For those of us who are on a budget or do not have access to pastured meat, what would be some good strategies?
One could for instance buy lean conventional beef and complement it with pastured butter and cream and/or pastured eggs, chicken and pork. is it true though that conventionally raised beef still has a better fatty acid profile than pastured chicken and pork?
Any other ideas or suggestions?
I am totally poor, right above the poverty line, and I eat paleo and only pastured meat. The secret is trying to get deals on meat and eating less popular cuts. I am a member of a meatshare, which means I pool money with people to buy a cow/pig/lamb for cheaper than the grocery store or farmer's market. When I don't have that meat, I go for cheap cuts like short ribs, liver, heart, and bone marrow. A crock pot does a great job making tough cuts tasty. Be prepared to not waste anything. The drippings in the crock pot? Put em in the fridge, the fat on the top can be used to saute vegetables. Bones? You bet they got right back in the crock pot to make soup with.
I also enjoy canned wild fish like salmon and sardines. Oh, and I love the local bar that does $1 oysters during happy hour ;)
I fill in the gaps with filling vegetables- yams, carrots, beets, etc.
In terms of micronutrients you can do very well on non-pastured meat. On paper it doesn't look much different to pastured meat in these terms, but it would be very worrying if the difference were as extreme as for eggs. The omega 3/6 difference will be very extreme (and in my view, sub-optimal even in grass-fed meat), but I balance this out, formerly, by eating as much tinned sardines/salmon (cheap staples) as meat and now with fish oil.
For general micronutrients, you're really just looking at getting enough cheap meat and vegetables; you can't eat that much protein or that much bulky veg, so that's an upper limit on your costs. The important thing is to focus on covering these nutritional bases and then getting all the rest of your calories from fat, which is as cheap per calorie as it gets. My present staples are 0.5kg+ of very cheap minced meat (£1.99/kg) per day, a can of spinach and calories from pure fat. (My butter is pastured, but is still as cheap as the cheapest starch per calorie). Basic formula, find the cheapest muscle meat, find a cheap source of vegetables that cover a lot of nutritional bases (spinach, crucifers etc) and get calories from fat.
Also I'd look closely at the actual costs of things for what you're getting, they can be quite counter-intuitive. Here, joints of meat are regularly half the price of other meats for protein/calories, but look expensive and are perceived as such (they're actually cheaper than tinned sardines). Ditto, I used to buy lots of eggs, assuming they were cheaper than meat, but it turned out I was better off cooking an entire beef joint. Naturally any offal you can find/stomach will be incredibly cheap, kidneys stewed with whatever vegetables I have to hand are a regular staple and liver is pretty much the cheapest and most nutritious thing there is.
Please see the following link that describes a paleo diet on a shoe-string budget.
Personally (also on a tight budget) I buy non-organic conventionally grown meats. Cheap cuts always, including offal and bones.
If worried about fatty acid profile, try to emphasise ruminants (lamb, beef, veal) over poultry due to better omega-3 balance, and also lamb over beef/veal when possible (see this thread for instance http://paleohacks.com/questions/381/grass-fed-lamb). However, I do oscillate between periods of buying mainly lean meat (or removing the fat from fatty cuts) due to concerns about omega-3/-6 imbalance, and other periods of thinking "what the hell, any saturated fat is better than none" where I eat pretty much all the cheap meat fat I can get... Still not sure which is the best option healthwise (though the latter is definitely easier on the budget, and so delicious!).
My main sources of calories are eggs (bog standard, from supermarket), cheap cuts of beef, marrow bones, tinned fish (sardines and mackerel), chicken breast, pastured butter, and coconut products (milk, dessicated, creamed). To which I add moderate amounts of in-season or frozen veggies (whichever is cheaper) for variety.
Other strategies I use:
When I occasionally buy salmon, I buy frozen wild salmon rather than fresh. This is relatively easy to find and a lot cheaper (it is actually considerably cheaper than fresh farmed salmon). Just bear in mind that wild salmon cooks more quickly than farmed and tends to try out, so it's easier to overcook. Canned wild pacific salmon is another good option (different texture, though).
I don't bother with nuts (except very occasionally) as they have too much polyunsaturates, they're expensive, and easy to binge on so don't last very long either. Plus they can easily be rancid when you buy them, giving them a worse fatty acid profile.
Hope this helps :)
I dont know how strict your paleo style is but I have been back packing the last 3 months on a pretty tight budget and I have still been able to maintain a low carb, paleoish diet. My main stables have been:
Cottage cheese - High protein Swiss cheese - High protien + sat fat Spinach - Nutrient dense vegetable Canned tomatoes - Very cheap source of carotenoids. Tuna - Protein Almonds - If you shop around some supermarkets (whole foods) sell them quite cheaply. Coconut milk - Cheap source of fat
Whenever I had access to a kitchen I would also buy eggs or meat that was on sale which can be very cheap too.
My best advice is to go to your regular grocery store and just spend a long time going through the different products and there prices, you may find some cheap products that you may have never thought of. Also, some people just get into the habit of buying the same product without considering other options but stores are always changing their product range and new sales vary week to week.
Melissa that is awesome!
Bertrand think of it this way: Is it better to eat lots of ho-ho's because you can't afford no-hormone/grass-fed beef? Of course not. My suggestion is to do the best you can with the budget you've got. Be honest with how much you eat out. We were amazed at how much money we waste on crappy Applebee's steaks when we could go Melissa's route and buy cheaper cuts more often.
Eggs are also a good filler. Lots of protein and relatively inexpensive-ish. Anything you can make for dinner that will also last for tomorrow's lunch helps stretch the budget. Good luck!
If you are in the mid-west US, you can not go wrong by utilizing a bulk supplier like GFS Foods.
We are lucky enough to have one near. If you are lacto-paleo and a bacon eater you can pick up a 15LB case of bacon for about $27 and a 10LB blocks of cheese for less than $2 a pound.
I was worried about nitrates and bacon, but maybe bacon is not so bad after all.
You might also consider buying bulk frozen fish there. The large fillets can be expensive, but they also carry bags of really inexpensive one-to-two ounce fillets that are too small for restaurant main-course use, but skillet fried in sets of three make a great meal.
I have not tried any of the other meat there as we have a local butcher that lets us buy bulk grass-fed beef, but I imagine the prices are also good.