Hunting & Gathering (or as we call it nowadays, grocery shopping)
Grocery shopping is often a source of stress for me. Usually we (my boyfriend and I) are working with a very limited budget and trying to make it stretch as long as possible. I am still in the process of learning how to budget shop on a paleo diet but it does get easier each go.
Most of the time we have about $40-50 to last a couple of weeks to feed two adults who really like to eat. We have found that a week’s worth of food has been pretty easy to come by with that amount of money, below in the slideshow is a picture of about $40 worth of groceries that lasted us about a week, and it is somewhat bare bones considering all of the delicious paleo-friendly options out there.
The items we concentrate on getting into the basket when traversing the linoleum wilds of the grocery store are meat & eggs, fats, vegetables, and fruit, mostly in that order. If we can afford some extra luxury items we go for full-fat Greek yogurt (FAGE), unsweetened frozen berries, coconut milk, cheese, nuts, seafood, and whatever else might strike our fancy that week.
The meats category mostly consists of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pork (which is usually pretty cheap), and hopefully some ground beef and/or maybe even some steaks if we get really lucky. Right now we are just shopping at the supermarket but I want to look into going to a local butcher instead. I have recently found out however that the supermarket marks down much of the meat and the seafood as well pretty drastically toward the end of the night so we will probably start taking advantage of that. Everything gets broken up into meal size portions when we get home and put in the freezer. Eggs are great for breakfast and other things, we always try to keep them in stock.
The main fats we use are unsalted butter and lard. Both are pretty inexpensive so easy for us to get a hold of and they are both also very flexible as far as what you can cook with them. I also love olive oil which we do happen to have in stock now and I hope to keep it that way!
Vegetables can be preferably fresh or frozen, but sometimes canned. We like to keep salad greens on hand and try to have enough to have at least 3 or 4 good sized salads every week. I love the bags of vegetables that you can just throw in the microwave to steam. We will throw in a couple tablespoons of butter at the end to mix up in there. It’s fast, convenient, and they are fairly inexpensive. I think we got them for around 2 or 3 for $5 last time.
We try to pick up a little bit of fruit each time we go to the store. Often it is just a bag of apples and maybe a bunch of bananas. I like to snack on both with peanut butter (one of those no-no items on the strict paleo regimen), but peanut butter is kind of a luxury item and I plan on trying to switch over to healthier nut butters. Berries are always welcome in our household and if we have enough we go for bags of unsweetened frozen berries since it is less expensive and they keep for longer than the fresh stuff.
So that is about how we grocery shop, in a nutshell. We are definitely still figuring out how to stay on top of eating healthy on a tight budget and I will definitely post any tips and/or tricks we come across.
We have talked about making grocery shopping a little more primal by bicycling to the supermarket to stock up instead of driving. That way we would be mimicking actually getting out there and moving to do the “hunting and gathering”, more similar to our paleolithic ancestors, all the way to dragging “the kill” back home.
Hey, any excuse to get that exercise is good, huh? 😉
P.S. I am planning on taking a photo of everything I eat and posting it here at the end of the day so that anyone interested can get an idea of what sort of things you might eat on this diet. Our meals are generally pretty simple, we are both busy students so we prefer quick, inexpensive meals. There is not really a way out of cooking on this diet, but that should be seen as a good thing. Things that come prepackaged and ready to eat are pretty much awful for you, no matter what they say on the label. Just read the ingredient list and you’ll get the idea.
So for breakfast I had what is fast becoming the usual, a bowl of scrambled eggs. The idea here is to throw in whatever you’ve got and sounds good. We almost always have tomatoes and onions on hand, so those are in there, as well as some pork sausage and shredded Gouda cheese and it is all topped off with salsa. It was all cooked in about a tbsp. of unsalted butter in addition to some of the fat cooked off of the sausage.
As students our days are kind of irregular. We woke up around 11 am so “breakfast” was actually around 12:30. School until about 5 pm so our next meal was lunch/dinner which consisted of a thick, juicy pork chop pan-fried in olive oil, seasoned with dry oregano, rosemary, sea salt, and pepper, a salad of green leaf-lettuce, iceberg, tomato, and onion tossed in olive oil and red wine vinegar, and a bunch of canned green beans (technically a legume, and non-paleo, but probably the most harmless of the legumes).
For a snack, or dessert if you want to call it that we had what was left of our FAGE FF (remember, that’s full fat here, NOT fat free) Greek yogurt. I had mine with a small handful of almonds, some frozen blueberries and rasberries, and drizzled with honey. It was very yummy. 🙂