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Eating Keto on a Budget

Eating Keto on a Budget

We all know that keto is more expensive than a normal diet, but would you rather stuff yourself full of high wheat, highly processed foods or eat a clean and healthy diet? Yeah, me too.

You have to ignore the cookies, cakes, chips, noodles, and rice that’s going to knock the socks off any prices we look at for keto. The main goal here is to spend as little as possible while still eating as minimally processed as we can get.

Through a few techniques and methods that I used to buy keto while in college, you should have no problem finding and buying good food for a cheap price. In a nutshell we’ll be:

  • Using Coupons
  • Searching for Deals
  • Buying Bulk
  • Freezing Bulk
  • Being Wary of What We Buy

General Savings

Couponing will never get old. The best ways to get coupons nowadays is online. There’s tons of couponing sites that can help you save, but you really have to watch out for when the keto stuff goes on sale.

Throw a quick search into Google, and you can find local couponing websites and even specific store sales that are going on. Take advantage!

coupons

Stores will often discount their meats if it’s close to expiration date. 20% discount isn’t uncommon in the freezer and fridge sections at stores, especially on ground beef. If you’re not too bothered by expiration dates (I don’t follow them to a tee, but more as a guideline), you can buy it and freeze it for later.

Don’t forget about in-store offers! Buy 1 get 1 free, buy 2 get 1 free, special discounts, and manager discounts. These can really add up over time and make it well worth watching out for. I’ve seen managers specials on Kerrygold, letting me get 5 bars for $12.50. There’s quite often manager specials on chicken where you can REALLY stock up on it and keep it airtight and frozen for months at a time.

Do you shop online? Well you should! So many products like Almond Flour, Nuts, Spices, and the like are cheaper online. They can be up to half of the price you see in the stores – even when you compare to the bulk warehouse stores. Are you a student? If so, you can sign up for Amazon Student Membership using your .edu e-mail address, where you receive free 2-day shipping on almost everything for 6 months. After that, it’s $39 a year, but who can complain when that price pays for itself after 2 orders?

Buy Bulk. Make Bulk. Freeze Bulk.

Forget your local grocer, forget Whole Foods, and forget Trader Joe’s. These places charge an arm and a leg for food when you can either make it yourself or buy it elsewhere for much, much cheaper. Don’t even step foot in these places! If you see how much food that’s thrown out by these places at night, you won’t wonder anymore why the prices are so high. All their wasted food is tagged onto your bill at the checkout.

Sam’s Club, Walmart, Costco, and BJs Wholesale normally have great deals on chicken and beef. When you see a good price, buy it, and buy it up in bulk. You can save it, store it, cook it, or eat it straight away; the best way to get a good bang for your buck is to buy a lot. Having a food saver here will save you because it won’t go to waste, and you can save dollars by the pound.

Make your food in bulk, and freeze it or store it. Making your food this way allows you to always have food in the house. It makes it easy to thrive and survive on keto, and it makes it easy for your work week. You can have breakfast, lunch, and even dinner frozen for that day, and all you have to do is take it out of the freezer. No extra work necessary!

Let’s have a game of Jenga shall we? Let’s see how much food you can actually stuff in your freezer! Really, try to cram as much as you can in your freezer, so you can gauge how much food you can actually buy and make.

food saver
REMEMBER TO MARK DATES. Marking dates is a crucial aspect of freezing food. You don’t want it to get TOO old where it starts to taste funky.

Get a Food Saver, and get one soon. Buying in bulk will cut costs down tremendously. Not only does it save food, but you’re also removing air from the bags. Air is unused space as far as I’m concerned, and our goal is to stuff our freezer full of food.

A food saver will come in handy for sealing bags of pork rinds or just making a packed lunch even easier. In my eyes, a food saver is a must-have item in a house that is looking to save money.

Making Things Yourself

Make EVERYTHING yourself. Okay…fine, you don’t have to go all farmer status here, but you should make as much as you possibly can. Those high prices at the grocery store are caused by the production costs of the premade foods. They have overheads to cover, so that means making it yourself is making it for cheaper(and usually better, too).

