Paleo is NOT Expensive. Exhibit A: Almond Flour


“I can’t eat Paleo because it’s too expensive.”

Man-oh-man, do I hear this statement a lot.  In fact, it’s part of the reason that we created this website.  At TLSP, we wanted to show you that not only can eating Paleo be inexpensive; it doesn’t have to be time-consuming, bland, or boring either.

Today, I want to talk about almond flour. Almond flour is a staple in the diet of many Paleo-ers.  It’s a favorite alternative to flour amongst those who have a keen interest in baking (think Lyssa and Lisa here at TLSP), and it also works as combiner in entrees like meatloaf, salmon cakes, and meatballs.

Now, if you buy pre-made almond flour, it’s a little pricey (to the tune of about $9.22/lb).  If, however, you buy a bag of raw almonds and then grind your own flour, you’re looking at a price of approximately $3.82/lb.  That’s a substantial savings!

And it doesn’t stop there.  I grind all kinds of nut flours from pecan to walnut and even macadamia.  In addition to their many other uses, nut flours make great batters for fish and chicken.

But wait, I know what you’re going to say next:  ”That’s too difficult and it takes too much time!  I don’t have the proper equipment!”  The answer: it’s as easy as dumping a bag of almonds in your food processor, flipping on the ‘on-switch’, and less than a minute later voila! You’ve got your very own, homemade almond flour!

If you don’t have a food processor, I whole-heartedly recommend that you buy one.  Like a crock-pot, it’s a must in any well-equipped kitchen. Better yet, I implore you to invest in a Vita-Mix.  I bought mine seven years ago on the recommendation of my mother (a fabulous cook) who has had hers for almost twenty years (yes…the SAME one).  The reasons I recommend the Vita-Mix are these:

  1. You get two machines in one (It comes with a ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ container, and can be used as BOTH a blender and food processor).
  2. It has an incredibly powerful motor, resulting in finely ground nut flours.
  3. It’s highly versatile (I’ve used mine to grind flours, make soup, guacamole, smoothies, salsa, and the list goes on).

For those of you who are wondering why I recommend a $500 machine, let me just ask you this:  how many times have you had to replace your $25 blender?  A VitaMix is an investment.  Although expensive on the front-end, it will cost you less per day as it will last substantially longer than your run-of-the-mill blender or food processor.  Furthermore, you’re getting two machines in one!  (Believe it or not, I’m not being paid by VitaMix but I think I should be, don’t you?!! :) )

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Paleo is NOT Expensive. Exhibit A: Almond Flour, 5.8 out of 10 based on 24 ratings
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34 Responses to “Paleo is NOT Expensive. Exhibit A: Almond Flour”

  1. My husband convinced me about 5 years ago to get a Vita Mix. We went ahead and got one and I LOVE it. I use it daily,in fact I just threw in raw almonds in the dry container the other day. It’s so easy to clean! I highly recommend a Vita Mix. I cannot imagine going back to anything else.

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  2. While I agree with your post, V, I did chuckle a bit when I re-read the post title after the pitch of a $500 investment. Over the life of the machine, you’re absolutely correct and it’s worth every penny. Every penny! However, just want to throw out there for my fellow cash poor paleos, for now, the cheapest blender/processor is working fine for most jobs. Not all jobs can be accomplished with my mini-magic-bullet knock off, but enough can.

    Other budget friendly suggestion: Tell everyone in your family and all of your friends that for the Holidays/Birthday/Anniversary coming up you want them to band together and get you a food processor or crock pot. This worked magic for me over the holidays and the family was super excited that everyone could donate a simple 10 or 20 spot to the cause. I’m now the proud owner of my first food processor (Thanks Mom & Ed) and TWO crockpots (Thanks to the stepbrother & my BFF).

    Other idea: hit up those early morning garage sales. The garage sale season is almost upon us & most of us early morning Crossfitters are up anyway. Hit those sales & don’t be afraid to bargain!

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    • Heck, yeah. I use a simple clean coffee grinder to grind my own nut flours. It works great! Can’t grind a bunch at once but it does a better job if you grind about 1/3 cup at a time anyway… insures all the larger pieces are ground fine. Just make sure you don’t grid so much that you make butter!

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  3. Hey Georgia,

    Thanks for outlining a few more options. I realized when I wrote the article that my VitaMix suggestion might appear contradictory; however, as you point out, I was looking towards the long term.

