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I finished the Paleo Snap Challenge and I have to be honest, it wasn’t that difficult.

Growing up I was raised by my grandmother and occasionally by my mostly absent mother. My grandmother’s income consisted of social security, which left little money for food; therefore I ate a lot of white bread and margarine sandwiches. By 16 I was living on my own and had hardly any money at all, much less to spend on food.

I know what it’s like to be poor.

I became really good at creating different meals from the same ingredients, which is something people do in jail, which I learned from a very sketchy roommate I once had.

While the food this past week was repetitive and boring, it was nourishing, it kept me full and it did its job. I was unable to spend on luxury items that keep my body optimally functioning like kombucha, salads, raw kefir, and bone broth. But by no means did I eat poorly.

My goal throughout this challenge was to prove that people can eat well on a limited budget, and that is exactly what I did. It required some extra planning and meal prep, but it is entirely do-able.

These programs need to stop encouraging diets of processed food, nutrient depleted carbohydrates and packaged convenience meals. Not only is this food inefficient, it causes severe health problems, which leads to spending more money down the road. It’s a vicious cycle and it needs to end.  We need to eliminate the idea that it’s not possible to afford healthy food, because it is. It may not be the best quality, organic, or grass-fed, but it is still better to buy conventional meat and vegetables than resorting to nutrient depleted convenience food.

People can buy healthy food on $4.80 per day. Please consider for a second that the food I bought was mostly organic and therefore more expensive. It’s better to buy inorganic meat, vegetables and eggs than to buy processed, packaged food products.

These are the prices at my local Giant:

  • 1 lb ground beef – $2.99
  • 1 dozen eggs – $1.49
  • 3 pack of romaine lettuce – $2
  • Head of broccoli – $1.29
  • 16 oz of butter – $3.79
  • 3 lb bag of onions – $3.50
  • 5 lb bag of potatoes – $3.99
  • 2 lbs antibiotic-free chicken – $3.48
  • 20 oz of tomatoes – $2.99
  • 1 lb bag of carrots – $1.99
  • Large cucumbers – $0.90 each
  • 17 oz of olive oil – $3.99

All of this totals $32.40, or $4.62 per day.

These are just some popular products that I took note of, and they are completely affordable.

I realize that my perspective and outcome of this challenge does not mirror that of other people. Most found it difficult, most found themselves hungry, and most bought carbohydrate rich foods, almost exclusively. Eating nutrient depleted, high carbohydrate foods leads to nutrient deficiencies, obesity, and eventually diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Eating well on a budget is entirely possible. It may require more planning, meal prep and cook time, but I think that’s favorable to preventable diseases.

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