Kurt G. Harris MD

PāNu means paleonutrition. The "paleo" here signifies "old" and not necessarily paleolithic. The PāNu approach to nutrition is grounded on clinical medicine and basic sciences disciplined by knowledge of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology. The best evidence from multiple disciplines supports eating a pastoral (animal-based) diet rather than a grain-based agricultural one, while avoiding what I call the neolithic agents of disease - wheat, excess fructose and excess linoleic acid.

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PaNu on the cheap

Unfortunately, the cheapest and easiest food to get is mostly sugar and processed grains. Were that not the case, there would be no need for this website.

Here are some tips for PaNu on the cheap:

1) Never eat anything that comes in a box (pasta, cereal, crackers...) Stick to the peripheral aisles at the grocery store.

2) Drink only whole milk, water or iced tea - you will get good nutrition from the milk, and water and homemade iced tea are dirt cheap or free. People spend a fortune on liquid food that is just High Fructose Corn Syrup and water. I drink only water at restaurants - I spend my money on the food instead.

3) Eat salads and veggies that you like.

4) Eggs are the perfect food and cheap protein- they contain amino acids in the exact ratio as found in your body (of course they do, they are meant to grow a bird fetus from scratch!) I eat 4-6 eggs a day at a cost of no more than a dollar a day.

4) If you can't afford high quality grass-fed beef or bison, buy shoulder cuts and pork butts and smoke them or slow cook them. Take some fish oil to balance the high Omega 6's with Omega 3's. 

5) Buy whole chickens and grill them - be sure to eat the skin, that's the best part. Or go to Sam's club for the 3 lb already roasted chicken - feeds a family of four for $5.

6) Drink half and half or whole cream for breakfast or add it to your coffee. Cheap, healthy (low insulin response) and fills you up.

You could easily get all the protein you need just from eggs and whole chickens and afford that on a minimum wage salary.

Go to "get started" and study carefully what not to eat.

Reader Comments (13)

Thanks for the Paleo on the cheap entry. How about Paleo on the road? What do you do or how do you prepare? I travel a lot for work, and more often than not I find myself with a very limited selection of things to eat when on the road (airports). I mostly end up eating fruits given the limited selection. Internationally, it's even worse. This morning, I found a place in O'Hare that made omelets. Got excited, and then noticed how much canola oil they were using per dish. Ended up eating a banana. Does one have to carry around a bag of bison jerky at all times? Thanks in advance.

July 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterW.E.

Hello W. E.

Air travel - try a Briefcase or bookbag containing:

4 or more Hardboiled eggs,a large baggie full of walnuts, almonds and pecans. Several ounces of your favorite cheese. Add a whole avocado and your low carb fasting ability and this should last any trip under 12 hours if you ate before you left. Bring a ziplock bag for the eggshells and avo skin. Serrated plastic knife for the avocado should keep you OK with the TSA.

Little packets of salt and pepper from McDonalds to season the eggs.

McDonalds on a car road trip: Big and tasty with cheese, hold the ketchup and mayo, throw away the bun, eat it rolled up like a tortilla. Add a salad with grilled chicken (caesar). Iced tea or coffee or water to drink. Don't sweat the industrial fed beef 6:3 ratio as long as you are not doing it every day.

July 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKurt G. Harris MD

I used to have a lot of layovers in Narita, where I discovered dried fish. Anchovy was the only type I remember, but there are others, in sizes from 2"-6". Nothing added besides salt, they're crunchy, lightweight, don't spoil, and best of all, my kids think they're a treat.

Absolutely agree on nuts, boiled eggs, cheese, and avocados.

July 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjon w

Cold fried chicken, slices of raw coconut meat in a plastic bag to snack on, might be of interest.

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny

And if you cut out everything except number 4 you can feed yourself on like $2.50 a day or less and be perfectly, wonderfully healthy. And if you go grass-fed that's closer to $5 a day if you are savvy -- butchers cut off most of the fat so will probably just give you the trimmings (that's like 20% of a meal by weight free!) and ask about when the meats are to go on sale.

