View Full Version : Paleo Cost

Justin Arnold
12-16-2009, 12:07 AM
I've searched and read what little there is here about the cost of going paleo, but no estimates or numbers have popped up yet.

I was just looking for an idea of what you guys spend on food, as well as a rough idea of how much you eat.

I'm at around 4,250kcal/day of paleo foods, including probably too much fruit for carbs and definitely too much nuts for fat, and this is pretty easily costing upwards of $150/week. That's with mostly non-grass ex-lean ground beef instead of steak or fish. I know that if I replaced some of the nuts with olive oil costs would go down, but that much? I used to consider $65-70/wk a lot.. this is just ridiculous.

I feel like I'm really missing something here, but wanted to get an outside perspective on the cost before I start rethinking the whole thing. So, the question is.. what do you spend per week, and for roughly how much food? Other suggestions or details would be appreciated as well.

Many Thanks,
Justin Arnold

Blair Lowe
12-16-2009, 01:48 AM
That's a lot of calories.

Recently, the husband of Lindsay Smith, one of the gals who placed really high in the 09 Games posted they spend $1500/month for the two of them and one child (which I want to say is 1-3yo).


What I spend right now isn't worth commenting as it's neither Paleo/Primal or Zone. I'm happy if there is food in the fridge but it heavily consists of milk, eggs, hamburger and some fruits and veggies, maybe some cheese. Right now there is literally 2 strips of bacon, a nearly full gallon of milk, and a dozen or two dozen eggs. Some green stuff and that's about it. Some of my food budget tends to be stuff for lunch on the way to work or close to work since if I have to go back home to eat, it's unlikely I'm gonna go back to the gym to workout though I might end up working out at home.

I'd have to crunch numbers but 600$/month sounds about reasonable for that many Kcals&Paleo. It probably depends on the amount of meat you eat and what kind.

Wayne Riddle
12-16-2009, 05:27 AM
One of the issues that leads to poor diet choices in this country is that it is cheaper to eat crap with all the processed junk (some of the cost supplemented by the US taxpayers) than it is to eat real food.

Scott Kustes
12-16-2009, 06:21 AM
~2500 cals/day, <$500 per month, completely grass-fed meat. I buy in large bulk, getting my beef at around $4/lb, lamb at $6.50/lb, etc. I go through a couple dozen eggs a week at $3-3.50 each.

Eat more sweet potatoes for your carbs...this time of year they are cheap.

Jay Ashman
12-16-2009, 06:38 AM
right now we buy our chicken in 10 pound packs (breasts) at 1.69 a pound and burger in the same quantity at 1.99 a pound from a local meat distributor.

We buy veggies and fruit from costco because it is cheaper by the pound, with the exception of Guintas (local store) that has wicked cheap produce, but you have to pick out the good ones from a supply of mediocre ones.

I buy nuts in bulk from costco since their bags of almonds, pecans and walnuts are damn cheap by the pound.

Eggs, costco; all-natural breakfast sausage (Jones), costco.

We only buy steak when its on special, and its usually skirt steak (stuff is too good to pass up) or a large amount of brisket or roast and cook it up for the week.

My wife and I actually are pretty frugal and do very well with our money and food supply.

Then again we live in a populated area (long island) and we have about 10 different places to shop for food near us that always have specials and 4 different places from our place to the gym, so I realize that our situation is different than most of yours because you may live in an area with only a few choices.

So if I had to estimate what we spend, it is comparable to Scott, and I eat about 3000-5000 cals a day depending on my level of hunger.

Jay Ashman
12-16-2009, 06:51 AM
I'm a college student so for the time being I don't have a lot of money to spend. That said, I think I do pretty well for myself considering I can only spend about ~$30-40 per week. I usually eat 3000-4000 cals daily.

I've found that frozen veggies are the way to go. Canned veggies don't taste good and lose their nutrients. I usually keep 1-2 lb. bags of collards, turnip greens, spinach, and broccoli in the freezer.

Also, I've forced myself to like frozen seafood because you can get it at very good prices. Typically I get all my seafood for $4/lb or less. I find good deals on octopus, squid, whiting, shrimp, clams, salmon, etc.

Nuts are always expensive but sometimes if you buy in bulk (1 lb or more) they are a little cheaper. I mostly almonds and walnuts but if I have extra money I'll go for buy pecans or macadamias for a treat.

