Planning for keto or high protein during Winter 2021 with the concern economy, availability, etc. will make my normal foods gone or unaffordable


(PJ) #1

Mods please move to another category if needed, I don’t know where to put this.
Fellow keto-ers, please only address the context not the politics I beg you, thank you. :slight_smile:

Spring of 2020 sucked for grocery shopping where I live. Where most people live. For most things. For me, it cleared up not long later, though I know for many states (and some countries even still) it didn’t get better until later (or got worse). But just to focus on my point here:

I live in nowhere, Northeast Oklahoma. Walmart moved in 20 years ago and put nearly everything else out of business (5 grocery stores, endless little stores selling everything else). Now there is mostly walmart. So aside from a gas mart, a tiny grocer who survived, and ordering online, this is my food option.

The economy is going to tank so much worse than it has already, I don’t say this for argument or political debate, this is simply a given in my mind and so the practical thing to do is my best to plan for it. Because I’m just a fat single grandma and I have to feed myself, one dog, six cats, and sometimes help my daughter/grandson. So some intelligent planning in advance is good.

I have almost no money right now. I am hoping that will resolve soon. Then I will have just a little. Not much.

I have… some pinto beans and masa flour in storage for sheer emergency. A few dehydrated cans of stuff. That’s about it. I just haven’t had funds to have more. Hardly keto, of course.

I would like to start doing whatever I can to store some food for the winter, because I think it may be a bad situation at some point. Not only for affordability but literally for there even being anything on the shelf at all. Although I’m not sure I can trust power supply I’ll say I’m assuming that part will be ok.

That leaves not much money and trying to have protein for me and my pets.

Who probably don’t like protein powder. Not that I’m fond of it either.

I can grow some stuff but generally plants are not super useful as survival foods except in fairly mass bulk. And beans/oats/rice (I can’t eat rice) are probably the cheapest thing to buy, cheaper than growing them by far esp when ‘competitive space/light/nutes’ are taken into consideration.

So I’d like to plan for something a bit more dense in the protein area. Eggs? But how the heck do you store eggs decently, aside from scrambling and freezing in mass quantity? (And do you even want to eat them after that short of desperation…??)

Are there things you grow that have a really huge harvest for a plant? I’d like to know about them and maybe grow that. Are there foods you think would be a good buy for the maximum $/nutrients benefit, with limited-funds now? Have you any suggestions in general about this topic?

Thanks very much.

(Jane) #2

The first year I had my chickens I scrambled 4 at a time, put into a quart baggie, got as much air out as I could and froze them. They went for nearly 4 months w/o laying so was nice to have eggs in the freezer. Last year they were more mature and only stopped laying for about 6 weeks.

The eggs weren’t as good as fresh but better than frozen egg beaters! Cooked as scrambled eggs the taste was fine but the texture a bit odd. Baked in a crustless quiche I could barely tell the difference. But…… you are dependent upon not losing power for extended times.

I make my own beef jerky without sugar and I think there are instructions online for making it in an oven if you don’t have a dehydrator. I bought a couple of roasts to make some and I tell ya - beef is sky high now. If you do, half-freeze or half-thaw before slicing and you can get thinner slices that way.

What about peanut butter? Cans of tuna and chicken. Spam (cue Monty Python skit).

(Carnivore for the win) #3

That is a tough situation.

I eat a lot of ground beef for a budget food. It is pretty reasonable priced and very filling. I get it in bulk then freeze it in portions, thawing out a pound in the fridge every night. It can be just a few bucks a day if bought on sale.

I grew up in a small community and there were always bartering options for food. If someone had a skill or a product they made, they could trade it with local farmers, hunters, or fishermen, for meat or eggs or whatever. It would always be more than the cash equivalent of the food and the work. For example around $50 of work would get people around $100 worth of food compared to the store. Not food related, but my dad was the local doctor and would let people work off their medical expenses with house cleaning, yardwork, gardening and such. My mom used to trade the pottery she made for all sorts of things.

It just takes some asking around to see what people might want help with for food trade.

