This post was created just a little less than a year ago. But with AJ doing his own Whole30 challenge and others of you trying to change eating habits, it can help to know how to pinch pennies.
Last week when I reviewed the movie King Corn, Holley had the following comment/question (slightly edited):
… buying food that’s “pure” is really expensive. Ever since I started using Paleo as a guideline for my diet … my food expenses have doubled. I’m not saying awareness isn’t great and that genetically altered food is the correct direction … I mean, I’ll try my best to eat the right foods, but money will also be a driving factor
The cost of eating Paleo is a common concern that people bring up when first changing their diets over from whatever they were previously eating. To put it bluntly, I’ll borrow a quote from a post about the same topic from the blog Eat. Move. Thrive!
Eating healthy can often seem to cost more, however it needs to be measured in the context of other expenditures. Truly improving your diet has more profound effects and these do not happen in a vacuum. The wide variety of health conditions that can be addressed through Paleo will drastically reduce or eliminate their corresponding medical costs. In my own experience, I was once prescribed no less than five medications for asthma. The host of side effects this prescription cocktail could induce were dizzying and it took me over a month to figure out one of the meds was causing me severe muscle cramping. Since eating Paleo, I haven’t used anything more than a “rescue inhaler” on the rare occasion I feel airway constriction. Likewise, I very rarely get sick and when I do the duration is quite short. In fact, the times I have gotten sick are usually following a cheat day high in sugars (which studies show can reduce your immune system). So when calculating your cost of changing your diet, take into consideration how your health care costs may be affected.
But why is it more expensive to eat well? As I mentioned in my brief reply to Holley last week, this was covered in the King Corn movie and it’s also been tackled elsewhere. Currently, the average American spends somewhere between 9 to 17% of their take home income on food. Just two generations ago, back before the CAFOs, genetically modified crops and other scientific changes, Americans spent twice that on food. They also purchased food that wasn’t shipped from halfway across the world and they actually knew their butcher. As we return to more “pure” food, to borrow Holley’s term, it makes sense that our food costs would approach that of our grandparents. In both King Corn and in Food, Inc., the filmmakers ask the farmers why they don’t produce crops the “old fashioned” way and the farmers reply the same way — if the public asks that of them, they’ll be happy to provide it.
We need to take that into consideration. Every time we reach for the organic produce or the grass-fed beef at a grocery store, those bar codes are tabulated by the grocer’s analysts. In doing so, we’re casting a vote asking for a healthier food system and change will come. Look already at how much more prevalent these items are compared to just a few short years ago.
People also often overlook how much more often they used to go out to eat. Dining Paleo makes it somewhat more difficult to eat out, since restaurants often don’t cater to those preferences. As dining out is reduced, those same foods are now purchased from the grocery store so of course your grocery bill will go up. I personally spend about $250 a month on groceries to feed myself. Those new to Paleo may overpay as they need to learn more tips and tricks to make the most of their groceries. For more tips, check out the below articles.
Is Your Money Where Your Mouth Is? by Eat. Move. Thrive!
How to Eat Healthy and Save Money by Mark’s Daily Apple
10 Money Saving Tips by My Paleo Kitchen
Paleo Penny Pinching by Paleoblocks
Overhead Squats 3-3-3
Then, 3 rounds for time: