How do poor people do carnivore?



I want to do zero carb carnivore, not even plant products or anything. But I currently hover slightly above the national poverty line (in the U.S.). It also doesn’t help that I live in New York City (albeit in one of the poorest areas). I only get about $50/month in food benefits and have no money left over after I pay my rent and bills. The cheapest meat alone here, even at the local butcher shop, costs like $15+ per pound. Luckily I have a smaller frame so I don’t need to consume as much food in general (I weigh about 155 lbs.), but even if I only eat half a pound of meat a day and try to fight the hunger, that’s less than a week’s worth of food. Carbs are so cheap I don’t understand how poor people like us can avoid it at all. Just feels like healthy lifestyles are only reserved for the middle-class and upwards, but I’m not here to debate politics. Just wondering if there’s some sort of lifehack for getting cheaper meat or some other source of food that can emulate the health benefits of carnivore because I believe carbs are making me ill. Thank you

(Bob M) #2

$50 is not much. But how easy is it to track sales and actually get to the place with the sale? For instance, even the fancy grocery store where I live had chicken thighs on sale for 0.99/pound. Fatty ground beef is usually reasonable. If you can cook roasts, some of the roasts can be reasonable, though even those might be too expensive.

If you can handle beef liver/chicken liver/beef or chicken hearts or other offal, those can be inexpensive.

Some pork can be pretty cheap.

Are there stores like Mexican/Spanish/Italian/Etc., and can you get to them? They often have reasonable prices on certain cuts of meat.

Can you take a trip out of NYC and into the burbs? That might lower the cost.


I would be 100% willing to put in the work and even maintain a spreadsheet of different stores and track their sales, but the issue is I don’t know how to obtain that type of information. A lot of the stores around here don’t even have a website to check. I could possibly only check the larger chain stores and see, but I’m not sure a sale would be that significant even if all the meats were like 50% off. That’s still pretty expensive when the original price is so high.

Chicken and ground beef seem like the most viable economic options as they’re significantly cheaper than all other cuts of beef. I did a little bit of research on the carnivore diet, so my main concern is if I would be at risk for malnutrition/vitamin deficiencies if I only consumed ground beef and/or chicken (as opposed to the entire cow) over the long-term.

(Bob M) #4

My guess: it’s unlikely you’d end up with deficiencies. But I’m not sure too many people know. I know there are some people who eat a lot of steak (obviously, too expensive) and have no known issues.

I’d assume the same could be said for your diet, but I don’t know.

That’s too bad about the stores. Here’s my store’s flyer:

I misspoke: it must have been chicken legs on sale last week for $0.99/pound, as thighs are $2.99/pound this week. Although pork chops are 1.99/pound. Top round (a roast, best cooked low and slow) is $4/pound. I eat a lot of top round, as I can make it over the weekend and we can reheat during the week for the whole family.

Chicken leg quarters are 0.69/pound. Not sure what those are.

I only shop at a very few stores, as in 3 maybe. (That’s because there really are only 3 near me.) Consequently, I usually just go to the store and get the flyer.

So, I don’t use anything like this:

But see if there is one that covers your area. That might help.

Otherwise, you might have to visit stores and see when they have sales and what’s on sale.

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #5

The first time I did a ketogenic diet I was a single mom and living way below the poverty line. Honestly, were it not for Vienna Sausages, ground beef, chicken and about to go off/marked down meat I don’t think I would have made it. You’re not wrong and it sounds as if we can expect even higher prices this winter. Do you know any hunters? I have two contacts who are happy to unload last year’s deep freezer meat on me when the current hunting season starts.


It’s probably the whole leg with a part of the backside. It must be easy to cut the chicken there as I always can get those things even in the village where the variety is super tiny.
I was pretty silent this far (with all my doubts… it can’t be $15+/pound the cheapest meat, it makes little sense. I heard about American prices and they weren’t THAT bad and a single city can’t have high prices everywhere, someone would just bring on cheaper meat, I suppose. people even buy meat online nowadays) as I live in Hungary. I am surprised poor people don’t live on chicken as it’s dirt cheap. Not good (the cheap stuff. the expensive stuff may be good but it’s more expensive than pork and I love pork), but sometimes one can’t be choosy. I hope I never will be THAT poor, I am surely below poverty level already (in a not rich country)… Keto is my cheapest woe especially carnivore, thankfully. Of course I can’t really afford ruminant meat but pork and turkey is cheap enough. I buy it usually on sale, of course.

I don’t think money and healthy eating are so very closely correlated, obviously SOME money is needed, I can’t eat okay without much below $2 per day (but I live in Hungary so…) and I normally use more. But I eat a lot. Being 160 lbs or less never meant I can go below 2000 kcal easily (it’s a cute meal on a hungry day). Fortunately calories are cheap and I surely need less nutrients than someone with a bigger, more muscular body.

I heard a lot from the carnivores that only muscle meat works. I heard about people eating mostly pork
since ages but surely many long term carnivores avoid offal without a problem.
Eating mostly chicken, I have no information about that but it sounds a sad diet to me who dislike chicken. Most of us just can’t get satiated well with chicken.

I try to stay close to carnivore and I am poor. So lucky carnivore is my cheapest woe ever. I eat eggs (good ones so more expensive but okay. I am aware they are way more expensive at other parts of the world. if you can afford some, they are super versatile! and nutritious. they don’t have everything but a lot), cheap pork on sale (fattier cuts aren’t cheaper here, fatty meat is highly popular, I can’t even buy pure fat cheap - but they have more calories at least), turkey on sale and that’s about my staples. But I don’t do pure carnivore and have off days so I can have enough information decades later when I do this better since ages. But no problems this far. I tried out carnivore almost 2 years ago and try to stay close since. It’s WAY better without all those carbs.

If I was even more poor (ouch. it’s bad already), I would add plants but mostly protein rich and if possible, very low-carb ones. Starving is definitely worse than eating some plants along with the animal food if one can handle them. I can but less carbs are usually better and the not satiating items (almost all plants) are out as well. So a few plant matter would work for me, the rest just would add cost and unneeded calories. I don’t even have other options but eating very low-carb… Almost no matter my financial situation. (If I had $1 for a day, I probably would try to live on split peas and gluten with some eggs and the cheapest meat that is way below $1 for a kg here… chicken frame, woe me, I prefer seitan any day but nutrients, I suppose, it makes an okay soup anyway… I would be somewhat miserable but I wouldn’t fare better with my normal food in smaller quantities, I would just die of hunger eventually. I already eat as cheap as I comfortably can.)

I look up sales online, surely you have something like that there too. But there are fliers too, it’s okay for people who live in bigger places, I need to walk 45 minutes to reach the closest village… So online for me and we go to some big shopping to the city once a month :slight_smile: And we have the village shops and butchers too. They have sales too. We go shopping and grab what is on sale and we are fine with it. Not in very small quantities, of course.
In hipermarkets there are super good sales for meat that will spoil soon, I don’t really like this with meat, I prefer it more fresh but I couldn’t resist some mutton last time… It’s still luxury for me (it’s around $3/pound? slightly more than my average daily food cost I suppose) but well, it feels better to eat some ruminant meat here and there. It may be too much for $50 a month. Even I have a higher food cost!!! I thought I am a super poor one in a somewhat poor country and as I wrote, I really can’t cut corners anymore, this money is needed for my food - or I get miserable and then start dying of hunger. Even with carbs. Especially with carbs.
But main thing is maybe you have some super good sales too… For some cheaper cut.
I just can’t believe you can’;t get carni food for cheaper. $15/pound is luxury, sure, some meat cost that much but the cheapest ones must be lower…

(Laurie) #7

Unfortunately, the poorest parts of town are often the most expensive.

Is there any way you can get to a cheaper supermarket or big box store once a month or so? Take a knapsack or rolly cart and stock up. You can fit a lot into a small fridge or freezer space, if you remove all cardboard, styrofoam, etc., and repackage in plastic wrap or bags.

There must also be huge public markets or ethnic markets there also – the kind where fish and meats are sold to restaurants and such. I kind of hate these places myself, and I know that some can be gentrified and overpriced. But there might be a good one you could consider.

I don’t pretend to know your situation, but I have been really poor and am still considered below the poverty line. (But I have a car, so things can’t be that bad.) And I’m in Canada, where prices are higher. Still, I’m able to buy ground beef, eggs, tuna, beef liver, etc., at cheap prices. Chicken and pork can be cheap too, although I don’t buy these much. I try to have beef once a day, and fill in the gaps with other animal-based foods. I’ve been doing this for more than a year and feel well nourished.

Keep asking questions until you get the answers you need! Good luck.

(Jane) #8

That’s only about $10/week. I don’t know how you haven’t starved to death by now.

That was my weekly budget in college in 1979 back when gasoline was 50 cents a gallon. I had to cut out all meat and cheese and processed foods. I lived on veggies and yogurt. I had to buy my own yogurt maker because even yogurt was too expensive, but I needed some protein.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #9

Just bite the bullet and buy canned and packaged. I live in Vancouver, not the cheapest place in the world by any means. I don’t have a lot of money to spend either. I can buy tins of tuna and other meats like Vienna sausage (chicken), packaged bacon ‘crumbles/bits’, sausages like pepperoni, etc very cheaply and even moreso during sales. I also buy frozen ‘burger’ patties. $50 can go a long ways if you’re careful.

