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  1. #1
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    ** Building Muscle on a Budget - 10 Cheap Protein Sources **

    More info from the stronger lifts website

    Again just for basic info and reading material....


    You need at least 1g protein per pound of body-weight per day to maintain and build muscle. If you weigh 70kg/155lbs, that’s 155g protein per day. The easiest way to get this amount is to eat whole protein with each meal.

    Some of you are on a tight budget, still student, living in expensive cities or just frugal. These can make it hard to get the protein you need to build muscle. This post will help you — the 10 cheapest sources of protein to build muscle.


    1. Canned Tuna. 40g protein/can. Buy tuna in spring water or brine. Don’t worry about the mercury: 1 can chunk light tuna per day is safe, read this.


    2. Whole Eggs. 7g protein/egg. Lower your body fat rather than throwing the yolk away if you have bad cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol isn’t bound to blood cholesterol, and the yolk contains half the protein and vitamins A/D/E.


    3. Whey. 1 scoop ON whey is 24g protein/30g serving. At 2 scoops/day, a 10lbs bag will last 10 weeks for 84,99$. You don’t get cheaper than this. But don’t rely on whey only because it’s cheaper. Vary your protein intake.


    4. Ground Beef. 25g protein/100g. Buy 80% ground beef and rinse the fat if lean beef is too expensive. You can reduce the fat content by as much as 50%. Read this free pdf on how to rinse ground beef.


    5. Milk. 30g protein/liter milk. If you’re a skinny guy, want to gain weight fast and don’t bother gaining some fat, drink 1 gallon raw milk per day. Don’t worry about the saturated fat. Stay away from milk if you want to lose fat.


    6. Frozen Chicken Breast. 25g protein/100g. Cook the frozen chicken breast using a George Foreman Grill. Consume the chicken breast within 2 months of freezing for optimal tenderness & taste.


    7. Cottage Cheese. 12g protein/100g. Cottage cheese is more expensive in Europe than in the US. We buy Quark cheese: 10g protein per 100g, cheaper than cottage cheese and a better taste.


    8. Ground Turkey. 25g protein/100g. Expensive cuts are made from turkey breast. Cheaper cuts can contain skin, which increases the fat content. Rinse the fat like for ground beef using this method.


    9. Canned Mackerel. 23g protein/100g. Canned mackerel is high in omega-3, contains less mercury than canned tuna, and tastes a lot better too.


    10. Calves Liver. 20g protein/100g. Low fat and nutrient dense. Contrary to what you might believe, liver is safe.

  2. #2
    MuttonChop's Avatar
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    What do you think about a 70$ tub of 10lbs mass gainer? Its 900 cals for 250 grams, with 50 g protein approx.

    Would it be cheaper for me to have this rather than whole meals? (Max of 1 substitution per day). I am in college and its the calories that I feel are more expensive than the protein. When I am running low on money, I purposely buy high fat stuff with lots of calories (eg. bacon)...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonChop View Post
    What do you think about a 70$ tub of 10lbs mass gainer? Its 900 cals for 250 grams, with 50 g protein approx.

    Would it be cheaper for me to have this rather than whole meals? (Max of 1 substitution per day). I am in college and its the calories that I feel are more expensive than the protein. When I am running low on money, I purposely buy high fat stuff with lots of calories (eg. bacon)...
    This stuff is no comparison to whole food.

  4. #4
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    Don't forget about bags of frozen farmed Tilapia. In the US, I get 20 four ounce fillets for $12.99. That comes out to about $.50 for 20g of quality protein.

  5. #5
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    Good information thread again Base, keep it up your shining in here
    *Anyone wanting a source check from a willing vet/mod must first acquire 100 posts and 45 days of activity*

    “Carrying a set to a point where you are forced to utilize 100 percent of your momentary ability is the single most important factor in increasing size and strength"--- Mike Mentzer

    “one set to failure is all that is required to stimulate an increase in strength and size – with no number of lesser sets having the same effect” – Mike Mentzer

  6. #6
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    Good thread mate although some of those arnt that cheap, canned fish can be expensive.....
    Do not ask me for a source check.






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    baseline_9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    Good thread mate although some of those arnt that cheap, canned fish can be expensive.....
    Buy Store Brand

    Dont pay for the name and ur g2g

  8. #8
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    this was a lot of help, heard a lot of this, but good reference to keep lookin at when i go shopping

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonChop View Post
    What do you think about a 70$ tub of 10lbs mass gainer? Its 900 cals for 250 grams, with 50 g protein approx.

