Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finally Done

Well that was a long week! I'm very glad it's over with. It's funny because I haven't eaten much today either, but there's something about that being my choice that makes the easier to deal with. I had a vanilla mousse at midnight last night and then Taco Bell and a bloody Mary for brunch today. Something liberating about that!
I learnt a lot this week, things that are on the earlier list, but also that you need to think about calories per penny when eating on such a tight budget. Getting a healthy meal doesn't mean you'll get enough food to sustain you and your brain.
I'm sad I didn't manage to do a better job of managing food, drinks and exercise. I don't think I'm a good enough eater to manage such a challenge and not feel like crap most of the time. I like what I like and it was hard to go outside of that. Plus I spend entirely too much money on beverages. The beverages I drink don't have any calories in them, which is fine for weight control, but terrible for managing to sustain life on a tight budget.
I have a new appreciation for people who have to live of benefits everyday. It is not enough money. Period.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Last Day

So happy to almost be done! I'm tired and hungry and in need of a meal big time. Tomorrow I'll write final thoughts but for now here's how today has gone.
3/4 granola bar - $0.40
Dinner roll and slice of cheese - $0.50
2 diet cokes - $0.75
1/4 Justins French fries - $0.50
Dinner is going to be a portion of tuna casserole, which the whole thing is costing just under $10 to make and guessing my part will be $2 worth, which will lead me to a total of $4.15. If only I had made tuna casserole or something similar earlier I think I'd have felt better.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Penultimate Day

Ok, so penultimate is just one my favorite words, but I am on the next to last day of this challenge and I feel crappy again. The joys of a full meal on Tuesday are long gone and this chick is hungry I guess. Stomach doesn't feel it, but head does. I have had a headache all week and I know that will go come Sunday, but that really makes me feel for those that live on food stamps everyday. How do they focus or concentrate? I'm trying to do homework and it's not easy.
46 million America's fell below the poverty line in 2010, and I'm sure many others don't have good access to enough money for food. I really feel for these people right now, and it's sad because this week will end for me and I'll go eat somewhere great on Sunday as a "reward", start working out again, get ride of the headache and my life will move on. That's not the case for so many and I think this experience will stay with me for a long time. Not sure I want to do it every year as a reminder, but I am glad for the blog, even though I didn't want to write it, to remind me of what I went through this week.
Breakfast - cereal and milk $0.29
Granola Bar and diet coke - $0.85 - found dc for $0.35 a can
Lunch - Eggs, toast and spinach again - $1.04
Mid afternoon snack to wake up, get ride of headache and go swimming - PB and apple sandwich - $1.06.
What does that leave me for dinner???
$1.13 - bugger!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Volunteering at the Food Bank

I'm feeling great today, as I had eggs and toast for breakfast and a pb and banana sandwich. Today's challenge has been drinks. I think I'll be over today based on 2 sodas and a bottle of water. Oh well. It's a long day and I didn't pack anything to drink.
Tonight after clinicals I volunteered at the SF Food Bank with Jimmy and Jeff from school. It was interesting to be there and see what their warehouse is all about, but I really wish we'd been with clients instead. Not sure I learned anything about public health by being there. We did package enough food to feed 20,000 people, that's pretty amazing. I had forgotten we were going and didn't pack enough food, so was pretty darn hungry while we were there.
Breakfast: eggs, toast and spinach - $1.05
Lunch: PB and banana sandwich - $0.65
Dinner: Baked potato, tuna, spinach and cheese - $1.85
2 sodas - $0.84
Water - $0.95
Total for the day: $5.34 Fail.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What Have I Learned So Far - Half Way Through

1) Your brain really does need food
2) Your body really does need food
3) I can be pretty darn snippy after several days of not enough food - sorry Jimmy
4) It is perfectly possible to eat a decent amount on $4.72 - but it's either healthy or enough, you can't really have both.
5) If you chose healthy, or close too, you only get 1200 or so calories, which for someone my height etc isn't enough to not lose weight and not enough to workout as much as I normally do
6) If you aren't organized this is impossible
7) Starbucks just doesn't fly
8) I am addicted to soda, need to get on cutting that out after this is over, probably should have done that before I started as it does eat a ton of $$$
9) I have some super supportive friends - so many of you are so sweet to keep offering to buy me coffee or food!
10) Not eating much does mess with your mind about not really needing to eat - if I didn't have to have a totally clear mind this week I would probably not bother eating that much and come in right on or way below budget
11) Living on food stamps is probably just not a great way to live. If you don't happen to live above a Safeway or down the street from a Trader Joes you options are probably even more limited. If you live in a crappy neighbourhood or the country, this could be even harder.
12) I still don't like rice or beans!

