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Shopping for 10 cents

You can’t get much for 10 cents these days, so I was amazed to see iHerb have currently got 7 trial products available for just $0.10 each (USD). What’s the deal with trial products? Well you get to try a new product, or sample, with a maximum of two per order. Using code DUV741, you also get $5 discount on your first order, not bad hey!

I get my coconut oil (this is my favourite), coconut aminos and most of my other paleo supplies from iHerb, as I find them far cheaper than local health shops.

Here’s what you can get for 10 cents

(available at time of posting)

  1. St. Dalfour, Organic Tea Sampler Pack, 3 Tea Bags, 2 g Each  RRP $1.00 Trial price $0.10

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2. Mild By Nature, For Baby, Shampoo & Body Wash, 2.2 fl oz (65 ml) RRP $7.95 Trial price $0.10

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3. Day & Night Pill Organizer RRP $4.95 Trial price $0.10

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4. Madre Labs, Hand Cream, With Argan Nut Oil, Unscented, 2.5 oz (71 g) RRP $7.95 Trial price $0.10

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5. Country Life, BioChem, 100% Whey Protein, Vanilla Flavor, 1.08 oz (30.6 g) RRP $2.99 Trial price $0.10

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6. E.L.F. Cosmetics, 6 Piece Eyeshadow Compact, Smokey Eyes, 0.25 oz (7 g) RRP $3.00 Trial price $0.10

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7. Madre Labs, 3 Functional Beverages, CafeCeps, CocoCeps, CocoCardio, 3 Sample Packets RRP $3.95 Trial price $0.10

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And the current free products

And if  you don’t want to spend 10 cents, there are also currently 4 free products (for new customers). You can see those products here.

What’s your favourite iHerb product?

paleo network iherb 10 cent $0.10 trial products special offer order online

Gwyneth Paltrow fails the food challenge-min

Gwyneth Paltrow fails the food challenge

After doing my own $50 food challenge and seeing first hand just how hard it is to eat well on a budget, I was some what bemused to see Gwyneth Palttrow’s attempts to feed her family on a budget. The #FoodBankNYCChallenge she undertook was to eat on $29 USD (equivalent to about $37 AUD). This was said to be the average amount an American receiving food stamps gets on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – though apparently the true amount is actually closer to $45 USD. I’ve found food considerably cheaper in the US, so I suspect your money would go a lot further there.

Gwyneth lasted four days on the challenge before she had to give up and eat some chicken and black licorice. As you do.

Food choices

Gwyneth’s choices are very different to mine. Here’s what she bought:

  • a dozen eggs,
  • black beans,
  • green peas,
  • onion,
  • avocado,
  • brown rice,
  • soft tortillas,
  • lettuce,
  • garlic,
  • scallions (spring onions),
  • cilantro (coriander),
  • a sweet potato,
  • a tomato,
  • an ear of corn and
  • seven limes

Yes, she bought seven limes. Whilst limes (and avocados) may be considerably cheaper in Southern California than they are here – there are far better ways to stretch a budget than by buying limes. The whole shopping basket is low calorie and low fat.

Vitamins v Calories

Whilst the food bought may be great from a nutritional perspective – there just aren’t enough calories. The food she bought works out at about 1000 calories a day. And when you’re on a budget, calories are important, especially if you’re doing physical work or have a family to look after.

I would look at food from a cost-per-calorie perspective and try to bulk meals out with potatoes and rice (whilst not strictly paleo, I think white rice is a good compromise on a very tight budget). Meat is expensive – but bones can be cheap. A huge pot of bone broth is great alone, or as the base of many dishes and must be one of the cheapest things you can make.

I’d be really flexible with my fresh produce, and based it entirely off what is in season – and what is sold off at the end of the day, or is on special offer. Unless organic food was cheaper than conventional, I’d accept it as an unrealistic option. I’d happily buy packs of frozen veg, if they worked out cheaper than their fresh equivalent.

How would you manage a strict food budget of under $40 a week?