Do yourself a favor and buy a food processor. They have thousands of uses; they’re cheap, and best of all they make your life easy. Utilize one, and you can make anything from low carb flours to hearty soups with them.

They’ll save you money in the long run by allowing you easily make things that you might not have made before, and they’ll save you time when you cook. It’s a small investment but very much worth it.

bulk chicken

That means all the mayo, ranch, thousand island dressings you’ve been buying in a bottle are no longer allowed. Spend the 15 minutes it takes to make it yourself, and save big. You don’t need to stop there either; there’s plenty of things you can make on your own.

Peanut butter is one of my favorite snacks, for example, and I use nut butters on a daily basis. You can make them all yourself. Buying nuts online is the best way to do this. Almond butter is a favorite of mine and I tend to buy my almonds for $7/lb. You can turn this into almond butter in under 25 minutes with your food processor. It comes out to about half the cost as it would be in the store.

Spices & Flavorings

Spices are cheap, and they WILL give you a better overall meal. Buy some decent spices, and buy lot of them: garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, curry powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary. Buy the spices you like and make sure you use them. Just because the meat you buy is cheaper doesn’t mean the flavor has to suffer!

spices
Flavor and food go together as a team – you can’t have one without the other. Sure, chicken tastes good by itself, but why not make it taste better?

Torani syrups are a great way to add depth of flavor with a splash! Add it to your drinks, add it to sauces, or even add it to desserts. These concentrated flavorings will help you get past your sweet tooth cravings in a cinch, and they taste absolutely brilliant. My favorite flavor? Salted caramel.

Water, Tea, & Coffee

Stop. Drinking. Diet. Soda. That stuff really adds up in cost, and it’s not really all that great for you. Switch over to water, tea, or coffee.  Not only are they healthy for you, but they taste great and you can make different flavors to switch things up.

Tea and coffee are both relatively cheap, especially when you buy in bulk. Don’t worry about your freezer, though, these last a long time by themselves!

tea

Try to brew a good amount at once, and take it with you to work or outside in a flask. Carry it around with you everywhere and you’ll drink it.

If you’re not a tea or coffee drinker, then water will be key. Buy a 1 gallon jug and carry it around with you everywhere. You want to finish that gallon by the end of the day. For those of you who’ve done this before, you’ll know that the inside of the jug starts to smell bad after a few days. You don’t have to buy another, though. Just add 3 drops of bleach to it and clean it out with tap water. You can refill it at water fountains, or if you have a water filter then take good advantage of it!

Vegetables

It’s best to keep your vegetables fresh and not freeze them. Don’t buy those frozen packets of broccoli you can steam in 3 minutes, and don’t buy frozen spinach. They’re much more expensive than the fresh vegetables you can buy. If you can afford it, opt for the organic vegetables, if not don’t worry too much. Most studies show that the nutrition content for organic and regular vegetables are the same, but over time try to switch toward organic (due to the toxins that can be in the normal vegetables).

Stick to spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower as they’re some of the best price per nutrient vegetables you can get. Cauliflower isn’t the best price, but it certainly is the most versitile vegetable we have in our keto arsenal.

You can make pretty much anything, from faux rice to fried mac n cheese with it. Tell me another vegetable that can do that, will ya?

veggies

Green peppers are no longer going to be part of your life, they’re too expensive. They’re almost a dollar each, don’t have great carb counts, and you can replicate or deepen flavors in other ways. Think bone broths and spices.

Onions are another thing that we won’t be buying anymore. While they’re relatively cheap, they’re pretty high in carbs, and they’re not needed. You can get good flavor with garlic in place of it. If you absolutely must have onion, you can add that to your list of spices to buy – just be careful with the carb counts on it!

Fats & Meats

When you’re on a ketogenic diet, you eat a lot of fat – that’s just a fact. You will want to spend most of your money on this. Meat with fats, eggs, butter, and oils.

