Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Paleo on $84.88 a month day 30 - Done!

I finished the last challenge day by finishing odds and ends.

For breakfast, I had the usual greens and eggs, with some of the container of grass-fed beef that I had put in the freezer (containing lots of leeks and fennel) and beets and half a grapefruit from trader Delta.

Lunch was a stir-fry of greens, the last of the mushrooms and chicken.  I also enjoyed beet juice with lemon, and a dab of pineapple guava jam from trader Rebekah.

For dinner, I enjoyed the other half of the grapefruit, chicken cooked in butter, a soup made with meat broth, fennel, leek and celery, nuts from trader Dean, beets, a can of smoked oysters and and eggs cooked in beef fat with greens and feta cheese from trader Felix.

I bought a can of smoked oysters for a dollar, leaving me with $15.12 in the kitty.  I still have tons of food:  purchased chicken and a kitchen full of lemons, oranges, tangerines and kumquats.

This challenge was much more fun than last year, probably because I got to know of more places in town that hold quick sales.  Within the year, a new dollar-type store came to town, and I was able to enjoy a few more luxuries like liver sausage, sardines, oysters and eggs at a much better price than before.  It also helped that a trading partner moved across the country a few weeks before starting the challenge and left me with a couple of bags of pantry and fridge stuff.  There was lots of crap in the bag, too, but you didn't hear about it until now.  I took all the pasta and bean soup to a local community center, and then threw out (I mean composted) the inedibles like the 20-year-old spices and the rancid snacks.  But I did have several kinds of vinegars, pickles, sauces and sugars at my disposal, and that helped with variety.  It also helped that I started a seasonal volunteering gig mid-challenge, and they sure did come through with some wonderful food and some really great coffee.  (And a wonderful time, I might add.  I will certainly be helping them out next time!)

I get so so tired of hearing how a paleo diet is unattainable financially.  Sure, it is more expensive than the beans and rice diet I used to follow.  But I really doubt that eating paleo for 84-some dollars a month is three times what a vast majority of vegetarians and SAD-eaters pay for their food, with the required soy analogs and packaged necessities.

Some friends were complaining about the price of bread, and of having to pay more than $5 for the loaves that they enjoy, and then having to waste it when they made a sandwich for a visitor and they wouldn't eat the bread.  Mock meats and bags of salad greens are also really expensive, as is almost any type of fruit.  So, I really saved some bucks by not having to purchase 3-5 pieces of exotic fruit every day.  I was fine on just my locally-sourced and home-grown citrus, and the few berries and freezer jam I came across.

Today, I thought I would jump out of bed, go to the kitchen and scarf down a sweet potato or some cheese.  But instead, I made my normal breakfast with the last of the grass-fed beef, and forgot about the other foods.  Could I do this forever?  It certainly is a pain to cook "my food" and "their food" at home, and to keep track of everything, but I think it is certainly doable.

Thank you for reading!


  1. An excellent experiment. :) Really shows that healthy eating doesn't have to be expensive - just creative.

  2. Well done, have enjoyed following your journey these past 30 days, and are looking forward to your next post, whatever it may be.
    All the best Jan

  3. :-) does this mean that next year you'll try to do it on even less money?

  4. I guess the most expensive way to eat involves consuming larges quantities of organic vegetables and fruits, eating on a low budget which is not based around starchy carbs is possible even for a person without a garden and trading partners when enough of meat and eggs gets consumed.

  5. Hey, Almond and Jan, thanks for reading. I get a completely different following when I do these challenges, compared to the usual snarky stuff. I am glad that some people find this to be interesting. Frankly, I am tired of the, "but paleo is so expensive" meme.

  6. Tess, I don't think I will even try to do with less money. When I did this the first time in 2010, it was mostly vegetarian, and I know I can do it well under a dollar a day. I will probably try to do it next May. IDK, everyone thinks that summer is super easy. There is SO much available and the only time I can get free eggs. I think I could do vegetarian even cheaper than before because I have built up my network so much in the intervening years.

  7. Thanks Galina! I think the most expensive way to eat is to buy a bunch of stuff, intending to cook healthy, and then getting lazy or busy and going out to eat instead, and then wasting all the purchases. It is my experience before I had so many trading partners is that organic fruit is so much more expensive than organic veggies in season. My local farmer's market really charges a luxury mark-up, probably due to the intensive amount of waste associated with the fresh fruit market. I think any kind of packaged crap diet is the most expensive, and the worst, whether it has meat in it or not.

  8. Probably, it is not totally suit the post, but I want to share my outrage - a whole ELEMENTARY school in NY going vegetarian, and comments are mostly positive
    When France banes vegetarianism in school cafeterias at 2011 (, school in NY going vegetarian at 2013!

  9. When I was a vegetarian, I think meat-eaters were much more tolerant. Now I have a whole host of people (former friends maybe?) who are disgusted by eating with me.
    I just had a similar discussion with a friend who just went veg, sounded just like that principal. She just could not get it in the whole wide world why I wouldn't be happy eating a cup of beans a day.

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