A Much Better Day

Dinner tonight was some left over Thai food, which wasn't much, so I added toast, so that's probably around $2.33 and I had an apple earlier for $0.59 (which is shocking to me that they cost that much), so I'm rounding out today at $4.57, so if needs be I have $0.15 left, which is almost a slice of toast....what I really want is something sweet I have to admit. I wish I could finagle some chocolate!

Will Work for Food

Yup, I'm feeling much better today as I ate a full meal last night. I'm not snippy or grumpy today. I am helping a friend with SEO for her work website and in return they fed me dinner. I know some don't agree with that, but I feel bargaining and using alternative ways to get food should count, so long as I don't just but it.
For the last 4 days, I hope not to have to do that, as I get to be at home every morning and can make food I need for the day.
So far today I have spent $0.29 on breakfast, which was a cup of Frosted Flakes and half a cup of milk. That's only 200 calories, so I was starving by 10:30 and ate half of my peanut butter and banana sandwich and a diet coke. At noon I had the remaining PB and B and another diet coke.
Total as of 2:22pm: $1.78
$0.29 breakfast
$0.84 diet coke
$0.65 lunch
I may have a snack in a bit and plenty for dinner of some sort. This really is a lot easier at home than out and about.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back off Jimmy!

Yes Jimmy, please BACK OFF! I know Starbucks makes NO sense, but darn it, I'm having a rough week and haven't had time to be organized. That will change as of tomorrow.
I am grumpy and hungry. My head hurts a little and nothing seems to shift it.
I had a granola bar and banana for breakfast - $0.69
Lunch 1 - Didn't have time to make it, so lunch was a granola bar, apple and diet coke - $1.51
Lunch 2 - Eggs, spinach, mushrooms and toast - $1.61
Total so far - $3.81, that's less than a dollar left for dinner.
For dinner tonight I am being fed by friends. I am helping the wife with some web work in return for dinner. Some people, Jimmy, don't think this is right. But I think I can be creative and find ways to get supplemental food, so long as I don't buy it.
I think tomorrow onwards will be easier.

No I will not eat rice and beans!

Ok, ok, I understand rice and beans are cheap and nutritious, however...if you don't like them they don't please stop suggesting them!!!
Yes, I'm flipping hungry. Running 15K on Sunday and doing this challenge makes for a tough combo.
Sunday I came in about a dollar under the $4.72. I had some homemade banana bread and peanut butter later in the evening.
Total for Sunday - $3.72
Monday I had a granola bar on my way to school, a second one at school, a pb and apple sandwich for lunch followed by eggs, toast, mushrooms and spinach again for dinner. 100% not enough calories. Total for Monday - $3.69 with 2 soda's included. $5.64 with the tea from Starbucks, so still under for the week by a few cents.
Walked for a couple of hours around the city and up the Coit Tower stairs. Energy level ok.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day one

Well this is difficult, I will not lie. I had a breakfast bar and banana for breakfast and then ran 15K with friends. We then went to brunch at Dipsy and I bargained with Mark and Holly for a biscuit and Amanda for tea. I had driven them up to Marin so with gas and bridge toll, that seemed fair.
I didn't get home until 6, so I've now had 2 eggs, 2 slices of toast and spinach and mushrooms. I've had a diet coke and a diet sprite. Total so far for the day is $3.33 for food I have paid for. I'll need to eat again, so that leaves me with $1.39. Not easy.
I feel ok though and I know i haven't had enough calories yet today, but it wasn't bad food. The hard part might be getting enough calories for $1.39.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Today I went to Trader Joes and bought the food for the week. I spent $43, which is $10 over budget and doesn't include Diet Coke. However, I wont eat all of the food I bought, as in I wont get through all 12 eggs or the whole box of cereal, so I have tapped the receipt up in my food cupboard so I can work out the per unit cost when making a meal.