    In fact, the majority of the strategies that I use to save money on my grocery bill require more money up front. With planning and creativity, this is not an obstacle, but an advantage. Another example of this strategy is to save money on beef by buying a whole cow directly from a farmer. By paying for the cow in full, you end up paying less per pound. One could even lessen the up-front cash requirement by splitting the cow amongst a group of friends. Also, it never hurts to ask the producer if he/she can cut you a special deal. They just might say yes.

    I understand that $500 is a lot of money, especially in these times, so here are a few ideas to make the purchase a little easier:
    1. Look online. You might be able to find a newly used model that works just as well. In addition, you probably won’t have to pay tax and you can likely find free shipping.
    2. Set aside a section of your monthly budget to savings toward the purchase of said item. As the saying goes, ‘the best things come to those who wait’. I’m averse to credit cards and believe that it is just sound financial policy to save the purchase of expensive items rather than buying them immediately on credit. In the meantime, buy a $25 machine to get yourself through the interim.
    3. Do as Georgia suggests and ask your family to contribute to one (or a couple) of big-ticket items. GREAT idea Georgia!

    In conclusion, the reason that I recommended the VitaMix is this:

    Although many food processors will do an adequate job, I have not encountered any consumer model that is as efficient, well-made, or versatile as the VitaMix.

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  4. Another reason to grind your own is that almonds are loaded with easily oxidized polyunsaturated fat. As whole nuts, the oil is pretty well protected from oxidation, but as soon as the nuts are ground into fluffy, well aerated flour, the fat starts going rancid. It’s better to eat freshly ground almonds than packaged almond flour that has been sitting around for weeks or months.

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  5. Paleo ain’t cheap huh? How about next time you cite another example how it ain’t, instead of an overused oversimplified example. I get to save on my almond flour, great! Thank god I got that base covered since I eat it 6x a day…

    Organic nuts cost money, quality canned tuna costs money, the kind of meat you should be eating costs money. And don’t forget the organic Vegggg.

    I obviously hate how some try to convice others paleo is cheap, it AINT.

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    • It sounds you just shop very picky. Eating paleo = cutting out lots of items you’d normally be shopping for therefore reducing your grand total greatly. Why did you come here just to rain hate on this persons blog?

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      • Well, if you factor in the medical bills you’d have for eating garbage, I’d say the cost of paleo pales in comparison to medical bills!

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  6. GB,

    I do hate to see that I’ve offended you so. First things first, I never said that Paleo was ‘cheap’. I said that it didn’t have to be expensive, and that’s very true. As my profile used to state, “I’m a golden mean type of gal”, and I think Primal/Paleo falls into that golden mean on the spectrum of cheap to expensive.

    Secondly, you’re assuming that I recommend buying organic. Well, I don’t. I recommend buying local, in-season produce. Sure, there are some things that I will splurge on–like wild caught fish and free-range meat. But, guess what? I also occasionally buy some farmed fish (i.e. responsibly raised tilapia), and I get my meat directly farm the farmer and in bulk. What does that equate to? BIG SAVINGS.

    By the way, the almonds that I use (the ones pictured above) aren’t organic. As a ‘golden mean type of gal’, I understand where to splurge and where to save. Organic nuts aren’t one of the places where I splurge.

    So, put a smile on your face and open your mind. Perhaps then you’ll be able to see the limitless dollar-saving possibilities.

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    • Hear! Hear!

      I’ll bet if you really take the time (once is all it takes) to add up all the money you USED TO SPEND on garbage foods at the grocery store, you’ll find that the money you spent on them can be transferred to paleo foods to make up a large portion of the price difference in the two. I have a friend who actually SAVES money by eating Paleo. I have not tallied up my grocery bills to see how much I save or how much more I spend, but I don’t see much of a differenc in what I’m paying now and what I was paying before. Of course, I’ve cut out a LOT of bad foods so maybe that’s why. Also, now I don’t go to the doctor NEARLY as often.

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  7. Another option is to buy almond flour from this company.

    http://www.justalmonds.com/

    Here is link to a breakdown of their prices per pound for almond flour.

    http://www.justalmonds.com/BulkDiscounts.asp?ProductID=37339&ProductCode=ALMOND%20FLOUR%20NATURAL&Orig_Price=5.8

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  8. ok…paleo isn`t expensive…but please buy a 500 bucks mixer at first!

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  9. Hmmm, telling people to buy a $500 blender at the end of your article probably isn’t the best way to convince them that paleo is cheap..
    Buying paleo foods isn’t cheap…. however, getting type 2 diabetes, cancer, and medicine for high blood pressure, ED and all the other stuff that will come along after years eating the SAD isn’t cheap either.
    My advice… eat paleo, save money on doctor’s bills and skip the gold plated blender.

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    • The nature of the article is not that you should go out and buy a blender to make it cheap. The blender is a tool that can greatly enhance recipes and enable you to do more cooking at home, which in turn saves money. Most everyone who we’ve spoken with that owns a more expensive blender has more than made back the initial investment simply because of time and money saved from eating out. Moreover, the folks who purchased cheaper blenders have broken theirs several times over.

      By no means is a $500 blender required, but it’s damn helpful in the kitchen, and totally worth the investment should one have the funds available!

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  10. I am going on my 3rd week of eating Paleo, and I plan on staying on this way of life. I completely love it and it IS very inexpensive. I think sometimes we tend to over-complicate situations. If you do your shopping a little at a time, because the fresher, the better (and food won’t waste by going bad) we eat at a minimum, healthy and fresh. I already see a big difference in energy and in savings.

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  11. Wondering where you got your almonds? Because for me to get raw almonds they are still $7.99/lb. Equating to buying almond flour already packaged is easier. Don’t think i have ever found raw almonds in a regular grocery store, if they have them let me know.

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  12. A Theromix like the one i have will certainly do the trick. In a matter of 10 seconds, almonds turn to meal and I’m done “making flour”. Though they are a challenge to find in the US, you can purchase a new one from Canada or snag one on eBay like I did.

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  13. If there’s one nearby, try Trader Joe’s for almond meal – I think I paid $3 or $4 for a lb. I did read a comment that mentioned that it’s less expensive because the almonds are ground with the skin on, which may make a difference in some recipes, but I’m new to paleo and haven’t done much experimentation.

    I also recommend TJ’s for coconut milk – the cheapest I’ve found at $0.99 a can!

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  14. Just a couple weeks of Paleo here, learning/soaking everything in still.

    When the it’s too expensive hits me….

    I think about what open heart surgery cost.

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  15. Buy a Ninja Blender 1000 Watt on sale for $99.00 this week at Canadian Tire and on sale at other stores alsom.

    Buy your almonds at Costco and you have cheap almond flour.

    My son is just starting the Paleo and starting out this way will be cheaper in the long haul and remaember to freeze your flour in a baggie and pull it out when you want to use it. You can use right away and put it back in the freezer.

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  16. “How many times have I replaced my $25 blender?” Less than TWENTY.But if I saved $5 per pound on almond meal/flour, it would pay for itself in ONLY 100 pounds of almond meal. That 101th pound is going to taste really good.

    Those things are way cool.

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  17. I’m looking into purchasing a vita mix blender, but the $500 investment is huge! I realized that you can purchase a vita mix blender for less if you don’t need a dry container (and especially if you purchase a refurbished one). Do you definitely need a dry container to make almond flour?? I’ve read mixed opinions online, but I want to see if you’ve used the regular wet container for almod flour.. Thanks!

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  18. Paleo *is* expensive if you are actually buying the kinds of top quality ingredients that give the best results (pastured meats, local and/or organic fruits and veggies and nuts, high quality coconut and olive oil).

    There are ways to save some money–buying meat in bulk directly from the farmer, for example–but it still won’t be anywhere near as cheap as buying grocery store meats on sale. And, of course, where you live will greatly impact what foods are available to you and at what price (not everyone has a Trader Joe’s within 100 or even 200 miles). Food costs vary widely from place to place. I’ve moved a lot lately, so I have a lot of first-hand experience with that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it is totally worth the money I spend. I fell great and I know I will be saving on health care costs down the road (although quite frankly that is more of a boon to my insurance company than it is to me since my costs are largely fixed). But, I think it is disingenuous to try to convince people their food costs will not increase because for the vast majority of people eating the SAD, they will increase considerably.

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  19. After a couple years, I’ve finally gotten my mom to admit we need a better blender.

    We have two, neither of them work quite as well as they could because well…they were cheap and they’re now about 5 years old, so you can imagine.

