Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I had a doctor appointment last week. My sugar is down more, my cholesterol is down more, and I lost 12 pounds. About a pound a week. I forget what she said my A1C was. My doctor asked what I’ve been doing because she knows I get most of my food from the food bank.
I’m staying away from foods with words I can’t pronounce or spell which means almost all pre-processed food. I cook from scratch and eat the way we did when I was a child. Foods people ate before the age of fast food and set down, eyes only sports. I’m eating what I recognize as “food” instead of opening a package of something resembling food.
About a year ago I had told the doctor how difficult it is to follow a diabetic diet when the food I get from the food bank is not diabetic friendly. I can’t pick and choose the food I get. After that visit I kept asking myself why? Why can’t I pick and choose from the food I get? Just because I get food bank food doesn’t mean I have to eat it. I do have a choice.
Yes! I decided I would pick and choose. Ok, I admit I don’t like wasting food, but seriously, some of the processed stuff isn’t really food. Its chemical time bombs made to resemble food. I always got more than I could eat anyway. So, I came up with my plan. I would treat the mobile food bank as if it was a trip to the farmers market or like having a yard garden. Hey, I can pretend can’t I? I started in earnest storing and eating only the fresh produce from the weekly mobile food bank and getting rid of the processed foods.
I’m always able to find a willing person to trade with me. I’ll trade a dozen donuts for someone’s carrots. I gave up sugary drinks and its easy to trade my cans of juice concentrate or beef stew for a cabbage.
I sometimes wish there was a greater variety of fresh food donations, especially fruit, but I take what is available. When there is some new fruit or veggie handed out its usually gone before I get my turn in the line. People start lining up at 7 am for a 2 pm give away. I don’t have that much free time. We get potatoes, cabbage, onions, and carrots almost every week.
I supplement my food bank hauls with fruits and veggies from store discounted produce bins although its harder to find any these days.
I was already in the habit of food preservation and scratch cooking but I started with new determination for my plan. Oh sure, I sometimes talk about prepping for emergencies or I talk about being thrifty but my main goal is being healthy….. even when living on a food bank diet. The benefits are that by storing food for my health I also have food storage for emergencies too. If for some reason I can’t get to the food bank its not a major disaster because I have a supply of canned or frozen to see me through.
These days I eat more vegetables than I have in years. For example, carrots may not have been high on my list of likes but I eat them anyway. Filling up with plain carrots didn’t seem all that appealing either until I remembered how carrots can be used in a variety of recipes instead of just plain. I can or freeze the fresh produce right away. But not the potatoes, onions, and cabbage.
I’m staying away from any foods that say low fat, fat free, or diet. Those diet foods compensate by adding sugar. Even so called sugar free stuff has sugar alcohol which is actually sugar in a chemical form. I stay away from anything with disguised sugars in them. I’ve been using the natural sugars in fruits to satisfy my sweet tooth. I still have to be careful and not over do by eating too much fruit.
I still eat my homemade breads, biscuits, and other baked goods. I just limit the portion size to what it would have been in Grandma Mama’s day. Food portions back then were much smaller. There was no “super size” meals.
I’m hoping by the next appointment in 3 months I’ll again have good reports.