Buy all of your meat in bulk. If you can get chicken breast at a good deal, snatch it up and freeze it. It lasts for a long time and it tastes fantastic. Just keep in mind with chicken that it’s very high in protein and doesn’t have that much fat. You’ll need to top your chicken with some kind of sauce of cheese to add your needed fats.

If you can get chicken thighs in bulk, even better. They’re cheaper than white meat to begin with, have tons more fat, and end up staying jucier. What’s not to like here?

Better yet, if you can purchase the whole chicken, it will always be much cheaper for you. Pre-packaged and pre-cut chicken will be about double the price of a whole chicken that you can cut up and butcher yourself. Plus, you get the bones and fats to make some spectacular bone broth with it. Take 5 minutes out of your time and look up a video on YouTube on how to butcher a chicken – it’s not hard!

No more chicken wings allowed, though. Last year they were one of the most expensive meats, per pound, out of everything you can buy. Just skip them. They’re too expensive for the amount of meat you get, and you can make just as flavorful (if not MORE flavorful) dishes with other cuts of chicken.

bulk meat
Ground beef is a great way to get fatty meat into your diet without having to spend too much on a steak. Don’t go for the lean stuff, either. The fattier cuts, like ground chuck, will be much cheaper and are much better for this diet anyway.

Freezing it, it can last up to 6-8 months at a time. If you see a special, make sure you buy lots. When you cook your beef and have excess fat, save it and use it for frying or flavoring other dishes.

Bacon, bacon, and bacon. Bacon is a bit expensive but it’s a crime not to eat it while you’re on keto. In Sam’s Club I get the Hormel Black Label in packs of 50. They’re pretty cheap for bacon, at only $11 a package! You can pre-cook your bacon and save it in the fridge for quick snacks, sprinkling over food, or making into dishes.

If you want to reduce your cost on bacon, you can search for the “Odds and Ends” of it. Odds and ends are literally the pieces from the end, the ones that the machine can’t cut into neat rectangles. There are 3 differences that I’ve noticed. They’re even fattier, the pieces are irregularly shaped and it is roughly 1/3 the price of regular bacon.

Eggs

Eggs are a staple in my diet, and I eat a lot of them. Hard boiled, soft boiled, fried, scrambled, in a quiche, in a fritatta, it doesn’t matter how you eat them; they’re extremely versatile, add tons of nutrition, and best of all they’re cheap.

You can really make a huge amount of different meals from eggs, ranging from breakfast all the way to dinner and dessert.

eggs

You can normally buy 48 eggs at a time because most recipes will call for them. If not, you can find a way to fit them into recipes to help with fats and protein. I go through around 48 eggs every week or two because they’re in most recipes I make. They can be used as a binder, as a topping, or just mixed into different things.

Oils

coconut oil
There’s a few things you shouldn’t skimp on, and oil is one of them. Pick up some quality olive oil and some decent coconut oil. The olive oil is heart healthy, has a good Omega-3 to Omega-6 balance in it, and tastes fantastic. I use olive oil in nearly everything I cook.

Coconut oil is the opposite. I use it in everything I don’t cook. From bulletproof coffee to fat bombs, I consume the stuff because it’s healthy and it contains a good chunk of Medium Chain Triglycerides.

Cheese

Cheese is glorious and most of us already know that. You can top pretty much anything with it, and even make cakes out of it. Buy it in bulk, but buy it in blocks. Pre-shredded cheese not only has corn starch added to it (to stop it sticking to the bag), but it tastes much better when you shred it fresh.

You should be investing in a food processor already, so you can use it to grate the cheese. Most food processors come with a shredding attachment and will eat a block of cheese in 10 seconds, leaving you with professionally shredded cheese. Buy your cheese in 5 pound blocks or more, and food save half for later.

I normally can go through 5 pounds of cheese in 2 weeks, so all of it will keep just fine in the fridge.

shredded cheese

Butter

Butter goes in everything from my coffee to the top of my meat. I eat a lot of it, and I really enjoy it. It’s a fantastic fat to have in your diet, and you should opt for the good stuff. Paying a few dollars extra per pound makes it worth it for the nutritional qualities alone, but the taste is sublime too!

