Friday, April 4, 2014

Paleo Shopping {where I get my meat & eggs}

Knowing where to shop when eating paleo might be difficult at first, but it gets easier as you go. A big part of the paleo lifestyle is eating high quality food from trusted sources. I try to marry that mind-frame with my itty bitty food budget by choosing high quality when the price is right and sticking to foods that won't make me sick for the rest.

Today I will be talking about where I buy my meat.

Meat generally falls under the category "won't make me sick" as I just can't afford high quality meat for the moment. (We are working on this though.) I have a list of criteria I go through, listed here in order of importance, when choosing my meats:
  1. Is it "clean"?
  2. Does it contain anything that will make me sick?
  3. Is it local?
  4. Does it cost less than 10€/kilo?
  5. Is it organic/grassfed/etc?
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Questions number 1 and 2 are non-negotiable. Usually, any meat we buy needs to get a yes for the first four questions. Occasionally, we make an exception for numbers 3 and 4 and buy a piece of American Angus beef - but only when it's marked down 50%.

Which brings me to our favorite way to save money. You see, we eat meat at 2-3 meals per day. We mostly eat ham or bacon at breakfast, chicken or tuna for lunch, and all that's left for dinner. That can get pretty pricey - unless you can get the majority of your meat at 50% off!

We live right across the street from a Carrefour Express. It's a fairly small store, so when the meats get too close to their limit date, everything gets marked down to 50% off. We pass by the store every other day or so, just to see if they have meat we're interested in (I also grab an avocado each time, first so I don't leave without buying something, second because they are the cheapest there, and third because AVOCADO!).

Here, I bought 1.25 kg of steak (2.75 lbs) for only 12.28€. That works out to 9.83€/kg - for steak! Now, is this high-quality steak? Probably not. But we can say yes to the other four questions, and, for now, that's good enough.

We do the same at this store with chicken and pork as well. Our freezer is always full of meat and we keep a running tab written on a rub-off eraser board hanging on the wall right next to the freezer so we always know when we're running low on something.

Our ground pork comes from the Carrefour Market just down the road a ways. It's the only ground pork in the city whose only ingredient is just ground pork! It's labeled as "sans lactose" (lactose free). We also buy pork offal from time to time here.

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And here enters Boushaba. Not only is most of the meat here dirt cheap, it's also freaking delicious! This is our source for ground beef, sausages and merguez, lamb, offal and chicken (when we don't have any at 50% off). Everything is made with real ingredients, and I have yet to be contaminated or made sick by anything I've eaten from there. (I obviously avoid things such as the meatballs, which contain breadcrumbs.)

To finish this post, I'll leave you with what is probably our worst quality food ever - our eggs. This is our priority for clean up, and I highly recomend putting out the extra pennies for quality eggs, especially if you eat a lot. We're looking for good eggs, but even the free-range hens around here are primarily fed grain-based diets. We prefer paying less for essentially the same quality of nutrients for the moment, since we generally eat at least 2 eggs per day, per person.

We buy our eggs from this little bakery in our street. They cost 2,80€ for 30 eggs and last us about a week. Let's just say I know the owner of the bakery pretty well ;-)

My advice? Buy the best meat you can, but don't worry if you can't be perfect right from the beginning. Remember - every little bit makes a difference.

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