The avocado economy economy global prices Paleo Network 2-min

The avocado economy

It’s no secret that avocados are one of the best paleo foods you can get. Full of fat, the foundation of an amazing dessert recipe and with loads of alternative uses, you just can’t beat an avocado.

The frustrating thing is how expensive they are. They literally grown on trees, after all.
The avocado economy economy global prices Paleo Network-min

Exactly how expensive?

Given that we’ve just come out of summer here in Australia, we grow them here, surely they should be cheap about now? In the Northern Hemisphere, they’ve presumably been imported, so you’d expect them to be at their most expensive about now?

So I compared prices of avocados available today, in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and South Africa. Obviously prices will vary wildly in each country, but this should give an indication. You can save buying in bulk, but for the purposes of comparison, I took the single price. I converted currencies into Australian dollars at today’s exchange rate, which could wildly fluctuate by the time you read this.

What did I find?

South Africa was by far the cheapest, working out at under $1 (Australian dollar) – hardly surprising given that they grow their own and have just come out of summer too.

Moving over to the Northern Hemisphere, Canada and the US are similarly priced, at $2.36 and $2.22 each. Surprisingly the UK is even cheaper at under $2 each. Though disclaimer – I’ve yet to have a good avocado there.

So where does that put Australia? Yes, you maybe guessed it – the most expensive avocado I found at almost $3 each. Three times the cost in South Africa.

I would love to understand why they are so expensive here, I fear the answer is as simple as “because they’re prepared to pay it”. When I can buy a 1 kilo bag of carrots for $1, I can’t see why avocados are so much more expensive. If you’ve got any thoughts or insight, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

Well, until prices come down, or I manage to grow an avocado tree in my garden, it’s going to be carrots for dinner.

Clean 15 the dirty dozen organic fruit vegetables pesticides paleo network-min

Clean 15… and the dirty dozen (updated list)

Unfortunately so much of the fresh produce we eat isn’t subject to the growing conditions we’d like. Toxic chemicals, such as fertilisers, sewage sludge, pesticides and herbicides can be used during the growing process. Pesticide use is widespread in conventionally grown produce and certain fruit and vegetables are found to have particularly high levels of pesticide residue.

Even washing your fruit and veggies before eating won’t get rid of all traces of pesticide residue. With ADHD, fertility problems, autoimmune issues, thyroid problems and certain cancers possibly linked to intake of pesticide residue, it’s definitely something to be avoided.

Clean 15 Dirty Dozen Paleo Network Organic Pesticides-min

Of course, if we could we’d all grow our own produce, or at the very least buy everything organic… but in the real world it’s not always possible. Every year pesticide residue levels are meausres and an updated Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list is published. The Dirty Dozen list (which has actually now grown to 18 items!) is the high pesticide level produce – and the Clean 15 is the produce with the lowest levels of pesticides. If you have to buy non-organic, try to avoid the Dirty Dozen and pick from the Clean 15 list.

And of course, if you’re buying imported produce, remember the country of origin may have a completely different pesticide regime – so try to buy local!

Here’s the updated lists:

Clean 15

Asparagus
Avocado
Cabbage
Eggplant
Grapefruit
Kiwi Fruit
Mangoes
Mushrooms
Onions
Pineapple
Rock Melon
Sweetcorn
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potato
Water Melon

Dirty 18

Apples
Blueberries
Broccoli
Capsicums
Carrots
Celery
Cherries
Cucumber
Grapes
Kale
Lettuce
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears
Potatoes
Spinach
Strawberries
Zucchini

If you’re on a tight budget, I can’t recommend farmers markets enough – go at the end of the day and you should get some good deals on local, organic produce. Better still, start a small veggie patch – that way you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.

buying paleo in coles woolworths

Paleo food shopping in Coles

Don’t judge me – sometimes I buy my paleo food from Coles, my local grocery store. I live near a great greengrocer, butcher and an Aldi – and have a twice monthly farmers market a few suburbs away – but sometimes time and budget make paleo shopping in Coles the best option.

buying paleo in coles woolworths

So can you buy paleo in Coles?