Snacks and Desserts

You said cheap right? That means no snacks and no dessert. Seriously! If you make your other meals a bit larger, they should be enough to take you through the day. If you’re hungry, drink some water, tea, or coffee. Keeping hydrated is a key way to balance out your hunger issues between meals.

Snacking usually, as you know, leads to more snacking – so just cut it out completely. It will benefit you in the long run! But, if you MUST have dessert, make sure you buy frugally.

spicecakecupcakes
Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are out of the window – these places charge far too much for their low carb products…and they’re already quite expensive as is.

Almond flour and Erythritol are my must-haves for both regular cooking and baking. Being able to make fried chicken, bake cookies and cakes, or sweetener a cup of coffee is a must.

If you’re doing keto on a budget, I’d love to hear your own special tips and tricks to make it easier for everyone else out there that has a tight budget. Leave a comment below!


There are 66 comments

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  1. Katie

    Chicken legs are usually available for 99 cents a pound and you can buy bulk chicken quarters for anywhere from 59 to 79 cents a pound – they are great when flavored like chicken wings, roasted, grilled, fried (they don’t even need a coating) and one of the best buys that I can get to feed my always hungry son.

    • Craig

      Emily,

      For the amount of meat they’re not really that good of a deal, though. If you can splurge and get wings, good for you – but I wanted to keep things at a tight budget and relevant for all year round. I can get chicken thigh for that price and it contains much more meat than the wings, only reason I said it.

  2. Ryan Williams

    Dude, your articles are always spot on. I buy huge packages of chicken thighs and ground beef. Not sure if you mentioned it but bacon ends are a great way to get large volumes of bacon on the cheap too. They also freeze up and store nicely, if you can’t go through 3lbs of bacon right away.

    • Craig

      Thanks Ryan! I had to edit your comment just to make it a tiny bit more family friendly ;)

      Bacon ends are awesome, but I rarely get the chance to buy them when I go to the store. A lot of the butchers there are out of it by the time I get to shopping. Great advice and thanks for the feedback!

  3. Lyndse

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! This is awesome for anybody who, like me, is either a college student or on food stamps.

    I do want to note that as far as green peppers go, you can easily grow your own for much cheaper! Here in Oregon, you can purchase ANY FOOD PRODUCING PLANT with food stamps, and pepper starts are extremely inexpensive and yield a lot of food if you are diligent about caring for them. (Here’s another suggestion: how about an article on keto-friendly gardening?)

    Also, I’m pretty sure if you make your own kombucha at home and stay away from sweeteners it’s keto-friendly.

    One last thing: you mentioned Torani syrups, but most of those are made with sugar, right? I have a friend who also practices keto that specifically gets the sugar free ones.

    • Craig

      I don’t garden so I don’t know enough to make an article about it!

      As for green peppers, I mostly only know my local prices, so where you live it might be much cheaper. If you can make them stretch far in your budget then go for it! The Torani syrups are sugar free, so they’re good to go :)

    • Jenn

      I agree…I love the Torani Sugar Free I get mine at Smart and Final if you have one, you can get the large ones for under $5 which is quite a savings from the grocery store. I also found that Target carries Archer Farms Sugar free Syrups. Awesome alternative and priced at under $4 and they last awhile.

        • Caitlin

          I get mine from Cash & Carry! I’m not sure if you have one near you, it’s a bulk type store that people shop at to buy supplies for their businesses, but the public can shop there too. No membership needed and not cash-only like the name may imply. The big bottles of syrups, both DaVinci and Torani are $4 or less per bottle!

          • Craig

            I’ll definitely have to look that up. I haven’t seen a cash and carry around me, but I will search on Google to see what I can come up with – thanks for the suggestions!

      • dina

        if you have a cost plus/world market near you, sign up for the rewards program. they send out lots of 10-15% off promos, plus do sales on food items often. whenever that happens, i stock up on a few of the large sugar-free torani syrups. usually i’ll use the non-fruit ones for coffee or whipped cream. with summer here, the fruit flavors would be good for shaved ice and other cool treats like italian or french sodas.

