It may sound crazy but I think its possible. We aren't rich financially by any means but we are rich in resources. In the northwest we have a wonderful farmers market and there is a organic/100% grass fed and pastured farm that will ship to our door. We dont even have to buy a half cow!
We live literally next door to a fred meyers and within walking distance of walmart and winco. I could probably write 20 pages on why we want to do this. Processed, irradiated, shipped from who knows where gmo foods and of course the corporations that sell them. Tomatoes that were green on harvest to frankenfood. The reasons are many. But regardless of why- we are gonna give it a shot.
We will have to get used to eating far less in quantity and in ..well.."fun". It means giving up our beloved beef bacon and any number of condiments that make this diet easier. We want to go all the way.
We would really appreciate any advice/thoughts or experiences shared from folks who have done this (or feel that they have advice to offer!).
600 per month for 2 people. (sounds crazy but it comes from 200 from a full time student and 400 from a halfway decent industry job). We live cheap in general and consider this a sound investment. Its probably our biggest expense other than rent. Until literally last week neither of us drove. We don't go out. Etc etc etc..
200 goes toward a lot of grass fed free range pastured beef and that includes shipping. It generally breaks down to 3.5 pounds of ground beef, 2 steaks a week for 3 weeks. 2 beef stews and one roast.
I am thinking that 50 a week will go towards meat/eggs and the market. and 25 or so goes toward ghee or butter if they have it at the market.
The left over 40 ish a week will be green stuff/ local nuts (hazelnut) and whatever else.
This will mean eating a lot less. but once we cut out everything from the grocery store hopefully it'll open up enough to make it work. Basically we need to get a hold of some other meats to supplement the beef.
At the market chicken is at least 5$ a pound, eggs 5-7 a dozen and other meats are way spendy. cringes *yikes*
Now my question is is this feasible?? Im actually worried about getting enough calories for both of us. He needs to do low carb and I want both of us to be for sure less than 100g carbs. But I worry we cant afford enough fat/protein to make it work. We eat dairy and nightshades.
Is it better to eat way less but eat better? Even if it means getting more calories from roughage? I plan on buying some local hazelnuts and cheese. That should be pretty calorie dense. I just hope we have enough to justify buying from the 'mushroom lady" - MM!
IM excited but also nervous. Detaching from such a comfortable institution such as our food source is a bit unnerving. Can we really get everything we need from the market???
****Edited with update
Wow I feel I need to update this after my first full on grocery shopping experience at the farmers market!! All of my worries were for naught this is TOTALLY doable. We will be able to eat plenty and well!!
Some highlights: (Im not listing everything but believe me they have everything!)
Meat vendor who also sells tons of paleo books and is obviously very hip to this diet. Bought some beautifully rendered duck fat for 6$ (fair size chunk bigger than a stick of regular butter!)
A lady who has 43 acres and sells a bit of everything- pastured eggs 5$ a dozen, raw hazelnuts 6$ a pound, salisfy, organic frozen berries S3.50 a pound!! oh my!
And let me say I have NEVER had frozen berries like these! They were vacuum sealed at peak condition so when I opened the package I smelled strawberries so strongly I thought I was gonna squeal! (in a most undignified manner) and they TASTE like strawberries not that weird sour nasty taste of the frozen store berries.
Found bacon that is exactly the same price as trader joes! 3$ for ends and pieces=)=)
Root vegetables big enough to club someone with! Seriously they had parsnips the size of a caveman club.
Of course the mushroom lady who has tons of the good stuff- miatake, chanterelles etc etc and even sells broth for real cheap.
Raw sharp cheddar! And with the addition of fats from the butcher it is the only dairy we will eat.
So for 70$ I got more than we could eat and it will prob last for more than a week! We were able to add enough individual cuts from the online grass fed/ organic rancher we buy beef from to make it enough to last the month. Way cheaper than the market prices cause we buy in bulk.
And of course lets not forget the exercise I got lugging about 50lbs of groceries home (seriously those root veggies are huge-beets the size of a childs head!) and 4 dozen eggs and so on. I had to walk and carry onto public transit and walk more (I live in another city) I am tired but happy=) Its the good kind of tired.
Seriously folks if you have the resources you should totally try this!
Good for you! I've found it to be an oddly freeing experience not running to the store all the time. I actually feel like I am getting more food for less money now because I'm not going to the store all the time, so all those incidental splurges don't add up. Maybe you are more disciplined than I am, but how much I spend has everything to do with how often I go to the store. I do a modified version of the no grocery store thing, and try to go to the store as rarely as possible. I guess we practice the 80/20 rule, but with shopping. It is pretty darn doable, and I'm happier with the quality of food I end up with because it hasn't been sitting around wilting.
We're in Seattle so you might have some of the same resources. I love, love, love the farmer's market, it is an orgy of the senses, but I feel like I get the most bang for my buck from the CSA that delivers to my door. We use New Roots Organics, and get a huge bin for $39. I found that at the farmer's market I was drawn in by novel and pricey stuff a little too much and could easily blow $75-125 on two bags of groceries if I grabbed some raw milk, eggs, salmon, goat meat, charcuterie, cider, pickles, and goat cheese along with the green stuff I actually went there for.
