The Paleo / Primal Diet on a Budget

It’s no secret that eating well costs big bucks. Just peek into the carts where super couponers buy a semi-truckload of food for under $5. They are full of boxed, sugared, yucky carbohydrate junk that negatively impacts the body. Deep down we know that eating meats, fruits, and vegetables is how we’re wired to consume. Eat foods that we were designed to eat. Simple as gluten-free pie.

But it’s not quite that simple. Growing families who regularly coupon and shop rock-bottom deals can’t find those stellar deals in the produce and meat departments. Sure, tangerines bingo for cheap every once in a while, but you’ll notice your budget nearly double when purchasing large quantities of natural, minimally processed food. Our regular, weekly budget for natural foods and flour substitutes regularly hits $130 for four people, and that doesn’t include toiletries or diapers. Before becoming discouraged and succumbing $1 bags of white rice, there are some ways to shave costs:

1.     Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group.

The idea is simple. Pay a yearly or seasonal fee to a local farmer to “purchase” shares in the crops. Pick up a fresh box of produce once per week in exchange for that fee and enjoy a locally grown variety of veggies. My group charges $900/yr. for 5-15 pounds of produce each week, which puts it right at $17 per week–vastly cheaper than the farmers market or grocery products. Some weeks are better than others, as my membership fee doesn’t guarantee any returns. But even adding another $10 per week for additional produce makes it a steal. Check out local groups in your area doing the same.

2. Buy a whole or side of a cow.

Prices range for buying a grass-fed cow directly from the source, but it’s always cheaper than the grocery store. Purchase between 1/4 and a whole cow to freeze and feast on throughout the year. One-quarter of a cow takes up 5 cubic feet of space in your freezer, so buy accordingly. Prices in my area are between $4.99-$6.99/lb. of meat. The great thing about buying an entire cow is you get a huge variety of meat products–roasts, steaks, ground meat, marrow, liver, the works!

3. Grow your own stuff.

“But I don’t have the time! But I don’t have the money to start it!” Maybe you’re making out your schedule and garden plans to be grander than they are. Starting a garden doesn’t need to cost more than $120 for the soil, seeds, and a simple border. As you become more proficient, add more pizzazz. Start small with easy-to-grow and popular veggies like beans, squash, broccoli, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes. Get some guidance from backyard farmers who’ve made a few mistakes before you and then reap what you sew.

4. Check out the farmers market but come armed with comparison prices.

Some of the farmers market produce can’t be beat for price and taste. Others fall short of quality fruits and veggies at your grocery store. City dwellers will have a more bountiful supply of options whereas smaller town folks may not have as many choices. Our weekend market has a decent selection of locally farmed goods, but isn’t always as inexpensive as organic produce at Kroger.

5. Buy whole cuts of meat.

It’s no secret that a shoulder roast costs dollars less per pound than a filet. So rather than buying skinless, boneless chicken breasts, buy the whole chicken. Eating different parts of the meat will give you a better nutritional balance and cost less. Use bones and spare parts to make your own broth as well. Another option for meat savings is to buy high-quality ground meats–grass-fed beef and buffalo make great, tasty alternatives to buying pricey cuts.

6. Make your own snacks.

Buying organic, minimally processed snacks made with alternative flours and fresh nuts is out of the question on a budget, unless you make your own. Those things top $1 per snack. With a paleo/primal/evo cookbook it’s easy to blend and combine a variety of sweets and savories to make your own nut bars and natural chips. Make a huge bunch and freeze some for later.

7. Cook in batches and share with friends.

We all know buying bulk saves cash. So go in with several families to share the cooking and split costs! Make your own ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, snacks and coconut pancake batter in batches and then share your excess with each participating family.

8. Eat vegetarian meals more often.

There’s nothing wrong with a hearty bowl of veggie chili with a side salad. Or butternut squash curry. We always feel a bigger hunger pinch on veggie nights, but curb it with after dinner fruit smoothies or dark chocolate. Technically, tofu is not primal/paleo approved, but I’m open to it as a protein substitute every now and then, especially sautéed or in stews.

9. Don’t go to out to eat unless it’s at an expensive, well-stocked eatery.

You may be whining and griping about the prices of free-range eggs, but if you’re going out to eat on a regular basis, you have no excuse to gripe. The inflated cost of just one restaurant meal far exceeds three or four meals purchased from the grocery store. Plus you’ll ingest an unhealthy chunk of veggie oils, flour and other nasty, processed unmentionables. That being said, my husband and I will treat ourselves to an ungodly-sized bill at the local steakhouse favorite a couple times a year. This is the time we get to splurge on professionally prepared local produce and grass-fed filets–that is our time to indulge, but we still get to eat healthily.

10. Go seasonal.

Don’t just make a list and stick to it! See what’s cheaper and on sale this week at your local grocery store and build your menu around it. Weekly circulars come in handy here for you to make plans. Check out Rachel Ray’s Winter Produce Guide for some help here or just ask the manager. They’ll be happy to explain the back-story behind what’s being stocked.