    Would it be cheaper for me to have this rather than whole meals? (Max of 1 substitution per day). I am in college and its the calories that I feel are more expensive than the protein. When I am running low on money, I purposely buy high fat stuff with lots of calories (eg. bacon)...
    Stick around this forum a while and read - alot. Bacon is not any cheaper than any other good calorie sources for protein, carbs, or fat.



    Nice post Base.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrice75 View Post
    This stuff is no comparison to whole food.
    Calories are calories my friend. Not to mention if you get the right brands you can get 100 times the amino acids from those shakes than real food.

    Not sure why everyone is anti-shake around here....

  11. #11
    Gaspari1255 is offline Anabolic Member
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    London Broil is usually dirt cheap too. I've seen it as low as $1.99/lb.

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    Gaspari1255 is offline Anabolic Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMB View Post
    Calories are calories my friend. Not to mention if you get the right brands you can get 100 times the amino acids from those shakes than real food.

    Not sure why everyone is anti-shake around here....
    Can you explain this? Shakes are fake food. I have one PWO because its convienent and cheap. But, if it were up to me, I would eat a full meal PWO instead. I just don't have the time. Look at those crazy 1000+ calories mass gainer shakes, you think thats equivalent to eating 10oz of meat, 2 sweet potatoas, and 8oz of almonds? I doubt it

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMB View Post
    Calories are calories my friend. Not to mention if you get the right brands you can get 100 times the amino acids from those shakes than real food.

    Not sure why everyone is anti-shake around here....
    Your first sentence says it all. I'm not even going to dignify it with a response.

    I gotta run now - going to stock up on doritos and snickers bars since 'a calorie is a calorie'.

  14. #14
    broflex is offline New Member
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    Thanks for the info. I have also heard that cous cous is a good protein rich alternative to rice.

  15. #15
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMB View Post
    Calories are calories my friend. Not to mention if you get the right brands you can get 100 times the amino acids from those shakes than real food.

    Not sure why everyone is anti-shake around here....
    Ugh, this bugged me so much, I guess I AM going to dignify it with a response after all.

    Firstly, I am not anti-shake, nor is that the general feeling on the board. Shakes have their place in a bodybuilding diet IMO - PWO is a great example, where whey protein can deliver amino's faster then whole food can, at a time when the body really needs them. First thing in the morning is another good time, although personally i'd do a shake + whole food combination.

    I also want to point out that so long as the individual is getting plenty of protein/nutrients from whole food, I see no issue with adding shakes in to up the calories. Eating a 2000 calorie diet of almost all whole food is easy. Eating a 5000+ calorie diet (going extreme here but stay with me) of almost all whole food is difficult, I don't care how big the guy is. This is where shakes play a good role with regards to convenience.

    But protein shakes weren't even the topic - the OP mentioned 'mass gainer's' specifically. I am against these, 100%. Firstly, they're usually loaded with a bunch of garbage you can't even pronounce. Secondly, just think of this - mass gainers, protein powders, etc. are all sold under the umbrella of 'supplements'. Look up the definition of supplement. Supplement does not mean meal replacement, and I firmly believe there is no shake that is an equivalent to whole food. If this were the case, dieting would be a cake walk - i'd simply eat shakes all day, after all, they taste great! I could live off of cookies and cream, vanilla ice cream, double chocolate, etc and make great gains??? Gimme a break man.

  16. #16
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    Even though I might piss off somebody more knowledgeable than I am, I am going to state that AS LONG as macros are taken care of, calories ARE calories no matter how you get them.

    Here is the catch though. The above sentence holds true for putting on mass. Is it generally good for health? No! Therefore my premise is this:

    Person A:
    3500 cals
    Macros: x,y,z
    source: whole food

    Person B:
    3500 cals
    Macros: x,y,z (same as Person A)
    source: shakes and snickers bars

    Result: Both A and B build the same amount of muscle, but Person A is going to be healthier. When one is in college with no time, but still wants to build some muscle, getting the calories is probably better than NO calories because of lack of money/time.

    Hell, sometimes, the people who talk about health and whole foods in general seem to be people who hurt their bodies in other ways like smoking and binge drinking. This is not a jab at anyone here on the forums, but rather observation of some of my friends.

