Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Living as a Diabetic on a Food Stamp Budget Day 1

As soon as I get up I start two bread doughs. I will be making a couple of types of bread to have in the freezer, one all whole grain.

The first thing many of you will say is...'but he's a chef, he can bake bread, he has many advantages over the typical food stamp recipient'.

You are correct. Keep that in mind as you follow this project. If I fail, if I have trouble, if I am hungry, then how much harder will it be for the typical family?

I then went shopping at the 99 cent store. I'd been told there was a good one a few blocks north.

I found Dominican coffee for 1.99 for 10 ounces. I already tried a small pot using 1 ounce and it made two very nice cups (black) so for the moment I can do coffee for .20 a day.

I also discovered my absolute favorite pretzels, The Pennystick brand made by the Benzel bakery in PA. At 23 grams for 9 pretzels I will have to eat carefully but I could not resist the deal. They had little on the shelves the parties last night caused them to sell out of most of the canned fish and other treats so this store will be on my list of places to check.

I saw the fruit and veg stand on the way home and bought a large cabbage for .50 and 4 large pomegranates for 4.00. I seeded the poms and they were loaded with fruit so my per serving size (1/2 cup) will be .50.

I begin my day with 4.25 or 1.41 per meal.

I have black coffee .20
1/2 cup pomegranate .50
A one egg omelet with butter .17
Cheese .10
1 egg .21
Total 1.18
Carbs 23 grams

I bought expensive eggs, you can get them more cheaply, but for the way I am eating good eggs are important. At the beginning of the month anyway.

The cheese comes from Zabars. I am giving up my secret. They sell scraps, ends and pieces for .99 a lb. They are odd shapes and sizes but for melting into an omelet or other uses of this type they are perfect. The herbs came from the window where I grow them. 
Then I began making food ahead, planning to have some things on hand.

I made a cabbage soup with meatballs and white beans which came to .58 per serving. The meatballs drove the price up, but it will be more filling and is highly nutritious.

Then I assembled ground turkey and collard green Empanadas and baked them. At .71 a serving they will be a special treat.

I also made chili Quesadilas with one ounce of cheese and 1/4 cup of beans, they are .63 a serving.

I kept out some of the soup but froze the rest, end of the month food that may save me from the Swanson frozen dinner which can be purchased for .99 on sale.

For my late lunch I topped the soup with a slice of freshly baked bread and swiss from my cheese find.  

Soup .58
Cheese .10
Bread .06
Iced tea .03
Total .77
38 grams of carbohydrate
I decided to get busy and made Chinese Dumplings they are small: Filled with dried shrimp, ground pork and cabbage. The freezer is getting packed but the price came in at .20 per dumpling.

I hit the gym and got in a hard, heavy workout. I came home to the smells of Hoppin John, Macaroni and cheese, Ham hocks, oxtail stew and Roast pork, by the time I got to my apartment my resolve to be healthy in all of my meals had considerably weakened.

So I made Macaroni and Cheese, I made a tiny bit of it and only ended up eating half at dinner, but I did make it.

I had a glass of champagne given me last night. When I told a neighbor I would not be staying up til midnight she ran over with champagne to toast me at 10:30. I drank one sip and put it on the counter, this morning I put it in a jar in the frig to use for salad dressing. Instead it became the basis of the fondue for my mac and cheese.

1 oz of penne pasta .13
1 glass of champagne
Pinch of flour 
4 ounces of Zabars special cheese .40

So for 53 pennies I had a small but appealing bit of mac and cheese to put in the oven in a tiny casserole.

Pork Skirt Steak: First had in Spain in a tapas bar, there is was served rare and doused in olive oil. I was lucky enough to find it in a Harlem butcher for 3.29 a lb. I had 4 delicious ounces at a cost of about 84 cents. I marinated the meat in a mix of garlic, ginger, and lime juice which added .25 to the cost (I made a batch and have more in the frig for other foods)

And collard Greens, I purchased them for the Empanadas and had a pound left at .50 so I cooked the entire pound which came to about two cups cooked.

Pork 1.09
Collards .50
Mac and Cheese .28
Total 1.87
38 grams of carb

This is way past the 1.41 that is my goal but I saved enough earlier to fit it in my day.

Day total 3.82 giving me .43 to carry into tomorrow.

I worked very hard and did a lot of shopping to prepare this and for the future. I had 101 grams of carb for the day, breakfast felt sparse but lunch and dinner satisfied

Nutrition was okay, but fiber was lacking. More fruit and a salad would have helped but was out of my price range. My goal was 2,200 calories I came in at 1,570.


Anonymous said...

I hate these welfare queens living off the public money. I think we should just give them a delivery of rice and beans, which is good for you and let them eat that until they get off their lazy asses and get a job.

Elizabeth Bakalyar Friedman said...

Well done, Karl! I'm very impressed at your creativity and frugality. And, who knows - this might help a whole lot of us to save money on what we eat, and also eat more healthily. It's very telling, though, that you couldn't afford fresh fruit on a food stamp budget. Good luck!

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

Elizabeth, I did manage a small amount of pomegranate, but yes I should have eaten more fruit.

As for anonymous...what can I say, I let your comment by for others to speak to. Anything I say will result in you telling me why I am wrong.

Francoise Kazimierczuk MS, RD, LD, CSSD, ATC, CSCS said...

Karl, The meals sound great! My question is just how much prep time you utilized to come up with menu items, shopping list, and then your time spent at the store. Not to mention cooking time. I have tried doing this previously and I found myself using just about my entire Sunday planning. I also found toward the end of the month I was running low on money, particularly when I tried to make sure I was meeting my nutritional needs (i.e. fiber, antioxidants, iron, protein). Low income populations tend to have insufficiencies in these nutrients already, so now the problem is compounded.

There are many challenges following this diet and one is lack of nutrition knowledge and culinary skills for individuals on food stamps. I am looking forward to following you!

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

The overall strategy I learned when I did a food stamp diet previously. The big planning and prep time was spent on the empanadas, dumplings, and quessadillas...costing them out, calculating the ingredients and getting them prepared. That was an entire day.

That will take care of the end of the month if I am out of funds.

Each meal daily is decided daily based on the foods I bought ahead and what I can get for a good price per serving. Each day I easily spend two hours between shopping, cooking checking ads and then of course documenting it.