Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 30, the Diabetic Food Stamp project

Don't let the recent numbers fool you.

This is hard. While I may eat under budget some days I tend to be under on calories, energy and stamina. I also take a lot of time to shop and cook.

This morning I begin with 5.72.

I started my coffee and was suddenly ravenous so instead of starting with fruit (my plan) I went right for the bacon and a chili cheese omelet. I actually used two eggs.

Wow it was good.

Coffee .10
2 eggs .42
Cheese .20
Bacon .51
Chili (leftover remnant from yesterday's cup)
Total 1.23
Carbs 5 grams

I have a presentation to make at a Senior Center today. So I am off to get pretty and talk good, as it were.
I refer to fast food as fat food.

I came home ravenous at 2:00 and had fat food for lunch. I fried up 3 of my Chinatown chicken thighs.Cutting them into strips and hitting them heavily in spice and coating in flour while the oil heated I was able to eat quickly. I will now have some fruit or something good, but I had to get the serious hunger out of the way.

This was followed by a half pound of cherries and a second coffee.

Chicken .93
Cherries 1.00
Coffee .10
Total 2.03
Carbs a shocking 50 grams

Not dangerous but many more carbohydrates than I'd imagined.

I got in a good work out and came home hurting.

Not muscular soreness from the workout but pain. I was hit by a car a year ago November and it really took a toll on my body. I was just about pain free after a long rehab when a tile came loose at NYSC and I took a hard nasty fall, reviving old pain and giving me brand new pain. I don't take drugs, I just cope.

Or at least I thought I was coping until I gave up wine for this food stamp project. Many nights I would have a glass of red with dinner, and when I really hurt, two glasses. Wine was my anesthetic. Last night as I curled up in my chair I wanted my glass of red very badly, but instead got up...and made beans.

All week long I have been reading about creamy dips paired with crisp chips. America is determined to put on 10 lbs this weekend for a ball game and all the food bloggers want to help them along.

I love chips and dips. Last night when at trader Joe's they served a chip with a creamy spinach dip. It was too expensive to purchase on this budget so I got a can of re-fried beans. I paired them with organic corn chips, which are a little extravagant but I think I can make it work with limited portions both for cost and carbs.

IMPORTANT: if you want to avoid GMO products get only organic corn. Most corn in the US is swill from Monsanto and best avoided.

I took a portion of the beans and covered them in cheese and tomatoes from the street vendor (end of day price). When it was bubbly and lava like I took it from the oven and had scooped with my measured chips.
Does that not look delicious?

Beans .49
Cheese .20
Tomatoes .36
Corn Chips .49
Total 1.54
Carbs 55 grams, in the safe zone but pushing it. Fortunately the carbs in beans are very slow to digest and your insulin does not spike. Without rice they are a good choice for a diabetic.

Day Total 4.80, I can carry over .92

That was my goal for the month to get through it not over budget. My entire budget was for the two months of the project and I still have a few of the foods made ahead, but I still felt it important not to run out.

Of course I am still not getting far too few calories today was 1,510.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 29, the Diabetic Food Stamp project

It is pretty obvious from the numbers that we have new readers each day, a lot of them so I want to take a minute to tell you about why I am doing this.

In July 2011 I took on a one week challenge to live on a Food Stamp budget as I prepared for a benefit for the SF Food Bank. You can read about it here.

After I had completed the 12 hour cookathon and raised money food and awareness I was asked to do one for Harlem Hospital to raise seed money for Stirring The Pot Harlem. 

That link will also give you the page if you want to make a donation. Every dollar gets us closer to our goal. 

Eventually I came to NY to begin running the program, after a year of recipe development, and planning.

Right now in order to keep the program running I am teaching private cooking classes. If you hurry you might still get the groupon discount. 

The food in the classes is first quality and at a much higher price point. I won't stare hungrily while my students eat. I will have my cup of gruel ready to enjoy with them.
I woke up with a face I no longer recognized.

I don't know what was in that food last night but I am bloated like a Macy's balloon. Puffy hands, puffy face, puffy belly.

Neither salt, nor MSG tend to give me a reaction but I have about 3 liters of water in my cheeks.

What can I do, there are leftovers and they will be eaten.

I begin my day with 4.72.

I went in the kitchen and measured the rice from last night. 3/4 cup, or 40 grams of carb.

I am having black coffee while considering breakfast. The bloat from last night has me not yet hungry.

So I finally made the fried rice. When I removed the chicken from the bowl I had stored it in there was more rice under the chicken. I re-measured and it turns out I had 1.5 cups of white rice and 6 ounces of sliced chicken. I fried it all up with a touch of added soy.

I ate half...

I am going to get another meal out of this.

I had added flax seeds to give me additional fiber and they added a rich nutty taste, but the stuffed feeling returned and I put the bowl away.

Rice and chicken (leftover, cost accounted for yesterday)
Flax .10
Coffee .10 (black again)
Total .20
Carbs 42 grams

Bloated is like satisfied but you don't want to even think about food for a while. This may be why so many foods that cause water retention and bloat are so popular...It is the only thing I can think of that might explain McDonald's success.

A lot of back and forth this morning with all kinds of folks and it was after noon when I readied myself to leave for Chinatown to get vegetables.

I had a cup of prophylactic chili in the hops of not becoming massively hungry while out.

Cup of chili .79
Carbs 21 grams 

So I went to the gym and then down to Chinatown, feeling pretty good.

By the time I reached the Mulberry Meat Market around 3 my energy was flagging and I was starting to rumble.

I started talking to a woman who had come down from the Bronx to shop there and we are sharing our dime stretching stories and she tells me about her favorite dumpling shop down Mulberry by the park. They sell frozen dumplings 50 for 9 bucks. I do the calculations...2 cents cheaper than when I make them and I won't have to stand for hours. I put the dumplings skins back, pay for my rib bits and chicken and head to the dumpling store.

They looked good, but did they taste good. 5 prepared were being sold for 1.25. I had to try.

They had prepared them pot sticker style and they were great. Juicy filled with porky chivy goodness. Not as great as mine, they lacked the freshly ground Sechaun peppercorns and the grated ginger, but for .18 a dumpling.

Come to Pappa.

5 dumplings 1.25
Carbs 37 grams

What was most shocking was the calorie content. Frying those dumplings really drives the calories up. Ah well. I need the calories so I won't bemoan a crisp exterior.

And then I finished my shopping.

