This is the complaint I hear most from the people I talk to about going paleo. I simply can’t afford paleo! And, they have a point. If you look at most of the information out there, you get the impression that the only way to go full paleo is to only buy and eat grass-fed beef, pastured pork, free-range chickens, blah, blah, blah. In a way, it makes you feel inferior if you can’t always afford the elite meats and vegetables for you and your family. Paleo, in my opinion, is about feeling better, not worse.
Well y’all, allow me to let you in on a little secret. It is not necessary to purchase and eat only organic, grass-fed, free range, and pastured produce and meats.
In the beginning, when I first started eating paleo, I drove myself crazy, running from store to store, trying to find all of the products recommended through various sites and blogs. Then, the foods I did find were so expensive, I had to purchase only enough to get me through the week. It was a vicious cycle! And, all that running around was stressing me out to boot.
Now, when my pocketbook gets a little tight, I make a few concessions.
Those fruits and vegetables listed on EWG’s Dirty Dozen, I always buy organic. But, anything on their clean list is fair game. It is important to wash all of your produce, organic or not, in a bath of vinegar and water. Just add a couple of spoonfuls of vinegar in a sink of warm water. I’m also very careful about not purchasing GMO (genetically modified) foods. If you’re unaware of the dangers of GMO foods, here’s a great resource. Should your town or city have a farmer’s market, try to get out there and get to know your local farmers. It is always better to buy local, if you can. Where I live, the farmer’s market is closed all winter. Even during the seasons it’s open, it’s pretty small. Luckily, we have a couple of grocery stores that sell locally grown produce. The key is to shop smart! Buy organic or locally grown when you can. If it’s on EWG’s clean list, feel free to purchase standard. Just make sure to wash it.
Okay, let’s get into meats and eggs. I have found it close to impossible to find grass-fed meats, pastured pork, and free-range (not fed any grains, corn, or soy) poultry in my neck of the woods. The best I can get my hands on are a couple of grass-fed beef items at my local Trader Joe’s. Other than that, I’m S.O.L., unless I order online. There is no way I’m placing an order online every time I want pork chops! So, here’s what I do. I set a budget every month on how much I’m willing to spend on meat. Staying within that budget, I order the items I eat the most, bacon, beef liver (cause it’s really cheap), ground beef and a nice beef roast. If I have a little extra money, I might purchase a couple of ribeye steaks and some pastured pork loin. For my poultry, I purchase organic chicken legs and thighs, which are cheaper than breast. Once in awhile, I’ll buy a whole organic chicken. Usually, I’ll roast the chicken and make broth with the bones and organs. For chicken breast, I usually buy a bag of frozen from Trader Joe’s. It’s not organic. But, I do trust them as a retailer. I know they try to sell the highest quality products. As far as eggs is concerned, I buy organic. I know it’s not optimal that they are fed a vegetarian diet (corn, grains, soy); but, it’s all I can get out here. So, there! It’s really not a problem for me right now; because, I can’t eat eggs while I’m on the elimination phase. But, when and if I can add them back, I will buy the organic ones.
There are plenty of times when I need certain foods, after running out, that I just try to make the best choice possible. Pork is a big one. Sometimes, I just want pork chops or a nice steak. When this happens, I try to make the best decision I can. I typically go with companies I trust. I purchase leaner meats. Just an FYI, the fat of an animal usually contains the most absorbed toxins. The leaner the meat, the less the chance of contamination.
Bottom line, you don’t have to be rich to eat paleo. Everyone can afford to eat paleo. Most of us have been spending money on take out, fast food, and restaurant meals. Now, hopefully, you’re making more of your meals at home. You are going to receive the benefits of eating paleo, even if your diet doesn’t consist of all organic, grass-fed, elite meats and produce.
So, go out, to your regular grocery store, and get some meats, produce, and eggs. Start eating paleo! Don’t let anyone scare you away with their tales of grass-fed, la-de-da meats. Do what you can! You and your family will reap the healthy rewards.
If you need any help or encouragement, please leave me a comment. I love helping people fit paleo into their lives.
Online Meat Sources-