Paleo on a Shoestring

Paleo: because bacon
Paleo: because bacon

This July it will be two full years since we embarked on our starch-free eating plan. The results have been worth the effort, and the effort has turned out to be negligible: a simple reframing of priorities and updating of perspectives. Some of the benefits we’ve seen include:

  • Weight loss
  • Energy
  • Focus and concentration
  • No more bloating
  • Reduction in head aches
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Easier breathing
  • Better sleep
  • Bacon

A lot of people have commented on the transformations they’ve seen, asking for our secret. When we explain that we simply don’t eat starch, the question is always the same:

How do you stay full?

No one can comprehend how we manage to fill five tummies without starch – and with very little money, to boot.

To tell the truth, it’s not as hard as it sounds. We shop the sales, we hunt down bargains on organic food (especially meat), and we fill up on veggies. The vegetables we buy really do go far, and they’re surprisingly affordable.

The Paleo-on-a-Shoestring basics

It helps to have your menu planned and filed in your mind, so that you don’t have too many surprises to cater for – especially when you’re just getting started.


We have eggs for breakfast virtually every day. This may sound expensive, until you take into account that eggs are one of the cheapest forms of protein available to man. We also have no milk at all, so the money we save on both carb-loaded, toxin-stuffed cereal and hormone-filled milk is now rerouted into yummy fried eggs. With butter or olive oil. So good.

Once in a while we treat ourselves to sugar-free organic bacon from our local butcher.


Almost every day of the week, lunch is a great big salad*. Which is AWESOME. Our salads include every yummy thing we can think of in the veggie kingdom, and a protein. Veggies include lettuce, spinach, cilantro (coriander/dhania), parsley, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, spring onions, celery, beetroot (raw or roasted), roasted butternut – and even apples. Proteins vary, from salmon to mussels to tuna to chicken to chickpeas to eggs.  You could include cheese and/or nuts if you’re not allergic.

We usually include a wide range of herbs, some salt, and whichever seeds we have in the house (especially pumpkin seeds). Over time, we’ve found the best spots to get the cheapest quality ingredients in town. It’s a process, to be sure, but it’s a fun adventure, and so worth it in the end.

As often as possible our salads are doused in home-made mayonnaise (which is easy and affordable to make). This is because our mayonnaise is a) a source of protein, b) a source of GOOD fats, c) a source of calories (which we need nowadays), and d) delicious. If we’re out of mayonnaise for any reason, or just looking for a change, we’ll drizzle the salad with olive oil and either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.


Our suppers really haven’t changed much, except that we no longer have a starch on the side of the plate. We make up the difference in veggies, and a good rule of thumb is to have 1/3 protein to every 2/3 vegetables.Options for protein range from chicken and fish (which is rare in our house because a) it costs so much, and b) none of us knows how to cook it), to beef, pork, and lamb, to beans and lentils.

We’ll have roast chicken, and use the left overs for the next day’s salad. Then we’ll use the carcass for bone broth, fill up the pot with vegetables, and have soup.

Or we might make shepherd’s pie from minced beef sautéed with veggies and filled out with lentils, topped with butternut (and/or sweet potato) mash. This is a good one as it goes far and keeps well in the freezer.

Sometimes we’ll have stew or curry, and we just eat these as they are, with no rice to sop them up. Or we might serve them on a bed of squash (or sweet potato on a cheat night).


At first we thought this would be a challenge, but we have more ideas for desserts than anything else. We have meringues, chocolate, chocolate mousse, pumpkin pie, marshmallows, smoothies, sorbets, brownies and more. I’ll start posting recipes as some point.

We spend no more on groceries than we did before – which in many cases is much less than many of our friends do. And I have the peace of mind of knowing that everyone I feed is getting a healthy, balanced, whole food diet, without any of the bad stuff.

*We’re busy switching lunch and supper around, but it’s a process. More on that to follow.
Have you tried Paleo or SCD, but found it too expensive? Or are you just thinking about getting started, and not sure if you can afford it? I’d love to hear your experiences – and your questions.

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