Is this not the smallest cutest red cabbage you have ever seen. I put it next to a normal sized red pepper for perspective. 
In Chinatown today I bought.
Gai Lan 1.43
Crown Broccoli .95 (finally and it's beautiful)Still 3.49 in Harlem.
Red Pepper .66
Red Cabbage .33
Plum tomato .39
Noodles 1.39
I finally found a good chow mein style noodle made with egg and some barley and buckwheat so it falls within the carbs I can have. Portion will have to be strictly measured but I can live with that. 1.39 for the 4 servings. 
For dinner I had to use the rest of the chicken and rice (3rd meal from a 4 dollar investment)but wanted vegetables so I began with vegetables.
After those were close to crisp steam fried I added in the chicken and rice mix and had a huge meal.

Chicken and Rice (leftover)
Broccoli half a crown .48
Red Pepper (1/2) .33
Half a head of red cabbage .17
Iced tea .03
Total 1.01
Carbs 50 grams (don't worry about carbs from fibrous vegetables)

How did I do for the day?

Total 3.25 (due only to my big spending the day before and lots of leftover)

I began with 4.72 leaving me with 1.47 to carry over.

Let's look at the nutrition.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 tips for getting healthy and losing weight on a limited budget

My 10 tips for staying eating well while on a limited budget.A reporter asked me for these.

1.  Shopping:

A. Never make a shopping list. Instead take advantage of sales and in store promotions. If you have several stores in the your area that do not require a long drive, try to hit each one weekly. By improvising your menu you can find ways to use deals you never imagined.

B. When you go to Farmer's markets go at the end of the day and don't be afraid to ask for deals. There may be something perishable that they do not want to re-pack, or tomatoes or fruit with a slight blemish they will let you have a deal on.

C. Visit your cheese shops if you have one in the area. Grocery stores rarely package their own cheese but upscale shops often have odds and ends for sale at a great price. Those little pieces can be added to omelet, grilled cheese, or grated atop a dish or casserole.

2. Breakfast: Learn to make a one egg omelet.  Cooked in butter it provides 11% of the protein needed for a day as well as B12. Have with whole grain toast (read labels, most grocery brands are not truly whole grain and often contain added corn syrup and fat.) and a whole orange. If you have leftovers find a way to incorporate them into breakfast. Leftover pizza topped with a poached eggs is a delicious way to start the day.

3.Eat Omega 3's: We are told over and over again to have them but not everyone can afford wild caught Salmon. If you have a fresh fish store seek out Mackerel (Inexpensive and delicious broiled) or Bluefish, both are on the lower end the price scale and great for you. Canned Sardines are another source and also contain Vitamin D, as do canned Clams. Vegetable sources of Omega 3 include Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts.  Trader Joe's is often a source for seafood at 3.99 a pound, they sell frozen scraps of fish that allow you enjoy seafood even in landlocked areas.

4. Fiber: Fiber is your friend. No one enjoys being backed up. The best way to get adequate fiber is to shop the aisles. Avoid all processed food as it tends to be a poor source of both nutrition and fiber.  Quinoa is a high fiber substitute for rice that contains a lot of protein. Trader Joe's carries the most affordable Quinoa that I have found.

5. Avoid GMO Food: GMO is a big buzzword right now. A lot of people want to avoid Frankenfood but are not sure how. The easiest way is to avoid all products containing corn and soy in any form. That includes Corn Syrup, Corn Chips, Taco Shells and almost everything on the McDonald's menu. Soy is often found in mayonnaise, and under the names

  • TSF (textured soy flour)
  • TSP (textured soy protein)
  • TVP (textured vegetable protein)
6. Oil: Avoid Vegetable Oil, Soy oil, Corn oil and Canola Oil. When was the last time your broccoli gave you oil? Vegetable just means derived from something grown in the ground.  Use instead Sunflower, Grapeseed, Peanut, and extra Virgin Olive Oil. While they are slightly more expensive you really should not be using a lot of oil anyway.

7. Eat Your Vegetables: Cabbage and Carrots are your friend. No matter where you are in the country these are often the least expensive vegetables in the market. They are both nutrition powerhouses. Make these mainstays and shop for sales.

8. Get off the Beaten Path: If you have ethnic markets in your city you can often get deals on certain items. Spanish markets have great peppers, tomatoes and avocados at lower prices than grocery stores. If you are lucky to have a local Chinatown there are great deals to be had on produce. Otherwise check the internet or talk to friends and try to find your local ethnic markets.

9. Learn to Season: Season your food. Look for deals on seasonings and spices. No one wants to sit down to a plate of steamed vegetables and brown rice (there are a few people but I won't dine with them) but any vegetable can be put in a wok or roasted and when seasoned with garlic, hot chili oil, curry, or the more subtle tarragon you can wake up the flavor without adding too much salt.

My favorite salt free flavor booster is to puree 1/2 cup ginger, 1/2 cup garlic and the juice of two limes in a food processor or blender. Dip roast chicken or vegetables in this paste and you will not even dream of adding salt.

10. Eat Less, Move More: This is a weight loss tip that works for everyone every time they actually do it. Don't go ON a diet, eat what you love, only less. Add vegetables that you find on sale into the mix to let the fiber fill the gaps. No matter how poor you are, no matter how unhealthy, love yourself. You always take the best care of people you love. Remember matter cannot be created out of nothing, fat needs to be fed.

Day 28 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project


I have 8.53 today. Will I allow myself that much food?

I felt like I went crazy at breakfast boiling 6 dumplings. It has been an hour and I want more....instead I had peanut butter, crackers and coffee.

6 Dumplings 1.20
Peanut Butter .19
Coffee with cream .15
4 Ak Mak .28
Total 1.82
Carbs 43 grams

It is a yukky day out...Snow. I really hate snow.

I am not feeling creative in the least, nor do I feel like going out and shopping.

I need to eat something for lunch, I want something healthy but if I want affordable greens I need to head to either Chinatown or Trader Joe's for salad. The stores in Harlem will blow my budget.

I am going to go see what I can raid from the pantry.

I have frozen empanadas, frozen dumplings, frozen quesadillas, some beans and lentils, an emergency can of tuna, an emergency box of mac and cheese, eggs and fresh cheese a tiny bit of fruit including a mushy apple,  and an eggplant.

Is it any surprise I had 9 boiled dumplings with hot sauce for lunch?

9 dumplings 1.80
Carbs 33 grams

The dumplings do contain cabbage and pork, so I kind of got a vegetable.

