Budgeting Tips For The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – Part II: Buying Bulk Meat

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Earlier this week I showed you how growing some of your own food can help bring down the costs of being on the autoimmune protocol. Today we move on to how to save money on buying high quality meat, something that is an integral part of this way of eating.

Tip 2: Invest in a deep freezer and get in the routine of buying bulk meat. I can’t tell you how much getting a freezer changed the way that I source my food. After pining after one for months, I bought one used off of craigslist for $100. When I bought it I didn’t have any space in my house, but I thought that it was so important that I asked my sister if I could put it in her garage. I would visit once a week to deposit what I had bought or grab things I needed. Now my housing situation has changed and we have it in the garage, which is super convenient. 

My first adventure in buying bulk meat came last fall. I was introduced to Crown S. Ranch by my friends who have been customers and friends of theirs for years. I had been buying meat by the cut from them for awhile, but eventually I learned that it would be better to buy in bulk. First, in order to sell meat by the cut the cows have to be transported to a USDA facility, which  gets all of the adrenaline and stress hormones circulating through their bodies – I don’t really want the animals that I eat to have to go through that if I can avoid it. I also don’t want to eat the meat that has those hormones in it. By buying the cow before it is slaughtered, the farm can legally do it in the pastures which is much more humane.

Another benefit to buying in bulk is that it is far cheaper than buying meat at the store or farmer’s market. I was paying around $5-6 a pound for the cheapest cuts of local, grass-fed meat. In contrast, by buying a quarter of a cow at once, I would be getting a wide variety of cuts from the cheap ground beef and roasts to the more pricey tenderloin and t-bone, plus lots of bones. The price ended up working out to $6 a pound, which was on the high end of what I was paying in the store, but considering all of the benefits (knowing the farmer, avoiding the slaughterhouse, getting prime cuts etc.) there was no question that buying in bulk was the better route. If you are looking for a farm near you that sells pastured and sustainable animal products, Eat Wild is the best resource I have found. They have a directory of farms by state with all of their contact information and what animal products they sell.

After I bought the bulk beef, I found a source for bulk sustainable salmon from a local fishmonger. They sell fish that their family catches in Alaska to groups that will buy quantities larger than 100 pounds. Every few months my friends and I will put in an order together and have them make a drop for us at someone’s house. By pooling together and buying in bulk, we are able to get a high quality product at the fraction of the price that we could be paying at the store (my source is half the price!). Not to mention that this fishmonger is committed to sustainable fishing practices, and they freeze the fish on the boat so it is always fresher than you could purchase otherwise.

Lastly, in addition to being able to store some of my staples (bone broth and meat patties), a deep freezer enables me to shop sales when I come across them. Last summer I went to all of the local U-pick farms and filled my freezer with blueberries and raspberries for only $2 a pound. I love having the frozen summer berries as an alternative to the costly (both to our pocketbook and the environment) South American counterparts that we have available to us at the store this time of year. The deep freezer also allows me to stock up on meat or fish that I come upon for a good price. For instance last week I found pastured stewing hens for $10 at my farmer’s market – I bought a few and threw them in the freezer for later.

The next article in the series will cover how to join a buying club and shop online effectively to save on your food budget.

Do you have a deep freezer? How has it changed the way that you source your food? 

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol, and AIP Batch Cook, a video-based batch cooking program. You also can find her on Instagram.

14 comments

  • Amy says

    I have a small deep freezer and love it! We are in an apartment now, and because it is small, my freezer still fits. I don’t know how I’d survive without it, frankly! We recently moved, and I just found a farmer in the area. My brother and I will be buying in bulk this Friday and splitting it! I think a freezer is THE most important tool for living as cheaply, sustainably, and conveniently as possible…right after the food processor 😉

    • That is awesome you have a deep freeze in an apartment! You are going to love having all of that quality meat at your disposal. 🙂

  • […] that we have covered how growing your own food and buying meat in bulk can save you money, we will move on to the last tip I have for you as well as some concluding […]

  • […] I do my food budgeting in cash, so every week as I was saving more and more money with the garden I stashed it in a “meat fund” to purchase a portion of an animal come fall. I ended up with over $500 saved up, which easily paid for my quarter beef. It has been almost six months since that purchase, and there is still plenty in the freezer. Which leads me to tomorrow’s topic – buying meat in bulk. […]

  • Pamela says

    Hello! Thank you for these posts. I am very new to all this nutrition stuff. I was recently diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases and simultaneously noticed that when I ate certain things my condition worsened. The details of your story have been really helpful to me as I try to piece together my own. I was just wondering if you have read The Plan by Lyn Genet. Hers is a very strict elimination diet/testing one food every other day. If you are still having issues you might want to glance at a few of her pages. She has foods she calls “highly reactive” (cause a lot of inflammation), like salmon and raspberries. Maybe it will be another missing link for us both!

    • Hi Pamela,
      I haven’t heard of that book or author before, but I am very familiar with the elimination diet idea – essentially that is what the autoimmune protocol is. I am a little suspicious as to her basis of why salmon and raspberries cause inflammation – as far as I know the omega-3 fats in salmon help make anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which is quite the opposite. Anyways, good luck to you on your healing journey, and I will be checking Lyn Genet out to see what information she has to offer 🙂

  • […] Budgeting Tips For The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – Part II: Buying Bulk Meat (autoimmunepaleo.wordpress.com) […]

  • […] I do my food budgeting in cash, so every week as I was saving more and more money with the garden I stashed it in a “meat fund” to purchase a portion of an animal come fall. I ended up with over $500 saved up, which easily paid for my quarter beef. It has been almost six months since that purchase, and there is still plenty in the freezer. Which leads me to tomorrow’s topic – buying meat in bulk. […]

  • Stephie says

    Hi Mickey,
    maybe this is a bit of a silly question, but how do you cut all that meat and the bones in it? Do you have special equipment for that purpose? I am just wondering…
    Here in Germany, I haven’t found a farm yet that sells whole animals (except chicken and goose etc.). But when I do I will be happy to have all the information I need.
    Thanks,
    Stephie

    • Mickey says

      Hey Stephie,
      I don’t literally buy the whole animal – the farmer I buy from sends it to a butcher, who cuts and wraps everything. I do get the bones and organs. I would contact some farmers to see if they offer this in your area!

      Mickey

  • […] that we have covered how growing your own food and buying meat in bulk can save you money, we will move on to the last tip I have for you as well as some concluding […]

  • […] This article has moved to a location on my new website (autoimmune-paleo.com), click here to read it! […]

  • Emily says

    Mickey,

    Would you mind telling me who your fishmonger is? I have a small meat CSA in Pierce County (and Queen Anne when my sister and her friends want things). I’ve been sourcing Troller Point but they’re expensive compared to my former fisher who retired. I have sources for pastured chicken – Spring Rain Farm and Orchard in Chimicum and G&H Pastured Poultry in McCleary. Spring Rain is far, but they do pastured stewers, roasters and turkey for comparable prices to your farmer’s market find.

    My website is (on a good day) a work in progress. Stop by if you like at http://www.meadowroot.net.

    Thanks,

    Emily

    • Mickey says

      Hi Emily!
      Thanks for sharing the link to your CSA, that looks awesome!

      My fishmonger is Anne Mossness and I would be happy to send you her contact if you email me – mickeytrescott at mac dot com. The price this year was around $9.50 a pound and the product is fabulous!

      Mickey

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