(Old Baconian) #4

There are certain cuts of pork that are always cheap. My favourite is a pork picnic (shoulder joint), which costs between $1.49 and $1.79 a pound. It comes with a layer of fat, so you roast it with the fat up, and it’s self-basting. It comes out very tender and juicy.

When I lived by myself, I would undercook it a bit, so that when heated up in the microwave, the slices came out just right. Now that I’m living with family, I just cook it to the desired doneness and keep the leftovers in the fridge. You can get quite a few servings out of a single joint, as long as you don’t mind slicing around the bone.

(PJ) #5

I see samsclub has .98/# whole chickens and for that matter, pre-cooked rotissery chickens at walmart are like $5-6. Maybe just buying and freezing a boatload of those is one possibility… regular stew from meat and bones. I’m not a big turkey fan. I can barely eat it once a year on thanksgiving. Chicken’s a basic though and high protein.


Hi PJ, great question. Could you let us know what your kitchen and food storage setup is (apologies if I missed this information above)? Do you have a big freezer? Do you have room to store tinned goods and pantry items in your home? Do you have enough time and kitchen equipment to be able to devote some blocks of hours to packing and storing eg bulk meat? Do you have time to be able to make homemade broth and soups?

I personally don’t eat them (yet) as I’m a little intimidated by how to cook and prep them, but from my understanding, liver and other organ meats are both very cheap and hugely nutritious. Certainly your pets will love them! Most dogs will also happily eat a bit of carbohydrate, like potato, rice or oats mixed with their protein and meat (I am not sure that cats will or should eat carbs though). They will also enjoy the oil from a can of tuna or sardines, as well as the fish. So you could stretch out their protein a bit further as well if needed.

Most nuts are expensive where I live, but seeds are much cheaper (including sunflower and pumpkin seeds). Coconut and olive oils are cheap from Costco and last well if stored properly. Hard cheeses like Parmesan are not cheap, but if you can buy a small amount, it can last up to 6 months in the fridge and make everything taste better.

(PJ) #7

Thanks Camellia.

My kitchen fridge/freezer is a small cheap thing aka 1970s size/quality.

In the garage I have a chest freezer that is 4’ wide, and I have a second larger side by side refrigerator-freezer. So I do have some storage room in that regard. I was hoping to stuff things like precooked and uncooked chickens in there, for example, and maybe some cheese and butter.

I have a non-climate controlled house-connected single-car garage, in which I could store some stuff, as long as it’s not open to bugs, and as long as it gets stored around halloween or later as that’s when the temps drop sharply here.

I have a tiny collection of those cans (about a milk gallon in size) with dehydrated stuff (potatoes, peppers, onions). I have a couple hefty bags of pinto beans I got early last year, half a dozen cans of spam, a couple 5# bags of masa flour (…I think it’s still good). I have a boatload of protein powders lol.

I have a big pressure cooker, and an instant pot, and a good dehydrator, and a ninja food processor and blender, and a sous vide. I have a vacuum sealer I haven’t even opened yet (my last one was a paperweight) and some bags and rolls. Even a spiralizer haha. So I don’t lack for basics in the kitchen I guess.

I am willing to spend time doing stuff… once I can afford to buy something to store. I’ve just been having a tough time figuring out what should be.

Your post made me realize that rather than freezing tons of precooked walmart rotisserie chickens (which are so cheap, really, I am ashamed for my humanity that a chicken’s life is actually worth so little at their cost), I should instead make the stews they could make and freeze those instead. Certainly then if we were out of power or other issues it’d be a lot easier to eat.

(*Rusty* Instagram: @Rustyk61) #8

I live pretty close to Nowhere, Oklahoma. T-town to be exact. And Wally World just drove out one of our last “old time” meat markets. It’s really sad.

(Bob M) #9

We have made a lot that we freeze.

