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 Please excuse any out-of-date links, as I am no longer updating this blog on a regular basis.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,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Diabetes Grocery Run

I did some major shopping over the past two days to get everything I need for this week's Diabetic Food Stamp Challenge.

Unfortunately, I missed the weekend's Farmer's Markets since I was in San Francisco. I would prefer to shop for my week's groceries at a Farmers' Market, but the limited hours made it is impossible this week. Once again, limited Farmes' Market hours have proved a barrier to me in my quest for sustainable foods.

Next best thing to a Farmers' Market? The local ethnic grocer. Every low-income neighborhood has one, mine included.

In my case the local ethnic grocery store is A-Grocery Warehouse. I haven't been to A in awhile, and I forgot how wonderfully cheap it is. Yesterday I bought the following for a grand total of $9.73:
  • 1 cantalope ... $0.34
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce ... $0.69
  • 1lb bag of lentils... $1.19
  • 1 avocado (rock hard)... $0.99
  • 15 ounce can of black eyed peas... $0.99
  • 1.47 lb of lemons at $0.69/lb ...$1.01
  • 2.44 lb head of cabbage at $0.79/lb... $0.81
  • 1.05 lb red bell peppers at $0.79/lb... $0.83
  • 1.56 lb of broccoli at $0.79/lb... $1.23
  • 1.66 lb of purple chinese eggplant at $0.79/lb... $1.31
  • 1 english cucumber at 3 for $1... $0.34
Notice that nearly every produce item is less than $1/lb. It was so cheap I almost didn't mind that I had no idea if the produce was local or if it had been sprayed with pesticides. But, then I thought about my friends at the Echo Park Farmers Market and vowed to be there on Friday for the rest of my groceries.

Then, I hit up "California Market" in Koreatown today. This place would also fall under the local ethnic grocer category. The prices were much higher than I'd hoped; the incredible assortment of exotic Asian food was tempting, but I didn't buy much. I'm quite a price snob now. No way was I buying a small bag of rice for $2.99 when I knew I could get a 5 lb bag for $3.99 at A-Grocery Warehouse. I bought the following:
  • 1 orange at 2lb/$0.99.. $0.32
  • 2 bunches of Kale... $1.18 (cheaper than the Farmers' Market, where Kale is always $1 a bunch. Granted, Farmers' Market Kale is free of pesticides.)
  • 32 oz. plain lowfat yogurt... $3.29 (making Taziki)
  • 0.19 lb of peeled garlic (I'm lazy) at 1lb/$1.79... $0.34
Total: $5.13

Wow. Only four food items for more than half of what I spent for 11 food items at A Grocery Warehouse. Never again, California Market, never again.

I have some other ingredients I am also using this week, so I need to subtract a bit more out of the week's $30. For the following items I am taking out an additional $8.42 (prices based on my best guess):
  • Trader Joe's Natural/Organic Peanut Butter ... $2.79
  • Brown rice (last 1/3 of a 5lb bag)... $1.33
  • Trader Joe's dried peaches... $3
  • Oatmeal... $0.30 (still working that HUGE $1.89 tube of oats)
  • Almonds... $1 worth of a previous bulk purchase
Total: $23.28
Remaining: $6.72

Proper portions are really important for controlling diabetes, so when I was packing my lunch for today I carefully measured out 1 cup of brown rice and put it into my tupperware container. 1 cup of rice did not look like much to me. I estimate that I am normally eating about 50-75% more rice than that, probably at least 1 1/2 cups with my lunch and again with my dinner. I was a bit worried that I'd be really hungry with only 1 cup, but I found that I was fine today.

Throughout this week I will be carefully recording everything I eat. At the end of the week I will have my food diary rated to see how my diet stacks up to one that is prescribed to someone who needs to control their Diabetes.

Wishe me luck trying to go to boxing on that 1 cup of rice later this week. Hopefully I'll be used to smaller portions by then!

P.S. I had to say no to a Rootbeer Float today. Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Julie, Speaking of tzatziki I'm forwarding recipe. I like this site (though not vegan).

    She links to another blogger who hosts a frugal meals challenge. Don't adopt her frugal approach unless you have health care coverage to take care of the long term effects.