A few years ago Coles lacked so many paleo staples – but now I see more and more paleo friendly lines appearing by the week. The fat-is-good-for-you and it-matters-where-your-meat-comes-from messages seem to finally be going mainstream.

This week I saw a whole new line in grass-fed beef at my local coles – so thought it’s a good time to assess the store for their paleoness.

I’m not going to go into fresh produce too much, but they do have a range of organic fruit and veggies.

Meat

This is the new range of grass-fed meat I found, Graze. It’s also hormone free and comes from 180 NSW and Victoria cattle farms. So far they have porterhouse, scotch fillet, rib-eye, eye fillet, rump, schnitzel, lean mince, roasts, stir fry, casserole and ribs. So if you buy from Coles – support this range – we want more of it!

Graze Grass-fed beef meat Paleo Coles Supermarket shopping list primal

In terms of chicken, Coles offer the Inglewood Farms brand of organic chicken. I always get a whole chicken ($11.90 a kilo) instead of chicken breasts ($31.40 a kilo) – you literally get the rest of the bird free that way – and who doesn’t love a roast chicken?

How about kangaroo? One of the great things about kangaroo is that they aren’t farmed – so you know you’re getting naturally reared meat. Buy the plain steaks though, and avoid the pre-marinated or processed kangaroo products.

Kangaroo-Steak-Meat-Paleo-Coles-Supermarket-shopping-list-primal-min

Eggs

Eggs are easy as most people seem to be on-board with free-range eggs now. Unfortunately Coles don’t offer Omega-3 enriched eggs (get these from Woolworths). And my other gripe is that eggs aren’t stamped in Australia.

Fats

Coconut oil used to be a foreign concept to the big supermarkets. Now Coles offer two Melrose Organic jars ($8.75 or $11.72 for 300ml – good for an emergency) and also the Prochef coconut oil spray I wrote about before.

Coconut-Oil-Melrose-Organic-Paleo-Coles-Supermarket-shopping-list-primal-min

Coles also sell a jar of Naturals by Melrose Almond Butter Spread ($8.03 for 250g) or Cashew Spread Butter ($8.42).

Luckily olive oil has always been abundant. There are loads of brands. Which is your favourite?

If you’re looking for more animal fats, you can also get a rendered duck fat from Coles.

Rendered duck fat animal Paleo Coles Supermarket shopping list primal

Canned paleo

A few brands of coconut milk are available including TCC, Trident and Ayam. I always buy Ayam as it has the best ingredients. Also, never buy the light versions (you can always add water yourself).

The other tinned ingredient I buy is tomatoes (here’s why). There are loads available, but I find a brand like Mutti has the best ingredients.

Canned tinner diced chopped whole tomatoes Paleo Coles Supermarket shopping list primal

Paleo baking

You’ll find several brands of almond meal/ almond flour including Freshlife and the Lucky brand, but with prices upwards of $22 a kilo, they aren’t cheap. Bob’s Red Mill organic coconut flour is available as about $26 a kilo too.

Coconut-Flour-Paleo-Coles-Supermarket-shopping-list-primal-min

Other things in Coles

You can also find Melrose Apple Cider Vinegar (see what you can do with it here) and several types of Pink Himalayan Salt

If you’re looking for a bread alternative, you’ll be please to find nori seaweed wraps.

Nori sushi rolls wraps sheet Paleo Coles Supermarket shopping list primal

So over to you – what paleo friendly items have you found in Coles that we should know about? Which of the big supermarkets do you think is the most paleo friendly?

How far can $50 a week go – cheap veggies

I told you about my $50 weekly food budget and I thought I’d share with you how I’ve been achieving it. As I mentioned, I shop around between my local independent green grocers, Aldi and Coles supermarket. Whilst I find some good specials in Coles and Aldi, I almost always find the green grocers to be the best bet for cheap veggies.

My other reason for liking the greengrocer as well as it being cheap, is that almost everything is from local farms – and it’s pretty much all seasonal, rather than expensive imported produce.

