When you decide to make a radical change to your diet, it requires some pretty radical changes to your cooking environment, too.  Since the closest health food market is about 30 miles away and the closest Trader Joes is almost 60, I decided to shop online. In preparation for the switch to (mostly) paleo on January 1, I took a shopping trip down the Amazon aisles last week and purchased the following staples:

  • pure maple syrup
  • coconut butter
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • almond flour
  • coconut sugar
  • ghee
  • coconut flour
  • coconut milk
  • tahini
  • almond butter
  • aleppo pepper
  • organic shortening
  • fish sauce
  • coconut aminos

I also threw in a spiral veggie slicer because my family loves pasta. I think it will go a long way toward helping the boys embrace squash as noodles if they at least *look* like what they’re accustomed to!

I bought quantities that I thought would be sufficient for at least a month for my family of 5 plus my parents, but hopefully some of them will last longer. Since this is brand new, I really don’t have any idea how much to buy but Amazon has a subscription program that I might look into if the quantities seem consistent enough. The grand total was right in the neighborhood of $230, which included the slicer (just under $30), and this represents the bulk of it:

pantry_staples

This represents most of my first $230 order of paleo pantry supplies from Amazon. The slicer was almost $30 so all of this food–plus aleppo pepper (see below) and Spectrum shortening, coconut aminos, and fish sauce, which are yet to be delivered–represents the rest of the $200.

Doesn’t look like much food for $200, does it? Frankly, this is what scares me about eating this way. I’m very interested to see whether the money we’ll be saving on milk, cereal, coffee creamer, bread, sandwich meats, cheese, pasta, and pizza will offset what seem like extremely expensive pantry staples {again, I don’t know how long these will last so maybe it’s a better deal than I think?}. The one thing that surprised me was the coconut flour. I didn’t really know how big a bag 3 pounds would be, but you can see that it’s roughly the same size as the iPad and about 2 inches thick. It was as hard as a brick because of the vacuum seal and still stayed packed pretty tight even after I opened it up. The things that we got multiples of were coconut milk (12 cans), unsweetened coconut flakes (4 bags), and almond butter (3 jars). I can get coconut oil locally so I’d already bought 2 jars of that but I will likely be buying it in a much larger size once I have a better idea how much we’ll be using it (seems like a lot so far). pepper

I received the aleppo pepper in a separate order. It was recommended by Nom Nom Paleo and looked interesting so I went for it. The package looks like it will last a long time and I thought the personal thank you on the invoice was a nice touch (along with a coupon for 10% off my next order).

After plunking down such a big chunk of our food budget on staples, I was anxious to take inventory of the meat and veggie situation in the freezers. In addition to my refrigerator freezer (which is teeny tiny), I will have access to my mother’s refrigerator freezer (which I’m realizing right now we forgot to take stock of), her chest freezer, and a big upright freezer + a refrigerator freezer at “Chicken Alley,” which is what my boys affectionately call the area between the chicken coop and the buildings that house our old appliances and other random tools/old furniture/junk. As long as we don’t lose power anytime soon, I think we’ll have a pretty good selection of frozen meats to fall back on plus lots and lots and lots and lots of corn and okra {can you do anything interesting with okra on a paleo diet?}. When my mom and I took stock over the weekend, we found salmon, tilapia, flounder, pork chops, ham bones, ham steaks, roast beef, Boston butt, deer sausage, ground beef, steaks, hamburger patties, chicken breasts, plus homegrown squash, collards, lima beans, field peas, broccoli, corn (corn! and more corn!), and tomatoes. I know that some of these veggies aren’t paleo, but I’m not going to get too hung up on the finer points initially. I can guarantee that if we make these one-ingredient foods the centerpiece of our meals–even if some of them are technically no-nos for paleo–our diet will still be radically improved over what it is now. The good news on the fresh veggies is that we went shopping for those yesterday and got a massive amount of veggies and a few more staples for around $120. A nice surprise after spending so much on our paleo pantry.

I cleaned out my refrigerator next and threw away all the half-used bottles of processed marinades, sauces, and condiments except for mayo, ketchup, and mustard. I’ll try my hand at making those from scratch once we get rid of what we have and see how that goes.

A busted water pipe at my house prevented me from doing a lot of food prep yesterday so I’m not where I had hoped to be in terms of having things ready to go for the rest of the week, but hopefully I can have a big prep session on Saturday and be better prepared for *next* week.

If you’re doing something similar to this for the first time, I’d love to hear how your shopping experience has been. Did you have sticker shock like me? Have you had trouble finding some things locally? Discovered any great new recipes? I’d love to hear!