Friday, July 1, 2011

Living on a Food Stamp budget

On August 27th I will be doing a chef challenge marathon at St. Luke's church on Van Ness at Clay. Yesterday I met with Jessica at the S.F. Food Bank to discuss some of what we will be doing.

I learned that a family on food stamps has on average 1.33 to spend per meal. I decided to spend a month taking the food stamp challenge.

I went over the costs and what I spend and decided that if I wanted to use oil and seasonings that I would have to bring that number down to 1.22 per meal for fresh ingredients.

I will not be subjecting anyone else in the household to this experiment so I will be cooking for one which is an additional challenge.

Anything bought in bulk would have to be used before the end of the month. I will have to cook individual meals or one large meal and eat leftovers no matter how tired I become of them.

This is not unique; Many seniors live alone and struggle with cooking for one every day. This is also true of young mothers whose child is  breastfeeding or on formula.

I currently weigh 155 lbs at just barely over 5 feet 4 inches. My chest is 42 inches and my waist just under 30. I do work out and will continue to all month.

I offer this information so that I can see if I lose or gain or if the muscle to fat proportion changes.

I am also getting a blood test today to measure my blood sugar and blood sodium levels.  

My goal is to keep my health stable.

I am fortunate in that I spent a few months working as a teacher for Raw Satisfaction. The food budget was very small. I had to create a 5 course meal for 6 people for $30.00. That is 1 dollar per course. As you can imagine this was a difficult task. I found the cheapest stores in the city and you can imagine how often I bought natural or organic on that budget.

My current task is even harder in that all of those courses or one course has to be 1.22 and I will try to be nutritionally complete.

I will monitor my nutrition and caloric intake via

I am also fortunate in that this month is my birthday and I have a lot of wonderful friends in San Francisco who will be inviting me over for dinner or taking me out. On those days I can spend my 3.66 on breakfast and lunch.

I will do my best to post daily or close to it. And I begin.



Anonymous said...

I am glad I scrolled back and read all of the posts. I found you on the Huffington Post.

Will you post more information about the event at the Food Bank. We are in San Francisco for that two week period and would love to attend.

Vikki G said...

Read your article on huff post. I want to thank you for doing this and drawing attention to this situation so many families are finding themselves in now. I have a family of five~ three teens. We were a professional couple; who had a good lifestyle. We lost our business due to the economy; this can happen to anyone. We had to use food stamps. It was a blessing because without it at the time we could not have fed our family...but! The amount they allot for families can make it difficult to get the fruits and veggies that your diet needs to remain healthy. Before I could go to whole foods and various markets and get the food our family needed and not think twice...but once you hit that speed bump it becomes just as you said...every little bit must be calculated and accounted for~ you begin to feel bad if you eat too much...or if you splurge on something very healthy...because that takes from your food budget and out of your children's mouths. This is a sad state of affairs for a country has so many that are able to give back and don't~ thinking it could never happen to them...that those on food stamps are lazy or drug-addled. There is a an overwhelming sentiment of lack of compassion. But! I am here to tell you that in this economic climate...families are just a paycheck away from finding themselves right where so many are...this needs to be addressed. Thank you for taking the time to shed a light.
May you be blessed,