    What do the gurus say about my thoughts?

  17. #17
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    Why dont u just drink shakes and take a multivitamin and a fibre supp for 6 months then and see how much LBM u gain?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonChop View Post
    Even though I might piss off somebody more knowledgeable than I am, I am going to state that AS LONG as macros are taken care of, calories ARE calories no matter how you get them.

    Here is the catch though. The above sentence holds true for putting on mass. Is it generally good for health? No! Therefore my premise is this:

    Person A:
    3500 cals
    Macros: x,y,z
    source: whole food

    Person B:
    3500 cals
    Macros: x,y,z (same as Person A)
    source: shakes and snickers bars

    Result: [B]Both A and B build the same amount of muscle, but Person A is going to be healthier. When one is in college with no time, but still wants to build some muscle, getting the calories is probably better than NO calories because of lack of money/tim[/B]e.

    Hell, sometimes, the people who talk about health and whole foods in general seem to be people who hurt their bodies in other ways like smoking and binge drinking. This is not a jab at anyone here on the forums, but rather observation of some of my friends.

    What do the gurus say about my thoughts?
    Are you hypothesizing, or have you conducted this research yourself? Is there an article you can reference? Dude, the bold above - not even close, not in this lifetime. Person B getting protein primarily from shakes, and carbs from snickers bars (just about all sugar) plus a bunch of saturated fat BUT the same amount of calories and identical macros as person A, who is eating chicken breast, fish, lean beef, oats, sweet potato, avacado, etc... and ou really think they'll build the same amount of muscle? C'mon, this argument is asinine! Person B will likely look like shit, carrying a ton of bodyfat, and will be a high blood pressure insulin resistant mess.

    Quote Originally Posted by baseline_9 View Post
    Why dont u just drink shakes and take a multivitamin and a fibre supp for 6 months then and see how much LBM u gain?
    ^ ^ this! I don't know about you Base, but i won't be wasting 6 months of my life on this experiment. I vote one of these guys who are so sure about shakes take it on and keep us posted.

  19. #19
    Gaspari1255 is offline Anabolic Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrice75 View Post
    Are you hypothesizing, or have you conducted this research yourself? Is there an article you can reference? Dude, the bold above - not even close, not in this lifetime. Person B getting protein primarily from shakes, and carbs from snickers bars (just about all sugar) plus a bunch of saturated fat BUT the same amount of calories and identical macros as person A, who is eating chicken breast, fish, lean beef, oats, sweet potato, avacado, etc... and ou really think they'll build the same amount of muscle? C'mon, this argument is asinine! Person B will likely look like shit, carrying a ton of bodyfat, and will be a high blood pressure insulin resistant mess.
    And that is the moral of the story.

  20. #20
    Gaspari1255 is offline Anabolic Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonChop View Post
    Even though I might piss off somebody more knowledgeable than I am, I am going to state that AS LONG as macros are taken care of, calories ARE calories no matter how you get them.

    Here is the catch though. The above sentence holds true for putting on mass. Is it generally good for health? No! Therefore my premise is this:

    Person A:
    3500 cals
    Macros: x,y,z
    source: whole food

    Person B:
    3500 cals
    Macros: x,y,z (same as Person A)
    source: shakes and snickers bars

    Result: Both A and B build the same amount of muscle, but Person A is going to be healthier. When one is in college with no time, but still wants to build some muscle, getting the calories is probably better than NO calories because of lack of money/time.

    Hell, sometimes, the people who talk about health and whole foods in general seem to be people who hurt their bodies in other ways like smoking and binge drinking. This is not a jab at anyone here on the forums, but rather observation of some of my friends.

    What do the gurus say about my thoughts?
    If you're rerferring to an Ectomorph, a person who is skinny as a rail and will always remain lean, then I suppose this statement is SOMEWHAT true. Now, if you're referring to a Mesomorph or Endomorph, then that statement is 110% rubbish.

  21. #21
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    Dont listen to jay cuter

    I asure you he eats food and not only muscletech products

  22. #22
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    Beautiful... Ive been building muscle on a budget for years and most of these are my staples.


    Id like to add in...

    Oats
    Natty Peanut Butter.

    Cheap and have their place in muscle building. I use both everyday.

