So we asked you guys what sort of food budget related questions you had, and you gave us some good ones. I’ve picked a few questions that seem to come up more often for people. Here we go!
1. “What about conventionally raised meats, is it okay to buy meat that’s not grass-fed and finished?”
We always recommend getting grass-fed and finished, pastured, free-range, or wild meats and eggs whenever possible. It’s better for you, better for the environment, and better for the animals. It may take a little effort on your part to track down good sources of these foods, but it should be a priority. You can check resources like Eat Wild and Local Harvest to find local farms and places in your area that you can get pasture raised meats and other foods from. Now back to the question at hand, yes there are some of you who legitimately can’t find any good sources of grass-fed meat locally (you can always get it online and have it shipped), or may not be able to afford it. If you’re one of these people, don’t feel too bad. As always, just do the best you can. If that means buying conventionally raised meats at the grocery store, then that’s fine. While fat isn’t bad for you, and fattier cuts of meat from grass-fed/pastured animals are great, tasty, and nutritious, we typically recommend trying to get leaner cuts of conventionally raised meats or trimming some of the fat from the ones that aren’t. This is because conventionally raised meats have a fat profile and balance that isn’t quite as healthy.
2. “What should I ask farmers when potentially buying meat from them?”
Ask them how the animals are raised and what they’re fed. Ask if they’re grass-fed/pastured, if they’re finished on grass, if they’re given any other feeds or supplements, etc. Ruminant animals like cows and sheep can be totally grass-fed, but some animals like chickens and pigs don’t naturally eat just grass. You can find chickens and pigs that aren’t fed/supplemented with grains, but it’s usually more difficult. You still want to find them pastured so they can peck, scratch, and root around eating their natural diets even if they are supplemented with some feed as well. Basically, the closer to their natural diet, habitat, and lifestyle the better.
3. “What are some good practical and affordable dried foods, and foods that are portable and don’t require refrigeration?”
When people think of portable paleo foods, one of the first things that pops to mind is nuts. They’re portable, stable, and tasty. It’s usually recommended not to go crazy with them though, as they can add up fast, and could give you a bigger load of omega-6 fats. Whole fruits and vegetables you can eat raw (carrots and celery anyone?) are good portable foods. Dried foods are another good option. You can typically find dried fruits, coconut flakes, vegetables, and meats like jerky pretty easily. Getting a dehydrator and making them yourself opens up tons of options, and can save you money as well. Canned foods can be really convenient. Canned fish is a handy source of protein on the run. One of my favorites is wild caught Alaskan salmon. There are even some brands like Royal (Royal Red, Royal Pink) from Trident Seafoods, among others, that can be found in local grocery stores, are wild caught, really affordable, and in BPA free cans. Sardines, herring (commonly called kippers or kipper snacks), and tuna are good easy to find options as well. Just make sure they aren’t packed in junky oils.
While there are some cooked foods you can keep in containers that may stay good longer than you might think, getting a small cooler or lunch bag opens up tons of options and is one of the best things you can do if you need food on the go. You can put cooked meals or leftovers in containers, and get some ice packs to pack along with them in the cooler/bag, and you’re ready to rock!
For a lot more great info/resources, and how to make the most out of your food budget and your time, check out our new Paleo Diet Budget Shopping Guide.
Here’s a video of Robb talking about what the Guide covers: