Whenever I tell anyone that I am eating a carnivore diet, one of the first comments I receive is “that must be expensive!” If I was eating solely grass-fed, heritage breed Ribeye steak, then yes, it would get expensive - but I don’t. Instead, my food bill is far less than what it was when I ate a ‘traditional healthy diet’.
How is that so?
The simple answer: High Fat Beef Mince.
And it doesn’t have to be top quality mince - even though that is ideal. In the UK, even the lowest quality UK, Irish or Scottish beef is still pretty high quality. At all major supermarkets, you can get a high standard of beef mince at a decent price.
For example, Tesco Beef Steak Mince 500G 15% Fat = £2.50 (£5.00/kg). To see how much this will cost, let’s compare the average costs per week to feed one average male and one average female in the UK, based on this beef mince price.
Calories per 500g of Beef Mince 500G 15% Fat = 1045cals.
The Average male needs 2,500 calories a day = £7.50 per day = £52.50 per week.
The Average female needs 2,000 calories a day = £5.00 per day = £35.00 per week.
The average weekly food cost per person in the UK is £38.50.
The average weekly food cost per person in the London areas is £63.20.
If you live in the London area, like me, then this diet is cheap. Compared to the national average, the weekly food bill is not significantly more expensive.
Hustle your way to savings 🤑
There is still a lot you can do to save money on a Carnivore diet, such as buying in bulk from your local or online butcher. This will reduce your cost per kg substantially. The meat will likely also be higher in quality with greater traceability from farm to fork.
A savvy bit of haggling can save you a lot of money over time. I have managed to negotiate bulk mince deals and bulk steak deals with my local Butcher and I have got them to supply cuts of meat which aren’t usually available over the counter.
And when you tell them you will be buying the same time every week or month, their ‘books’ will appreciate this.
Money isn’t everything!
You save more than money on a carnivore diet. I also factor in non-monetary costs to a carnivore diet.
There is a great deal of time and mental savings that come with eating a Carnivore diet. Very quickly you become accustomed to a simple and healthy menu of meat, which repeats itself deliciously week to week.
I don’t have to think about buying multiple ingredients to make meals - instead - I streamline my shopping list and my cooking time by only having to buy and cook meat.
Take preparing lunch for example.
For a traditional sandwich, I would need to buy bread, cooked meat, lettuce, avocado, etc. Then often you have a snack with it, so I would have to buy apples and crisps for the week. Then there is the time spent walking around the supermarket; the time spent looking for the £1 savings between different brands; there is time spent in the kitchen having to prepare the sandwich. Your time costs money; it has an opportunity cost.
Whereas, with a carnivore diet, I save on time! I need to buy a few ingredients, located in only one section of the supermarket, where I get a greater £/kg saving the more I buy.
The whole process of buying food and preparing it for the week becomes streamlined. A carnivore diet has personally saved me a lot of time and mental energy, which I have been able to put into other areas of my life.
Life is short and time is precious – why waste time on mandrolic tasks? Work out how much you earn per hour and then calculate and observe how much time and money you spend doing non-essential and non-value-adding tasks.
Can you put a price on health?
From personal experience and the plethora of anecdotal experience available, health benefits are one of the major reasons people are getting behind a carnivorous diet. With health benefits comes a reduction in ill-health costs in life.
Freeing your mind and body from a constant struggle with obesity, autoimmune issues, aching joints, blood sugar dis-regulation, lethargy, mood swings, and self-consciousness can bring newfound wealth into your life. I think it is worth potentially paying a bit more on your grocery list to enjoy ridding yourself of those complaints.
Save on supplements
The first supplement you can instantly get rid of when starting a carnivore diet is a protein supplement. It is not needed. You will be consuming ample protein from all the meat. Plus meat is one of the most bioavailable forms of protein. That is a £20-£40 saving a month, right there.
If you take collagen, then you could save on that as well by consuming bone broth regularly.
Fish oil or Krill oils could be replaced by making sure to consume fish regularly throughout the week.
You could also save money on vitamins and minerals by consuming more offal, which is very cheap. Eating nose-to-tail carnivore will mean you are getting the maximum nutritional value from a variety of meat cuts.
Most supplements on the market lack evidence they work; the only proven effect of most supplements is they make whoever is selling them rich. There are a lot of ‘snakes and fakes’ in the supplement market.
However, one supplement I would still take, if you aren’t taking already, would be Vitamin D. Most people are deficient already and most don’t spend enough time in the sun. And as Rhonda Patrick so enthusiastically argues, Vitamin D is more than a Vitamin, it works as a hormone and plays many important roles (over 5000 in fact) within the body - one of them being the immune system.
So there you have it - the carnivore diet can easily be done on a budget.
Everyone is going to have their style of meal planning. You will get some, a bit like me, who can happily eat mince day after day. Then there will be those who need more variety to feel satisfied. If you balance cheap cuts with more expensive cuts and do a bit of savvy shopping and haggling then the Carnivore diet can easily be maintained on a normal grocery budget.
And don’t forget, money isn’t everything. There are far greater savings that come with a carnivore diet and it is those savings that have the most value.