(Laurie) #10

PS. When I say I buy foods “cheap,” I’m talking about $3.00 USD per pound for ground beef. $4.50 USD per pound is usually the limit I will pay for meat. As I mentioned, I’m in Canada. I just checked an online flyer for a random US chain supermarket, and as I thought, US prices are lower still. I don’t think you need to even think of paying $15 per pound for meat.

At some point I stumbled on a website for carnivores. One man (I think he was Russian) said all he could afford was chicken, so that’s all he ate.


And some people do live at that level… shudder

Veggies and yogurt? I would think they are mostly water (and a little sugar), super low cal for our money. I am so not someone to eat yogurt that always forget its protein content, yeah I know it has some. It’s just so not substantial! Veggies are expensive to me now that I do carnivore-ish and think about it… All that money for practically nothing! I could buy lots of useful fatty meat with that money… Except dry legumes, of course.

I keep reading tuna is cheap in various parts of the world… It’s quite expensive here, way more expensive tinned (the only way available) than the cheapest beef cut and the latter is a small luxury for once a month or less often…

That’s the price of the cheapest beef here too! Beef legs, it makes great stew :smiley: I allow it for myself almost every month in moderation. My pork costs half as much on sale, liver a little less (except beef liver, that’s more) and turkey (certain parts I love, on sale) even less. Duck necks have a great price too, I use them for soups.
If I was super poor, I would went for the bony fowl meats, they are super cheap here, surely they aren’t very popular and only good for soups but they still are 50% meat and broth is a great thing…

(Old Baconian) #12

Even in my reasonably affluent area, not all meat is $15.00/lb. Surely they sell ground beef for much less than that. Pork chops are usually around $1.99, and often on sale for less. You can get a pork shoulder for $1.40/lb., and that yields many meals. Avoid skinless chicken breast and lean cuts, because they are likely to be more expensive. If you can stomach liver, it is usually quite cheap, as well.

If you have access to a freezer, buy family packs of meat and freeze the pieces in individual servings. Then you can pull them out as needed. If you can get to the market just after they have marked down the meat that is reaching its sell-by date, that will help with the cost, too.

The main problem is that you are likely to be quite hungry at first; then, however, your appetite should settle down. As your health improves, you will likely be able to pay for the increased food cost by needing less time off from work to visit the doctor and by avoiding expensive co-pays.


I guess more specifically, the “real” beef cuts were more or less $15/pound, which is what I was looking at as far as going pure carnivore goes. I kept reading about the importance of eating “nose-to-tail” so I was exploring as many different cuts as possible. But stuff like ground beef I definitely did not find as expensive as $15/pound. Probably closer to $4-6. But it didn’t seem like “real” beef compared to steak cuts, so I didn’t think that sort of stuff was “true” carnivore. But if even canned meat is okay, I wouldn’t mind it if it’s “safe” (relative to consuming carbs, I suppose). I also read that meat like chicken is not as nutritious as beef so it wouldn’t really be worth consuming dollar per nutrition density. And that eating pork+fish every day is not healthy either because of the nutritional imbalance compared to eating an entire cow as the primary diet.

(Laurie) #14

You’re getting beef from various parts of the animal when you buy ground beef. In the US, ground beef can legally contain heart and tongue, bringing you even closer to the nose-to-tail experience.

(Edith) #15

@Fangs, who’s the YouTube carnivore personality (female) who uses plain McDonalds hamburgers for a good amount of her beef? I can’t think of her name.

Anyway, she lost something like 100 pounds pretty much eating ground beef. You definitely don’t have to have steak and ribeye.

I will brown up ground beef and then put an fried egg on top. Eggs are cheap and carnivore.

Pork should roasts are 6-8 pounds and cheap. Slow roast one of those and you can have many pounds of pulled pork.

Around where I live, chicken leg quarters (thigh and drumstick) are sold for as little as $0.79/lb. if you can find something like that, that would be a good source for cheap chicken.

Access to a Walmart? They have some pretty inexpensive meat.


I can’t afford fish either :smiley: I live on pork and eggs, mostly, well beggars can’t be choosers but I was so healthy on my sugary woe too, I don’t expect getting sick on this way better one :smiley: Until I get more food. But I doubt I could ever eat beef frequently, I prefer pork :slight_smile:

I am quite sure that my woe is better than eating 0.5 pounds of beef ONLY every day… The low food cost was the base, we can’t eat $15/pound meat with that, obviously and we must eat. One should do what they can, hence the advice on chicken, cheaper beef and pork…

Be posh carnivore when you can afford it. My body is very very pleased with my cheap carnivore-ish.