    As for the shakes debate... they have their place.
    And for someone who cant force feed themselves anymore or are hardgainers then by all means,
    get those liquid calories in. They have been gold for me.
    With my metabolism and frame... I need well over 5000 cals to gain any more solid weight.
    While I love to eat, I cannot force feed that much whole food.
    I add in a weight gainer for an extra 900 cals or so everytime I bulk. Works great.

    But as stated... liquid calories are good, if they fit into your macros.

  23. #23
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    The only statement i'll agree with is "getting the calories is probably better than no calories". I've always recommended that a shake is better than not eating at all. However, people use the time/schedule/money excuse WAY too much. Supplements cost more than real food any day, so that argument is garbage. As for time, yea, shakes will be more quick and convenient for sure - but the people who are serious find a way to make it work. It might not be the ideal situation, but who really has that anyway?

    At the end of the day, you'll get out of it what you put in. End of thread. =)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukkitdalaw View Post
    Beautiful... Ive been building muscle on a budget for years and most of these are my staples.


    Id like to add in...

    Oats
    Natty Peanut Butter.

    Cheap and have their place in muscle building. I use both everyday.

    As for the shakes debate... they have their place.
    And for someone who cant force feed themselves anymore or are hardgainers then by all means,
    get those liquid calories in. They have been gold for me.
    With my metabolism and frame... I need well over 5000 cals to gain any more solid weight.
    While I love to eat, I cannot force feed that much whole food.

    I add in a weight gainer for an extra 900 cals or so everytime I bulk. Works great.

    But as stated... liquid calories are good, if they fit into your macros.
    This is exactly what i'm talking about. You are eating an insane amount of calories - nobody can or would blame you for not getting all of that from whole foods. So, you SUPPLEMENT with shakes. However, i'm willing to bet my house that you're getting plenty from whole foods to begin with. Like I said before, adding shakes on top of sufficient whole food is fine IMO.

  25. #25
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    Exactly. And Im agreeing, you big sexy man you.

    Quote Originally Posted by gbrice75 View Post
    This is exactly what i'm talking about. You are eating an insane amount of calories - nobody can or would blame you for not getting all of that from whole foods. So, you SUPPLEMENT with shakes. However, i'm willing to bet my house that you're getting plenty from whole foods to begin with. Like I said before, adding shakes on top of sufficient whole food is fine IMO.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukkitdalaw View Post
    Exactly. And Im agreeing, you big sexy man you.
    Just trying to follow your footsteps man... =P

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrice75 View Post
    ugh, this bugged me so much, i guess i am going to dignify it with a response after all.

    Firstly, i am not anti-shake, nor is that the general feeling on the board. Shakes have their place in a bodybuilding diet imo - pwo is a great example, where whey protein can deliver amino's faster then whole food can, at a time when the body really needs them. First thing in the morning is another good time, although personally i'd do a shake + whole food combination.

    I also want to point out that so long as the individual is getting plenty of protein/nutrients from whole food, i see no issue with adding shakes in to up the calories. Eating a 2000 calorie diet of almost all whole food is easy. Eating a 5000+ calorie diet (going extreme here but stay with me) of almost all whole food is difficult, i don't care how big the guy is. This is where shakes play a good role with regards to convenience.

    But protein shakes weren't even the topic - the op mentioned 'mass gainer's' specifically. I am against these, 100%. Firstly, they're usually loaded with a bunch of garbage you can't even pronounce. Secondly, just think of this - mass gainers, protein powders, etc. Are all sold under the umbrella of 'supplements'. Look up the definition of supplement. Supplement does not mean meal replacement, and i firmly believe there is no shake that is an equivalent to whole food. If this were the case, dieting would be a cake walk - i'd simply eat shakes all day, after all, they taste great! I could live off of cookies and cream, vanilla ice cream, double chocolate, etc and make great gains??? Gimme a break man.

    bump!

  28. #28
    bmor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baseline_9 View Post
    Dont listen to jay cuter

    I asure you he eats food and not only muscletech products
    Wait, what? Next your going to tell me he does steroids too, huh? /sarcasm

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrice75 View Post
    Ugh, this bugged me so much, I guess I AM going to dignify it with a response after all.

    Firstly, I am not anti-shake, nor is that the general feeling on the board. Shakes have their place in a bodybuilding diet IMO - PWO is a great example, where whey protein can deliver amino's faster then whole food can, at a time when the body really needs them. First thing in the morning is another good time, although personally i'd do a shake + whole food combination.