  4. Molly Sloan

    Great article. I look forward to making it super cheap soon since we’ll be farming, raising chickens, goats and meat rabbits. I don’t know what I’ll actually need to buy at that point.

  5. Cameron

    Quick Question about the Torani Syrups.

    “Sweetened with Splenda”… is this totally Keto Friendly?

    Would I be able to just swirl some of these into a bottle of soda water for a soda-like treat?

    Loving your site by the way, a real boon for ketoers

    • Craig

      With Torani you can use it as you wish. It’s keto friendly, but just try not to overindulge in it. Splenda can cause weight loss stalls for SOME people (it’s pretty uncommon for it to cause weight loss stalls), but I wanted to let you know beforehand.

      Yeah that’s an awesome idea to mix some into some soda water – it would work out well. I use it mostly for dessert style things or pancakes though.

      • Cameron

        Luckily I seem to be pretty tolerant towards sweeteners, but thanks for the warning.

        My struggle with Keto in the past has been that I get bored with the range of drinks available, fingers crossed I can get my hands on a bottle of Torani. I will let you know how it goes if I do :D

        • Craig

          For me I get bored with the food. Drinks are simple for me, I just drink coffee and water the whole day ;)

          Yeah let me know how it goes, maybe you could even help the site out and submit some concoctions that you come up with and I’ll publish them in the recipe section!

        • Jenn

          Target carries Archer Farms Sugar Free Syrups. I love my coffee and was excited to see that they carried these in the coffee isle. Also coffee is really cheap at Target if you have one near you. Smart and final too for the Torani or maybe go online and order? The grocery store is way too expensive and usually do not carry sf.

          • Craig

            I’ve never heard of Smart and Final, but online Torani is pretty expensive. I normally don’t shop at Target but next time I go I’ll keep an eye out for the Archer Farms stuff (or did you mean Walden Farms?). Either way I’ll keep an eye out! Thanks for the info!

  6. Adam

    Hey, this is pretty awesome regardless of diet choice. One thing I want to note is that if you’re going to shred cheese and store it, it’s pretty easy by hand too. I hate cleaning up the food processor. To make cheese easy to shred, keep it cod and spray oil on the grater. Should cut through very easily.

    • Craig

      Adam,

      Yeah it’s pretty easy to do by hand but I like to cut corners where I can. My food processor comes apart really easily so cleaning it is as easy as sticking it in the dish washer with the rest of the dishes.

    • Craig

      Deann,

      That’s one of their only decent priced items but I won’t use their almond flour for baking because it’s so ridiculously grainy. If you try blanched almond flour and compare the difference, you’ll probably agree with me that it’s worth the few extra dollars to get it.

      • dina

        i like their grainy almond flour for crackers, mixed with the 21-seasoning salute (salt free spice and herb blend, it’s soooo good and only $2!). the rosemary cracker recipe from elena’s pantry works really well.

        my other TJ’s keto-friendly and reasonably-priced finds:
        –bags of coconut flour for $3 or $4, which is 1/2 the price of what my local supermarket sells.
        –aseptic containers of whipping cream the size of a juice box. can’t tell you how many times those have come in handy :-)
        –coconut cream, the unsweetened kind. does have a little thickener in it (guar or xantham gum iirc)
        –best price for spaghetti squash i’ve found in my area.
        –various tinned seafood like tuna, smoked trout, and clams. i’ve made zucchini noodles with clam sauce. perfect for cooking in the summer heat.

    • Jenn

      Thanks Deann…I will check that out…Awesome! You can also put the almond flour in the food processor if it is too grainy….just like I do with psyllium husks….it works!

  7. Lesley

    Great suggestions! However, I’ve heard/read that olive oil is better for you if it’s NOT heated… and coconut oil is better for cooking (doesn’t degrade as much when heated)… so, I’d switch your recommendation of using coconut oil for most things (heated or unheated), and olive oil for salad dressings, and other items that aren’t heated and would benefit from it’s natural yumminess. As always, thanks for all you do!!