  • Chili (without beans, which I never liked in chili anyway)
  • Meats like the rounds (top round, eye of round, bottom round)
  • Brisket
  • Chuck
  • Bacon
  • Soup (this is a good one, though I’m not sure about the carb count: Butternut squash soup

There are a ton of brisket and chuck recipes that are stew-like and that I’m sure freeze well. If you want to make these, make one with liquid that’s left over. I made one last weekend that was basically chuck + onions, and you drain the onion and keep the liquid. The problem was there was no liquid. When you try to reheat the chuck, it gets really dry without liquid. The liquid will soak back into it when reheating.

Something like this might be good:

Mamaleh’s brisket

I use tallow for the “oil” and regular, much less sweet red wine. To reheat, we slice the meat against the grain, then reheat in the sauce. I’m not sure whether you freeze with the sauce or freeze the two separately. Probably with the sauce, as then you can plop the whole thing in a pan.

Edit: I did not list ground meat/beef here, only because I eat my lunches cold now. For me, ground beef does not taste good when cold.

(Carnivore for the win) #10

That’s funny. I only eat cold ground beef. My body is able to digest the fat more easily, when cold and solid. I cook it in the morning, then put it on ice to get it to cool for my first meal of the day, which is usually at noon.

(GINA ) #11

What about canning? You could boil up those chickens, bones and all, and can the broth with the meat. A big jar of meat-bone broth-concoction would be nutritious. If you do grow or have access to vegetables you can make a soup out of it later when you open it, or not. Same could be done with any bone-in meat.

If you aren’t an experienced canner you will need to be very careful, but the internet can teach you anything. Jars are an investment, but hey last and canned goods don’t depend on power.

I had my chest freezer wiped out in just a couple of days when the transformer right behind our house blew on a Friday afternoon while we were gone for the weekend. The neighbors still had power so no one reported it and we didn’t know until Sunday evening. Had we been home we could have kept it frozen with the generator and battery back up, but if you don’t have those things (or don’t know like us), you are SOL.

(Bob M) #12

For me, I think it’s an issue with cold fat. If it’s on meat, I don’t have much problem with it, although I eat lean beef now, so there’s not much fat. But for ground beef, it’s interspersed and icky (to me) and the beef itself is dry. I also don’t eat much fatty pork, as I don’t like the “feel” of the fat. Again, it’s icky.

But to each his own.

And I may have been ruined by 20+ years of eating Pritikin (very low fat). I still look at things and remark about how fatty they are.

(Laurie) #13

Have you considered buying nonperishable food from Amazon? You can also do a search for the type of food (e.g., canned salmon) and find out who else sells it online.

Depending on when and where you buy them, the following can be cheap or not so cheap. (Personally I don’t think Walmart is cheap.)

  • Canned mackerel: taste is much improved if cooked as a curry
  • Canned salmon: We think of it as expensive, but can be a good buy (protein per dollar)
  • Canned tuna: sometimes on sale very cheap; just don’t eat too much (mercury concerns)
  • Canned beans (kidney beans, chickpeas, etc.): more expensive than dry beans, but handy
  • Eggs: You can pickle them?
  • Italian sausage: Be sure to read the nutrition label; one sausage can be anywhere between 0 and 7 carbs

If your brain can’t do the calculations on the spot, sit down with a calculator and figure out $ per gram of protein at various prices. So maybe you’ll decide you can afford beef at $4 a pound but not $5, or a can of sardines if it’s under 75 cents. Soon you will memorize everything and it will become second nature. Here in Canada, $10 per kilo is my usual cut-offpoint.

For medium-term storage, some things can be kept cool without refrigeration. Check out which parts of your house are cooler. I used to make oil-and-vinegar coleslaw and keep it under the sink for a month.

A thin layer of oil can also help preserve some items. In particular, it keeps mold at bay.

I used to have very limited fridge and freezer space (I’m talking just a couple of cubic feet), and I shopped just once a month. Whenever possible, I’d remove the original cardboard or styrofoam and repackage in Ziploc bags. Believe me, I could store a lot in very little space.

If you have a car, go to the nearest Costco. The annual fee can pay for itself in one trip. If you ask a member to buy you a gift card, you won’t even need to pay the fee. Keep in mind that although they have some great meat prices and so on (and mostly high quality), not everything is cheaper there. So you have to know what you’re doing.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

(Carnivore for the win) #14

I have been told by people who do long sailing trips, that hard boiling eggs then coating them with Vaseline, will help them keep for a very long time. The idea was the Vaseline kept the oxygen and bacteria out of the eggs.

