I was out for a walk with my friend the other night and as we pushed our toddlers up a hill and tried to carry on a conversation in between telling them to stop touching each other… and the wheels… and the blackberry bushes… and the dog, she was frustrated that she wasn’t able to grab the bottle of coconut aminos needed to make the Ground Beef Stir Fry with Wilted Napa Cabbage planned for that week because the grocery store she goes to doesn’t carry it.
This naturally lead into a sidebar vent session about what a pain in the butt it is to tote toddlers all over town trying to find a single ingredient in order to make that healthy meal happen. As someone who really dislikes shopping and running errands, I happily chimed in that it’s definitely something that most people can relate to: ain’t no one got time for running an unnecessary errand.
If the thought of doing ONEMORETHING is enough to make you want to find the nearest closet and hide in it, this post about Paleo Diet shopping short cuts is for you.
Being the problem solver I am, I mentioned how much I loved using Amazon Prime because of the free, fast shipping. Chances are those hard to track down items would arrive at her door before she was able to make time to brave the wilds of a specialty or health food store in the next couple days. We rattled off a short list of items that typically elude us when we only have time for one stop and I’ve dropped them into a quick post here.
What items are hard for you to come by at regular stores?
As strange as it might be for some to think about using the internet to grocery shop, it’s a slick and convenient way to reduce stress and stay productive. I know when my boy (who is now 5) was born, I took advantage of the grocery delivery service offered by a local store for a few months. It felt a little strange to order my carrots, eggs, and toilet paper online during his 2am feeding, but it really helped make life a little smoother.
Here are a few foods commonly found in Paleo recipes that I think might be challenging for you to come across when making rounds at your neighborhood grocery store.
Ghee, lard, and tallow top the list as some of the harder items to find at a decent price or decent quality. Every time I look at the price of ghee in the store, I cringe. It’s way cheaper to buy it online, guys. This doesn’t apply to everyone though. I know that if you aren’t in the US, this advice might not ring true. But for us US folks, in general, this can be a good way to save time and money.
For lard and tallow, I pick FatWorks every time. I typically snag it on Amazon just because I’m likely already ordering something and it’s easier to track shipment (which is also typically faster too). Just a personal preference, but there ya go…
Happen to have time to render lard yourself? Here’s my post on how to do that.
For ghee, I love OMghee and Pure Indian Foods. Pure Indian Foods is available through Amazon whereas OMghee is ordered through their website. Oh and if you’re into the butter coffee thing, Pure Indian Foods has a product called Coffee++ that is a blend of cultured ghee and MCT oil for about $12 — that’s a steal considering what each of those items cost of their own!
Asian Swap Out Staples
Pssst… Red Boat also has this product called Umami Salt that is ridiculously good. I don’t think I’ve actually seen it in stores yet. If punching things up in the flavor department is your game, you don’t want to miss this product!
Red and green curry pastes that are at the backbone of many Thai recipes can be hit and miss in stores depending on where you live. If you’re having trouble finding one that will work for you, add this green curry and this red curry into your cart the next time you’re online.
Snacks & To Go Items
Canned fish can be a tricky item to find in-stores. Sardines, tuna and salmon seem to be the varieties we use most and depending on where you’re located, could be problematic for finding a brand that eases your conscience. My local Costco carries a great brand of sardines, but I find that I only go to Costco about once a month. If I don’t stock up (or if I forget to grab it, which is far more likely), then I know I can turn to Amazon for a quick delivery of what we need.
Thank goodness for the companies out there producing clean snack products made with quality ingredients. Here’s a quick list of great products linked to where I usually order them from:
- Pork Clouds
- Pastured Galactic Hog Skins
- Potato chips
- Plantain chips
- Jerky snacks
- Jerky, fruit and nut packs
This is a tricky one. Most every store carries coconut milk, but few of them carry a brand that doesn’t have some kind of emulsifier in it. If things like carrageenan or guar gum are on your “no” list, then you could be in trouble. I know that while I’ve been on a Whole30 it has been very tricky finding a decent coconut milk around here — and I’ve shopped around! Instead, stock up on this brand which is just pure coconut and water… exactly how it should be.
Another thing that can be tricky is finding coconut cream. It’s often used in Paleo baking recipes and is definitely it’s own thing. Toss this brand in your virtual cart and check that item off your shopping list.
Sauce and Spice Woes
Paleo friendly sauces or condiments like mayo, ketchup, and BBQ sauce are important to make sure the food you’re preparing doesn’t suck. Finding them at basic grocery stores? Better go in with low expectations. It wasn’t until this past spring that we got a Whole Foods in our area, so I definitely understand the pain that comes with reading every label in the sauce aisle only to come up empty handed.
Those should get you through until you can make it to a store that sells what you need.
With spices the one that really comes to find as being difficult to find is turmeric. You know, the kind with actual health benefits… Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that contains anti-inflammatory properties, so when buying turmeric, certainly seek out products that contain between 3% and 5% of it. Pure Indian Foods is the brand I order!
An alternative to Amazon: Barefoot Provisions has great customer service, lots of coupons sent after your first order, and stocks only the highest quality products. You can always order turmeric from them and support a small business while still getting a good deal for yourself.
Another note on spice blends… If you need inspiration in the seasoning department, The Frugal Paleo Cookbook has 15 different blends (salt-free) that only use normal things you can find in any grocery store. Saffron, vanilla beans, and the like have their place, but not typically in everyday life for everyday people. And truthfully, I’ve never used either. If you need a resource for adding variety into your regular meal rotation without adding to your to-do list, you might appreciate what I’ve included in my book.
I feel like coconut, arrowroot, tapioca, and almond flours are all fairly accessible these days. Am I right on that? I see these flours everywhere. However, what might be harder to find are odd sugars like coconut, maple and date.
While you can probably get what you need in the flour department, here are some links to quality sweeteners that are still a bit odd-ball.
Chocolate might also be a thing as well. Health food stores carry a good variety of options that allow you to purchase based on your priority, but these aren’t always the stores you might be shopping at regularly. When it comes to chocolate, for some it’s particular ingredients that are the priority, for others the source and trade of the product is critical. If making a stop by a store that sells the chocolate you prefer doesn’t always make the cut when you’re pressed for time, here are a couple quick links.
This brand is great for those sensitive to clean ingredients and want a good everyday chocolate.
And the last thing: Meat.
Do you know about EatWild.com? It’s an amazing resource for finding farms local to you that are raising and selling meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, etc. There are farms on that site I had no idea existed and I live in the area I was born and raised in! Do yourself a favor and check out that resource. It’s completely free.
Some might have online shopping available. Others might offer to compile an order for you over the phone or their website and allow for you to schedule a pick up time. Either way, it sure beats settling for bottom-of-the-barrel meats.