Oh paleo. Since my first post on paleo we have had a love / hate relationship. The most difficult part of this whole experience has been traveling. I am starting to describe myself as a foodie, using the term loosely. When we go to a new restaurant, new part of the country, or back home, I have this idea that I will miss out on life if I don’t eat for the experience of it. Oh there’s a world famous doughnut place down the street? And our go-to fondue restaurant has an opening tonight? And there’s a local ice cream truck at the neighborhood brewery later? Well, when in Rome… This is an awful habit to break but one that shouldn’t necessarily be broken. I am actually really excited about this passion I have for good food and good beer and a great time that those both usually bring. I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my passion because it’s a 2,000 calorie day. I just need some balance. And the ability to recognize when the right time to calorie splurge is and say to myself hey I’ve been back from vacation for a week now. What am still doing eating all these carbs?
One fantastic feeling that came out of this lifestyle change almost immediately was the calmness that came before, during, and after grocery shopping. I hated grocery shopping. I loved the feeling of having a house full of food but hated the whole process. Here’s what usually went down:
- I’d spend 3 days pinning “healthy” recipes, watching my grocery list become two pages
- Show it to Jason, to which he’d respond that he was tired of the meal or it’s too expensive or none of the ingredients we already have would be used
- Scratch the grocery list and go to allrecipes.com and search for recipes with ingredients I already have
- Become disappointed when the only recipes that come up are some sort of casserole or meatloaf or burger or pasta, usually all filled with a cheese of some kind
- Repeat #2
- Go to the grocery store, hungry, with no list, fight the entire time and end up checking out with a bag of apples, 4 packs of chicken, ice cream, 2 sweet potatoes, and a clove of garlic
- Spend the next week complaining that we are spending so much money going out to eat because we have nothing in the house
I mean, week after week it was like this. We have always gone shopping together, mostly because one of us would bring home plenty of sweets and the other would bring home none. I’ll let you guess which is which. It never occurred to me that the madness of grocery shopping would just simply disappear. The consistency is amazing also. We use the same list each week and add in or substitute as needed. It’s basic, easy, and we both know what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Here’s sample weekly grocery list:
FYI Cultured Coconut Milk isn’t as scary as it sounds. Once you realize you’re not supposed to be tasting yogurt, you realize you’re just eating coconut cream pie filling. So good!.. if you like that sort of thing.
We pretty much shop exclusively at Trader Joe’s, except when we need some pantry staples that we can’t find there. This list below isn’t strict paleo or organic (unless stated) but the prices are what speak right now. You can read all about my thoughts on buying organic in this post I wrote a few weeks ago.
Here’s what to buy where:
Whole Foods (mostly because none of this is sold at TJ’s or at least not the one we shop at):
- Let’s Do… Organic Coconut Flour $5.39 / 1 lb.
- Bragg’s Liquid Aminos $4.99 / 16 oz or $7.99 / 32 oz [compared to an 8oz bottle of Coconut Aminos for $6.69)
- Avocado oil $11.99 / 8 oz (we haven’t bought any yet because we somehow ended up with 4 bottles of olive and canola oils. After that we will be picking up some avocado oil)
- Sweet peppers $.99 – $1.19 each! (vs. $3.99 / lb at WF)
- Chicken breast packages $2.99 / lb (vs.$4.99 / lb at WF)
- Organic strawberries $3.49 / package (vs. $4.99 / package at WF)
- All wild caught Tuna steaks $5.49 / lb for Ahi and $6.29 / lb for Albacore both frozen (vs. $19.99 / lb fresh on sale! at WF)
- Almond flour / meal $3.99 / 16 oz (vs. $11.99 at WF)
- Organic Virgin Coconut oil $5.99 / 16 oz (vs. $6.99 / 14 oz)
This just names a few of the bigger ticket or everyday items that could save you some cash (and gas!) while shopping paleo! In that list, you’re saving over 50%! Not that you’ll buy each of those items every week and maybe you don’t eat tuna but it’s pretty amazing to see the difference in just a few things. Having these guidelines and sticking to them makes eating so much less stressful and less guilty!
I hope this helps demystify what a paleo grocery list could look like and helps you to get started or simply make it easier to continue down the paleo path! Good luck and let me know what works for you and what doesn’t!
For answers to all your paleo questions, check out one of my favorite resources: Balanced Bites.