(PJ) #15

Hmmn. I’d use a diff oil than vaseline, but that’s interesting. I know you can pickle eggs and keep in a fridge, at least.

I have a samsclub membership. We don’t have a costco around here.

I currently make a lot of chili con carne. Sometimes with a few beans, I am not always ketogenic and I like they kind of ‘extend’ it a bit. This is one of my favorite meals.

It is not at all cheap though. I mean I could make it cheaper than I do, but then it wouldn’t be as delicious lol.

It really doesn’t help that ‘cheap’ mostly means ‘carby’ and ‘long term storage’ (esp without freezer dependency) means ‘carby’. Short of having a root cellar with salted sides hanging from hooks or whatever…

(Laurie) #16

Just thought of something else. You can make yogurt out of canned milk. The yogurt-making process reduces the carbs. If you strain the yogurt (for Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese), that reduces the carb:protein ratio even further.

I’ve never used canned milk to make yogurt, but apparently – since the milk is precooked – you don’t have to bring it to near-boiling first. You just heat it to 110-115 degrees.


Yes but there are some exceptions (even without the cellar but I think about that myself thinking back to my childhood when my relatives had huge hams there… But I like to keep my processed meat consumption low and I can’t eat very salty things. Still, in moderation, it’s useful.) Some meats are very cheap (I think the poorest people could just eat chicken, not nice, I definitely avoid chicken but edible and one hardly can eat cheaper especially if one is like me so carbs has around zero satiation effect in the best case. they actually make me hungry, typically, even in big amounts but then I get a bit unwell too. so adding them is counter-productive. the protein rich ones are better) and even I know that some people can meat, I never did but I will try it one day… But even my tiny freezer was enough until now. I live in Europe and we never had shopping problems here and I don’t expect them now. Lucky me.

I personally would buy dry legumes too if long shelf life and low cost would be even more important for me than it is now (I am fine with cheap pork and good eggs, I could spend less but that wouldn’t feel good and it’s unnecessarily, thankfully. I really don’t spend much, I almost never touch ruminants and only the cheapest cuts on sale, well those are expensive just like most fish. tuna is almost as expensive as salmon here, definitely not worth it for me. fatty pork? much better, I get lots of tasty, satiating fat too. but I am a fan of fatty pork, hot or cold).
Probably due to the protein in it, legumes actually satiate me and split peas (I don’t really like them but I focus on low cost) has a price even cheap meat can’t win against. Not like the two are comparable, of course, meat is complete protein etc. But it would help me in a pinch. And I could eat gluten with it but it’s not so good for most of people as far as I know. I only use it if I don’t have meat or I am bored with that (practically never nowadays) and I have the presence to avoid carbier items. And it’s quite cheap protein.

At least here, sometimes prices are quite different on other parts of the planet.
I use sales and webshops quite extensively… I learned not to spend too much money on food and still liking the result. Fortunately keto is the cheapest woe ever for me and carnivore is even better. I don’t need to spend money on all the unnecessary, hunger inducing carbs and I never could afford beef as a staple so I just don’t eat that and use pork on sale and eggs.

I never kept eggs for long (never had more than 250 on hand and that’s too easy to eat before it spoils but I am not alone, I would be good with 200 though, more if I can freeze some but I need the freezer for meat and a few egg whites) but it’s possible to coat them somehow, I don’t know the specifics but there is a way!
There are probably drier egg dishes to store in the freezer at least (smaller size due to all the lost water) and possible on room temperature if they are dry enough… But again, I never do that, I am just thinking instead of sleeping…

My garden surely can’t produce any value - except a ton of fruit, much good it does to me… The hazelnuts are better but not satiating food for me, they would be useful maybe in an emergency only…?
But if I had to buy stuff to last me for a year (I always have enough food to last for months… well, it’s mostly carbs when my freezer run out so I wouldn’t want to test it and my SO would be miserable without his daily fresh veggies, he barely can stand a day), I surely would keep a variety of food here, various oily seeds included.

