Wednesday, July 11

For What It's Worth

For what it’s worth: thoughts on a caveman diet budget.

Search the internet and you will find a plethora of articles dealing with economies of budget shopping on caveman style diets.

Here’s what we think: This diet will hit you in the wallet harder than a diet based on low-cost carbohydrate based, processed food.  There's no doubt about it, the most natural paleo style diet packs a punch! Chicken nuggets and chips, a loaf of white bread, a can of beans on toast, fish fingers and chips, pizzas all coming in at less than a pound a piece can look good value to those of us on a limited income or at least better value than splashing out on a slim piece of organic meat that could scarcely feed two adults let alone the three children who follow along behind in our own family?

We say that at least some of that apparent additional cost can be offset by choosing cheaper cuts of meat and learning how to cook them (slow-cooker meals, stews, casseroles, slow roasting).  In this way the meat becomes tender and drops off the bone.

For example a large ham shank is on sale at our butchers for £2.25 each.  This fed the five of us through a process of slow roasting and then returning the skin to the cooker to make crackling for “afters”.  Be creative! You will save money as well by not eating out.  Sit back for a moment and think of all the take - out meals you have ordered in because you were too tired to eat?  Pizza, kebabs, Chinese, Indian delivered to your door: gone.

Too tired to cook stops here!

You will find that as your diet improves you will want to create strong, healthy meals for your family and indeed, may well be compelled to do this as you feel the significant health benefits in your life.  There are financial savings then to be made here.  There are also wonderful and perhaps time-forgotten benefits of eating a home-cooked meal together around a table.  We do this as a family now, every night around six.  It’s a time to check in and talk and laugh and catch-up.  Try it and see.

In addition to the above methods and cost saving ideas further savings can be made by sourcing standard packaged meat off the supermarket shelves. This goes somewhat against the ideal, however it is a necessary consideration if we want easy weight management and better health for all.

You will be aware by now of the dangers of refined carbohydrates and will know that a natural, or stone age, caveman style diet is all about moving away from these foods. Well yes of course this is true, however to do this we have also to be aware that this doesn't just involve ceasing to take things like sugar and bread directly. What we must also consider is that because these foods are cheap and when consumed create weight gain, they are used throughout the food chain to feed the animals we feed on.

Intensively farmed animals fed on corn and not grass are also susceptible to becoming sick and so are given a whole host of drugs and hormones to keep them alive long enough to get to market.  This leaves us with a dilemma, obviously some of the drugs, toxins and anti-nutrients contained in the foods used to fatten intensively reared animals is going to carry through into the animal and thus onto whomever may consume that animal, that said different parts of the animal have different concentrations, offal has the highest concentrations so best avoided from intensively reared stock not fed on grass.

That considered, on the other hand the meat from animals produced in this way litters the supermarket shelves and at low prices. You now have a very important decision to make and this will no doubt be led by your financial situation. Yes, if you want effortless weight management, lots of energy and to be free of worry from disease you need to avoid 'all' direct sources of refined carbohydrate. This is a given and goes without saying, however to do this in the absolute and remove it completely is more expensive than the average shop, though as was pointed out earlier there are cost saving tricks you can do to help.

Whether you choose fully organic grass fed meat or the grain fed, chemical induced substitute comes down to a simple equation, can you afford it? If yes, then get it, it's worth every penny. If on the other hand your budget won't stretch to this level, don't worry you're still doing everything you can to give yourself the best chance in life. If this is you, and this happens to be the vast majority, always buy the best you can afford. Instead of grass fed organic Aberdeen Angus, switch to an organic free range chicken. If you can't afford organic free range eggs, then opt for caged eggs, it's still better than a boxed pizza.

Like many things in life, it's about choices and although perhaps we're forced to make concessions at times, as long as the foods you choose are real foods and not mechanically modified or manufactured by machines you wont go far wrong.

We notice too that when people change direction and begin eating within our diet programs, more fat, more protein, less carbohydrate: they actually eat less (often a lot less) because hunger is curbed and under control and stops being an issue.  In this way you will make financial savings: you will no longer be buying snacks for example to keep you going through the energy slumps that hit around 10.00 am and 4.00pm.

Good fats and protein will see you through.

Finally, step back again and take a look at the bigger picture.  Abiding by a paleo diet can be the gateway to a happier, healthier life.  The “spin off “ from gaining control of your diet and health is more energy more vitality and a reduced risk of chronic disease and this means less time off work, less health care costs: you have in fact brought yourself more time and how valuable is that?

For what it's worth how about, Priceless!


For What It’s Worth | Paleo Works | said...

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Ian Cannon said...

Nice article. As you say at the end; eating better does control hunger and that results in savings. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to afford to make the switch (like you say unhealthy food is VERY cheap), but since budgeting for the change I don't find I'm spending much more per week as what I do buy lasts a surprisingly long time. I find most days I'm only having 2 small meals and my sweet tooth while still there is much easier to satisfy with fruit. I actually think fruit is the most expensive thing I buy for how nutritionally ineffective it is.

Amy J. said...

Interesting article. I'm a vegetarian, nearly vegan, and therefore not hit hard by the high price of quality meats. I'd encourage people to consider incorporating a couple vegetarian meals each week if they are working within a tight budget. Pick up some dry beans and grains, and any fruit/vegetables on sale at your farmers market or grocery store - there you go! Sweet potatoes have been my latest favorite!

What's for Dinner Ma? said...

I'm glad you pointed out that livestock is fed foods that are not natural to their diets! Many people say meat is bad for you, but I think it is the diet the livestock is eating and how it is prepared with chemicals and such that is the real culprit!

PaleoWorks said...

Thank you for your comment, however we must make it clear we could and would never advocate anyone eating either beans or grains due to the damaging effects of these foods. Of course we are all free to choose what we eat, though the whole principle of a diet programs are based on optimal health and longevity, consuming beans and grains are contrary to this principle.

towardshealthylife said...

I down do the Paleo but I agree that we save money by cooking from scratch, avoiding restaurants and process food! It makes such a difference on health as well and I like to know what I eat so I would rather do it myself :-)

kathryningrid said...

There are significant tradeoffs for every distinct choice we make. You said it well.

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