My B12 and Iron are great, but most of the vitamins on the chart are lacking. The lack of sun plus snow is depressing me.

A sort of a newspaper asked me for 10 thing for those on a budget to learn. I suggested the one egg omelet as a great little bit of food to stave off hunger.

As I seem to be an endless pit of food today I made one.

Egg .21
Cheese .10
Butter .10
Iced Tea .03
Total .44
Carbs just under 2

It finally quelled the flames in my belly. This snack is going to have to keep me for a while. I am headed to the gym and then directly to the theater. A friend who is a theatre writer has tickets for the Amoralists new show Collission. I am really looking forward to it. I have my grab bag of sunflower seeds should I need them.

...and at 10 p.m. I caved. I got home from the show and felt like I was ready to drop. My blood sugar had dropped, I was losing the ability to think, I could not imagine what food I had in the house (not much) and the thought of cooking anything and waiting for it was exhausting.

At the cheap Chinese take out I caved. I went in and scanned the menu looking for the cheapest items.

Fried rice, fried chicken, chow mein...all around 3 dollars. I spied chicken with broccoli.

How much is the price if I don't get the rice?



I know it comes with rice, but how much if I don't get the rice?

Strange look from everyone as they stop and stare at me.

"4 dollar. "

"Okay. "

I order. 


I wait, the phone rings, and there is a lot of shouting.  Masses of food begin to come from the wok stations as I wilt into a puddle of low blood sugar. The  Styrofoam trays and plastic soup containers line the table, the delivery man comes in and starts to take away...

"Where is my food?" I ask with what is left of my voice. 


She shouts. 

He responds...


"Sorry...we give you free fried rice." 

"No. No rice, remember."

"Oh yea, you want extra chicken?"

"No, how about extra broccoli?"

She looks at me as if I has just requested her first born child.



"Okay, 西兰花?额外" she shouts. 

By their standards I am clearly insane so the cook moves quickly...

It is not 10:22, I wonder if I could have cooked something and would be eating already had I gone home.

I would have saved money and felt better. 

"OK" She shoves a bag into my hands.

I somehow make it home and up to my apartment. Before my coat is off I have a mouth stuffed with broccoli and am chewing. As I finally wash my hands more is stuffed in my mouth and I see myself chewing...not pretty. 

Of course the container contains rice. 

No rice somehow does not translate, or maybe the free rice was a apology for the kitchen losing my order. I carefully ignored most of it, eating only those grains that clung to chicken or broccoli. 

It must have been a double order, or even more. Once I had eaten all of the broccoli and a few slices of the chicken I could eat no more. I refrigerated it. It will be a free meal for tomorrow. 

I sit and read for a bit giving the food time to satiate my every cell. 

At midnight I head to bed. I did not wake up, stir or even have any dreams I can recall. The broccoli had given me bliss. 

Chicken with broccoli 4.00
Carbs 39 grams  (1/4 cup of rice included in that calculation) 

Day Total 8.06

I pretty much killed my extra funds and have .47 to carry into tomorrow, but there is plenty of chicken and rice left so I do have a free meal coming.  

Calories 1,509


Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 27 The Diabetic Food Stamp Diet

Today I have 6.55 and a keener understanding of the struggles and choices diabetics have to make.

Twice yesterday I was pushing my sugars.

I am tired of working so hard and constantly striving to be creative.

I want to eat an entire head of broccoli and not worry that I have blown my budget. I want big fruit salads made with organic fruit and not ration out my half cups. I want to douse things in olive oil and not be afraid of blowing my replacement budget.

...and I have a month to go.

I looked to the comments for inspiration. There was one suggesting beans in a tortilla.

I had chili already to go and got up and made tortilla. I did a very small ball of dough that made 4 small tortilla when pressed out. I cooked them in a cast iron skillet screaming hot.

I am glad I did not make more as I would have slathered any extra in butter and downed them at the stove.

I measured out chili, grated a variety of my cheap cheeses and made 4 quesadilla, two of which I had for breakfast.

I admit to toasting them in butter. They made a good substantial breakfast. 4 cost me .20 in tortilla ingredients, .40 in cheese and 1.58 in chili making them .55 each.

Two quesadillas 1.10
Butter to toast them .10
Iced tea .03
Total 1.23
Carbs 39 grams

I could not have been happier when the phone rang a bit afternoon and I was invited to lunch. Two old friends had just landed and we met at Kashkaval.

We talked more than ate but there I was tracking each bite of tasty vegetarian food. Kashkaval serves tapas like mini plates of foods like Olive tapenade, hummus, Red pepper and Walnut paste. It is healthy fresh, and with whole wheat pita entirely suitable for a diabetic. My friend picked up the tab but a small plate with enough for two to share would set you back 12 bucks.

Lunch 00.00
Carbs 50 grams

It was the stuffed grape leaves the pushed this, not into the danger zone but higher. That damn rice.

I turned down the wine, wanting to go to the gym after since I had skipped on Saturday. As lean as I am these days if I miss the gym I feel fat.

I did come home hungry with precious little in the house. I chopped up the remaining Bok Choy added it to the congee along with a few ounces of chopped pork (one of those small pork skirts from the beginning of the month.)

I ended up eating half of the soup. Then I made a big bowl of popcorn and had it with a bit of sliced cheese.

Congee .15
1/2 bok choy .12
1/2 skirt steak (about 3 ounces).28
Cheese .20
Popocorn .09
Plenty of butter .20
Total 1.04
Carbs 43 grams

Calories 1,808

Day Total 2.27

Leaving me with 4.28 to carry over. I have developed issues. A fear of eating too much, a fear of having no money left, a fear of going hungry all the time, so I go hungry part of the time.

A budget this strict really messes with your head.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 26, The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I woke up ravenous.

I have 7.50 today should I choose to use it.

A couple of days where I feared overspending and one sick day gave me extra money/food to deal with.

Instead of my usual coffee and fruit today I had very traditional American Fry up with bacon, eggs, and fried potatoes. I used a cast iron skillet for all of it and fried the potatoes in the bacon fat. I wanted toast and fruit as well, but it had been some time since I had embraced the potato and was worried a large one would throw me over with carbs.

This is the nutrition chart for one potato.

As you can see the potato contains C, fiber, protien...etc. However it is half the carbs I need for the day. Should I embrace the potato again I will have to limit my serving to one half of a large potato.

