Sunday, November 11, 2012
Food Stamp Challenge -- Day Four
The Sacramento Housing Alliance's stated purpose for organizing the 7-Day Food Stamp Challenge is to help raise awareness about hunger in our region. Their Facebook page has also provided valuable information about the importance of food banks when people can't make their food last until the end of the month; the existence of areas known as food deserts, where it is difficult for people to easily obtain healthy food; and today, Veterans Day, shocking information about the number of veterans that are in danger of becoming homeless and going hungry.
But beyond the knowledge I've gained about food policy and politics, I've also received a few personal benefits from the challenge:
1. It's taught me to value the food that I have and to try to do a better job of avoiding waste. I've decided to keep a plastic bag in the freezer for all of my vegetable peels and ends so that whenever I know I'm going to make something requiring vegetable broth, I can make my own, rather than buying expensive processed broth at the store. It's also forced me to find ways to use up some of the produce that generally goes bad in my refrigerator, such as the cabbage and celery I buy for my minestrone soup. Since it's not possible to buy just a little bit of these vegetables, I'm happy to have found that I actually like celery sticks with peanut butter, and I really, really like that potato, cabbage, and garlic hash that I accidentally made.
2. I've discovered that, if necessary, I am capable of making do with less. What remains to be seen is whether I will try to make do with less when the challenge is over, which would free up money for things that really matter.
3. I've learned that it's possible to get by without drinking wine every night. Another lesson that, if continued after the challenge ends, would also free up money for the important things.
4. I'm pretty sure I've lost a couple of pounds, although I won't know for sure until the challenge is over.
Still, after four days, I'm starting to get a little tired of the challenge. I'm well-fed, but the monotony of my food choices is starting to set in. Of course, I'm only committed to three more days of this challenge, while food stamp recipients face the challenge every single day.
Except for breakfast, today's meals were leftovers, which isn't as pathetic as it sounds. After all the cooking and dishwashing I did the first two days of the challenge, it's nice to have leftovers that I can just microwave. So here's what I ate today:
Breakfast was once again rice, this time with vanilla rice milk, raisins, and cinnamon sugar. I had half a Valencia orange and a cup of tea with lemon.
Lunch was a bowl of minestrone soup, carrot sticks, and a glass of iced tea with lemon.
Dinner was a baked potato filled with chili, half a tomato with a little salt, and a glass of ice water.
Three days to go...