week. At the end of this post I will show you how to make 4-6 meals out of ONE chicken!!!
3. Shop at Indian Stores, Asian Markets, and other “Ethnic” Markets. I found a case of 24 cans of Aroy-D coconut milk for $30! This is a steal, and we go through it pretty quickly because I use this milk to make a coconut milk tonic for my toddler.
4. Check out Craigslist for local people who sell their farm-fresh eggs. I always seem to find eggs for cheap on Craigslist. Many of the people are hobby farmers who have more eggs than their family will eat and sell off the surplus.
You can afford to splurge on certain foods when they go on sale. That juicy, grass-fed rib eye that the farmer was showing you this week? Why not? You buy it. But you don’t always buy the top quality. You allow splurges like this every once in a while, but most the time you stick to whatever you can find at the grocery store on sale. You don’t need to hunt or shop around much. You stand in line at the grocery store proud of your full Paleo cart. Sometimes the husband gets on to you about your spending, but you tell him that health is worth more than food and that is what you are buying. Listen up, you can still save money!
5. Grab a Costco or Sam’s membership and buy some things in bulk: nuts, organic frozen veggies, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. Check out my list here of 50 things I found at my Costco.
6. Stop buying expensive laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, and make your own! Saving money in different areas like this frees up your expenses so you have more freedom in buying your groceries.
7. Buy your meat from a local meat market. I have discovered that meat markets cut the meat fresh for you so there is little risk of the meat being sprayed with preservatives or having that “pink slime” on it. Also, many meat markets have monthly family packs with a variety of different meats to get you through the month.
So, you’re doing good with this whole Paleo thing. You buy all the best quality organic produce and foods that you can. You can afford to grab whatever kind of food you want from whatever store you want, regardless of the price. There is still some that you can learn or do.
8. Buy a whole, grass-fed cow or half a cow from a local farmer! This is such a good investment. You have to have a large, deep freezer before you do this, but you get such a good deal and all different cuts of meats. Most the time you can specify what kind of cuts you would like. You also get all the marrow bones to make beef stock with and the organs to start experimenting with making organ meat. Check out “Eat Wild” for local sources.
9. It would do you some good to grow your own food or pick your own food. Sometimes we get so caught up in shopping our grocery list that we don’t stop to appreciate the time it took to grow, nurture, and harvest our food. “Pick Your Own” is a great website to find local farms you can go to and pick your own produce for a great deal!
10. Sign up for Amazon. Amazon is a life-saver to me. Not only does it save me a ton of money every year, but it gives me access to certain products that are unavailable in my area.
That was 10 different ways you can start to save money and make Paleo work for your budget. Like I said in #2, I have another great method for stretching just ONE whole chicken into 4 meals!
One Chicken Four, Five, or Six Meals
Step One: Take your whole chicken, remove giblets and store in fridge, wash the chicken, pat it dry and then place it face down in a crock pot. Add 2-4 cups (depending on size of chicken) of water to the pot. Cook on low for 5-8 hours. When the leg pulls off easily, you will know it is done.
Step Two: Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool on a plate. Leave all the juices in the crock pot. When the chicken is cool, remove all the meat from the chicken and put all the bones and skin back into the crock pot. Now you have enough meat to split the chicken up into 2 meals. Make a simple skillet dish with lots of veggies (recipe follows for a Creamy Chicken Skillet dish), a chicken salad, chicken wraps, whatever!
Step Three: Now throw an onion chopped into fourths, a chicken foot (if you can find one), saved giblets, a few garlic cloves, a stick of celery, and a carrot into the crock pot. Add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, which helps pull the minerals from the bones. Then add enough water to the pot to fill it up. Cook on low for 24-48 hours. In the last hour, add some sage, salt, and pepper.
Step Four: Let the stock cool, then remove all the chicken and veggies and strain the stock into a bowl. You should have about 1.5 gallons of extremely, nutritious bone stock, which is another 2 whole soup meals of your choosing.
Step Five: Reuse the bones and MAKE MORE STOCK! Yes, you can reuse the bones until they disintegrate. With chickens, it takes about 3 times reusing them before they crumble away. Just to note, each time you reuse the bones, your stock will have less flavor than the previous.
There ya go! From one chicken you got 2 meals to use with meat and 2-4 meals to use the stock with!
*Creamy Chicken Skillet* (Bonus Recipe)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB of butter/coconut oil
1/2 chicken meat from the crock pot chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
15 ounce can of diced tomatoes or 4-5 diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves or 3 TB dried basil
15 ounce can of full fat coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
- In a deep skillet or pot, soften the onions and garlic in the butter/oil.
- Add the chicken and let warm up. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, basil, and coconut milk.
- Let it all warm up and then season to taste with salt and pepper! Serve it over spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles (pictured), or cauliflower rice!