Eggs (2).42
Bacon (3 slices).51
Potato .39
Coffee Cream .15
Total 64 grams of carb, potential crisis territory.
Total Cost 1.57

I cooked the potatoes in the bacon fat and did not salt them. I used only black pepper and 21 Seasoning. I get why we tend to heavily salt potatoes...they are really sweet. They are the ice cream of the root vegetable world.
It was a long time 'til I ate again and then had a cup of chili. I'd a friend coming over to help me with picture hanging. In the past Eugenia has always done it, but since that is not happening I enlisted someone who knew how to wield a tape measure. If I am going to call the home cooking classes Chef At Home I should make my kitchen and office space resemble a home.

Chili .79
Ice tea .03
Total .82
Carbs 21 grams

I put the remainder of the rice mush on the stove with a mass of water to try congee. I got an e mail asking if it could be made with brown rice so I thought...why not try.

I used the rice and a tomato making my total cost of the pot .45 and I have at least 3 cups. BTW...brown rice works but you will be cooking it for hours before it turns into congee. Triple the cooking time.

When he left I was famished and there was not much in the house so I took some of the congee and added two dumplings and had a second lunch or a first course for dinner.

Congee .15
Dumplings .40
Total .55
Carbs 20 grams

I've dropped about 4 pounds but am holding...I wonder if this is true. It links to an article saying that sometimes you need more calories to lose weight. I don't care to lose more so that would be okay with me.

pasta .12
Red pepper (1/2).32
Can of clams .99
Bok choy (1) .25
Butter (1/2 tablespoon).08
2 oranges .50
Total 2.26
Total Carbs 62 grams...I blew it again.

I know...that is the bowl I would typically fill with pasta and vegetables or rice and vegetables and this portion looks pretty sad at the bottom of the bowl all by itself.

Though it probably helped that the oranges were 2 hours after the pasta.

For the day my carbs were 168 and dinner may or may not have been critical.

My day total was 5.20 and though my carbs were pushed twice when it came to nutrition I did very well.

It is such a balancing act. Imagine living poor and diabetic, whether you get assistance or not every day, add up the pennies, track the food, test your sugar. Put a little love in your heart people, there are so many with huge struggles every day.

I still have 2.30 to carry over to tomorrow. Maybe I can find a deal on the broccoli I have been craving.

My calories were 1,435

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 25 The Diabetic Food Stamp project, tracking every penny

2.95 plus 4.25 equals 7.20

By Food stamp standards a veritable fortune.

My yesterday of light eating and napping worked. (maybe it was the vitamin c) and I woke up today feeling like a million bucks.

I have a renewed sense of energy and purpose and am ready to rock and roll.

2 small oranges and 2 doughnuts with coffee and cream. It was a fast breakfast and I was hungry. Afterwards I thought it might drive my carbs over the top, but surprisingly it did not.

Oranges .50
Doughnuts Free
Coffee/cream .15
Total .65

The even cheaper coffee I got (I also use less) has a lot of acid but the doughnuts sucked it up. So no problem with the combo.

I was meeting with someone on the UWS and intended to stay in that area, but when I looked at my sunflower seeds and dried cranberries I just could not take it. I grabbed the express train home for lunch and finally put brown rice to good use.

I had cooked some a couple of nights ago but ended up with a mess.

I took the rice and pulverized it in the food processor hoping that by disconnecting some of the outer bran (not discarding it, it got cooked as well) I might get a more palatable product.

It was a sodden mess. It stuck together like rice is supposed to but I could not eat it.

I put it in the refrigerator uncovered determined not to waste food.

It got a little dry and hard so I decided to try it fried. Success at last!

Leftover pork belly with red pepper .81
1/2 cup Brown Rice .09
1 Bok choy .25
Iced Tea .03
Total 1.18

I fried it in bacon fat leftover the the bacon the other day. My percentage of calories from fat is too high and I am aware of that.

I must make tonight vegetarian for both my health and to increase my fiber intake.

I went out in search of broccoli, I was craving broccoli with my 1/5 ounces of pasta, garlic and oil.

3.49 for a pretty sad head was the best price I could find in Harlem and I went to 4 stores.

So I am going to go scrounge dinner.

While dinner did not live up to my broccoli, it was pretty darn good.

I took half my Chinatown zucchini and dipped it in egg and sauteed it and made tiny anchovy sandwiches as an antipasti.

Then my 1.5 ounces of pasta along with 1/2 cup frozen spinach, onion, garlic and the rest of the zucchini sliced very thinly and a touch of olive oil tossed in my pasta and topped with my canned cheese.

For me, pasta with vegetables, tomatoes, egg or almost anything is the most satisfying meal there is. I am even getting used to my tiny portion. As much as I would like more I am making it work and the zucchini sauteed really bolstered the volume.
Pasta .12
Zucchini .95
Spinach (from frozen). 12
1 small onion .10
Garlic 6 cloves .06
Butter 1/2 tablespoon .08
Cheese .10
Iced Tea .03
Egg .21
Anchovies .35
Total 2.12, a total made possible only by the lack in other meals. 

Day Total 3.95

The longer I do this the more I realize how much the fear of overspending has impacted me.

I could eat more.

I could eat better.

My fear of killing and even going over my surplus like I did earlier in the month has me fearful of coming to the end of February and eating only the last remnants of the frozen empanadas.

I totally get why people on assistance eat so much Ramen and cheap .99 frozen meals. They do it to assure they won't go hungry at the end of the month.

Food Banks kick in as much as possible to supplement both those on assistance who can't make it stretch and those who do not qualify for assistance but still do not have enough in wages to afford a full diet.

If If I go hungry or get worn out, it is just me. I can't imagine how I would feel if I had kids.

My mother at one long point in her life worked 3 jobs to make sure her children were fed. I have enormous respect for her, but the trade off was that we saw her very little during those years. She had reserves of strength I did not know a human being could call upon.

NO child of hers would ever go to bed hungry.

I carry 3.25 into tomorrow (almost enough for that head of broccoli I have been craving)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 24, The Diabetic Food Stamp Diet

I feel horrible.

I don't know if it is the lack of calories yesterday, the culmination of this project: I am not sure what might be causing it, but I barely slept and woke up feeling as if I had been run over by a truck.

I seriously hope I don't develop influenza or some other virus.

The bloated feeling is gone. I was up every hour eliminating excess water. I rarely wake up at night, but it was such a fitful night.

I don't feel sick exactly but I have absolutely no appetite.

I made myself eat something, no coffee; today it sounds gross to me. I had tea and pureed the last of the cabbage soup adding four dumplings. I managed to eat half of that.