    • Craig

      Lesley,

      Olive oil has a smoke point of 405 degrees, while coconut oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees. There’s not too much difference between the two when cooking. I normally use both olive and coconut oil if I’m frying things, though. As for the non-cooking applications, I use coconut oil because of the nutritional properties in it. But yes, you are technically correct that for cooking, coconut oil has a slightly higher smoke point – but I don’t worry too much because normally you won’t be cooking higher than 400 degrees for the most part.

      Thanks for the feedback though!

        • Craig

          Yeah you can, but to get the smoke point higher it would have to be clarified butter. Butter’s smoke point is around 400C and Olive Oil (Extra Virgin) is around 405. Coconut oil is 350 but it wouldn’t make a massive difference. If it’s clarified it helps out a lot :)

  8. David

    As for meats, I’d add to pick up a roast. They’re cheap. They can be left in a slow cooker all day so they work great for week day meals. Plus you can generally get multiple meals out of a roast making them very budget friendly. Versatility? Got that too. From breakfast to dinner. Make an omelette, top a bed of spinach leaves, use as a snack with some blue cheese dressing.

    • Craig

      Great suggestion David. I love doing roasts but sometimes here, I can’t find them all that cheap. But, they do go on sale sometimes and I snag 2-3 up, freeze some, and make 4-5 days of meals out of it. :)

    • Audra

      4-5 pound pork shoulder rubbed with seasalt and liquid smoke and put in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours makes the most AMAZING pulled pork! And it really is just that easy… nothing else to add to the cooker just toos in the roast and let it go.

  9. JV

    Not sure if this has been answered somewhere yet but where’s the cheapest place to find erythritol? I have yet to find it in any store near me. Thanks!

    • Craig

      Janet,

      If you eat uncontrollably, you will gain it all back. If you eat a semi-balanced diet, that is calorie restricted to your TDEE, then you won’t gain.

    • Jenn

      Stay away from processed foods, gluten and such. It will always remain bad for you. If you want to maintain, track your carbs,then slowly add in small amounts of carbs, until you see the scale move up, back off those carbs when that happens, and you will find that maintaining will be easier. Probiotic is also a great way to eat away candida and make room for the healthy biotics in your gut which will help you process food better!

  10. Rajas

    Hello Craig,

    I am very new to the keto diet. I would like to know if its possible to lose fat while maintaining your calorie intake. For example, my current calorie intake is 2000 calories. Would I be able to steadily lose fat without creating a calorie deficit using the keto diet?
    I know the question seems silly :D…I am hoping you would say yes its possible…

    BR,
    Rajas

  11. Canukistani

    I can eat keto while on a disability budget. it’s all about eating a large serving of meat and cheese for your breakfast and it will hold you through to late afternoon.

    I prefer chicken breasts (bought frozen from costco) and topped with jalepeno cheese (1kg brick for $13 from costco). i spend about $150 on meat and cheese. then get a bag of shredded coleslaw that i add 0carb bacon ceaser dressing, and a chicken breast too

    • Craig

      I totally agree with you – it’s all about how you spend your money, and if you’re on a budget you can forgo some of the luxuries other low carbers buy :)

  12. Dana Hill

    I don’t quite understand the whole sodium thing. I have to take a diuretic for B/P (20 mg Lasix daily). When I eat salt, I retain water like crazy. But since trying low carb (less than 20 mg a day), I have been trying to “watch” the salt as to not retain water. Am I doing the wrong thing? Should I be eating more salt?
    Thanks!

    • Craig

      Dana,

      With low carb, you tend to retain less water, so the salt is mostly needed to replace electrolytes. It helps out a lot for people that go through “keto flu” who experience headaches, tiredness, and brain fog. If you’re not having a problem with it, then I don’t think you need to worry :)

    • Nick

      My high blood pressure stabilized on a low carb diet and I was able to stop taking my diuretic. My eyesight has also improved! Good luck.