If you want your fat and meat to keep for a really long time, let's say there was a fab deal at the Whole Foods, then dry the meat and render the fat and make pemmican. It keeps for a very long time.

If only I'd known this in college!

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarnee

Animal fat like suet (even grass-fed) is among the cheapest foods available.

Also if you don't mind the taste I have found the price of human grade grass-fed pet food (your typical ground beef but with organs usually thrown in) to run the about the same or less than grain-fed ground beef.

September 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Do you have any concerns about the excessive calcium in cow's milk, far more than in human milk?

I'm pretty sure this will turn out to be wrong but he makes a good case


I did a high fat high protein low carb diet for several years. Lots of eggs & beef. Unfortunately I brought with me my habits of eating til I burst, developed on a traditional Indian diet of rice, potatoes, roti, beans & lentils - I gained significant weight on the low carb, I just could not seem sense when to stop eating. I thought the diet didn't work, and dropped it. After all, the sales literature says eat as much as you want.

I'm about to try it again, this time carefully controlling calories.


Not an expert on calcium matabolism. Supplement levels (high levels) of calcium intake can interfere with magnesium absorption. I don't worry about excess calcium from dairy.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSanjeev Sharma

Pork rinds work for me: two bags for a dollar.

December 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsh

My comment on pork rinds raises another: should I be eating them? Here in the south pork rinds have a redneck/white trash/hillbilly image and I have always avoided them ... until a few weeks ago when I picked up a couple of bags. I polished off the whole bag and had a feeling of satiety that is rare for me. Now I eat several bags a week and find when I do I just am not very hungry the rest of the day and have no desire to snack at all. It is clear I wasn't getting enough saturated fat in my Paleo diet before eating pork rinds. But are they healthy? I mean, who knows what they feed those hogs! Corn? Garbage? Antibiotics? Steroids? And they are full of salt. Any thoughts?


Depends mostly on if they are fried in cottonseed oil - read the label.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsh

I emailed the producer of the pork rinds and they told me they are fried in their own fat. Hmmm ... what about the salt? Should I be concerned? Or the diet of the hogs? One hears about the benefits of grass fed beef but what about hogs?


If you are that concerned, just stick to real unprocessed food. They don't have sucrose so I am sure they are healthier than most junk food. Are you planning to make them a staple?

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsh

I've seen the "pet food" at my local grass fed butcher shop. $1.99 a pound. Their site says:

Raw beef and organ meat trim - including liver, heart, kidney and tongue. All things most like a dog or cats natural diet. A good compliment to your regular feeding program. And the best part is - they will love it! We recommend you feed it raw. Tube package with tape closure.

Sounds like a good compliment to MY regular feeding program! I plan on trying it soon, it's GOT to be good, and cheap too!

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave, RN


Speaking of cheap stuff, what are your thoughts on using a protein powder combined with cream? I know protein powder is not ideal, but it is cheap and incredibly convenient.

KGH: I try to stick with real food - most people already eat more protein than they need

January 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Thanks for all the great info. Both for convenience and cost, I have trouble getting grass-fed beef. It's not impossible, but it's likely it will be only an occasional part of my diet for the foreseeable future, at least until I can find a good supplier here in the Boston area. I see that you suggested that, if we are stuck with factory beef, we should get shoulder cuts and smoke/slow cook them. I'm curious--why those cuts in particular, and why slow cook them?

In terms of PaNu, what's the relative benefit to that as opposed to a good ole T-bone or sirloin or the other common cuts?

KGH: cost

For the same reason as cited above, it will also be some time before I can regularly and easily get pastured eggs and poultry. For now, as I'm beginning the PaNu journey, I'm guessing I should go with what I can get and balance the O-6 with fish oil.

Regarding cooking oils/fats -- do you save the rendered fat from beef, pork, bacon, etc., and use it in other cooking? Or do you stick mostly w/ butter?

kgh: nothing like eggs in bacon grease

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterC. August
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