I received this e-mail from a reader, and thought if she was having these questions, other people probably were, too. If you have tips for her, feel free to chime in!
I agree with this post that you can’t afford NOT too but at the same time, the money has to come from somewhere. We too are on a budget and just being on the Whole30 for 4 days, I can see that it will double by the end of the month. We already live a simple lifestyle. I barely wear makeup, I buy cheap shampoo, I don’t get mani/pedis or Starbucks unless I have a gift card. I only own 3 pairs of shoes and 2 pairs of jeans…all in attempt to cut money from our spending. We cut out all hobbies that require money (golf, scrapbooking, etc). I just CAN’T find the extra money. The area we are in is limited in organic products and the ones we can find are ridiculously priced. Even our Costco doesn’t carry all the goodies you blog about. I could go back to work but don’t feel that is where God would want me. I don’t mean to come across negative but I am SO torn. I want so bad for my family to have the best when it comes to what is going into their bodies but I don’t want to go into debt either. And to make it more complicated, my husband is “playing” along but not really supportive and my kids are refusing to eat most of what I am cooking. Any other suggestions on steps to take?
Here was my response:
I am so sorry you are discouraged right now. Believe me, I was right where you are. When we first started, I got to the end of the first month and thought, “What the freak?!” I think I even cried thinking it was going to be impossible. Here are a few things that I hope can help:
1. Yes, grass fed meat is great. But it’s not vital. There are a lot of benefits to it, but the most important thing initially is to get rid of grains, legumes, dairy and sugar. Ground beef is probably the cheapest option for beef, and I will often buy big “family packs” of chicken drumsticks or thighs that are pretty darn cheap. And I don’t always buy grass-fed or organic. When I have the luxury of doing that I will, but I don’t freak out if it’s not gonna happen. If you do buy conventional meat, just try to trim as much of the fat as possible, as that is what carries the bulk of toxicity from the antibiotics, etc. Also, I know this is yucky to some, but organ meats like liver are a very cheap cut of meat. I would suggest, however if you are doing liver to do grass-fed, as the toxicity in liver is concentrated.
2. Use Costco for what you can–almonds, raisins, bulk produce (again, don’t worry about organic. If they have it, great. If not, don’t fret). I also let the kids eat the potato chips from there. Even though it’s not “Paleo,” it’s a small compromise to give them some extra calories, and they are easy to throw on a plate at lunch time. lol Also, the canned tuna and salmon are great sources of protein and are relatively cheap. And even though fresh produce is best, buying frozen fruits and veggies can help save some costs.
3. If possible, buy stuff when it’s in season to help save costs. For instance, if broccoli and cauliflower are in season right now, buy a BUNCH of it, cut it up, and freeze it for later use. In the summer, buy a butt-load (excuse my language) of tomatoes (or even better, grow your own!) and dice them up and freeze them, or make a ton of tomato sauce, etc.
4. You should NOT have to go into debt to eat this way. The whole point of eating a Paleo lifestyle is to better your life. If you’re stressed out about finances, you’re defeating the whole purpose.
5. (I’m adding this now, but it wasn’t in my original response): Give your kids some time to adjust to this new way of eating. It took our kids a good solid month (maybe more), at least, to get used to eating such an array of fruits and veggies, and not to have crackers to snack on anymore. But after awhile, it became the “norm” for them, and they know what to expect. Try having an honest conversation (if you haven’t already) about exactly why you’re doing this. I printed out a “reverse” food pyramid explaining what should be our priorities in eating and why. They were a lot more receptive after that. I also tried not to allow them to focus too much on what they were missing, but on what great food they were putting in, and what each food would do for them (protein builds muscle, certain veggies give you better eyesight, etc.). When we would see a commercial for McDonald’s or cookies, I would try to pause the t.v. and explain to the kids why we don’t eat those anymore. Now I hear them talking about why we don’t eat wheat or dairy or sugar! Of course, this doesn’t mean they like everything I cook. They complain sometimes. But, oh well. What’s on their plate is on their plate, and I’ve explained to them that it’s disrespectful not to eat what your host is serving. That goes for at home or at anyone’s house.
6. (Another addition) A friend brought up a good point about the first month being the hardest since you stock up on all the “necessities.” I definitely found this to be true, and once you have your “staples,” you’ll notice that things flatten out a bit. Just don’t feel like you have to go out and buy every ingredient for every meal and every kitchen gadget to get yourself through the first month. You can slowly make the changes, and you don’t have to do it all at once!!
I suggest sitting down (with your hubby would be great), and deciding what your goals are in changing your eating. Then figure out what things are the most important for you to cut out. If your kids have health issues, I would suggest continuing with the strict Whole30 for a month and than slowly introducing things to see what aggravates them. I am doing the Whole30, but our kids aren’t. They eat about 80% Paleo, but I occasionally give them rice or potatoes or even popcorn. And I’m good with that. When we go out to eat or are at a friend’s house, I let the kids decide (mostly) what they want to eat. I want them to own their diet more than me just telling them what to do. And so far, they are doing a great job with it. They indulge in some stuff, but they also refrain from other stuff, purely by choice. Just think how far ahead of the game you will be just by cutting out grains and dairy. Huge!
So, for those of you on this Paleo journey, do you have additional tips for our friend?