Tomorrow I am going on a long run and we are all going for brunch afterwards. This will suck as I will have to take my own food and eat a sandwich while everyone else chows down on eggs and pancakes - my 2 favorite things!

I'm also having a hard time and the thing people want to do is take me for food and wine, with the exception of Tuesday when friends are cooking for me, I have to wait out the week and not go out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Next Week's Menu

Breakfast - Hidden Valley Bar and banana (Tea)
Lunch - Eggs, potatoes, spinach, cheese (Diet coke)
Dinner - Pasta, sauce and broccoli (Water)
Breakfast - Hidden Valley Bar and banana (Tea)
Lunch - Sandwich and apple (Diet coke)
Dinner - Left over's from Sunday night
Breakfast - Hidden Valley Bar and banana (Tea)
Lunch - Sandwich and apple (Diet coke)
Dinner - Eggs, potatoes, spinach, cheese 
Breakfast - Hidden Valley Bar and banana (Tea)
Lunch - PB and apple sandwich (Diet coke)
Dinner - Eggs, potatoes, spinach, cheese or Mac and cheese with broccoli
Breakfast - Hidden Valley Bar and banana (Tea)
Lunch - PB and apple sandwich (Diet coke)
Dinner -Tune melt
Breakfast - Eggs and toast
Lunch - PB and apple sandwich (Diet coke)
Dinner - Mac and cheese and broccoli

Breakfast - PB and toast
Lunch - Sandwich and apple
Dinner -Happy hour at Dana's - but will have to not eat (or drink) there and have whatever I have left at that point, so PB, sandwich fixings or eggs.

Food List:
Dozen eggs
Loaf of bread
Can of tuna
5 banana's
5 apples
2 boxes of Mac and Cheese
6 or 12 pack of pack of diet coke
Hidden Vally bars
Baked Pats
Baked Beans

When it's laid out like that it doesn't seem like a lot of food, fun or doable! I'm starting to worry now. Just talked it through with my parents (my dad suggested no Diet Coke - honestly don't think I can cut that out!) and here's my plan for buying the food:
Go to Trader Joes, Costco and Safeway tomorrow. See how much the food's are that I want and see how I can get them on this money. Checking out coupon sites too.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yes, I'm Really Going to do This!

What am I doing? We have a project for our community class, in nursing school, that is to complete volunteering hours or gather information on resources for under-severed or at risk populations. I am going to be volunteering some time at the San Francisco Food Bank and while on their site, I saw they do an annual hunger challenge - Always up for a challenge, I decided to do it.

Why? Well it's simple, I 100% don't believe it is possible to eat a healthy diet on $4.72 a day. Some claim you can, and I know I shouldn't be so negative, I just don't see how.

Plan - I plan on creating a menu for the whole week and buying everything in one go. I have $33.04 to spend. Now over the course of a month that's $176 (ish), which is actually not far off what I have in my monthly budget for food ($200), however, I have $100 a week for fun, which includes eating out. So $33.04 for the week will be a challenge for sure. Oh and you aren't allowed to buy alcohol with food stamps, so there goes beer and wine. (insert sad face)

Challenges - I love to workout. I work out most, if not, everyday for at least an hour. I'm also enrolled in bootcamp with my roommate, in the beginning stages of training for my 2012 Ironman and workout with my boyfriend as dates from time to time. I also hate to restrict my food, as I don't think it's healthy mentally for anyone to do that. I eat with my boyfriend probably 4 mights a week, so this will effect him also - but pretty sure he will cope, as this time it's just a week, unlike when I became a vegan for lent.

Advantages - I am a mono-diner who really doesn't care about food! I can eat the same thing over and over again for weeks and really not care. This should help me, but probably wont do much for my health. I force myself to eat a variety of foods now, to ensure I'm getting everything I need.