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 Please excuse any out-of-date links, as I am no longer updating this blog on a regular basis.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


Monday, January 11, 2010

Healthy Foods in Disguise

I want to thank Mike for his comment about the Orange Juice. Orange Juice, like many other foods, is one of those tricky things that might seem healthy but secretly is not. OJ is often as loaded with sugar as a soda! I tend to stick to water or club soda and simply add lime or lemon juice for flavor.

Juices and dried fruits are always dangerous - not as healthy as the seem.

I had my own "Nutritious Foods in Disguise" experience this weekend.

A friend of mine from work invited me to take a cooking class with her called How to Make Vegetables Taste Great. Right up my alley! I signed up.

While I certainly learned a great deal from the class and really enjoyed making everything from saag paneer to roasted Brussels sprouts, there was one point that really disappointed me. Many of the recipes relied heavily on oil or butter for flavoring. I was really frustrated because the class seemed to just reinforce the notion that veggies are not tasty or satisfying, that they require a lot of fat and "doctoring" to taste good. Of course, a little butter makes anything taste better, but I have found that an open mind and some re-training of the palette can lead to a genuine enjoyment of vegetables and their natural flavor.

Some of my favorite ways to prepare vegges include:

  • Sauteing with ginger, lime juice and a bit of soy sauce
  • Steaming in fruit juice in general - lime, lemon or orange work great
  • Steaming and adding cracked pepper and salt in moderation
  • Sauteing in a small amount of olive oil and apple cider vinegar
  • Cooking in "Hot Vinegar" - apple cider vinegar + hot sauce
  • Roasting with a bit of olive oil and cracked pepper/salt
  • Cooking in a curry sauce that does not use too much oil - cumin, curry, cinnamon, coriander, clovers, cardamom, turmeric, mustard seeds and paprika are all great to mix around in a curry
  • Steaming in miso broth (which I make myself by simply adding miso paste to water)
  • Stir frying with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mustard, honey and some spicy pepper
There are lots of way to make vegetables taste great without 3,000 calories worth of butter! Please tell me how you like you prepare your veggies in the comments section. Always looking for new ideas...


  1. How about some Sichuan-style veggies:

    Julienne a few red and green bell peppers. Toss them with rice wine vinegar and sugar to taste. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.


  2. I steam them, then chop them and wait until the meat or noodles I'm cooking to accompany them is simmering - add the veggies to simmer and cook with the juices of whatever is in the pan/wok and you've got yourself some...[steak-flavoured cabbage!] [soy sauce-spiced brocolli and carrots stir-fry!] etc etc~

  3. Mince an onion as small as you can get it, same with a stick or 2 of celery and/or bell pepper. Saute about 10 minutes in a splash of olive oil. Add a clove or 2 of minced garlic after 5 minutes. Use as a topping with steamed or roasted veggies over pasta, rice, etc. (My variation on a mirepoix, minus the carrots that are harder to cut and take longer to cook.)

  4. "mirepoix" is a new culinary term for me. Awesome!

  5. I love to saute green beans and fresh brussel sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil, several cloves of garlic, cracked black pepper, kosher salt, and about a quarter cup of chicken broth. Yum!