I'm having a very hard time with Paleo and living on an extremely tight student budget. I love sweet potato, and often use it as a post workout recovery or meal filler. I've stumbled upon Sweet Potato vermicelli (noodles), in which the only ingredient is sweet potato starch. Given my dire financial situation would this be acceptable to eat in avoidance of cheap grains?
Help, so hungry.
As a fellow poor college student (literally, as I currently have about $150/month for food) attempting to eat in a Paleo way, my advice is eat as much "Paleo" food as you can afford, but don't worry if certain foods you eat are not Paleo. Sometimes with questions like this I get the impression that people relatively new to the Paleo movement believe that the Paleo gods will punish them if they eat any foods generally deemed to be not Paleo foods, even if they are doing so out of necessity like you and I are. Your body will let you know if and when you eat foods that are not healthy for it.
When it comes to shopping for and eating food I generally follow 4 guidelines - 1)is it affordable for me?; 2)is it nutrient dense, antinutrient sparse, and well tolerated by me (my personal definition of Paleo foods); 3)eat as many whole foods and as few processed foods as possible; and 4)the 80/20 rule as advocated by most Paleo experts like Sisson and Kresser: http://chriskresser.com/food-fascism-and-the-8020-rule
This is a very relevant and important question for me and anyone else who has a tight budget yet wants to eat healthy. Coincidentally, I also love sweet potatoes, but I recommend eating the real deal and not stripped down versions of it like the noodles you mentioned. Sweet potatoes are one of the few healthy foods that are affordable for me year round, and I have found significant savings buying the largest canned sweet potatoes at my local grocery store, although whole sweet potatoes are affordable also. If you buy processed forms of sweet potato and compare the nutrition facts to whole or even canned sweet potatoes, you will see there is very little nutrition left in the processed forms (230% RDA for beta carotene in whole, 50% in processed, as just one example).
In my experience learning how to live in poverty, when you have a very limited budget for food you become a predator like our ancient ancestors were, only with the prey being foods that are already killed (I know the analogy is limited - I guess skilled scavenger would be a more accurate description). As our hunter gatherer ancestors learned to distinguish between toxic and edible plants and fungi or the least energy intensive way to hunt game, so I have learned to find the healthiest foods for the cheapest possible price at my local grocery store, and I believe anyone with a limited budget who also wants to eat healthy as you do can develop this skill over time. In a way learning how to live with limited resources is in our genes as much as eating Paleo foods.
Rhudi, overall do what's needed to protect and care for yourself. Sweet potatoes are considered a safe starch but you should approach the noodles with caution as they are also a processed food. They won't have the same nutrients you'd normally get from the whole food but they might make a dandy "cheap filler."
Do you have access to a slow-cooker? I'd scrounge the meat dept. for bones and extra-cheap packages of meat. My store frequently has packages under $2 but I have to search to find them.
A little white rice or a few of your noodles would help extend the dish. Look for sales in the freezer dept. if you have room for frozen vegetables and throw some of those in there too. Eggs can be cheap nutrition.
If you have them within convenient distance, walk the stores and find the best specials to lower your food costs. If you catch them on the day before they get a new shipment of meat, you can find deep mark-downs on meat that's near the expiration date.
Before I knew about paleo, I did the hgh diet. In which the food actually is basically paleo, there's just not nearly enough of it. On that diet, one talked about the noodles, as they actually are zero calories. They're supposed to be good fiber, but I found them very uncomfortably...binding. The hgh diet is very constipating (due to not enough fiber taken in, plus hormonal influence). That's all I got.
Wouldn't a sweet potato be cheaper than a processed sweet potato product? Even a russet potato would be less expensive, and without the peel it's a safe source of filling starch with decent micronutrients. Sweet potato noodles are still a processed food with very few residual benefits left over from the whole food source....not really healthful or "paleo".
I know it's not a direct answer but in light of your financial situation do you eat sardines or mackerel? I think they're one of the best bang for your buck foods out there. $3 for 5g omega 3s, 28g protein, and 80% RDA for calcium!
I love those noodles! We don't eat them often. We are eating paleo for medical reasons. But the noodles are cheap and you can add more nutrient rich toppings and sauces whatever is leftover tastes even better reheated the next day.