Saturday, May 12, 2012

Living on a Food Stamp Budget as a Diabetic; Day 1

1.48 a meal. That is the amount given by the NY food bank as the average amount people on food assistance have to live on.

While I am at home I am going to take 9 cents off for bits of seasoning I already have in the house but will account for butter, oil etc.

The last time I did this I relied heavily on pasta, rice, bread, but no more as a diabetic I don't have those options. I will take my multi vitamins and extra C. Just living on the diabetic diet has caused me to drop a couple of pounds. My jeans are a 29 inch waist and I weigh in at 160 as of this morning. I will continue to take my salt pill at night to compensate for working in a hot kitchen and drinking a lot of water.

And I begin.

With 4.35 I start my day.

Coffee .25 (I got the cheap stuff again, little flavor but plenty of caffeine.
Goat Milk splash .18
Apple .69
Two tablespoons peanut butter .20

I would consider this my before breakfast snack, but having used 1.32 already there is little more I can eat.

It is fitting I am headed out to an orientation at the local food bank to be able to 'shop' for a non profit I work with.

Realizing it is a long time until lunch I look around to see what I might eat that is thirteen cents. What would you suggest to a hungry child if he had thirteen cents to buy food with?

28 grams of carb consumed already so what food would not be out of the question?

As I ready myself to leave I look longingly at cheap rice, cheap pasta, a potato and leave hungry.

At the Food Bank Orientation I learn that one out of 5 adults in San Francisco goes hungry every day and one out of 4 children. Think about that as you go about your day.

When I got down to the floor to shop for the non profit I work with I realized how stunningly difficult it would be for a person who relies on the food bank for supplementation to stay well fed without massive carbohydrates. The aisles were filled with pasta, beans, rice,and bread.

Hyper aware of what I was putting on the carts I did the shopping for the Non Profit.

The entire procedure took hours and I got home hungry, very hungry.

I was so glad to have the cheap corned beef in the house and promptly made a sandwich.

Two slices whole wheat .24
Corned Beef .50
1 cup pinto beans .33
I ounce of Jack Cheese .31
Iced tea .03
Total 1.41

And while it was a very satisfying lunch both beans and bread put me at 55 grams of carbohydrate. I was pushing my limits.

When I did the two month food stamp project I got a lot of e mail telling me that I should tell people to eat rice and beans, tasty and filling. While people who have never done this have a simplistic view a diabetic would likely have major health problems relying on the rice and bean diet.

I was out for the afternoon doing my thing. I came home HUNGRY. Normally I would have made straight for the bread, either something I had baked or a Sourdough baguette with sweet butter and cheese and wine. Once sated I would prepare the meal. Bread not being a choice I grabbed the gouda, weighed out my one ounce and then realized that I had just used thirty six cents of my budget with very little cheese.

Gouda .36
Corn: .39
Chicken leg .50
Cabbage .10
Total 1.35

The chicken was awesome, thought the serving was sparse.

I will print the recipe for 4 for those of you who want to make it.

Braised 5 spice chicken with cabbage
4 chicken legs
5 spice powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
A few splashes of Soy Sauce
As much hot sauce as you want (I like it spicy)

Cover the legs with the 5 spice powder and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, one day is fine.

Brown in a touch of oil then add water til they are immersed, soy sauce, hot sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat simmering at medium for about 45 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickening. Add the cabbage and braise in the sauce for a couple of minutes, it should hold it's shape but begin to soften.

Serve. I did 3 legs and it was my intention to eat 2 but I could not afford to eat both as I had an ear of corn that cost thirty nine cents. I typically avoid corn as most of it is Monsanto, Super Sweet GMO corn and not fit for human consumption. But an ear of organic white corn at thirty nine cents was a deal I could not pass up. I realize corn is a grain, a carb and not a vegetable but I had it instead of something like rice, which would have been very bad.

My dinner 24 grams of carbohydrate 17 of it coming from the corn. I ate about 30 minutes ago and am still hungry. I am trying to think of a snack I can have that won't exceed the dime left from dinner and the 13 cents from breakfast. For about a quarter what can one have?

I finally settled on popcorn. For thirteen cents I could make about 5 cups popped. I remembered a trick from an old weight watchers magazine. They said that before air popping to spray the corn with cooking spray and season heavily, 'you wont' even miss the butter' was the headline.

I used cumin, cayenne and salt.

I missed the butter, however it did fill the gap.
Popcorn .13
Day total 4.21

I am rejoiced that I can carry over fourteen cents into tomorrow. My calories for the day 1,444. Total carbohydrate 139 grams...that was okay. The popcorn put the percentage just a touch high but not dangerous.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is why we love you. You are willing to go so far to understand others.

Allah be with you.