Friday, November 16, 2012

Access & Time

Will Soll

I think it's possible to eat healthfully on food stamps. That said, I think many don't. I believe that one contributing factor is access. Low-income areas are often served only by mini-marts with limited and generally unhealthy selections of food. I was pleased to see that Aldi has two locations in the city itself.

Another factor: cooking good food takes time. Processed food is convenient and well-marketed. This, indeed, is a health factor in the US at all levels of society.

Day 6

Cheryl Lyons

It is day 6.  I went to my co-workers office for a meeting and as I was leaving they were celebrating someone’s birthday with a table full of delicious brunch items.  Wow it looked and smelled wonderful! There was 8 people and I shared my current Food Stamp Challenge participation for this week.  I did not eat.  Some were interested and a few thought it was odd. I am glad that I am being odd this week.  Each day during this week has made me more aware of the constraints and difficulties that many people experience all year long, or longer.  I have a job, a car, health care, good health, friends that allowed my food stamp challenge days to be much more tolerable than millions & millions of those not as fortunate.   At the end of this week, I will have a few eggs, apples, carrots, noodles, etc and if I was on food stamps I would be very excited to know that I could purchase again the necessary food for the next week with my $31.50 limit.  My 3 year old grandson visits me on the weekends and he usually spends the night.  I would need dinner, breakfast, lunch and soymilk and snacks for him.  He usually eats twice as much as me!  If I was on food stamps, most likely my few leftovers would be not be enough for this young, growing grandson of mine and I go with less food…


Leslie Bursack

I think I'm doing fairly well on this diet.  In fact, I haven't felt terribly deprived which is surprising to me.  I am definitely hungry by the time I get home from work, but it's been manageable.

It's possible to maintain a healthy diet on the food stamps budget of $31.50 per week, but very boring. I'm getting pretty tired of pb and j sandwiches, baked potatoes, rice and beans. 

I'd have to say that the hardest part of this week for me has been saying no to social invitations.  I had to say no to two fun lunches with co-workers. I don't think Crown Candy offers a Food Stamp lovers plate. I've decided to accept an invitation to attend a trivia event tonight and am contemplating how I'll feel if I veer off  the diet. I'm leaning towards sticking it out and just drinking water. This seems so very trivial, certainly not what people living on food stamps would ever have the opportunity to contemplate.

I'm glad that I participated in this challenge. It's certainly been thought provoking and has raised my interest in finding some meaningful volunteer opportunities in this area.

Day 5

Lenna Tasley-Broome

From another perspective:
read the shaare emeth blogs - soulful.

We gain knowledge each day - we become more adaptable and in this more creative and efficient with our meals and budget. Is coffee a staple? Yes, about the pet food? Trade-offs.  Then - our own recriminations - our own fault finding - even tho out of our control - still 'it's our own faults'.  To live with this daily - and be the provider - the - 'it's all o.k. honey - we'll be fine'.  strength in adversity - was gonna use the word weakness - how inappropriate.

I'm just one - most of the teamers are multi - and the children being troopers and the adults teaching the realities - and finding alternatives to the usual treats.  I applaud you.

Food for Day 5: smoothie with pbutter/ 1/2banana
                        oatmeal-made with h20 - 1/2banana,pbutter
                        snack - pbutter on spoon & hot tea

Kind thoughts

Let food be your medicine

Maria DeShields

I think it is possible to maintain a healthy diet on food stamps as long as you put in the effort to plan ahead of time. By this I mean, taking time to base your meals around locally grown and or organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and if you are not a vegan or vegetarian, buying grass fed meats along with wild caught fish. It is important to become a label reader and be aware of what goes in our bodies. So many of our foods are GMO's, full of sodium, high fructose corn syrup and other harmful additives and preservatives. I know this can be an inconvenience to some who are just use to going to the store and picking out whatever because of time constraints but in the long run it pays.Throughout my life at various times, I have used food stamps to fed my family and I maintained a very healthy diet. Spending time to be an informed consumer beats sitting in the doctors' office for hours waiting to find out what is wrong with us. I am not against doctors just painting a parallel. Hippocrates, often called the father of medicine said,"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food."

Day 5: Priority One

Michael DiPlacido

In the Talmud, we read: "Rav Hisda says, "one who could eat barley bread, but eats wheat bread has violated "ba'al taschit."  Rav Pappa says, one who could drink wine, but drinks beer, has violated ba'al taschit." (Shabbat (140b))  Later, the Talmud states: "But this isn't the case. ba'al taschit of one's body takes preference."

Ba'al Taschit is the Torah's prohibition on wasteful or pointless destruction of property or resources. Ravim Hisda and Pappa are saying that this prohibition, as it relates to what we eat, is based on the cost of the food. But, the Talmudic commentator looks at the concept through a new lens: how food affects our body. Is my diet healthy? Do I eat foods that are nutritional? Do I consume no more than my body needs? In terms of good health, in many cases, the diet composed of simpler foods is better than one containing processed foods. Over-consumption contributes to being overweight. Highly processed foods contain additives that simpler foods don’t. What I have found this week is that I feel much better eating less and eating simpler. I have dispensed with my overindulging, and eliminated the chips and dip.  This is not to say that people who have food shortages are better off. It points to the fact that I eat too much, and eat the “wrong” things. My experience this week has reinforced what I already knew, and what the Talmud teaches: eating right is a top priority.

A Hasidic Tale for Day 6

Michael Getty

Day 5:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and toast
Lunch: For me, the last of the *%$!! lentil soup; for Brian: leftover macaroni and black beans
Dinner: Pasta with marinara sauce, baked acorn squash

After a week of very survival-level food strategy, as opposed to all the contorted and hoity-toity things I did before this week, I'm remembering a Hasidic story.

A man goes to his rabbi and complains that all his friends are more prosperous than he is -- bigger houses, more beautiful wives, and more thriving businesses. He tells the rabbi that every day he looks around his cramped, dingy house and feels like a failure. “Rabbi," he sobs, "My house is much to small for my wife, my two children, myself and all my dreams to fit.

“Everything will be fine,” the rabbi assures him, “but first you have to go back home, buy a cow and bring her into your house as well.” Now the man is sure the rabbi has lost his mind, but being brought up to always listen to the rabbi, he goes home, buys a cow and brings her into his house as well.

By the third week, he is going out of his mind, so he runs back to the rabbi and explains, “First I complained that my house was too small, so you had me bring in my two dogs and cat and the family goat. Then you had me buy a cow and bring her into my house as well. Now I can’t sleep, can’t eat, can barely think at all from all the noise, and thrashing about, and chaos and clutter that is everywhere I turn. Rabbi you have to help me – it’s driving me crazy!”

So the rabbi takes the man by the hand and says, “Everything will be fine. Go home immediately and take the two dogs, the cat, the family goat and the cow out from your house."

The man runs home as fast as he can, empties the house of all but his wife and two daughters and himself, and then sighs a giant sigh of relief, looks around his empty home and says, “Thank God for this beautiful home with all this luxurious space in which my family can live. What a lucky man I am!”