Is Eating Paleo and Healthy Only For Rich People?
A short trip to the grocery store is a familiar journey for all of us.
You leave the grocery store with 3 bags in your hand and a receipt of over $100. You think, "surely I didn't just spend $100!".
Well, you did!
According to Sustainable America's research (and your own grocery bills), prices are going up, up and up. There isn't an end in sight.
The price you pay is a combination of factors. The only ones worth mentioning for the context of this article are oil prices, transport costs and a little room for profit for the farmers themselves.
If the prices of food are continuing to go up, but our wages aren't, what are we left to do?
You're thinking, "Eating the lifestyle that's promoted on this site or any of the other ancestral lifestyle websites must be only for the rich."
Nora Gedgaudas and I actually discussed this topic on my show. It's actually more expensive to eat poorly in the long-term when you factor in the associated health costs due to a poor diet. Paleo can be affordable.
From Huffington Post article on The Costs of Obesity:
The incidence of obesity in the United States has soared from 13 percent to 34 percent over the last 50 years, while the percentage of Americans who are extremely or "morbidly" obese has rocketed from 0.9 percent to 6 percent.
Although the epidemic of obesity is well-known, the costs are not -- and in many cases are significantly greater than estimated even a few years ago. Some examples of obesity's economic impact:
* $190 billion in annual medical costs due to obesity, double earlier estimates.
* $1,850 more per year in medical costs for an overweight person than for someone of healthy weight, among employees at the Mayo Clinic and their adult dependents. $3,086 more per year in medical costs for a Mayo worker with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 to 40.
* $5,530 more per year in medical costs for a Mayo worker with a BMI above 40. By comparison, smokers' medical costs were only $1,274 a year higher than nonsmokers', who generally die earlier.
The article goes on to detail some more ridiculous numbers such as the extra amount of jet fuel used to transport the obese passengers on jetliners.
Clearly, we could write a book on these statistics alone.
In short, you pay the extra price for the higher-quality food now, or you pay later with the associated health costs as an unhealthy and potentially obese person.
While I can't control the grocery store prices, what I can do is give you some tips and tricks to saving some money when it comes to getting high quality food.
Tips & Tricks
Purchase meat with friends, family and coworkers.
Many people write about buying meat in bulk and storing pounds and pounds of beef in your freezer. While this is definitely attainable and a great way to get a discount on meat from your local butcher, it's not feasible for all.
People who live in apartments or people who simply don't have the finances to make a large purchase ahead of time for chest freezers or bulk purchases get excluded from this generically recommended tactic.
If you visit this site, you can select your state and city to find local eggs, meat, vegetables and dairy.
This is a truly empowering tool that everyone should utilize.
Once finding someone with the product you want, give them a call.
We are all people, remember!
If their prices or specials are not listed on their website, ask them how they can help you. They are likely to give you a per pound figure based on how much you buy.
An average freezer that sits on top of a refrigerator can comfortably hold 30+ pounds of meat.Take this into consideration when thinking of a bulk purchase.
The top shelf of the freezer pictured is 32 pounds of meat. This is a standard 4.96 cubic feet freezer. This should give you an idea of how much to purchase at a time!
Here are PCC Natural Market's recommended duration to store various meats in the freezer:
Freezer storage chart (0 °F)
|Note: Freezer storage is for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.|
|Bacon and sausage||1 to 2|
|Casseroles||2 to 3|
|Egg whites or egg substitutes||12|
|Frozen dinners and entrees||3 to 4|
|Gravy, meat or poultry||2 to 3|
|Ham, hotdogs and Lunchmeats||1 to 2|
|Meat, uncooked roasts||4 to 12|
|Meat, uncooked steaks or chops||4 to 12|
|Meat, uncooked ground||3 to 4|
|Meat, cooked||2 to 3|
|Poultry, uncooked whole||12|
|Poultry, uncooked parts||9|
|Poultry, uncooked giblets||3 to 4|
|Soups and stews||2 to 3|
Purchase ground meat over steaks
The taste of a grass-fed steak is incredible, but the prices can certainly add up. While I don't recommend eating ground meats 100% of the time (mostly because you'll get bored with it), it can definitely save you a few dollars per pound.