I eat a lot of veg and use it to bulk out all of my meals. I pick veggies roughly based on their nutrient density – I’m going to buy kale and spinach over iceberg lettuce.

So, here’s what I selected the other day at my greengrocers….

Greengrocers-50-Paleo-Diet-Primal-Challenge-Frugal-Vegetables-Veggies-min
Spinach (silverbeet) $0.99
Kale $2.00
Butternut Squash $3.00
Brussels Sprouts $2.49
Broccoli $1.97
Onions $1.49
Cauliflower $2.49

Total Veg Spend $14.34

I compared the cost to what I would have paid in my local Coles supermarket (see below)

Greengrocers-Coles-Woolworths-Shopping-50-Paleo-Diet-Primal-Challenge-Frugal-Vegetables-Veggies-min

Buying the exact same produce would have cost over double in the supermarket – $31.07, leaving less than $20 for meat for the week!

What did I do with the produce?

I made a huge batch of butternut squash and carrot soup (I had a few carrots left over from my previous shot)

I used the cauliflower to make an experimental new pizza base

I made a greens & beef stir fry with the silverbeet, kale, sprouts and broccoli

It’s cheap – but is it organic?

Unfortunately it’s not all organic. Of course I’d love to eat everything organic, but on a tight budget it’s just not feasible. However – one good trick I’ve found, is that not may people seem to buy organic where I live. This means the organic produce is quite often reduced to less than the conventional produce, as it approaches it’s use by date. So keep a look out.

I’d love to hear your tips for eating well on a budget – how do you do it? Share in the comments below!

Can you eat paleo healthily on a budget finances-min

Can you eat healthily on a budget?

I wrote the other day about my $50 weekly food budget – and how hyper aware I’ve become about how much food costs.  I’m only shopping for one, I work from home, love cooking and have time to shop around. How hard must if be for families on tight budgets to eat well?

Can you eat paleo healthily on a budget finances-min

I really struck me how difficult it must be for families when I saw this in my local Aldi store:

Aldi-cheap-pizza-paleo-network-food
That’s just $3 for a big pizza. Assuming you’d need two to feed a family of four that’s $1.50 per person for dinner. Preparation time is zero and cooking time less than 20 minutes.

Contrast this with a healthy paleo meal? Let’s say a large free range chicken: $12, some steamed kale $5 and spinach $3 and some $4 cauliflower made into rice. That’s $24 – so $6 a head. For families living on tight budgets there’s a huge difference between spending $6 on dinner and spending $24.

And how about lunch? You can buy an entire loaf of bread for about 85 cents and some cheap processed meat for about $3. That’s a cheap lunch, well under a dollar a head. Contrast that with a typical paleo lunch – that wouldn’t even cover a decent cut of meat, never mind salad or veggies.

As for breakfast I doubt anyone could make an free-range egg and veggie omelette for less than the $2.2o an entire box of cornflakes costs.

So what’s the answer?

Wouldn’t it be good if fresh whole food could be subsidised? Unfortunately I can’t see how that could ever be implemented, since everyone has such wildly different ideas about exactly what is healthy and what isn’t.

Do you think families struggling to make ends meet are priced out of eating healthily? What do you think the answer is?

My $50 paleo budget challenge

My $50 weekly paleo budget challenge

When I returned from my trip overseas, I went to my local Coles grocery store to get a few essentials to keep me going. I came out with one bag and $52 worse off. All I bought was a few veggies and some meat.

Now I’m working for myself (more on this soon) something has to change! It’s important to me to continue eating well, but I’ve got to cut my food costs. I’ve therefore spent the last few weeks doing a $50 weekly food challenge. Where I live in Australia, this is quite a challenge. Food is expensive here. Before I started this challenge I’m ashamed to say I had no idea how much different vegetables and cuts of meat cost.