    I also want to point out that so long as the individual is getting plenty of protein/nutrients from whole food, I see no issue with adding shakes in to up the calories. Eating a 2000 calorie diet of almost all whole food is easy. Eating a 5000+ calorie diet (going extreme here but stay with me) of almost all whole food is difficult, I don't care how big the guy is. This is where shakes play a good role with regards to convenience.

    But protein shakes weren't even the topic - the OP mentioned 'mass gainer's' specifically. I am against these, 100%. Firstly, they're usually loaded with a bunch of garbage you can't even pronounce. Secondly, just think of this - mass gainers, protein powders, etc. are all sold under the umbrella of 'supplements'. Look up the definition of supplement. Supplement does not mean meal replacement, and I firmly believe there is no shake that is an equivalent to whole food. If this were the case, dieting would be a cake walk - i'd simply eat shakes all day, after all, they taste great! I could live off of cookies and cream, vanilla ice cream, double chocolate, etc and make great gains??? Gimme a break man.
    Man I didn't come off like that. You're saying it as if I told the kid to live off shakes.

    I have 4 shakes a day, One mourning shake, lunch shake, PWO and before bed. Only whey is used in the mourning and PWO, lunch shake is egg protein powder. I also have REAL food with each of those meals.

    And I agree, there are TONS of weight gainers out there. I personally very rarely use these anymore, but had moderate success with them in the past. And people should always read everything on the label too.

    So in all reality I have seen 4 or 5 times on this board about how 3 shakes a day is way to much, or "shakes do very little" as I recently saw in another thread. Shakes are a BB'ers friend, as is real food as well.
    Last edited by CMB; 03-22-2011 at 11:47 AM.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMB View Post
    Man I didn't come off like that. You're saying it as if I told the kid to live off shakes.

    I have 4 shakes a day, One mourning shake, lunch shake, PWO and before bed. Only whey is used in the mourning and PWO, lunch shake is egg protein powder. I also have REAL food with each of those meals.

    And I agree, there are TONS of weight gainers out there. I personally very rarely use these anymore, but had moderate success with them in the past. And people should always read everything on the label too.

    So in all reality I have seen 4 or 5 times on this board about how 3 shakes a day is way to much, or "shakes do very little" as I recently saw in another thread. Shakes are a BB'ers friend, as is real food as well.
    The bold above says it all. I'll stick with my original statement - which is shakes are meant to supplement real food, not replace it.

  31. #31
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    Gotta understand boys: a lot of guys chime in with solid but non-specific, improperly delineated advice now and then but GB is here day in and day out sorting out diets and debunking bullshit. As such, he's gonna call you out if he sees irresponsible info, even if only due to the fact that it hasn't been sufficiently elaborated upon.

    He wasn't being a dick, just responsible. If you're gonna make the case that calories from shakes are calories without mentioning all the factors that brought you to that conclusion (needing more calories despite already having whole foods in most meals due to high caloric needs overall, etc.) - it's his job to address the glaring omissions and reinforce the quality of real food over supplements. Plenty of newbies reading who are looking for any excuse to put the pots and pans away and just down gainer shakes.

  32. #32
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    ^ ^ thanks for this Damien.

    CMB, I wasn't trying to make you look bad or anything remotely along those lines. Just as Damien said, there are plenty of noobs on here looking for anything to justify what they're doing. They'll skip the 9 posts recommending real food whenever possible and latch on to a post like yours because it's convenient for them. Selective reading. They'll be the same people posting a new thread a month later about how they can't gain weight despite eating 5000 calories/day.

    How many diets have you seen like:

    meal 1 - protein shake
    meal 2 - 4oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice
    meal 3 - protein shake
    meal 4 - 4oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice

    workout
    meal 5 - pwo shake
    meal 6 - 4oz beef, salad
    meal 7 - bedtime protein shake

    This is what i'm looking to avoid.

  33. #33
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    Yes I understand completely now, and I 100% agree with the post above. I've seen quite a few of those before haha.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMB View Post
    Yes I understand completely now, and I 100% agree with the post above. I've seen quite a few of those before haha.
    So are we friends again?

  35. #35
    T_Dubp's Avatar
    T_Dubp is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    133
    Each time at Sprouts I get pounds of pinto beans and brown rice, very very cheap

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