If you know the source, I don't see a problem with using ground meats the majority of the time.
My top recommendations are grass-fed beef and bison.
If you don't know the source, or you are buying conventionally-raised beef, I would stay away from ground products.
The problem is, in massive meat production operations, an average of 55 cows may be contained in one pack of ground beef. There is nothing wrong with this necessarily, it just presents a much larger chance for just one of those cows to be sick or have some sort of bacterial infection that you wouldn't want to consume.
Purchase food locally raised and grown
For now, local food is generally more expensive. However, if you factor in the taste of the food combined with the benefit you are doing to the local economy, the benefits outweigh the price.
Eventually, I predict the costs of local food to closely match the prices of the organic foods in your local grocery store.
With the United States alone using 20 million barrels of oil per day, this lifestyle is unsustainable long-term.
I can't say how much longer the rampant use of oil for food production and transport will continue, but trends show prices to keep going up.
Important: As food travels further from the source, the time, distance and exposure to light all deplete the micronutrient values in the foods.
Let's look at a chart showing the travel distances for some of your favorite supermarket foods compared to locally grown.
Notice the exponentially greater travel distance for some of the most common foods we eat! It's almost unbelievable when it's put into a graph like this.
We're talking an average of over 1000 miles for your food to get to your table.
Grow your own
As daunting as the task may sound, growing your own food can be delicious, easy and nearly free. The costs of seeds are so low that one could grow an entire garden with less than $20.
With 1/10th of an acre, a family right outside of Los Angeles is able to provide more than enough food for their entire family.
If you live in an apartment, condo or rental property, don't get discouraged.
Even though you may not be able to grow enough food to provide for your whole family (if you even had the time), you can still grow many windowsill or patio herbs and vegetables.
If you know nothing besides you want to grow something, start with bell peppers, jalepenos and tomatoes. They are very easy to grow and require very little maintenance.
Raise your own food
Baby chicks from the Kentucky State Fair
Raising chickens has been part of human history for thousands of years. Just in the past 50-60 years have we strayed away from having animals on our property.
Chickens and ducks are some of the easiest animals to keep around the house that provide food. Imagine having a group of hens laying you fresh eggs every day! It's very plausible for the city dweller.
You can purchase chickens for $1 each. Yes, a baby chick can be purchased on the internet for a dollar. Also, you will want to have some sort of shelter for them in your yard which can easily be built or purchased.
Murray Hatchery is the leading hatchery who can ship you baby chicks through the mail along with ducks and other birds. If you prefer, you can buy "hatching eggs" and attempt to hatch them yourself.
I recommend purchasing the already live chicks.
Raising cattle and hogs definitely requires more land and food, but the payoff can be much greater. I've had friends that buy and sell cattle making thousands of dollars of profit. This is something to consider if you or your family has land that's just wasted green space! Make some meat!
Just to give you an idea for time, cows are generally 2 years old before being butchered for meat.
Create a budget
No matter how many ways you look at it, food requires at least one of two things; time and/or money.
I recommend people set a budget for other items in life.
I wrote about the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle which allowed me greater piece of mind and more money to spend on high quality food!
I am confident that everyone can reduce at least a few things in their budget to free up some money towards quality food.
You would be surprised what people consider "the essentials" for life.
How many people do you know that would not dare take their cable TV, Netflix, Satellite, iPhone bills, Credit Card bills and Best Buy card payments away to have better food?
If you are sitting on your iPhone in front of your nightly television show while your children are on their hundred dollar video game systems (most with their own monthly bills associated with them) and are feeling like you can't pay an extra couple dollars to opt for the organic food or the pastured meats, you can.
Health or luxury, the choice is yours!
What have you done to make your lifestyle more affordable? Any tips or tricks you've picked up on throughout life?