How to save $2,000 a year on the Paleo diet

EIE CHALLENGE WEEK 4:  Your challenge for this week will be to eat 100% of your meals from home.  No eating out!  All week we will be posting tips and strategies for “big batch” cooking, preparing, and storing.  Welcome to the homestretch! 

Weekly Programming Links:  Group ClassVenice Barbell Club, Track Night

Monday, February 10, 2014


15 Dislocates
Keg Drill, 2 minutes
Banded Hip Extension, 1 minute per side


10 Behind the Neck Snatch Grip Press
10 Overhead Lunges in Snatch Grip
10 Good Mornings
10 Overhead Squats
5 High Hang Snatch
5 Hang Snatch

Notes:  Use a PVC pipe or barbell.

Classic Strength

5 x 3 Overhead Squats, moderate/heavy with perfect depth and positions

Notes: This is designed to get you stronger in your snatches.  If you cannot perform a full depth OHS, sub front squats or spend the 15 min working on improving your positioning with a barbell.

Advanced Strength

15 minutes to work to a max for the complex: 1 High Hang Snatch (at hips) + 1 Hang Snatch (at knee)

Notes: For the high hang, the bar should remain in contact with the hips and the shoulder directly over the bar. This forces a violent upward extension and a correct bar path. Let this position carry over to the hang at the knees


150 Wall Ball (20/14#)
– 12 minute cap –

Notes: This is very high volume for this workout. If you are a new member and usually get sore doing lots of squats, taking the reps down to 100 is recommended.

Cool Down

Foam Roll Quads, 30 sec each
Couch Stretch, 30 sec each
Sampson Stretch, 30 sec each
Pigeon Stretch, 30 sec each

Work on a quality overhead position today!

A huge part of the nutritional template we recommend here at PCF involves cooking the majority of your meals at home. When you prepare your meals at home, you have complete control over every vitamin, mineral, macronutrient, calorie, etc. that goes into your body. When you eat out, you fork over some of that control to the chef in exchange for convenience. Unfortunately, that exchange can have negative consequences for your health that you might not realize. Most restaurants, due to higher costs and lower profits for their establishment, are not going to use high quality ingredients like pastured animals and organic produce, and will opt for cheaper cooking oils like canola oil and vegetable oil over the more stable and healthy versions found in my home like butter, ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil. They are most likely also adding in sugar or processed foods here and there to make soups, sauces, and dressings more palatable, and you would have no idea.

Ignorance is bliss. Why do I feel healthy when I eat a salad in a restaurant when I would never be caught dead eating non-organic greens and tomatoes at home with canola oil and sugar in my dressing? Why do I feel satisfied when I order a feed lot burger protein style when all of my protein at home is grass fed or wild caught? When eating at the counter at Oscar’s Cerveteca, one of the most delicious restaurants on Rose Ave, I was sadly disappointed when one of the chefs dumped ten or more guzzles of canola oil into a boiling soup pot. The exchange for convenience negatively affects your health. And when you do go to nicer restaurants that may use higher quality ingredients you pay the (much higher) price with your wallet, and still don’t know everything going on in the kitchen.

And that is the theme for today’s post. At the end of the post I want you to see that eating at home is not only much healthier for the reasons listed above, it is also much cheaper for your wallet. If health won’t give you motivation to eat at home, hopefully money will! I am extremely frugal, and I will only spend money for an equal benefit in exchange, in this case nutrition. I am going to break down the cost of food so you can see the way I view it when I go out to a restaurant. I know that this will differ greatly from the way the majority of people view the consumption of food, but play along for a little; you have nutrition and money to gain!

Case Study: Chipotle Bowl vs Home Cooking

I am picking Chipotle because it is cheap, convenient, sources higher quality protein, and Mexican food minus the tortilla is a main staple for Paleo eaters, especially for the newly converted. The price comparison will be based on 667 calories per meal for a total of 2,000 calories per day across 3 meals.

Chipotle Paleo Order #1
Burrito Bowl with 4oz. Steak, Romaine Lettuce, Fajita Vegetables, Pico de Gallo, and Guacamole
405 calories
Carbs – 19g/18%
Protein – 33.5g/32%
Fat – 23g/50%
Cost – $6.70 (bowl) + $1.90 (guac) + $0.86 (tax) = $9.46 ($15.58/667cal)

A well balanced meal (moderate protein, lower in carb, higher in fat) right in line with our nutritional template. Not too bad in terms of nutrition, but pricey if you ask me! Also, 405 calories is too low, and would leave me hungry way before my next meal. Let’s beef up this order the way most Crossfitters would by adding in double protein.

Chipotle Paleo Order #2
Burrito Bowl with 8oz. order of Steak, Romaine Lettuce, Fajita Vegetables, Pico de Gallo, and Guacamole
595 calories
Carb – 21g/14%
Protein – 63.5g/42%
Fat – 29.5g/44%
Cost – $6.70 (bowl) + $2.25 (extra protein) + $1.90 (guac) + $1.09 (tax) = $11.94 ($13.38/667cal)

That’s a huge charge for the extra protein ($9/lb) and it’s not even grass fed!. This would definitely sustain my training and appetite however, and low carb/high fat is in line with nutritional template.

I literally cringe looking at those prices above, especially for the amount of food you get in return. Let’s see if we can do any better cooking a similar meal at home. In this comparison we will use Trader Joe’s produce and PCF meat delivery service (15% off grass fed beef).

Home Bowl – Plain +Guac
5oz. Organic Power to the Greens (kale, spinach, chard) – $1.99
½ Avocado – $0.38
Lime – $0.29
Organic Onion – $0.75
Pico de Gallo Salsa – $0.30
4oz. Grass Fed Skirt Steak – $2.62
Tax on grocery items – $0.00
484 Calories
Carbs – 35g/28%
Protein – 35g/28%
Fat – 24g/44%
Cost – $6.33 ($8.72/667cal)

Home Bowl – Double Meat + Double Guac!
5oz. Organic Power to the Greens (kale, spinach, chard) – $1.99
Avocado – $0.75
Lime – $0.29
Organic Onion – $0.75
Pico de Gallo Salsa – $0.30
8oz. Grass Fed Skirt Steak – $5.25
Tax on grocery items – $0.00
847 Calories
Carbs – 41g/19%
Protein – 65g/31%
Fat – 48g/50%
Cost – $9.33 ($7.34/667cal)

In terms of price, each version of the Chipotle Burrito bowl is 45% cheaper to make at home, and more nutritious! I could increase the savings even more by subbing the steak for ground beef or chuck roast ($1.50 less per meal), and subbing the greens for a cheaper vegetable or a side of fruit every other meal ($1 less per day). That may not sound like a lot right now, but even a $2 a meal savings will equal $6 per day, $182 per month, and $2,190 per year! Besides saving money in the short term, higher quality ingredients will lead to a higher quality of life with less doctor visits and chronic disease in the long term.

This example is for a single male eating at Chipotle versus splurging on high quality ingredients at home. The savings and nutrition gap would only increase further when taking into account more expensive restaurants, an entire family eating out, and cheaper produce by shopping in season and at places like Costco.

Make the commitment to cook and eat at home this week. Your belly, body, and wallet will thank you.

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