  13. Jenn

    This is just a general comment. For those of you wanting to benefit your whole body as well, take a good probiotic in the am and that will supply your gut with the power to digest your food well and kill off the old candida that may still be lurking in your body. Or if you are in a situation where “keto” isn’t an option, then make sure you take a couple of these babies and it will help immensely with digestion, bloating etc. You can get a 10+ biotic at Walmart that will benefit you so much, and help you digest your food. I know there are other benefits, so if you google it is should give you some health benefits….

  14. Donna

    Love all these posts! Just starting myself and I have TERRIBLE sugar cravings! I’m going to start back on a probiotic but also wanted to mention DaVinci sugar free syrups…made with splenda, I think. I’ve made “Italian soda” mixed with seltzer water,cream & Davinci caramel. YUM! I used to get at TJMaxx or Marshalls for $5.99 but now Wegmans carries lots of flavors…close to the same price. Thanks for this great site!!

  15. Wenchypoo

    Looking at your keto info, I have to ask if there’s any concern about the “fake” foods (such as CarbQuick), the hazardous ingredients in some foods (such as dyes), and the origin of meats (not grass-fed and/or pastured). I realize you’re a youngin’, but nowhere in ketoland do I see recommendations for pursuing cleaner sources of food. Everybody is quick to jump onto crutch items like flavored syrups, baking mixes with wheat, soy, or corn, meat out of the grocery store with no recommendations to remove the fat (where most toxins live), or using dairy products that have been pasteurized–are you aware of what pasteurization does to us?

    This is where Paleo and LC dieting seem to have an edge on you–we learn how to choose the cleanest foods, and how to avoid the trash, before whittling down our carb levels. Even though you personally may not be able to afford it, you could at least mention it to others looking at cleaning up their keto act, so to speak.

    This info ought to be intuitive by now, but sadly, it isn’t. Help us out a little–you have the platform and the voice that reaches far into the keto world (through Reddit). Nearly EVERYONE has referenced recipes of yours over there.

    Yes, true keto IS expensive. No, I’m not rich, but going keto has freed up a lot of my life to pursue purity–I’ve only got one life to live (as we all), and I’m not going to spend it tied at the hip to Big Pharma and hospitals. Neither should you, or anyone else. Nor am I going to spend my days loading up on trash ingredients, eat toxin-laden meats, pesticide-laden produce, or dairy from polluted cows that’s then pasteurized to destroy the precious molecular makeup.

    Why don’t you start a Clean Keto page? You’ll get there money-wise one day, and so will others…will you guide them?

    • Craig

      I do actually promote and try to have people use real food on the facebook page, but I am a big proponent of practicing what I preach. I don’t have the budget to afford all non-gmo foods, grass fed meats, and cage free livestock. It’s hard for me to actually preach that when I am posting recipes that don’t always use real food. Eventually I’ll be able to switch over (and I am about 70-80% of the way there), but until then I won’t be preaching to use real foods. I’m very aware of all of the toxins and chemicals that are used in our food and realize the health benefits of switching over completely.

      I also want to say that keto is a step in the right direction. Even if people aren’t using real food 100%, they are still taking a healthier step toward a better life. Whether that rubs off and continues in other parts of their life (aka buying real food) is another story. We have to take it one step at a time ;)

  16. romiha

    Excited to have found your site! Just wanted to add my 2¢ … regarding sweetners- I switched from Sweet N Low to Splenda packets and then was absolutely HORRIFIED to learn each packet of Splenda has 0.9 grams of carbs and 4 calories. that adds up. So I spent a little extra money and purchased pure sucralose powder and make my own liquid “splenda” that has 0 calories and 0 carbs. Im’ on a tight budget myself but find that foregoing all the carby stuff helps even out my grocery bills. I recently purchased 1/2 pound of dried stevia leaves and now use that in my coffee and tea (using a filter in a coffee pot). And I’ve reduced my consumption of my liquid “splenda” even further.

    I eat lots of broccoli and chicken, hamburger and salmon. I make my own kefir (Probiotics) and yogurt. I make my yogurt with half n half and let it incubate 24 hours, so it’s HIGH FAT and very low carb. Wonderfully thick and creamy, too!

    oh, and mixing equal amounts of coconut oil and baking cocoa, and a little sweetner makes an AWESOME chocolate. pour onto waxed paper and set in fridge to harden.

