In the grand scheme of things, assuming someone is 100% paleo aside from the stuff below, how terrible is it to eat this stuff?
Regular beef instead of grass-fed
Regular chicken instead of veggie fed, cage free chicken
Regular eggs instead of omega 3 eggs
Regular bacon instead of nitrate free bacon
Raw almonds instead of roasted unsalted almonds
70% cocoa instead of 85% cocoa
Just curious if these nullify my paleo efforts or not.
It sure isn't the end of the world. Eat the best quality ingredients you can afford, but you gotta do what you gotta do. For a large part, I'm in the same boat with the above as my income has gone down significantly from what it used to be and some sacrifices had to be made. You are still doing so much better than the SAD, and these exceptions will not nullify your hard work.
I would recommend stepping up your fatty fish intake to boost your Omega3s to counter the larger amounts of Omega6 fats in grain-fed animals compared to grass-fed, or even take a supplement to help keep your ratios more in line.
None of them are important. Eat animal meat and organ, starch, fruit and few veg and you'll be fine. The provenance of those items is a mere detail. I can't afford any organic, glass fed anything. Trader joes for everything for me. You'll be fine. It's not the inorganic veg, CAFO steaks, and prisoner chickens killing us its the processed, manufactured overly rewarding product-foods that are killing us. Eat whole real food as much as you can, the rest are details.
Being mindful of what you eat in the first place will never lead to something being "terrible" for you.
You may not be maximizing your benefits, but I doubt you'll end up at a loss. Just my two cents.
I like to view this as a power series (nerd link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_series).
For example, let's you have some quantity, health (H), that is a sum of a bunch of contributions:
People often think that they have to optimize on all of A, B, C, D, and all the rest to optimize on H. However, the usual case is that the importance of the terms decreases (dramatically) as you go along.
What if A is 10x bigger than B which is 10x bigger than C, and so on? Well you better optimize on A first before going on.
I also mentioned something similar today in another question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/138655/is-it-neccessary-to-consume-carbs-after-workout-suggest-me/138695#138695.
Now to your question. All of the things you listed are way down on the list that it's going to be mostly insignificant.
Did you remove grains? Dairy? Legumes? Sugar?
Are you getting good sleep? Not beating yourself with chronic cardio?
That's the most important. The rest you can play with and see how it makes you feel. But the effect will be so small you better have everything else dialed in.
That being said I do grass fed meat because I have that luxury. It tastes better and is better for the environment. However, you can be sure that I'd go back to CAFO beef if I had a budget crunch or couldn't source grass fed. I wouldn't give up on the huge benefits of Paleo because of a minor imperfection.
Sorry for the rant but it just came out because there have been a bunch of these micro-optimizing questions lately. Get the big stuff dialed in then self experiment on the little stuff.
To a certain extent, it depends on your health and goals (and budget). I would say if you switched everything to the better stuff, you might see a ~20% improvement in how you feel, look and perform. Maybe you wouldn't notice a thing or maybe it would make a big difference.
I would suggest trying to get some grass fed beef. Grass fed ground beef is not expensive and easily available. And pastured eggs would be my second priority for that list.
Good chicken is hard to come by and the rest of that list is fine by me. Just my thoughts. YMMV.
Like what everybody else said. If you can't get grass-fed beef, then go for the leaner cuts of conventional beef. Maybe less chicken since even cage-free has more omega-6's. Raw almonds are better than roasted (but still, don't eat too many) see here from MDA. Don't know how much cocoa you eat but 70% is still ok. As Luckie said add fish. Sardines are cheap, high in omega-3's, and have loads of calcium.
Bailor (http://www.amazon.com/Smarter-Science-Slim-Exercise-Permanently/dp/0983520801/) argues that the benefit of SANE (his term) eating -- which is the left hand side of the foods you listed -- is many orders of magnitude better than SAD. And going from the left hand side to the right hand side (which he calls super-SANE) is certainly better, but not anywhere near the magnitude change. So if you CANNOT afford to go super-SANE, going SANE will still provide significant benefit.
I'm not sure whether I agree or not. Just posting a different view.
Honestly, only you can answer these questions for yourself. Yes, it takes a lot of self-education and self-experimentation, and asking the right kinds of questions from a like-minded community of people. But asking "how terrible" it is to eat regular bacon is going to get you several (often conflicting) responses from people who all have different opinions (since it's not a question about science) and experiences (because hacking is about half science, half anecdote).
Just off the top of my head, I get poor results from fruit and any chocolate that isn't 100% dark. Someone else does great on six bananas a day and milk chocolate bars. Bacon nitrates are fine as long as you don't have a bad reaction to them, some people do. Maybe grass-fed beef is optimal. Many people here don't have easy access to it, or simply can't afford it.
It sounds like you already have a good grasp of both the essentials and the highest standards the paleo community sets for itself given ideal circumstances. I'd like to respectfully submit that fine-tuning and tinkering and all the other decision processing does and should happen at the individual level. It's a lot to absorb and nobody wants to make a "mistake" -- but you're already doing yourself worlds better with the information you have right now.
In the "grand scheme," these things don't matter in the least, except in that they put you on the road to whatever your goals are. What's important, now, is that you find out what matters to you.
I am poor so I eat mostly offal, making sure they are as good as i can get my hands on. Its very cheap here compared to ground meat, and much more interesting.I dont might it i like most offal alot, its only a shame liver has so much vitamin a, otherwise i would have it more often.
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