Cabbage Soup .05
Dumplings .40
Total .45
Carbs 11 grams

I am now sipping on some Vitamin C dissolved in water.

I had a phone conference at 10, got my energy up for that and went to bed for two hours.

Deep sleep.

When I got up I heated up a mass of the ribs to share with the noon crowd. I took some to my building office, some downstairs, I don't think anyone went hungry.

Though the meat was in trade I did have a cost.

Between the tomatoes, sugar, onions, garlic, etc that went in the sauce I am taking a buck fifty out of my budget.

Because that is reality...if you are on food stamps, or just scraping by and you share that costs you money. If you pay by SNAP that 1.50 comes off our card the same as if you ate it yourself.

I did have 4 ribs myself so that was lunch.

Ribs with sauce 1.50
The rest of the soup .45
Carbs 21 grams

And back to bed where I slept for another two hours solid.

I woke up queasy, not sure if it was indigestion or empty stomach, so I am heating the remainder of the soup.

However it should be noted that I am deeply craving ice cream and potato chips, two things that I typically do not eat. I tend to have a taste of ice cream maybe once a year or so. Now I want it.

Everything feels off today. I had no temperature, no cough, no real symptoms so I made myself go to the gym.

It helped. I feel a bit better.

I have been drinking a lot of water and got up the verve to go to the tenants meeting. I took masses of venison ribs. Unfortunately no one in my building would eat Bambi.

I came home with all the ribs, 3 doughnuts and two bagels. I immediately froze the bagels. I did eat a doughnut, cake like no frosting and it was good. I then had the remainder of the salad with no dressing. Two hours later I followed it with popcorn with butter.

Popcorn .11
Butter .20
Salad 1.00
Doughnut .Free
Total 1.31
Carbs 45 Grams

I only had 872 calories today but considering how I felt most of the day it was enough. Total 3.71.

I had 6.66 for today and only spent 3.71. That gives me 2.95 for tomorrow.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 23 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

With 1.56 unspent, added to my 4.25 I have 5.81 today.

Most of the 'extra' I will blow at breakfast.

I am still craving fresh, healthy food. We are in the middle of a cold snap when my thoughts typically turn to stews and popovers with lashes of butter and roast root vegetables, but when I awoke I wanted nothing more than fennel salad.

I began picking at the two servings left from yesterday and before I knew it my salad was gone.

Of course I needed a bit of something substantial so I had three slices of the bread I had baked toasted with cheese. It was an extravagant, expensive morning.

Fennel, orange, and Pomegranate Salad 1.66
Coffee with cream .15
Toasts .30
Cheese .20
Total 2.31
Carbs 73 grams

This is diabetic crisis territory for some people. I called the nutritionist I am working with and we talked about the source of the carbs.

Whole grains, flax, vegetables, fruit. We talked about the number of grams of fiber, 28 grams.

Right now I am paying close attention to how I feel, if I have any highs, lows, cravings for sugar or coffee or if my slow eating (I spent two hours sipping and picking) and choice of carbohydrates makes a difference.

As the morning progresses I am going to keep checking in with myself.

....It is noon. I am not starving, I don't feel tired. So far today, no highs or lows despite the high carb consumption. I am going to hold off on lunch. I see no reason to rush forward with eating until I feel the need.

It is now 2:30 and I have sustained energy. Granted I have been too busy but when I stop and think about it, I am not hungry. I should have a snack before the gym, but I am going to wait. I am not sure if it is the 500 calories from this morning or if I am still digesting the pork belly from last night...

I had planned on serving the venison ribs tonight to some neighbors...but I was just informed that my soy ginger glaze would not go over. If I wanted folks to try venison I would have to give it a Memphis style sweet red sauce.

I am going to have to see what I can fashion that is low carb.

I have gone back and forth in a heated discussion on Huffington Post with vegans who claim their lifestyle is so easy and cheap. These discussion are always the same...when I point out that to get enough calories and balanced nutrition it cannot possibly be done on a budget. They finally come back with rice and beans.

Rice is what is killing our poor. A little rice in a varied diet is okay, but the masses of rice used to stretch meals is leading to out of control blood sugar problems.

I miss afternoon coffee, since it seems that lunch is not going to be needed today I decided to have a bite of cheese and an afternoon coffee....bliss.

Cheese .10
Coffee .15
Total .25

I went to the gym with sustained energy and then to Trader Joe's. I finally had to replace my first seasoning. Those of you who have read from the beginning know that I set aside .25 per day to pay for oil and seasonings.

I have barely used any oil or salt but I did kill a bottle of 21 Seasoning Salute. This is only sold at Trader Joe's and makes Mrs. Dash and the other salt free seasonings taste like...stale bits of dreck.

This is a fresh powerful flavor and since I decided to eschew salt on most of my foods in order to really understand flavor for my Congestive Heart Failure patients I have relied heavily on this mix.

As I have mentioned in the past I need salt, I need a lot of salt so I am currently taking salt in pill form in order to stay healthy.

I came home with a powerful craving for chicken soup. I had no chicken and to make it would take too long, soup at a restaurant was not an option so I had some of the chili that had been simmering in the crock pot all day.

The chili contained 1 lb of beans .99, 1 lb of meat 3.99, I can tomatoes .97, 1 onion .10, 1 carrot .12. Total 6.17.

From this I got 12 cups of chili at a cost of .52 per cup.

Dinner was
1.5 cups of chili .79
Yogurt .15
Cheese .12
Iced Tea .03
Total  1.09
Carbs 31 grams

My calories for the day were very low 1,096.

My costs: 3.40, this leaves me with a balance of 2.41 to carry over.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 22 the Diabetic Food Stamp project (The Naked Truth)

After watching Forks Over Knives again yesterday I had to ask myself why I ate meat.

While I was butchering the deer I really thought about it.

The answer is taste. Nothing tastes like meat. I am not talking chicken breast which can be as bland as tofu, but pork belly, bacon, duck, wild game. The flavor of those meats is like nothing else and the satisfaction I get is enormous.

When eating at a normal budget I tend to use meat as a seasoning. A few anchovies, in a pasta, an ounce of pancetta for my brussels sprouts, a thin slice of ham with my roast vegetables in a sandwich.

However the truth is that on the Diabetic Food Stamp Project I am eating 4 to 12 times the amount of meat I usually eat.


Cost per calorie.

Without masses of pasta, bowls of rice and peas, and other carbs I must be careful of, I am limited to the more expensive store items.

