Breakfast: toast and a fried egg (over easy)
Lunch: Chili w/rice and the last of my sourdough
Dinner: Chili with rice
So chili is great, but I am definitely chili’d out. When I had originially planned on making chili, my thought process focused on the versatility of it. While on a slightly larger budget, that is definitely true. On a food stamp budget, you get a whole lot of chili and rice. What I would give to have had a Skyline Chili style dinner tonight with hotdogs and cheese. Sadly, I did not have the budget for that.
The toughest part of this challenge, and perhaps the biggest benefit, is limiting food intake. In my opinion (which may be wrong), the budget established for people on food stamps is to provide enough for the basic essentials with food to survive. The intent is not to provide gourmet meals all the time but rather with nutrionally sound food. In this sense this experiment illustrated for me how much I overeat at every meal. With how “cheap” food is, it is easy to eat a lot. You go out to a restaurant and the portions are massive! What we need nutritionally and what we get when we go out are completely at odds. My challenge was essentially shrinking my stomach so a normal amount of food could be satisfying for me. Those first few days were rough: I was going through food withdrawal.
One of the other challenges involved with this week is if you are not willing to eat the cheapest quality food available. For the chicken, I bought the cheapest and most processed of the lot. Why? I couldn’t afford free-range or any other sort of chicken I would rather buy. This food challenge would be near impossible for vegetarians who want fresh produce. The cost of providing oneself with fresh produce could easily exceed the weekly budget alone.
Similarly, keeping kosher while on food stamps is downright impossible. I don’t have a percentage, but kosher food is significantly more expensive than it’s non-kosher counterpart. When on a limited budget (most college students), it is easy to see the importance of a Hillel that provides so many free kosher options on a weekly basis. For many, Shabbat at Hillel is the only opportunity to eat kosher meat.
I didn’t finish this week with too many leftovers. I have a few cups of frozen vegetables left, but I definitely neglected those. I have 2-3 servings of chili leftover, which are now in my freezer. Winter is coming, and I have quite the stock of homemade frozen food. Other than that, I finished all the food I purchased for the week. I’m quite proud.
I learned many important lessons this week. I verified what I have thought for years: I eat too much. This budget forcfully promotes eating a healthy amount of food a day. By the end of the week, I was neither fiending for food nor debilitatingly hungry. It has really taught me what a healthy eating lifestyle should be like.
Thank you to everyone who has been following this blog for the last week. It means a lot to me, and I hope it has inspired you to take care with what and how you eat. As we approach Thanksgiving, I definitely know what I will be thankful for this year.
If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.