What's the real cost of eating clean?
Posted on August 12 2020
Quarantine snacks. We all eat them. And, at least for me, they have made for a rough reality check; my diet has gone down the tubes. Food delivery is so convenient these days and having groceries delivered is pretty amazing. However, I find myself ordering as much as I can from the local grocery store so I can make the most of my delivery fee or even qualify for free delivery. Anybody else?
There are so many details to consider when choosing to eat a cleaner diet of real food. The first thing you need to understand is: not all produce (or meats, etc.) is created equal! Eating fully organic, free-range, grass-fed, etc. will indeed cost more than non organic produce and meat pumped with antibiotics.
So I know what you’re thinking, “I already know this, I look at the prices at the store.” But don’t disregard this quite yet, there’s some good info coming up.
Some Good News
More and more stores are focusing on organic meats and produce, making it easier to obtain locally. This helps to bring the costs of eating clean down from where it used to be a few years ago. That doesn’t go without saying that not all areas in the US have access (or a focus on for that matter) eating a cleaner diet. I remember when I was doing Whole30 in January, I was staying in a smaller town in Pennsylvania and literally not one server I had, had ever even heard of Whole30 or what it was all about. I dumbed it down to eating healthier and more organic so I didn’t have to go into an entire presentation, but most looked at me like I was completely crazy. If you have trouble finding good organic foods in your area, we have some ideas for you.
How to Eat Clean While Keeping Costs Down
- Stick to purchasing in-season fruits and vegetables. Choices may be a little more limited, but you will save money purchasing only locally grown produce. Why? Because the produce doesn't have to be shipped across the country to your local market.
- Look for farmers markets in your area or for food delivery services offering boxed produce. Many are organic. They aren’t all one size fits all either! Many allow you to decide on the frequency of your order for a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly box of produce. All organic or not, you decide. We found a great website that you can search for available options in your area called Local Harvest. Click on the link to check it out. Simply put in your location and it will look to see what is available in your area.
- When purchasing produce try sticking to “The Dirty Dozen.” The Dirty Dozen refers to the top 12 items that you should definitely search out and purchase organic. There is also something called “The Clean Fifteen.” They contain minimal amounts of the typical chemicals that can be found in produce. If it’s on the Dirty Dozen list, buy organic, if it's on the “Clean Fifteen”, you can go with the less expensive produce. But if you can afford to, go ahead and purchase those organic as well.
- Look down. This doesn’t exactly apply to the “saving money” theme here, but it’s a good tidbit of info. When shopping in supermarkets, the products at eye level tend to be the more processed, high sodium options. These are the brand name products being pushed on the consumer. Many times, the bottom shelf is where you will find the bulk of items that aren't processed. This typically pertains to pastas, grains, rice and beans, if you are lucky enough to tolerate them! The point is, stores are there to sell the highest grossing profit items, which are often the most processed, loaded with chemical sounding ingredients, so they put them at easy, eye level grab and go locations. The moral of this story? Don't be fooled by merchandising in your local store. Slow down, look down!
The Bad-ish News
Organic, real food doesn’t have the shelf life others pumped with pesticides and antibiotics do. Here’s where you lose most of your money. I don’t want to think about how much I’ve thrown away getting a large grocery order and then not having enough time to cook and eat it all. If I really added it up...nevermind. I can’t go there. It makes me completely sick to think of how much money I’ve wasted.
Some More Good News
OK, so now you’re aware of how to find cleaner ingredients, keep some of your costs down, and how to decide if what’s a mandatory organic and what you can slide by with. That doesn’t save you from the waste...That’s where Paleo On The Go comes in!
We use organic ingredients, follow the Dirty Dozen, and only source the highest quality meats that are grass-fed grass-finished, free-range, or wild-caught. Not only that, you are getting food cooked in a gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, etc. facility. You won’t find that anywhere else. Not like these dishes!
Even better, our food is cooked and frozen so you can pop a full meal in the oven or microwave whenever you want to eat. There is no cleanup, no prepping, no waste.
Even Better News
Typically, a body that runs on the right fuel operates better. Just like a car. You put the wrong gas in it and it just doesn’t operate the same all the time. Our bodies are similar. Investing in better “fuel” may even save you in healthcare costs down the road. Spending a little more on real food can hold the key to a longer and healthier life.