11. Store your produce properly.

Would you be embarrassed if I knew just how much spoiled food you tossed each week? Most Americans toss nearly 20% of food due to improper storage or overbuying. Learn some easy tricks to keeping veggies and fruits lasting longer in your fridge and on your counter. For example, store mushrooms in a paper bag, not plastic for maximum fridge life and don’t wash lettuce or squash before storing, as they will spoil faster.

Coupon Sherpa is a money-saving super-hero from the Himalayas. See more of his frugal living tips on sites like Wisebread and Walletpop.

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Finding a Diet that Works Quickly for You

It is not easy to find a diet that actually works, because each of us is very different and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Everyone want to know which diets that work quickly and easily, but what they should be asking is which diets work quickly and easily for me! We have put together a list of common diets that work that you may be interested in researching and why they might work for you.

Common Diets that Work

The Low Carb Diet – Examples Atkins, South Beach

Who should look at it – If your diet consists of primarily carbohydrates and processed foods then this may be a good diet for you. It will focus your attention on the items you are probably not eating enough of, vegetables and protein. By minimizing or cutting out the carbohydrates completely you will learn to eat foods that are more nutritionally beneficial, and over the long term learn to balance your carbohydrates better.

Support System Diet – Examples Weight Watchers

Who should look at it – if you are looking from some emotional support, or want to find some friends who have the same interests as you, then you may benefit from joining Weight Watchers. The New Weight Watchers Points Plus Program is a diet that works because it focuses your attention on eating a nutritionally balanced diet, gives you some extra points for yummy splurges and encourages you to take part in activity. You can follow Weight Watchers online and/or with weekly meetings. Tracking what you eat is very beneficial and weekly meetings offer support, encouragement and educational discussions on weight loss topics.

Vegan Diets – Examples The Kind Diet, The Skinny Bitch Diet

Who should look at it – Much attention has been brought to the vegan movement. If you are looking to remove animal products from your diet and want to follow an organic unprocessed diet then a Vegan diet might be for you. This is a very challenging diet to follow and people considering this approach will have to do a lot of research and planning to make sure their vegan diets are nutritionally balanced.

Food Plan Diets – Example Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem

Who should look at it – If you have the money to spend on these more expensive approaches then you may like to take the thinking out of your diet. Having breakfast, lunch and dinner pre-made for you every day is an easy way to stay on your program. If you don’t get bored by the generic frozen or freeze dried packaged foods then this may be a good approach for you to start. It will get you eating a healthy and balanced diet right away while you learn how to eat out, cook healthier and eventually adapt the healthy lifestyle to your day to day routine.

In conclusion, think about what kind of dieter you are and then look for the programs that will work best with your lifestyle. If you pick the right diet for you you will find that you are following a diet that actually works!

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Understanding The Real Benefits and Drawbacks Of The South Beach Diet

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Today, the South Beach Diet has turned into a lifestyle method of healthy eating for an incredible number of Americans.  The South Beach Weight loss program is split up into three phases.  The South Beach diet plan is a well known temporary quick weight loss diet coupled with a continued calorie-controlled diet.  The second phase from the South Beach Weight loss program is where you will lose your weight.

The South Beach Diet was made by Dr Agatston, a cardiologist of Miami and diet professional Marie Almon.  The South Beach diet continues to be incredibly popular just because a large amount of people discover it’s simple to use and to follow.

Due to this, the South Beach Diet is sometimes known as a modified low-carb diet.  By eliminating all carbs in the diet for 2 weeks, the South Beach weight loss program states that reduces insulin resistance.  The South Beach diet rely on eating ‘good’ fats and carbs.

The South Beach Weight loss program is all of the craze nowadays.  It’s not quantitative about carbohydrate counts.  The South Beach Weight loss program is full of vegetables, whole grain products and beans.

My knowledge about South Beach Diet is only not so amazing in contrast.  The South Beach weight loss program is relatively recent, with no independent scholarly studies have been done onto it.  The worst part concerning the South Beach weight loss program is the false promise about being healthful for the cardiovascular system.

The South Beach Weight loss program is rapidly substituting Weight Watchers like an established brand with regards to weight reduction products.  However, the South Beach Diet has numerous rules of slimming down which are not the same as the Weight Watchers program. This diet is much more balanced than, say, the Atkins one.  Numerous people think that the South Beach Diet is much better than the Atkins one.

The drawbacks from this diet come from:

– This diet is extremely demanding for people who are familiar with carb-rich diets
– The dietary plan can function to be rather expensive and time intensive
– Lapsing into old diet plan may lead to speedy putting on weight.

The dietary plan will need a lot of willpower, especially from carb-lovers. There’s always the risk of lapsing back to old diet plan and increasing carb intake without realising it. Dr. Agatston suggests that dieters that do lapse and wind up putting a few of the weight back on should instantly switch to phase one for a short period to be able to lose the surplus weight again.

So you? What do you think? Will it be suitable for you to follow a short-term weight loss program? Do you think you’ll be respecting its long term diet regime forever?

Prof. G. Puglisi MD contributes articles for the Mediterraneanbook.com healthy eating blog, a blog 100% dedicated to aid people learn how to eat healthy and learn to cook delicious Mediterranean diet recipes.

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