My $50 paleo budget challenge

It’s not been easy, but I’ve managed to stick $50 a week – and I’ve kept it paleo. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

Shopping around

I’m lucky to live near an independent greengrocers, a butcher, an Aldi and a Coles supermarket. When I worked in the corporate world I would do almost all of my shopping in Coles because it was quick and easy. Now I incorporate all three in my daily morning walk, so I can check out the prices and see what’s in season and on special offer. As I walk, I don’t buy much each time I go and I make sure I’m always getting the best price. It’s amazed me how much prices differ for the exact same vegetables – perhaps even from the same farm! For example I can get a whole cauliflower for $2 from the greengrocer. Or spend $3.98 on a cauliflower at Coles.

Look for specials

I’ve noticed every few days there are different specials in my local Coles. This week for example, Broccoli is on sale for $1.oo a kilo (2.2 pounds). It would normally be about $3 a kilo – so this is incredibly cheap. I therefore have a fridge full of broccoli at the moment – and am on the look out for broccoli recipes to use it all in! I always keep my meal plans flexible enough to take advantage of good deals like this.

Broccoli-50-dollar-paleo-diet-budget-challenge

Buy reduced to clear

I’ve also noticed everywhere I shop has reduced produce every day. I’ve got some great deals on packets of vegetables on their “use by” date and significant reductions on meat too.  I cook fresh everyday, so it makes no difference whatsoever if it’s close to the use by date.

Buy different cuts of meat

I used to buy (what I now realise are) premium cuts of meat and poultry. I’d spend $10 buying two chicken breasts – I now buy a whole chicken for about the same. Not only do I get two chicken breasts, but I get the rest of the bird – and a couple of extra meals out of it for free. It’s so easy to roast a chicken.

Buy nutrient dense

With $50 to spend I don’t bother buying things like lettuce, which I don’t consider very nutrient dense or filling. Instead I’d rather buy veggies like kale and spinach that give far more nutrients per cent.

Buy seasonal

I used to buy avocados all the time. I didn’t really look at the price. They’re $2.98 EACH! I don’t buy avocados at the moment. As soon as they are in season and the prices become more sensible, I’ll add them back into my diet.

Avocado-expensive-50-dollar-paleo-diet-budget-challenge

Try a different way

I’ve also started doing a few things differently. Instead of buying expensive dark chocolate, I buy a few grapes when they’re on special and freeze them (if you’ve not tried frozen grapes – do this!). Instead of using coconut oil to roast veggies in or cook a stir fry with, I use the fat I get from the meat I cook.

Don’t compromise

I’d save so much money if I bought barn eggs and cheap ground mince meat. But there are some things I won’t compromise on – I won’t buy ground meat or non free-range chicken or eggs. I’d love to buy all of my vegetables organic, but I just couldn’t do that for under $50 a week unfortunately.

Stretch everything

Everything I buy, I try to stretch as far as I can. The chicken I roast will do several meals, then the bones will make a stock. I add yesterdays stir fry leftovers to some eggs to make a frittata for breakfast. I make my extra veggies into a soup and freeze it in batches for later.

I’d love to hear any tips you have for getting more out of my $50 weekly food budget. How much do you spend on food each week? I’d love to hear your views in the comments below.

The Paleo Diet Offal Liver Kidney Heart organ meat-min

Offal & The Paleo Diet

Offal is the organs found in animals and includes the liver, hearts, brains and kidneys and these foods are not commonly consumed, which is the reason why they can be found at really low costs. Offal is not processed, so you know exactly what you are getting, which is not the case with many other foods. If you were to eat non-Paleo processed meat, like sausage rolls or chicken nuggets for example, you would usually be eating bones and other parts of animals which offer no nutritional benefits whatsoever.

As part of the Paleo diet, offal is encouraged as it is packed full of nutrients. The most nutritious is the liver, which is a good source of Vitamin A and the brain, which is rich in Omega 3. Offal also contains a lot of protein and iron, which is not only good for the functioning of your organs but is also good for making your appearance clearer and healthier.

The reason why the Paleo diet encourages the consumption of these organs is that they can offer a wide range of benefits to our health, including improving the immune system and staving off a whole host of illnesses which can result in someone with a poor diet. The point of the diet is to maximise the benefits of the foods we are eating, so even if they don’t seem like the kind of foods you would like, it is well worth giving them a try.