    Even though I have to pay then $100 a month until it’s paid off, it’s well worth it! I can’t wait to see what I can do with this lovely machine.

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  20. Sorry, almond meal at $3.99 a pound compared to wheat flour at $0.49 a pound is still still expensive. Don’t misunderstand, I have RA and my hubby has type 2 diabetes. I get it. We really NEED to eat paleo but it is expensive. Challenge: paleo on a food budget of $200 a month for two adults. Now that would be a useful article.

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  21. Almonds are not very cheap where I live either. Interesting to note, as I research almonds and the paleo diet, they are kind of a gray area all together :/

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  22. I was excited when I saw the title of this article–we’re still transitioning (cut out all wheat, working on the brown rice and oats) but with three adults and a toddler (who can stuff himself so full he gets Buddha-belly) it’s been difficult working out the budget.
    We’ve always been cook-at-home types, and have a bunch of kitchen gadgets, but having the gadgets doesn’t make the cost of the basic ingredients any less. A jar of almond butter here is $7.99, and that’s the cheapest I’ve been able to find it. Raw almonds run about that per pound, organic or no. If there’s a way to get some of those basic ingredients cheaper, without having to worry about shipping charges, I’m open to suggestions…but then, ordering food offline has always hit me kind of weird. It definitely doesn’t follow the Buy Fresh, Buy Local ideals, and I’m a heavy believer in keeping the cash in the community.

    It just seems like it’s impossible to eat ANYTHING any more without feeling guilty for SOMETHING.

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    • Ana,

      I think the prices of nuts in general have gone up recently, and I can see what you mean by the bottle being expensive. A couple things that I do myself is purchase from the bulk section of the market, which is usually cheaper. For example, Whole Foods in Austin has bulk sections where you can grind the nuts yourself, and that’s cheaper than the bottles. Others work with local farms to buy 1/4 – 1/2 of an animal, and freeze it… keeps for months and is a lot cheaper per pound than buying from the butcher. You may also look into CSA’s to take care of seasonal vegetables.

      But yeah, if you just walk into a market and buy stuff for the week, the tab gets big pretty quickly.

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  23. Trader Joes has almond flour for 3.99 a lb.

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  24. Wow – many of you folks are pretty nit-picky with this article.

    My husband and I went Paleo in mid June and love the way we feel. We’ve both lost weight. My husband’s hair is growing back on top of his head. We raced Ironman Canada and felt great the entire race! Our bodies are continually increasing the muscle to fat ratio. Our blood pressure and resting heart rates have dropped. You can’t put a price on health!

    Yes, I do spend a little more at the grocery store on a weekly basis, but we only eat out ONCE a week… usually on Saturday and it will be a “cheat” meal. When we look at how we used to eat out 3-4 times per week + groceries, we are now spending less.

    I bought a Vitamix almost 2 years ago. I highly recommend getting one. The investment on the front end may be high, but it’s worth every penny down the road. You will save money by making your own nut butters, sauces, purees, smoothies, etc. I use mine almost daily. It’s the best money I’ve ever spent (well, a close second to my cleaning lady). Quit your whining and complaining. Consider it an investment to your health.

    Going Paleo will change your life. Give it a chance for 30 days. Go buy a Vitamix. It will become staple in your kitchen.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  3. 15 Tips for Eating Paleo on the Cheap | following my nose - 24. Jun, 2012

    [...] While looking for some more tips to share, I found that most of my points, and then some, have already been covered by some other Paleo bloggers:http://www.primaltoad.com/3-primalpaleo-food-myths/http://www.mypaleokitchen.com/archives/52http://paleohacks.com/questions/624/best-strategies-on-a-budget#axzz16mtDUu00http://www.hunter-gatherer.com/blog/how-eat-wild-cheaphttp://thelabelsayspaleo.com/2010/02/13/paleo-is-not-expensive-exhibit-a-almond-flour/http://www.balancedbites.com/2010/10/priorities-for-eating-paleo-on-budget.htmlhttp://paleodietlifestyle.com/paleo-on-a-budget/ Now if you don’t think you have time to make broth or you just don’t like venison or sardines or eggs, or you feel the need to have 4 gazillion TV channels, that’s a totally different problem.  But the problem really isn’t “Paleo is too expensive”.   [...]

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