Why is food quality important? The short answer is that higher-quality food is higher in nutrients, so even though it may cost a little more, it also packs more punch. The long answer is that higher-quality food is not only better for you, it’s better for the environment, animals, and economy.
In addition to being less friendly for the environment and animal welfare, conventional meats tend to be less nutrient-dense and higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation if you aren’t eating enough omega-3s. You can still reap the benefits of the Paleo diet whether you buy grass-fed meat or not, but finding the room for grass-fed in your budget can give you a certain peace of mind, knowing that you’re doing your part to support sustainable, ethical practices. It’s even more rewarding if you can find a good local farm to support!
IF YOU CAN
- Seafood: Wild
- Poultry and Pork: Wild or pastured
- Meat: Wild or grass-fed and grass-finished
- Produce: Local, organic, and in season
- Oils: Unrefined, organic, and cold-pressed
- Seafood: Wild-caught
- Poultry and Pork: Organic
- Meat: Grass-fed or pastured
- Produce: Local or organic
- Oils: Organic or cold-pressed
IF YOU MUST
- Seafood: Farm-raised
- Poultry and Pork: Commercial
- Meat: Commercial
- Produce: Conventional
- Oils: Conventional
We all know by now that we should be minimizing our exposure to pesticides, which are not only problematic for sensitive individuals, but also for the environment by contributing to soil erosion, mineral depletion, and pollution. But many of us can’t afford the added expense of organic foods. According to the EWG, just buying the “dirty dozen” produce items that are highest in toxins organic can cut back on the amount of toxins you ingest every day by as much as 80%! The criteria for making the “dirty dozen” list included testing positive for at least 47 different chemicals… after the produce had been power-washed. Wow. So if you can’t afford to buy everything organic, you should definitely consider buying those organic… or just opt for the safer “clean fifteen” instead. You’ll get even more nutrients from wild produce. The following lists have been adapted for the autoimmune protocol, excluding the nightshades, grains, and legumes EWG’s lists contain. The complete list can be found on the EWG’s website.
THE DIRTY DOZEN
- spinach, kale, and collard greens
THE CLEAN FIFTEEN
- sweet potatoes
- winter squash
Budget-Friendly AIP Cookbook
The Nutrient Dense Kitchen is a beautiful, simple cookbook all about helping you understand which ingredients will give you the most nutritional bang for your buck, and showing you how to incorporate them into your diet in efficient, budget-friendly, and delicious ways. With 125 AIP recipes and 5 meal plans, it’s a cookbook you’re guaranteed to cherish. Now available on Amazon.