To get enough calories for the day to even minimally operate from all vegetables...let me give you an example; It would take 10 lbs of broccoli at .99 a head, cooked with nice olive oil (more oil than I use in a week) to get my normal calories for the day. Not 4.25 but 11 bucks. Cabbage the cheapest vegetable out there again cooked with olive oil would cost 7 a day.

Vegetables are expensive per pound and per calories. That my friends is the Naked Truth as to why the poor do not eat platters of vegetables.

Our government in their infinite lack of wisdom thinks the answer is in a new plate diagram, and when that fails throw money specifically advertising to those on Snap.

People who resort to Snap are not idiots. They know what to do, they can't afford to do it.

In Harlem I have been to many parties and dinners and meetings. Meat as a seasoning is common, it is a way to stretch meat further. A couple of smoked wings will season a pot of collards. One ham hock will season a pot of beans. A pound of sausage will season a big pot of dirty rice. At a Christmas party when I brought an antipasto platter with roast peppers, onions in balsamic, Grilled zucchini and fried artichoke hearts it was the first platter empty.

My offering had set me back about 40 dollars while the rice with sausage, even in that huge hotel pan cost maybe 3.

I think a goal of 5% protein from meat and dairy is not an unreachable goal. It would certainly help our health and well being. Of course classes are needed to teach new ways (and some ancient ways) but we need to subsidize Quinoa and Broccoli, not corn and petrol.

That will be a new world...

Can anyone join with me to help make it happen?

Speaking of new world...I decided to go ahead and process the ribs and share with my neighbors. The rest of the venison I had went in the freezer and the rest of the deer are in a friend's freezer for me to eat March 1.

However I will feed some to my cats. I've a freezer bag of bits of trim for them.

I must admit Forks over Knives did affect me. Despite the budget I went with a vegetarian salad for breakfast.

I begin with 6.76

First I had my pomegranate while deciding what to do. Then I had coffee with my cream and made a salad of fennel 1.00, two oranges .50 and 1/2 cup of pomegranate .50. The total is 2.50 I am having 1/3 at a cost of .83 cents.

Coffee with Cream .15
Pomegranate .50
Salad .83
Total 1.48
Carbs 39 grams
Calories 177

By noon I was famished.

My light delicious breakfast had not stayed with me.

I had Carbonara sauce left from yesterday (thinking I was making it for a normal batch of pasta I made too much). I had close to one cup of cheese tortellini in the freezer.

Sauce with bacon .65
Cheese Tortellini 1.00
Iced Tea .03
Total 1.68
Carbs 45 grams

I feel better.

The great thing about stuffed pasta is that you can eat more as it has lower carb content due to the cheese, or mushroom inside. The tough thing is that it is much more expensive.

Before I left I pulled a loaf of whole grain (Whole Wheat, Oat and flax) bread out of the oven. Of course I had a nice slice while it was warm.
Bread .10
Carbs .15

I got to Chinatown today. I purchased two leeks for .95, 3 potatoes for .79 (potato leek soup),Bok Choy for .74, big eggplant for .40, red bell pepper for .63, a zucchini for .95 and a tomato for .36.

I need more vegetables and these were the cheapest I could find today.

I also bought roughly 1/2 pound of pork belly at 2.39 a lb. It came to 1.18.

I did have one bite of the now completed Venison Jerky when I got home (I had to taste it) before I give it away to the hunter. If he does not take it all, I will store it in the freezer. Otherwise I fear I will
be powerless to resist.

I feel fat. I know that I am not fat, but I feel fat. The cheaper food, less fiber, all have driven my digestion to a slow point. I get bloated easily and my energy is really low. I came close to skipping the gym yesterday and between the way I felt and what I had to do I came close.

It was a lot of running around before I got to my dinner...Meeting UWS, gym, phone conference, I was cooking and talking but finally sat down to eat at 9:45.

I Cooked the pork belly with 1/2 of the red pepper and ate half of it over a big bed of salad greens.

This worked just as well as rice, the crisp greens balanced the richness of the pork and I had a lot of color and flavor.

It was a busy day and I was up late enough not to suffer any indigestion.

Pork .59
Pepper .32
Salad Greens 1.00
Iced tea .03
Total 1.94, not an inexpensive meal.
Carb 9 grams

Total Calories for the day 1,518.
Cost 5.20
Leaving me 1.56 to carry over

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MLK Day: 21 Diabetic Food Stamp Project

Impossible not to wake with thoughts of what Martin Luther King might make of our present world. I won't pretend to know how he thought or what he thought but I think today we should be mindful of how far we have strayed from the vision he communicated to us. Maybe we can strive to take hands and push forward in a more loving manner.

Living in Harlem gives you a perspective that is to be celebrated. I am surrounded by living history, people who marched with Mr. King, who wrote about him, who attended churches and organized civil rights marches. I am so fortunate.

Will work for food: Speaking of good fortune a friend got two deer today. They are being driven in from Long Island and I am going to help butcher in exchange for meat. My query was do I use any of this bounty while on the food stamp challenge?

Do I wait til it is over?

Do I allow myself free venison?

Since I worked for it, is it really free? can let me know what you think in the comments section.

I begin with 5.73

Cream in my coffee...without question it is one of the things I long for every morning. Yesterday I made the trek to Trader Joe's and got a few deals.

Half and Half pint for 1.69 I can get a minimum of 32 servings out of this so my price is about 5 cents a serving. 

Yogurt 2.49 for the Greek whole milk. I eat it by the tablespoon so my average serving will be .15. 

Organic Chicken legs; Yes, I paid more than I would in the neighborhood for standard legs but the per leg price is .56, and it is much better for me.

7 oz of salad; Pre bagged and pre washed. I paid 1.99 for this extravagant mix, but I can get at least 4 servings out of it and it has all the greens I love Arugula, Radicchio, Endive that separately would have cost me more.

So on this holiday I have thus far had..

Coffee with cream .15
Pomegranate with yogurt .65

I took as long a break as I could then had two servings of the cabbage soup with 4 dumplings.

Dumplings .80
Soup .18
Total 1.78 Wow...I went overboard.
Carbs 56 grams...

I still wonder how I can do that so unconsciously. Fruit and vegetable in the same meal drove me over. Not dangerous, but again pushing it.

As much as I know, as much as I track and I still find it hard to get the carb counts fully right. How hard is this for folks who live with it every single day? is not even noon and I am already hungry. I could eat another 8 dumplings, but of course I can't afford to.

