Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh my gosh, I am so sick of food stamp food.

So, a curious thing- this weekend, Saturday to be precise, I fell off the wagon, both in terms of food stamp month, and also in terms of eating healthily, which I've been trying to do this month as well. I think in a lot of ways, I tend to reward or motivate myself with sweet food- on Saturday, I was beginning a really intense and somewhat intimidating art project for Mike, was just finishing the tail end of a horrible migraine/period cycle, and had some emotionally intense experiences both behind me and ahead of me. I really really wanted to treat myself to something- more precisely, I wanted to be treated *to* something, so I asked Mike to buy me a milkshake, violating *so* many food stamp/personal health rules.

Later that same day, a friend of mine came over for dinner- this was kind of special thing for me, so I went shopping for our dinner and bought pasta (I had spaghetti, but she doesn't really like spaghetti), cauliflower, asparagus, parmeseon cheese, a baguette, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, two sodas, and an iced latte for my friend. This came to a total of 16.55. It all ended up being split between six people, though not necessarily evenly.

I also cheated the day before, by eating a house dinner of tuna noodle casserole and ice cream and roasted vegetables, which I owe my housemates for.

Sunday- except for getting coffee at Katie's on my way to church, which was critical if I was going to make it through Sunday school- I returned to the food stamp week- I was feeling overally really poorly in my body. The combination of ben and jerrys *AND* a milkshake left me feeling rotten. I ate leftovers Sunday.

I spent 13.43 dollars yesterday on cereal, bananas, hot cocoa, artichoke sausage that was on sale, and spaghetti sauce. Between that, and what I have left over, I should be able to get by the rest of the week.

Today I'm just really craving vegetables, like you wouldn't believe.

How is it wrapping up for everyone else?

Friday, May 18, 2007

eating organic on a food stamp budget, and other brief notes

Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget

At least, maybe if you have a lot of time on your hands to cook. Very interesting to read.

I know I have not kept at all to the food stamp budget since I quit last week. I have eaten out so very much in that time, far more than usual, actually. Trying to at least stop eating out so much. Probably won't be able to do the Food Lifeline challenge, though I'll make a go of it.

I got a new job, which starts on Monday. It's not very near any grocery stores or restaurants that I noticed - it's on Nickerson, on the other side of the canal from Fremont, near SPU. So I will probably need to be very good about bringing lunch, which is just fine with me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Spectacular failure and how it's made me think today.

Today I completely cheated.

I overslept so I skipped breakfast (and had to call a cab!). I had an appointment from 8 to about eleven, and after that I was really hungry. Not so hungry that I couldn't have gone the whole day without eating- I probably could have, my appetite has really decreased this month- but a realistic assessment of all the things I need to do today and the energy I need to have to do them led me to go to a coffee shop and get coffee, salad and soup- so when I actually eat them (in a few minutes), I will have stocked up on a balance of protein, vitamins and carbohydrates (and caffiene) that I think will fuel me through out the day.


1) I feel tremendously- if not guilty, then sort of at least like this is not that desirable. I miss the lunches that I pack. (I'm also in general really irritated that I ended up spending *massively* more money (cab + lunch) through oversleeping than I would have otherwise). I also have been looking forward to the idea of eating out as being a rare treat (which is what it will feel like after this month is over) rather than the sort of default sandwich grabbing for lunch that it's become for me up to this month, and today was exactly that- a sandwich grabbing. That feels distasteful to me.

2) I feel tremendously aware of the artificiality of this experiment. If I were actually on foodstamps, this would not be an option, and that really gives me pause. How much of my existence depends on my ability to power through things, and how much of *that* depends on my ability to be able to get enough energy to do that powering through.

So. There is that. There is also the awareness that I didn't pack dinner either, and am not getting home before 10, so I'll probably grab something to eat outside for dinner, as well. And I can do that because I make enough money and don't have any dependents.

