Complaint: I can’t afford Paleo/Grain Free/GAPs.
Yes, you can! I’m feeding a growing family of seven a grain free diet. You can do it to!
For a great budgeting guide, head over to Balanced Bites. Diane even has a printable chart you can keep on your fridge!
Here’s some tips:
Check your local warehouse store. Our Costco routinely carries Nutiva organic coconut oil, Maranatha almond butter & Kerrygold butter at great prices.
Frequent your local discount grocery store. We have a Grocery Outlet here and I often find organic salad and organic beef there as well as occasional other healthy meat choices. This is a significant savings over regular store prices.
Compare prices. I know that Trader Joe’s has the best prices on organic carrots around ($.79/lb).
Replace. If you stop buying junk food, bread, pasta, cereal, & dairy- you have more to spend on meat & produce. You should be eating out less (No, McD’s isn’t Paleo), so you can also shift money from those expenses to your grocery budget.
Find local sources for food. I found a slaughterhouse/distribute that provides (local!) organic ground beef to a major retailer. I can buy (non certified) organic, free range ground beef for $2.69/lb, other meats and certified organic beef is a bit higher but still dramatically lower than retail. I go once a month and stock up. Eventually, I will buy a half beef which I’ve found for $2.69/lb (including steaks, roasts, ground, etc. . .). We have to buy a second freezer before that big purchase.
Get chickens. The initial set up was higher than I expected, but we will use that set up for many groups of baby chicks in the years to come. Monthly feed is about $27 + a bit of scratch, shell, & grit. They forage frequently which supplements their diet and gives us rich, orange yolks. The feed we buy for them is from our local Backyard Farmer who has it mixed specifically for his store. It is soy free and organic (but not certified). The comparable organic feed that’s not local contains soy but the price is about the same. With our 14 hens, we get about 6 dozen eggs each week (even right now in the winter, we have supplemental light on to help them produce). At $4-5/dozen to purchase comparable quality from a local farm, this is a steal!
I’m considering a milk goat. . . we shall see what comes of that. Right now, we are purchasing shares in a cow share to get raw milk, cream, & butter. This is not cheap by any means, but we use very limited quantities of dairy (except butter. . . we use lots of that!).
Grow a garden. On small city lot you can grow a substantial amount of food. Live in an apartment? Grow a container garden. I recommend reading The Backyard Homestead. Can or otherwise preserve what you can to get through the colder season.
Make buddies at the Farmers Markets. You may be able to score end of market leftovers at a great price.
Don’t Bake. Or Do. Whichever. I’ve found that baking, especially with coconut flour, isn’t terribly expensive. Nut flours are. Raw honey is. So, keep all those factors in mind. I can bake a bit more because my chickens provide the vast majority of the eggs we consume, so that’s a big cost savings (coconut flour baking requires a lot of eggs!). Factor in all your costs, and decide how often you can bake. My kids would eat coconut flour bread every day if I kept it around. . . but that’s not an option! When you buy baking ingredients (coconut flour, almond flour), buy in bulk when a sale comes up. Store extra almond flour in the freezer. Coconut flour is fine sealed on your pantry shelf.
Remember- organic, free range, local is BEST. But, even eating conventionally raised meat and produce is far healthier than the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). We do a combination. I buy as much organic as possible and fill in with leaner meat and cleaner produce from conventional growers. Some things, like apples, I don’t ever buy conventional. . . if we can’t score a good price, we don’t buy apples. ‘Nuff said.