I’ve read and probably wrote before that many carnivores get away without organs but lucky you, organs tend to be cheaper. Availability varies I imagine but a big city surely have various kinds.

People lose fat eating sugar too, it’s not the important part (well for really heavy people it’s important, sure), OP seems to be worried about long time health and I am similar, it’s top priority. I just can’t afford to worry about it much, I eat whatever I like and can afford and hope for the best. I have good genes, at least and hopes for a better future.

Eggs aren’t cheap everywhere, I just know the Australian prices now, I couldn’t afford those often if our prices would be that high (good eggs, not the common thing. sometimes even poor ones don’t accept the worse eggs). But heard high prices from elsewhere too. Still, 1-2 here and there may be worth it… Maybe not, I get satiated with meat loads better but I need eggs for variety… They are super versatile.


Kelley Hogan. She does eat like 10 McDs burgers at a time for a meal.
In the end tho if you tally it up with the cost increase, I think 1.29? per patty it is still cheaper to hit any sale of burger meat at the market.

I just had $3.00 a lb. for 80/20 burger in my store. I loaded up. I could exist on $6 per day eating 2 lbs. per day which is cheap on carnivore actually.

for the poster, key is shop any and all sales. markdowns. Know your stores and when any meats are marked down in price and hit them up instantly. your meat dept guy is your best friend :slight_smile:

chicken is a great side filler meat. not great to live on, but pair chicken with burger and you got a great combo to fill you up cause I know for a year or so I existed on tons of chicken paired with burger :sunny:


Yes, I am sure many have such experiences (but not everyone, sometimes I envy the folks who can get satiated with fowl only…). I can eat 1kg chicken and stay hungry but it’s helpful paired up with some more substantial meat (of course I did it with pork. now I do pork+turkey, pork+duck as those are tastier. but I do pork+liver too)!
Pairing up is nice anyway. Liver alone in bigger amounts isn’t my thing but with some nice fatty pork (as liver is very lean) things get more enjoyable (but I like liver anyway, just not much or every day. I get bored of it super quickly).
I must say it’s very different not to eat any ruminant ever due to the costs - or eating a little here and there :wink: Though we usually make a big stew or something from it. That’s superb. We tried to mix it with pork but the pork pieces were a bit disappointing (not the perfect word but I didn’t enjoy their tenderness and different flavor as I should have) and I love pork but beef and mutton is luxurious to me and very satisfying here and there.


absolutely. alot of carnivores do pairings. it actually helps save money sometimes also in that when I had less money to spend on meats I would buy a big lb. steak…eat 1/2 at a meal and team up with cheapy chicken thighs and the next day I would repeat that meal. So I stretched my beef into more days and I found it very satisfying for sure.

Also…seafood sides are wonderful, but darn, those prices are going thru the roof :frowning:

everything right now is increasing in price ALOT…nasty out there for sure on our wallets :frowning:

(Karen) #20

I know i am fortunate enough to live in an area that has good cheap sources for meat and i can tell you I do shop around. I have stopped using the butcher even though his meat is very good because I can get it near use by date locally and I also look out for the reduced priced meat in local supermarkets and stick them straight in the freezer when I get home.

I am no where near in your situation financially but for many years brought up 2 children as a single mum, one of which is special needs so was unable to work full time. I spent the majority of those years robbing Peter to pay Paul so I can empathise.

Minced (ground) beef … Still use it and make burgers with it … mixing it together with an egg, always makes for a cheap meal or add cheese to the mix.

Chicken doesn’t really sustain me but I still use eat it as an alternative and I buy whole chickens, cooked or raw, near use buy date, pull off all the meat and portion bag it and stick in freezer. I then defrost a portion, saute in butter just to reheat and melt cheddar in to it, does nicely for brunch. Remember a whole chicken will cost less than pre packed portions.

Eggs, eggs and more eggs. Fried in lard, made into omelette, scrambled or poached with bacon or the burgers.

I also get cold meats when they are reduced and stick straight in freezer. Always good to have something on standby for my pack ups for work.

I also buy canned fish and canned corned beef. I remove the corned beef from the can and wrap in foil and put in fridge, slices so much better when its a bit cooler.

One other thing is that I actually spend less than when I ate a mixed carb and meat diet as I have very little wastage. My wheelie bin now takes an age to fill and sometimes only has one small bin bag in it for the bin men to take away and they empty the bins fortnightly! I always used to dread missing the collection prior to starting carnivore especially during the summer months as the bin was always full with things that had gone off or stuff I never got round to eating!

Do you have any food banks in your area?

I wish you all the best in your journey and hope you manage to source the sales in your area. Xx