...and 1:30 came I decided to have a hearty lunch that was not hearty at all. Spaghetti Carbonara is a go to dish when you are hungry, yet the vast pit of my stomach refuses to be tamed today.

1.5 ounce of pasta .12
1 egg .21
A few spoons of the hard cheese grated .10
2 slices of American bacon .34
Iced tea .03
Total .80
Carbs 32 grams

In the refrigerator I found a remnant of the forgotten liver, the cost already calculated I scraped it out of the container and had it on top of one Ak Mak Cracker. Hopefully this bite will contain enough fat to shut up my lack of satisfaction today.

One Ak Mak .07
Carbs 4 grams. 

I have been in and out of the house today dropping into presidential events and MLK day parties. So far none with real food.

A lot of soda, and one had some Cheetos and other deadly foods, but as ravenous as I seem to be I have not succumbed to soda or Cheetos. last dried fruit. I downed two large slices of dried mango. I then looked up the carbs and resisted the urge to eat the entire plate of them. However they did do the trick, I finally feel sated.

Before heading out to butcher the elk I had a few of the dried cranberries, a raw carrot and some cheese.

Cranberries (free)
Carrot .12
Cheese .10
Total .22
Carbs .13

Butchering two entire deer is hard work. I did not even break them down all the way. I cut roasts that can be turned into chops and sections that can be cut into steaks. We froze it as whole muscle pieces, the burger trimmings to be ground at another date. It was still several hours with the knife and saw.

Surrounded by body bags and newspaper I worked on the floor and those cuts requiring more finesse got moved to the counter.

At one point we took a break and seared a couple of steaks. Brilliant meat, not in the least gamey, very much like Elk.

Today I am going to process some into jerky and put a bit into my freezer.

After I got home I continued watching Forks over Knives (great documentary, especially meaningful after breaking down two deer) and had a bean quesadilla from the freezer made at the beginning of the month.

Quessadilla .35
Carbs 32 grams

Calories 1,619
Total 3.22

Leaving me with a fortune. 2.51 for the morrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 20 The food stamp Diabetic Project

I begin my day with 5.60

I am relying (possibly too heavily) on pizza. I get the great deal on cheese scraps (two bags last night)and have found that by aging my starter I get a great tangy crust. It has become a go to meal that I should eat less of.

It is not forcing me to be creative with my choices.

That said, I had pizza for breakfast.

I made a slightly thicker crust and took two slices of tomato mushed them about with a bit of onion, garlic and dried oregano for the sauce and topped with my cheap cheese as well as tomato slices and bacon.

One cannot argue with satisfying and tast.

Before the pizza I stood at the counter sampling cheese bits and my pomegranate with coffee. To say twas a piggy morning would not be a lie.

Pomegranate .50
Crust .10
Coffee .10
Onion .10
Garlic .02 (2 fresh cloves)
Half tomato .25
Cheese .40
Bacon 3 slices .51
Total 1.97
Carbs 61.6

The thicker crust and the addition of the onion blew my carbs over. Triple Damn.

I thought pizza was safe but even I forget how many carbs are in an onion, a simple innocuous onion.

At lunch I had some of my cabbage soup. Made with dumpling water, free, twenty cents worth of cabbage and half a tomato at twenty five cents.

The pot of at least 5 cups cost .45

Soup .09
Iced tea .03
Total .12
8 grams of carb

Cabbage Soup was a staple the first time I did a food stamp project. It is a nutrition powerhouse that costs little. I need to eat it more.

I did give in to a snack, an entire dime's worth of sunflower seeds.

Seeds .10
Carbs 8 grams

Dinner was last night again.

I took the last of the beef and Gai Lan and the remaining 1/2 cup rice and stir fried it all together.

Then I added the remainder of the green onion as a garnish...lovely meal.

Leftovers 1.46
Green Onion addition .37
Total 1.83
Carbs 46 grams

Ultimately I got my carbs under control for the day clocking in at 122. Calories 1,394.

Total 4.12 

This gives me 1.48 to carry over into tomorrow. To save money you are either taken out or sacrifice a meal. This does not seem to balance easily any other way.

Day 19 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

Human beings do not eat nutrients they eat food...Mary Catherine Bateson

Which is why I am doing what I do.

We all want delicious meals, of course we want them to be healthy but if a nutritionist tell you ...'You need more B12' you are going to ask...'but what do I eat?'

I take the information and turn it into recipes and by living as a diabetic on this strict budget I am learning how bloody difficult it is and at the same time finding ways to make it work.

For those of you on twitter who want updates, tips and other bits I am at twitter

I wanted food fast this morning. Not so fast I would go to McDonald's (There is one steps from my building on Lenox) but badly enough to Throw dumplings in water, skip coffee and chow down on 8 dumplings before 8 a.m.

I saved the 'dumpling water' for soup but downed those dumplings in record time. After all I have 6.52 to eat on today. A fortune by my recent standards.

8 dumplings 1.60
29 grams of carbohydrate

It was close to noon before I ate again. I am not sure if this is a late snack or a lunch, but I took a small red potato, grated it, squeezed out the water and fried it in goose fat and had it along with coffee and an orange.

Coffee .10
Orange .25
Potato .21
Total .56
Carbs 38 grams

I get e mail every day asking about my weight loss. I have dropped about two pounds.

At my workouts before this diet I tended to do about an hour of cardio activity, I reduced it to 20 minutes. I walk a decent amount but still find that I am less active as I have less energy. Were I at my normal activity level I would have lost more weight.

In addition I purposely over ate in December and put on a few pounds. I tend to eat so healthfully it was painful for me to over eat too often.

I had steak for lunch. I enjoyed it as much as I would have a ribeye a month ago. I purchased 3 dollars worth of thinly pounded cube steak. It was on sale this week along with 2 lbs of onions for .99. I counted until I found a bag with 10 onions so I could keep my costs at a dime each. 

Then I followed it with my leftover cheese free pizza from the other night. Well balanced, no, delicious yes.

Steak 1.00
Pizza Leftover Free
Carbs 43 grams

I then decided that I had to make prosciutto. If purchased the price per pound can be daunting, but made at home it becomes significantly cheaper. I bought a small bit of pork shoulder for 4.00.

I made a mix of kosher salt with just a fraction of sodium nitrate, added in some herbs and hot pepper and coated my meat.

I then covered it and left it in the refrigerator to begin curing. I will need to rotate and add more salt every few days until it is firm and ready for aging. As the water goes out of the meat and the salt goes in it will lose about 1/3 of it's weight.

