Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
I am happy to report that I am alive! I survived Snowpocalypse 2014, which for Savannah, just turned out to be a bunch of icicles. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to devalue the danger of knife-shaped ice. I have it on good authority that nature’s frigid blades take out a handful of eyes every year, and let’s be honest, eye patches aren’t a good look for anybody.
Now that I don’t have to cower in my apartment to avoid Snowmageddon, I have been able to rejoin society and continue to do what I was put on this Earth for ... Help save money for the 10 of you that read this column! It’s not a hard job, but The Times has to let someone fill one page of the business tab, and thank goodness it’s me because without it, my Twitter handle, @BudgetBrittany, would look pretty ridiculous. That shameless plug for Twitter followers would have subsequently been pretty pathetic as well.
I know most of you are gearing up for the Super Bowl by preparing my budget-friendly party snacks from last week’s column, but let’s take a moment to talk about something I care about more — me.
This week, my husband and I have decided to go on a gluten-free diet. Well, my husband’s doctor forced him, and I decided that I would be a good sport and do it, too. At first, I freaked out a little because when I see gluten-free products in the store; they always cost more than my usual brand. Just like how most “diet” products cost significantly more than regular food items. It’s sort of a scam.
So, like with every other dilemma in my life, I took to Google to find answers. I found some who did not want to buy into the boxed versions of the gluten-free diet and have instead embraced the paleo diet. It is essentially a minimalist diet that mimics the diet of our cavemen ancestors. Essentially, if it cannot be naturally found, and is processed, it’s off limits. I have found this diet to be completely budget friendly because they require simple ingredients, many that can be reused across many other recipes. For those of you looking to eat healthier without sacrificing your normal grocery allowance, here are my favorite paleo websites with great recipes: paleOMG.com, PaleoOnABudget.com, and ThePaleoMama.com
So far, here are the immediate benefits I have found by going on the paleo diet:
— The recipes don’t call for a lot of different things. Most of the recipes call for a main vegetable, a vegetable used as spice, meat, and some spices. If you don’t already have a cabinet of spices, the initial investment may seem costly, but the spices last you over the course of tons of meals, so it’s really a good investment.
— The ingredients are cheap! I find myself buying a lot of fruits and vegetables, and not as much meat. When I do use meat, I am typically splitting the packs to span across multiple meals. A lot of paleos like to buy grass-fed meat from farmers, and while this is better for you, it is more costly. I still opt for grocery store meat.
— I am spending less! I budget myself to spend $200 every 2 weeks for groceries, and now I estimate my bill to be in the $120s. This, of course, is to just feed the hubby and I.
While the cons don’t outweigh the pros for me, here are a couple of down sides:
— I must shop more frequently. The paleo diet requires a lot of fresh produce, which doesn’t always last very long. I usually shop for two weeks at a time, but now I will have to shop once a week, just for produce. If you are diligent about making menus and a list, you can get the bulk of your shopping done in the first trip, and use the second trip just to get fruit and vegetables.
— Eating out is more difficult. Gluten-free diets are very common, so it is rare for a restaurant to not offer at least one option, but the paleo diet is not very common. My husband and I are foodies, so we are going to definitely miss trying new restaurants. So, we have not fully converted to the gluten-free or paleo diet 100 percent. This week, we will be eating the things we will miss the most. However, there is a silver lining. The less we eat out, the more money we’ll have in our pockets.
I hope this column inspires some of you to explore your inner-cavemen, because I would love to hear the outcomes on both your body and your budget. Give me your thoughts on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BudgetBrittany or on Twitter @BudgetBrittany.