The Paleo Diet Offal Liver Kidney Heart organ meat-min

Offal is known as a super-food and although many of us wouldn’t usually choose to eat these foods, the number of people buying these has increased in recent years. We are becoming a lot more educated in what foods are beneficial to our bodies and even though offal may not be the most tantalising of choices, the potential benefits make them an important choice as part of our daily diets.

If you are following the Paleo diet, it is important to include offal as it will make a substantial difference in how you look and feel. If the thought of eating these kinds of foods makes you feel a little queasy, there are many ways you can incorporate them into your meal, without even tasting them. You will be surprised at how quickly they become part of your daily routine and these super-foods will set you up for the rest of your life.

We all love a good curry and you can easily make this using offal without really having to taste them. You can add plenty of flavours to your curry which will disguise the texture, if this is off putting to you. If you are on a tight budget, offal is the ideal food to add to your diet, without stretching your budget but ensuring you enjoy the health benefits.

You may even wish to add your offal to a tasty stew or soup and by introducing plenty of other ingredients; you won’t really know the difference from your usual meals. You may even find that after time you start to enjoy the taste of offal on its own. If you have children and want them to enjoy the benefits of the Paleo diet, you should try and add offal to their meals, as it will help to improve their immune system and they will get used to the taste from a young age.

The most nutritious is the liver, so if you choose only one as part of your diet, this should be it. It shouldn’t take long to start noticing the health benefits of offal as part of your Paleo diet and you will also find improvements in the appearance of your hair and skin.

With offal, it is even more important than usual to ensure the meat is of the very best quality, ideally organic and grass-fed or pasture raised.

The best animals to consume your offal from are goat, sheep, buffalo and horse and you should be able to pick these up from your local butchers.

Do you use Offal in your cooking? What are your favourite types – and recipes? Share below!

Paleo diet primal weekly planning meal planning recipes-min

What Sundays Are All About

With a bit of planning and organisation at the weekend, the entire week of Paleo meals can be planned, ingredients bought and almost all of the cooking done, leaving your weekdays easy and stress free.

Being organised like this is not only a far cheaper way of following your Paleo diet, but it also ensures you won’t come unstuck in the week – when a lack of time and imagination would otherwise make it far harder to make the right food choices.

Step One: The Weekly Planner

Are you going to be home every evening? Do you have friends over? Have you been invited out to dinner? Write out a plan of the upcoming week and work out how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks you will need.

Now it’s time to hit the recipe books for inspiration and decide what you would like to eat everyday! Bear in mind if you cook a large portion of a dinner recipe, you can either freeze the remainder to enjoy another day, or you can use it for lunch, or breakfast the following day.

If you have cooking facilities at lunchtimes, it’s a great idea to do some batch cooking, so you can have a quick, hot Paleo meal every lunchtime – with no cooking required

Paleo diet primal weekly planning meal planning recipes-min

Step Two: The Ingredients

Once you’ve decided on your weekly Paleo meal planner, you can make a list of all of the ingredients you need to buy and head to your local farmers market, butchers and grocery store/ supermarket to buy everything you need. No more shopping required for another week or two! It’s good to be flexible and prepared to swap ingredients, for example where certain vegetables are in season or on sale.

Step Three: Cooking & Preparation

Once you have your Paleo ingredients, recipes and weekly planner on hand, it’s time to get cooking! You can cook up big batches of one-pot recipes, such as soups, stews, casseroles and curries as these will freeze easily, ready to be reheated when you need them for lunches or dinners.

Many breakfasts, such as egg muffins can be cooked in advance and stored in the fridge for a quick grab and go breakfast.

You can also prepare vegetables in advance, ready to blanch, eat raw or throw in the steamer for the week’s dinners.

Step Four: Overcoming Potential Difficulties

This is also a good opportunity to call ahead any restaurants you may be visiting next week – or looking up their menu online. This way you can work out which Paleo options are available, or contact the restaurant directly and see how they can help.

What is your weekly routine? Do you spend time at the weekend planning for the week ahead?