About this Blog

Welcome! Thanks for checking out On Food Stamps.

I created this blog in 2009 when I began working at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. My work at this organization opened my eyes to food justice issues in America, and I had a strong desire to better understand the difficulties many people face when trying to access healthy food on a limited budget. So, I embarked on my own Food Stamp Challenge, living on $31/week as a vegan. I used this blog to chronicle my experience.

While my Food Stamp Challenge project has come to an end, you can see what I learned from it by reading the Greatest Hits posts linked to the right side of the page. Please excuse any out-of-date links, as I am no longer updating this blog on a regular basis.

Stay Hungry,


Friday, May 15, 2009

Red Light, Green Light


There was a great article in the Los Angeles Times this week about in incredibly sustainable green house that may well be the future of California farming. It is a short article, and I really recommend reading it. Click here. This green house makes me very optimistic about what we can do with food production in America when we prioritize and invest in sustainability.

I spent a frustrating 20 minutes in Save-a-Lot this morning trying to decide which bread would be healthier and cheaper based on the nutrition labels (not that I can eat bread as a Vegan, but this was just for research purposes), and I found it very difficult. I was a bit pressed for time, and it seemed like neither bread was that great. Both were whole wheat. One had lots of high fructose corn syrup, so I didn't want that one. But, the other had lots of sodium and was higher in fat. I gave up and walked away feeling like neither would have been a good buy.

After that experience, I also want to pass on another brief article which talks about how people relate to Nutrition Information. Change is very hard for most people, and change in diet can be particularly difficult because it is often so wrapped up in family, culture, custom, and comfort. What's more, reading and deciphering a nutrition label to start determining which foods are good is very daunting. Most processed foods on grocery store shelves have a million ingredients, none of which sound like food. Labels loudly proclaim that they are full of this, or free of that, depending on whatever is the buzz in the news. One day you are supposed to be carb free, the next day you are supposed consume lots of Omeg-3 and be Trans fat free... it changes so quickly, keeping up is very difficult. This article illustrates just how intimidating nutrition labels are to most people. Apparently, a very simple "traffic light" rating system really helps people identify healthy foods. Lack of education about health and nutrition is clearly a very bit part of the obesity problem in America.
Read more here.

At Save-a-Lot I bought:
  • 5 Granny Smith Apples: 1.84 lb at $0.89/lb =$1.64
  • 1 Ruby Red Grapefruit = $0.50
  • A HUGE 42 oz. can of generic brand quick oats = $1.89
  • 1 pint of Driscolls Strawberries (which I hear are not actually produced in California as the label claims) = $1.50
  • 1 yam = $0.77
  • 1 box of Total cereal, which was the best option in my price point but is by no means a perfect breakfast food: One 10.6 ounce box = $3.29 (Super inefficient and expensive, but I was running out of food and quite hungry. Can't eat oats on the way to work. Can eat cereal on the way to work. Again, convenience, convenience, convenience.)
  • 3 Zucchini: 1/22 lb at $0.99/lb = $1.21
TOTAL: $10.80
Weekly Total: $27.77
Amount Remaining: $7.23

I have not posted any recipes or food triumphs yet because I simply haven't had any. Everything I have eaten has been pretty bland, plain, and unexciting thus far, and I primarily blame that on the time factor. I have been racing around a lot, and cooking has been difficult. Much like it is for someone working 2 jobs and raising 3 kids. My belly is full most of the time, and I haven't felt hungry. Rather, I have felt very frustrated that in order to be cost effective I need to really cook in large batches and plan everything out with precision. That level of inflexibility is challenging.

Farmers Market Report soon to come.


  1. Have you read "In Defense of Food"? I think you'd find it very interesting.

  2. What about bread eliminates it from a vegan diet? Too many of the producers using dairy? French bakery legislation limits many types of bread to nothing other than flour/water/yeast/salt, so if we were in France this would be less of an issue. ;) Since hubby prefers making it at home (Google "5 minute bread" for his technique - it actually takes about an hour and a half when you count in the time for it to rise and bake, but there's only 5 min "hands on" time) we can eliminate the non-vegan ingredients. Buying yeast in bulk is the key to it not being STUPIDLY expensive, difficult as that is on a limited income.