Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

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.

Frugal diabetic – six

Continuing with the story of my quest to put my diabetes into remission I started to remember more of what Grandma Mama taught me about meal preparation and food preserving.  I had decided I wanted to do all those things again.  I wanted to eat the foods I long ago forgot about.  Hmm…. could I be starting to go through my second childhood?  Nah, I don’t think its that.  I just really want to be healthy again.

I came up with the basic plan I’ve talked about for accepting food from the food bank or neighbors and how I was buying food.  My plan was that if Grandma Mama wouldn’t recognize a food then I wouldn’t eat it.   Mostly this meant staying away from any pre-processed food with ingredients I can’t pronounce or spell.  My food had to be natural and edible.  Ok, let me explain here that “organic” and “natural” does not always mean edible.  Snake venom and garden soil are organic and natural but I’m not about to eat either.  I knew I had to be very careful about foods labels too.  The food industry has jumped on the trend toward healthy eating and as we all know labels can be extremely deceiving.  If there is a dollar to be made they will find a way to capitalize on it and not in an ethical way either.

I looked through really old cookbooks and researched at the library. I deliberately stayed away from internet searches because I wanted the recipes to be authentic old ones.  However, I did discover the Project Gutenberg online library and searched some old books there.

I bought a freezer and started freezing as much of the fresh fruit and produce I could get my hands on.  Food banks don’t have a big variety of fresh food.  I did the best I could with what I got and supplemented with the food I’d find in discount bins at the store.

I saved every dime I could to buy canning jars, lids, and a water bath canner.  This expanded my food storage in ways I hadn’t realized before.  Later I bought a pressure canner (not cooker), dehydrator, food grinder, food processor, and other food preserving gadgets.  Yes, I did want to eat the foods I remembered from my childhood but nothing said I had to do the hard work the women did back then.

At first this new diet really was bland and monotonous because the variety of fresh fruit and vegetables from the food bank is limited and because I hadn’t gotten set up with appliances and recipes yet.  I ate a lot of boiled cabbage and carrots or fried onions with baked potatoes.  As my re-found old skills returned and my food storage grew the variety of food I ate got better.  Each week found me with much better food selections and recipes.

Slowly but surely as I ate less and less of the over processed unhealthy food and more of the fresh food I was loosing weight.  My sugar levels dropped even though I was eating bread, potatoes, real butter, lard, and desert.  No more counting calories or carbs.  No more deprived feelings.  My sugar levels continued to drop.

Yes, I do have an occasional desire for a big fat juicy bacon cheese burger when I pass by a fast food place but the craving doesn’t last long.  I don’t feel hungry all the time as I used to feel.  I’m no longer a victim of the food industry, the diet industry, or the medicine industry.  I’m still on medications although I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I started taking doses of cider vinegar too.  You may have heard or read that vinegar can help diabetics?  Vinegar has been used as a medicine for all types of ailments throughout history.  Even Jesus was offered vinegar as a pain killer when he was on the cross.

Cider vinegar is what was given diabetics long before the invention of modern medications.  The formula from a WW1 cookbook is one tablespoon of vinegar and one teaspoon of saccharin mixed into a glass of water.  I use a six ounce glass.  This vinegar solution is to be taken a few minutes before or with each meal and again at bedtime.  Don’t take the vinegar straight because the acidity can cause damage to your esophagus over time.  I use honey instead of the saccharin.  Honey has also been used as a medicine throughout history.

I don’t know what impact the vinegar had on my sugar levels but my doctor agrees it does help lower blood sugar.  I did notice my morning readings were lower.  I actually like the sweet sour taste.  The taste is like that of eating sweet pickles or bread and butter pickles. But if vinegar water doesn’t appeal to you then try adding vinegar to your food.  Things like oil and vinegar dressing on salads.  Vinegar marinade for meat or as a salt substitute.  Crusty bread spread with olive oil and vinegar or just eat a juicy pickle. I’m sure you could come up with some inventive ways to get vinegar into your diet.


I think you’ll like the next post.  Its about eating money. 😉

8 comments on “Frugal diabetic – six

  1. Donna
    June 16, 2016

    Very interesting info, hanging on your every word. Still think you need to be on the Today xhow. People need this info!

    • Anita
      June 16, 2016

      LOL, Dr OZ might get jealous.

  2. Margie in Toronto
    June 15, 2016

    What a great series this has been – such practical, down to earth information! There are no magic pills, whether its for Diabetes, High BP or weight loss – it takes hard work and determination and you have done an amazing job.

    I have spent the last two years losing weight in order to get my erratic BP under control and thankfully my doctors gave me pretty much the same advice. Real food, with an emphasis on fruit & veg, small amounts of protein at each meal and watch the carbs – and there is a big difference between whole grains or old fashioned dense breads and potato chips & processed cereals and pastries.

    Even though I stick to around 1200 calories a day I’m rarely hungry because these real foods are filling and satisfying. But it takes planning and really thinking about what I can afford and what I need – it’s a juggling act and it takes time and effort but it is so worth while.

    Unfortunately too many people aren’t willing to make the effort (as you found with your neighbours) and want either that magic pill or someone else to take care of it for them I can only hope that more and more people pay attention to what you are writing. Thank you for all your efforts.

    • Anita
      June 16, 2016

      Good for you! A big cyber hug and pat on the back from me. Is your BP under control now? Yes, it does take time and effort. Hopefully I’ll be able to make some useful suggestions for planning that will simplify the job.

      I’m gonna be sure to let people in the new neighborhood know I’m willing to teach ONLY if they make the effort to buy their own supplies. I learned my lesson already. Not about to make the same mistake.

      • Margie in Toronto
        June 17, 2016

        Yes it is – thank you for asking. On the lowest dosage possible now for my meds and looking to getting weaned off entirely over the next year.

        • Anita
          June 18, 2016

          Thats fantastic and it gives me hope that I can get weaned off too.

  3. Kathleen Wood
    June 15, 2016

    Just Wonderful!!!
    I also found Project Gutenberg…I love that site!!! it is amazing.
    I have a friend that does a baking soda and vinegar “beer” drink every morning…I just couldn’t stomach it after about 3 days. I think that I could handle water downed vinegar though. lol
    Thanks Again
    P.S. raising chickens seems to be a lot more work then I thought that it would be.
    maybe one of these days you can write some on how Grandma Mama raised chickens……like “easy peasy of raising chickens”. lol 😀
    I keep trying to simplify simplify simplify

    • Anita
      June 16, 2016

      Baking soda and vinegar? I’ve never heard of it but Grandma Mama used to give us baking soda in water for upset stomach. The best part of vinegar and water is the added sugar. As the saying goes, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. I keep trying to simplify and people think thats a sign I need something to do. I think I going to make a sign that says I want less to do, not more so do it yourself.

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