Eye opening for me.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Also, it's impossible to tell if it's related, but my period this month was five days late and very light, but accompanied by excruciatingly blinding headaches/cramps. Mike suggested that it might have to do with diet shifts, so I'm writing that down.
I'm sorry I haven't been posting. Mostly because it's very boring, because it's all the same. Breakfast is an english muffin with butter or marmalade or peanut butter, cereal or cream of wheat, tea. Lunch is a peanut butter or tuna fish sandwich, carrots, an apple or an orange, tea. Dinner has been lentils and rice, or spaghetti with brocolli when I get too sick of lentils.

I estimate I've been eating about 4 dollars worth of food a day. I've cheated twice this week to buy coffee on the way to work (once) and church (once). I also took my second food stamp holiday on Saturday- we (mike and I) made a beef stew for his mom for mother's day/her birthday, and all the ingredients for the whole meal would have put me seriously over my budget.

I also had two work lunches last week, and will have two more this week. I continue to be amazed at how much free food I get, and also at how deeply food plays a role in socializing. I really am looking forward to being able to go out with friends again, though I have to admit, it's nice to be saving this much money.

I find in general that I'm eating healthier portions, overeating less, and craving fatty and sugary things less (but salty and vingery things more).

I really don't think that this would be a pleasant experience for me at all if it weren't for the constant free food, though. Also, knowing how to cook on the cheap anyway- that has been a good thing for me.

I do find that I have even less energy than usual. This is making me rethink whether I want to do this for the rest of the month. I'm think of doing the food stamp challenge from Food Lifeline for the week of the 17th to the 24th, and then letting the 24th be my last day on this program. The food stamp challenge would be eating on 21 dollars a week (severe!). This is in part because I think not allowing myself to eat out on memorial day weekend will be sad, and part because I want to do the food stamp challenge, but also think in general I need to think about getting back to eating vegetables and meat sooner rather than later.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

alright alright

yesterday and today did make up for my over charge on monday and tues. though today i was so hungry i ate my sandwhich at 11 (i was looking at the clock at 10:30) and then got scared that i had 8 more hours until i could eat again. i made it through the rest of the day by munching on free office pretzels.

yesterday: tuna sandwhich. tuna .30, onion mayo .10, bread .30 tjs lasagna. 1.99 milk. .30 oj .30= 3.30
today: apricots. .15, tuna sandwhich. 1- mac n cheese. 1.30, tuna. .30, milk. .30 = 3.05

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

social distortions

I have not been keeping up with this project very well.
But I also just bought my first groceries since maybe 10 days ago.

Explanation: I vowed at the beginning of this project that I would not let friends take me out to eat, but I would eat free food provided at work, and I would not turn down invitations to dine with family, although I would not take food home with me.

As it turns out, my brother's girlfriend is in town, and it was a Jewish holiday on Sunday, and so I have been spending a lot of time with family. Come to think of it, between rafting over the weekend and all the time spent with family I think that this evening was the first time I had to come up with dinner for myself since last week sometime, and dinner consisted of yogurt and granola because I was not in a cooking mood.

Shopping list since last monday:
Bananas, yogurt, lemons (for hummus I have yet to make), some tortillas, tahini, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, frozen berries, granola, eggs, red pepper spread, frozen edamame, tofu, carrots, oatmeal, granola. Most food purchased at TJ's. Carrots bought at Asian market in Little Saigon.

I do not know precisely the grocery bill since last monday (30th April) but I believe it to be around $24.

Breakfasts have consisted of bananas or yogurt mixed with frozen fruit/granola. Lunch has consistently been an ENORMOUS fuji apple from a fruit vendor in Pike Place Market (the grocer no longer weighs the apples, but just charges me $1. 8 apples add $8 to total, bringing total since Monday before last to $32.

I realize two things in the midst of this:
Thing the first: Unwilling to compromise meals with my family has really skewed this exercise.
Things the second: When I am really busy (I have been really busy) I forget to eat.