That done, I went and worked out.

I had a very good dinner finishing off most of the gai lan by stir frying it with the remaining beef. Used the remaining two dollars worth of meat and Seventy Five Cents worth of Gai Lan

I did a Ma Po marinade on the beef. Vegetarians take note Ma Po is a common preparation for tofu and vegetables in Chinese restaurants, it is however made with a beef base. I took some of the seasonings, Sezchaun Pepper, ginger, fermented soybeans, garlic etc and marinated the beef.

With the Gai Lan and an onion I served it over a scant 1/2 cup of rice. I only ate half of the beef/veg mix as I wanted more rice if I was to eat the remainder so I will have another meal of it.

Beef 1.00
Gai Lan .38
Iced tea .03
Onion .10
Rice .08
Total 1.59
Carbs 44 grams

...and yet my eating was not done.

I am now on the cheaper butter, the 2.00 a pound butter. I did butter if...what would be the point otherwise. I consider organic popcorn to be a butter delivery system.

Popcorn .19
Butter .20
Iced tea .03
Total .42
Carbs 31 grams

For the day I was pushing the carbs, and the fat. I just can't feel satisfied without them on this budget.

Calories 1,819
Total 5.17

I must admit to not planning the additional dollar's worth of food well.

The more hungry I am the more I seem to grab and satisfy rather than engage in a more planned day as I did at the beginning of the month.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 18 the Diabetic Food stamp project

1.63 leftover gives me 5.88, a veritable fortune.

I was craving pizza all day yesterday. Fortunately I had the opportunity to satisfy that craving...momentarily.

This morning in my e mail is a tip from a woman who is dealing with widowhood, 3 teenage sons and no money, she also makes her own pizza. Her suggestion was to bake in a cast iron skillet for a perfectly sized pan pizza wit a seriously crisp crust.

What choice did I have, I had to make a breakfast pizza.

Even with my bad photography I know that looks good.

My reader was right, the size was a perfect onsie, the crust was super thin and very crisp and I loved every bite.

I've the feeling breakfast blew my budget, let's add it up.

Pizza crust (homemade) .08
Sauce (half a can 4 for 1.00) .12
Leftover 1/2 tomato .25
Cheeze (the last of the Zabars special) .30
Bacon (two slices) .34
Total 1.09

However I also had 1/2 cup of pomegranate and coffee while the pizza was baking.


Not too bad for an excellent filling meal.

Carbs 48. I am pleased and satisfied. I have a long day ahead, to day is Long Island City so I've a drive to make. I have to leave in a few minutes so I need to quickly scrounge and find something that travels.

I ended up taking with me some dried cranberries and sunflower seeds but eating neither.

Yes I was taken out again today, and I have no regrets. I had driven a friend out to his childhood home to visit the grave of a famous artist Mark Rothko a very good friend of his Uncle's, also a highly respected artist. After the excursion he took me out for a bowl of the most amazing creamy clam chowder I had ever tasted. My arteries are still clogged, and I don't regret one bit.

Carbohydrate 38 grams
Fat 74 grams

I typically don't share the fat grams, but this dish was so rich, so creamy, so buttery I had to talk to the kitchen and get what went in it...fat, fat, and more fat.

Fat is currently 63% of my calories for the day. I must have a slim dinner.

I have to look at my dinner and plan carefully as my day thus far has been almost fiber free.

...and unfortunately it stayed that way. When I surveyed the refrigerator contents I had the leftover 1/2 of the chemical noodle pack and the tuna I had marinated. In the veg crisper I had gai lan and cabbage, along with the fennel bulb I had picked up in midtown.

I chopped the leaves of the gail lan and added them to the noodles...then thought...why not, I tossed in the tuna and made it a tuna casserole. I topped it with cheddar cheese and popped it in the oven.

Leftover noodle side .17
5 ounces tuna 1.25
Gai Lan .25
Cheddar (8 oz for two dollars) 1 oz .25
Total 1.92
Carbs 30 grams

Day Total 3.61, with 5.88 to start I have 2.27 to move into the morrow.

1,938 calories with 56% of them from fat. Can you begin to understand now why the poor eat fat? To get enough calories to sustain you day you are either going to go with fat or carbs or both. The health costs of our food problems in the US are staggering.

I have gone to the gym 6 out of 7 days a week for most of my adult life, and I skipped it two days in a row. I was so darn tired. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 17 Diabetic Food Stamp Project...and so it goes

I am particularly hungry right now. I begin with 3.84.

To make up my deficit and to plan ahead for my meals today I had a scant breakfast. Very scant.

Coffee .10
Half Apple .50
Peanut butter .19

Total .79
Carbs 21 grams

Fewer than 300 calories. I am trying to stay off the scale but I know I have dropped a couple of pounds.

Lunch was more substantial.

At the .99 cent store they carry off brands of "Pasta Sides" Chemicals you add water to in order to create a food like substance, these and the Macaroni and Cheese are priced at 3 for .99.

.33 Just add water...I had to try.

At lunch I was hungry enough to eat most anything. I prepared and ate half of my .33 packet of chemicals while I seared my tuna treat.

I managed to put the tuna on a plate and eat with a fork while seated.

Tuna 5 oz 1.25
Envelope of chemicals .17
Total 1.42
Carbs 27

From a price perspective this was a perfect meal. From a nutrition perspective my day has been less than perfect and precious few calories.

In the afternoon I had to go to New Jersey to meet a journalist. He is going to be doing a piece on the food stamp project.

It got to be late and I had traveled 3 hours to get to Princeton, he offered dinner. I learned my lesson, I was chastised by folks on food stamps who never turn down a chance to eat elsewhere and extend their budgets.

Gratefully we went to an Italian restaurant. I love Italian food but knew it was filled with pasta pitfalls and bread temptations. I started with a salad.

It was neater when they served it, this is already partly eaten.

Having made pizza at home I knew it was good in a limited quantity. The crust here was white so I ate less of my 'personal' pizza. No cheese, great tangy sauce and speck sliced on top.

Plus one glass of wine

Carbs 51 grams of carbohydrate. I was a little obsessive, I went to the restroom and corralled the manager to get the amount of greens and the weight of the pre-baked pizza dough as well as the details on the flour, but at least I know my count is accurate.

1,129 calories for the day. I must find a way to eat more without adding masses of fat. I am beginning to wonder if that way exists with this budget. Total 2.21, I have 1.63 to carry over.