I get most of my carb intake from fruits. The ones I've found with the highest carb to dollar ratio are raisins, bananas, oranges, apples, peaches, and pears.

I really wish I had money for grassfed beef, but I just settle for the least processed and leanest meat I can find. Sometimes I get the omega-3 enriched eggs but usually I just eat 20-30 regular eggs per week.

Shane, I found a good source of grassfed beef in upstate NY that is 4.00 a pound for bulk and they can customize as to what cuts you want more of. I'm looking into it further and I'll post about it when I place an order.

Arcadian Pastures it is called, not sure where exactly you are in the NE, but it may be something to look into.

Jay Ashman
12-16-2009, 07:02 AM
where at? I'll be in the city tomorrow actually. I live in Babylon on Long Island.

Jay Ashman
12-16-2009, 07:17 AM
oh hell, well good luck then.

Ben Moskowitz
12-18-2009, 01:26 AM
don't force the seafood if you don't want to. You can get chicken of all types, from thighs at ~$1.70 lb to boneless, skinless breasts at ~$4/lb. Ground beef is similarly cheap, and london broil/flank steak is both lean and cheap (~$4/lb). These are storecounter, not distributor prices. You might also want to investigate canned wild alaskan salmon, athough the frozen stuff might be better.

Just another student over here.

Oh, and the public has massive government subsidies on corn to thank for how crap food (which mostly comes from corn) costs less than healthy food.

Aaron Austin
12-18-2009, 06:06 AM
Justin, you might also want to download and listen to Robb Wolf's Podcast episode 6. He offers some advise and comment on this issue. Link is here : http://robbwolf.com/?p=1016

Show Topics:

1. Paleo diet and Super Mario
2. Paleo nutrition without a home
3. Biomarkers
4. Thoughts on the China Study
5. Cost of the Paleo diet
6. Increase accountability about Paleo & Zone at an affiliate
7. Strength focused nutrition
8. Hormesis & Non-Paleo food

Justin Arnold
12-19-2009, 09:00 PM
I've been meaning to catch up on the podcasts for a while, I think I'll skip to the 6th since it directly addresses that. Thanks for the tip.

and yeah, 4k/day is a lot. I didn't mention that I'm doing GOMAD on top of that to try and gain some weight during my christmas break from fire school. (it's working)

Side note: It may be the sheer volume, but it's amazing how quickly I started to feel like crap in general once I started the milk.. inside of a week random joints started popping, acne, old climbing injuries acting up.. I'm very glad it's just temporary.

Blair Lowe
12-20-2009, 05:50 PM
That is not a good sign.

Whole, right?

It sounds much more than just an issue of too much lactose, too soon.

If you can afford it, I'd look into other options. Eggs are pretty cheap for protein and fast but won't match them in carbohydrates and calories.

More food or some sort of mass building product. Yes, yes, I know. Then again most of those will have whey or milk protein in them which it doesn't sound like your body likes.

Justin Arnold
12-20-2009, 10:52 PM
Yeah, Whole milk.

It's not unmanageable, I just noticed it very well after a few months of eating "clean". I'm also very confident that I can hit my goals and will recover fully post-gomad.

For the record, none of this is any worse than before I started strict paleo. That transition was just as alarming really.. to have acne clear up, persistent bicep tendon problems disappear, and start climbing so much stronger that 2 other people seeing the difference was enough to get them to eat paleo.. all over the course of about 3 weeks.

As to the cost of this, I'm starting on frozen vegetables, and getting more of my carbs from sweet potatoes instead of the fruit I was mostly eating before.

Oh, and I already average 4 eggs per day.

Michael Barnes
02-23-2010, 05:24 AM
i live in northern ireland so things are more expensive for us ( 1.15 per LITRE {thats over $8 per gallon} for petrol)..luckily, i don't drink petrol, only because its not paleo, i just sniff it when i get bored!! anyhow, i eat 6-8 eggs per day, steak (sirloin/ ribeye), mince (pork/ beef/ lamb) chicken, fish (mackeral/ salmon/ trout) fruit veg nuts seeds and maybe 1/2 gallon of raw goats milk with a couple pints of choc milk PWO (i know that gear is not paleo but it is THE best muscle builder IME)...maybe 3500 cal p/d...girlfriend eats the same as me minus the milk @ approx 2500 cal p/d..costs us 130p/w..whats that, maybe $190-$200 p/w...