If I had to feed the cats cheap (I do but mine hunt a lot) and if they was inside pets, I probably would use lots of super cheap chicken frames, I would make soup from them first at least sometimes. I don’t know about the US but that thing is, like, $0.5/kg here on a good sale and half of it is meat and it makes okay soup. I can’t even comprehend chicken prices here, seriously. Wings are way more expensive and they are more cat food to me, I can’t do much with them except the meatier segment and they aren’t even good for soup, too fatty due to the skin and I dislike that. But I know US loves wings, probably Hungarians too or why would they be more expensive? I am all for thighs, cheaper and lots of meat but give me turkey please with its way better flavor and meatier, bigger parts :smiley: Still cheaper than pork. I love liver too, lucky me, adds a nice variety too.

I collect mushrooms in the nearby forests too (I just don’t really eat them anymore) but that’s not an option for everyone and it can be quite unreliable, some years are bad for me. I never did this except the last years and only because I don’t live a bad place for it (but the real gems are elsewhere in the country. oh well, I love my findings). I find some kind of food anywhere I live though… Mostly fruits, they are often even legal just like the mushrooms in the wildlife park… But I am not so shy in apocalypse mode, it’s not like I steal from people’s gardens, there are plenty of stuff in public, optionally abandoned areas especially nuts and more fruits.
No idea how is it like there but mushrooms have chances, probably. But it’s only a tiny addition except in good places where one even knows where to look.

(Marianne) #18

We do that, too, and get the 73/27, which is so delicious. We also find that certain cuts of pork are very economical and wonderful. We get them at BJs, which is a discount club similar to Sam’s, Costco, etc. Unfortunately, it sounds like @RightNOW doesn’t have that option available to her. I feel bad for her situation.

(UsedToBeT2D) #19

I shop early at Walmart, and stock up on the meats that are close to expiration…many times they mark them down 20-40%…then freeze them.

(PJ) #20

I do have a walmart. And if I drive an hour, a Sam’s Club I belong to. Some is just a matter of money.

Now, if I buy chuck (I detest plain ground beef but I like chuck and it is my primary food) at walmart in the 10# tubes, it is much much cheaper. However I know from experience that they are blending that with regular ground beef plus it’s a much higher fat% than claimed. (The former because I can taste it. I seem to have more sensitive taste buds than many people particularly for proteins {esp dairy}. The latter because just cooking it makes it obvious how much is fat.) Still that is far better and the cheapest thing I can do –

– aside from chicken. Now I am not crazy about chicken but I do like breast meat ok though the PUFA content of everything else is less than ideal. However, samsclub does have whole chickens about a dollar a pound. Seemingly better I think, they have precooked rotissery chickens (and they go on some about how these are free of most bad things, and they are glutenfree) for about $6 I think. That’s a bit more than the uncooked ones but surely lots easier. I think someone’s idea up there about making and freezing the stew and broth (rather than freezing the whole rotis chicken) is a good one.

Most these things are far pricier than the rice/pasta non-keto people eat of course and that stores wonderfully. Hopefully my $ situation will resolve before long. (Reminds me of school, friends would go, “It’s only a dollar!” yeah… if you don’t have a dollar, then…)

Today is an experiment (non-keto) where I am mixing some chicken breast cut in small pieces, a whole bunch of pinto beans (canned w/jalapenos), into my chili. I’ve had a little of the latter before, none of the former. I’m just seeing how edible it is. My next experiment will peel and slice carrots longways and then have them super thin sliced in the food processor and add some of that to the chili (along with produce I already add sometimes like peeled minced zucchini, or small-sliced diced radish). I think if I get to a very dense-nutrition but bulky sort of stew that I like, whether via chili or chicken-veg, that might be the best thing. Then I only have to worry about the power going out in winter storms or ices, which it does here. I guess there is just not much you can do with animal proteins that does not require fridge or freezer for longer term storage.