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Paleo on a Budget

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When it comes to following a wholesome Paleo lifestyle, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. The Paleo Diet® is composed of meats, healthy fats and oils, vegetables, and fruits. It’s nothing “fancy.” Rather, it’s going back to basics and not relying on fads or novelty items. There are many tips and tricks that can help you keep within your budget, especially when you’re first starting out. Here’s some of our favorite Paleo-on-a-budget advice.

 

1. Buy produce that is in season

This piece of advice requires some planning and awareness on your part. Research which Paleo-friendly items are in season during different times of the year. Why? Well, seasonal produce is often at a reduced price. It can also help your local farmers and will taste fresh, too! Let’s use spring as an example. In the spring, you can find in-season kale, avocados, peaches, cauliflower, and strawberries. You can make quite a few dishes and snacks using just these fresh spring ingredients. If you find yourself in doubt as to what is currently in season, you can quickly research your area.

 

2. Try your hand at gardening

Consider taking up gardening to procure your own fresh fruits and veggies. It doesn’t need to be vast and complex. Even something small where you grow herbs can be a profitable and pleasurable activity so that you can easily add flavor to your dishes! Things that you can consider growing are lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. You’ll want to consider the temperature and climate of where you live, but at the very least, you can grow herbs indoors.

 

3. Inexpensive meat can be ethical, too

Meat is a large portion of the Paleo Diet and provides you with much-needed protein. After all, your body uses protein to build tissue, make enzymes, and your hair and nails are composed primarily of protein. You may be wondering which cuts of meat are generally cheaper. Think bone-in and ground meat. When purchasing this meat, we recommend that you opt for buying from ethical, eco-friendly sellers where you can see how the animals were treated. If you live in an area with farms and ranches, then take advantage of this and look out for terms such as grass-fed, free-range, and hormone-free. If farms and ranches are not an option, then check your local grocery stores for specials and sales on ethical meats. Avoid fatty feedlot meat.

 

4. Consider buying in bulk

If you already know which ingredients your diet is heavy in, then consider buying bulk. When purchasing meat in bulk, like from a local farm, you’ll want to freeze it so that you can prepare it at your own pace. Some other things that can be bought in bulk are eggs, frozen fruit, vegetables, olive oil and nuts. Check out your local bulk stores, farms, and ranches for ideas.

 

5. Plan, plan, plan

Lastly, while pursuing your Paleo lifestyle, it can be helpful to plan ahead. This could mean planning the meals and snacks that you want to eat ahead of time, keeping a list of the foods that are staples in your diet, and keeping track of the amount of money that you spend, in order to stick safely to your budget. Planning takes out the hassle of trying to figure out what to eat at the last minute, which can be especially difficult with a family.

The Paleo Diet is a no-frills, budget-friendly means of eating and living your life. Keeping these tips in mind can make things easier whether you’re a beginner or have been Paleo for several years. Take your time, do your research and focus on living a healthy and fulfilling life.

Paleo Gardening No Matter the Color of Your Thumb | The Paleo Diet

Are you looking to save money on your grocery bill while following the Paleo diet? One of the simplest ways to reduce food costs is to grow your own food!

Although, planting a garden wasn’t something our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to do, it allows us to reconnect to our food source in modern times by foraging from our own environment.1 Further, having access to fresh vegetables allows you to round out your Paleo meals at a moment’s notice, so you can get dinner on the table quickly. Grilling chicken breasts? Why not pair it with a hearty green salad straight from the garden?

Even those with a black thumb and limited space can have success with gardening by utilizing crops that grow well in containers and don’t require a lot of sun to thrive. I actually began my own garden exclusively in containers with partial sun, focusing on low maintenance crops that demand minimal weeding, such as lettuces and herbs. As I gained confidence and knowledge, I have been able to expand my bounty to Swiss chard, carrots, beets, and cucumbers. By utilizing my small urban yard, I have been able to continuously grow food throughout the year, including hot summers and snowy winters.

Here’s why you should plant your own herb and lettuce filled Paleo garden.

Herbs are a superfood, packed with important antioxidants. They might even be a better source of dietary antioxidants than food groups such as berries and dark leafy vegetables. 2 Specifically herbs contain a wide variety of active phytochemicals, including the flavonoids, terpenoids, lignans, sulfides, polyphenolics, carotenoids, coumarins, saponins, plant sterols, curcumins, and phthalides that either inhibit nitrosation or the formation of DNA adducts or stimulate the activity of protective enzymes such as the Phase II enzyme glutathione transferase. 3

Herbs are typically expensive to purchase at the grocery store and tend not to last very long when picked. Therefore, cultivating your own herb garden can be beneficial to both your health and your wallet. Our favorite, easiest to grow herbs are thyme, rosemary, and chives.

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is derived from the wild plant Lactuca serriola and was considered a medicinal herb, useful as a sedative and analgesic. 4 Once you discover the pleasure of eating fresh picked lettuce, you won’t settle for prepackaged leaves ever again. Lettuce leaves are edible at any stage of its development before it goes to seed, and fresh picked, young lettuce is delicious. Lettuce also contains antioxidant compounds, polyphenols such as quercetin and luteolin rhamnosyl-hexosides, and vitamin C.

Growing your own lettuce allows you to experience a larger variety than what is available at your grocery store. Seek out the kinds with the darkest leaves, as they offer the most nutritional benefit. The loose leaf variety is the easiest to grow and can be harvested leaf by leaf, and the summer crisp variety is the most resistant to bolting during extreme summer heat.

High summer temperatures stimulates plants to bolt as well as make them taste bitter, and strong sun exposure can burn their leaves. You can create shade with taller plants like sunflower and raspberry, or use cloth covers, and planting in containers allows you to relocate them to more suitable conditions. Fortunately, if you find the leaves taste acrid, wash and store them in the refrigerator for a day or two and much of the bitterness will disappear. 5

Get started with your own Paleo garden to experience an abundance of fresh herbs and greens. Now is the time to plant to get ready for a fall harvest.

 

REFERENCES

[1] O’Keefe, James H., and Loren Cordain. “Cardiovascular disease resulting from a diet and lifestyle at odds with our Paleolithic genome: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Vol. 79. No. 1. Elsevier, 2004.

[2] Dragland, Steinar, et al. “Several culinary and medicinal herbs are important sources of dietary antioxidants.” The Journal of nutrition 133.5 (2003): 1286-1290.

[3] Craig, Winston J. “Health-promoting properties of common herbs.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70.3 (1999): 491s-499s.

[4] Marks, Malcolm K., and Stephen D. Prince. “Seed physiology and seasonal emergence of wild lettuce Lactuca serriola.” Oikos (1982): 242-249.

[5] Drost, Dan. “Lettuce in the Garden.” US Department of Agriculture Retrieved from //extension. usu. edu/files/publications/publication/HG_Garden_2005-16. pdf (2010).

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