  17. Nadine Smeltzer

    Students, young married couples, and empty nesters like me and my hubby, a small electric rotisserie (like the smalll Ronco one that got a lot of TV advertising) is a good investment. You can take any cheap cut of meat, and make it taste like a million dollars. Do that whole chicken, or small turkey (the small rotisserie will only do up to an 11 pound cut of meat or poultry) or turkey breast. I cook a whole 4 to 6 ilb roasting chicken and I get five to six meals for the two of us, and that includes taking the chicken carcus, boiling it up for stock and making chicken veggie soup. I get the whole chicken for between 79 cents and 99 cents per pound, so for aout $5 dollars that is a whole lotta meals. A crock pot is your next best kitchen tool, for the same reason you can take a cheap cut of meat and make it taste great, and lastly grandma’s dutch oven. A Dutch oven can be used to roast in, and it is also the best deep fryer ever made! You can even pack it up with you to take camping, for cooking over an open fire pit.

    Yes, purchase your meat always in bulk. If you have a meat market, butcher, or ethnic grocery store shop there for the meat bundles. I go to the local meat market, and purchase a 100 pound mixed meat bundle for $140. In that bundle I get good steaks, ground chuck or round, thick sliced slab bacon, butcher shop made delicious sausage, shaved ham. It comes prepacked with a group of items, but I can change around items, for instance the hubby and I do not do well eating pork steak, which the bulk box comes with 10 lbs of those, which I change out for an equal amount of boneless country ribs. This amount last the two of us three months, plus.

    Another tip, is hunt and fish. That venision steak that my hubby bags about every year does up well on the BBQ and these days we live in an apartment so he does not butcher the deer himself, he takes it to be processed (at the hunting place ran by our local area meat market during hunting season), this takes the cost up to butching out bambi to about 99 cents per pound of venison. That includes haveing the butcher make up 20 pounds of venison hickory stick, and 10 pounds of spicy jerky. We used to do all that ourselves and it cost less, but they also package bambi up for me in small old people sized freezer portions. That expensive fish, I bet can not beat the taste and freshness of the lake trout and Walleye I have packed up in my freezer or the fresh catch of the day we had a few days ago. You have to take care where you fish these days, but you need to be more careful about the seafood and fish you buy these days!

  18. anthony

    i had a question about the meat. Isn’t the fat from the grain fed meat unhealthy? i read on another blog to only eat fatty cuts of grass fed beef and buy lean cuts of grain fed. I’m a college student and money is tight. i don’t want to compromise my health but grass fed is expensive. could i get away with fatty cuts of grain fed meat?

    • Craig

      Hey Anthony,

      Yes, the fats in grain fed meat could be considered “unhealthy” compared to grass fed (due to toxins and a few other things), but the way I look at it is like this: Small steps at a time. Even if you’re consuming a little bit more toxins than if you were eating grassfed meat, it’s still MUCH healthier than if you were consuming tons of processed foods/carbs/grains from the store. I think looking at it like “compromising health” isn’t the best way to view it – you’re a college student and on a tight budget, but you’re still making steps that is healthier than alternative diets. So, one step at a time :)

  19. Veronica

    Hi Craig,
    I was reading about your suggestion for bacon (Hormel Black Label) and it is cured with sugar. I found Esskay at Walmart and it’s not cured with sugar.
    Although, both labels say 0 carbs), do you think it makes a difference? It’s pretty affordable since I’ve cut back in a lot of other stuff that I don’t eat anymore. Your thoughts?

    • Craig

      Hey Veronica,

      For me, the amount of sugar that bacon is cured with is pretty negligible when you get it all finished in the package. Although it would be best to completely avoid sugar, my current budget doesn’t always allow for me to do that (I don’t live close to any farmers markets or butchers that offer real raised meats). If you prefer to get the Esskay bacon at Walmart, feel free to do so :)


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