We get most of our meat and eggs delivered from SPUD. I do still hit the co-op for lamb steaks, herbs, kim chi, and sauerkraut. Plus the occasional trip to Trader Joe's for butter, cream, nuts, wine, toddler snacks, and chocolate.
And I don't know how strongly you feel about the shipping and packaging issues, but Amazon has been great for ordering things like vinegar, coconut oil, coconut milk, canned fish, and canned tomatoes in bulk.
The regular grocery store is pretty much only for milk, yogurt, and cereal for the non-paleo family members.
Do you have access to any outdoor growing space? We manage to grow parsley, collard greens, and kale pretty much year round in our corner of the Northwest. They grow well in pots, and are extremely low maintenance. You can stretch your potato dollar by saving some of the potatoes you get at the farmer's market until they develop buds and then slowly cover them with dirt and/or straw over the course of the spring and summer in a trash can with holes in the bottom, and you can turn a few potatoes into a ton of them by the first frost.
Are you near any fishing docks? You can get right off the boat deals on crab, prawns, and salmon if you want surf to go with your turf. If you are near Seattle, you can get whole salmon from the Duwamish in the fall for a good price, plus the fish are on the way back upstream so they are often full of roe for added nutrition and yumminess.
Best of luck to you, I am confident you will find a way to feed yourselves better than you ever have, and for less money too, so you can splurge on those chantrelles when they are in season.
Do a trial run, like a thirty day challenge. As they say; “necessity is the mother of invention.” You’d learn a lot by just trying it out and being open to other possible avenues when they arise. Maybe it’s possible to barter time or services for a discount on grass-fed beef or other meat if you form a relationship with the farmer. At least maybe get a discount on a cancelled order or some of the odd bits that someone else didn’t want with their whole/half cow. Don't overlook resources like friends or acquaintances that hunt or fish. Many will be happy to supply you with some venison suet or less desirable cuts--read slow cook, meat-on-the-bone type stuff. That said; consider getting a fishing license yourself and trying it out if you've got the time. Getting free game meat is not as farfetched as you might think if you’re open to it and willing to take advantage of a windfall. I hunt and fish myself but was given about 30-40lbs of moose meat this fall from a friend of a friend. I know of other hunters that can be a little wasteful with things like organ meat and would be happy to save it for someone who wanted it. If you give it a try and get the word out within your circle, you might be surprised at the resources and help that can be available.
Learn to love the bits of animals others don't and you'll have no problems getting enough food. You should be able to get suet etc. and render your own fats. So easy, so tasty and so cheap. And then get the organ meats. It doesn't have to be liver every day - I get grassfed beef hearts at the market for $2 a pound and it's tastier for stews, stir-frys, ground etc. In fact if you can grind your own, you can throw in some other organs too. Boiling bones gets you all that gelatinous goodness. I would definitely say it's better to eat well, and I'd be very surprised if you were hungry. Sometimes the simplicity of a steak is tempting, but at 5 times the price it's usually worth the effort of working in the kitchen to prepare something else.
There's absolutely no difficulty getting enough calories, and it's really eye-opening the relative cost of 'luxuries' which can make them that more exciting. At the store, everything is expensive. That's not what food used to cost - how do you think we survived all this time?
The one thing I would see as taking some creativity would be cooking fats. I know farmer's market butter is wildly expensive. If your beef supplier can give you lard, or if you can render schmaltz from chicken skins or render the fat off a hunk of pork belly that would be helpful. In California we get olive oil at our farmer's market, but I'm sure you don't get that up in the NW.
And actually your condiments I would think are pretty easy to make. Maybe not thai fish sauce, but things like salsa, gremolata, hot sauce, and chimichurri sauce can be made at home. If you ever come across small 8oz or 4oz canning jars at a garage sale or something, I find them super helpful for storing homemade condiments and sauces. EDIT: Canning jars are also awesome for storing rendered animal fats, since they're heat resistant.
Hey, congratulations! Great project.
If you're lugging heavy groceries around in the city - and on public transit - you might want to take a rolling suitcase with you. Makes it all so much easier!
Congrats! I stopped shopping at the grocery store a year ago and have never looked back.
The only difference is that I can get my meat/produce/dairy from the same farm, and they deliver it to me for free, once a week :D I don't drive so this is ideal for me! Maybe delivery is an option where you live, just in case you get tired of lugging your mutant root veg home hehe
Awesome!!! Try and find pastured eggs. Potatoes are cheap. You might go to Costco for their leg of lamb from australia (a paleo bargain). May be a grocery store but it is better than chicken and the same price.
I would love to be able to do more of this kind of stuff. My first concern would be if you are in a location to do so, but it seems you are. Secondly (and I know this from my parents living on a farm and buying and selling at farmer's markets), what's your budget for other things you used to buy at a grocery/supermarket? i.e.,