1177 is a heptagonal number.
1177 is the maximal number of regions into which 48 lines divide a plane.
1177 was the year in which the Peace Treaty of Venice was signed by Emperor Frederik I & Pope Alexander III.
1177 is also $11.77 which is the total amount of food stamp money I have left for the last full week of my challenge.
A lot of the support that the Foodbank and our 300 member nonprofit agencies in the county provide is to people who reach a similar kind of situation, typically later in the calendar month. Bills have been paid, money spent and there ain’t nuthin’ in the cupboard.
I’m lucky, because I still have a good amount of food in the cupboard. Here is a photo of what will probably be the final significant food purchasing I will do. Someone play ‘Taps’ on a trumpet as a tear drops silently onto my depleted EBT card:
I went shopping for vegetables, rice cakes, yoghurt, fish, canned tuna. Straightforward stuff. No more licorice allsorts for me, sunny Jim.
I have still been getting by on preparing large quantities and freezing it. I made a particularly good pasta sauce with a ton of fresh vegetables pureed into it, including kale from the garden (the perfect way for us non-kale groupies to consume the nutritious little weed…)
It was a great way of me using up all the cauliflower and carrots and onions and other vegetables that I had received from distributions, but which were about to go off if I did not act. I have also benefitted from some great salad stuff from my garden:
Yet despite all the Rachel Ray moments, there has been a lot of monotony. Like the last of the Chili below:
At this point in my study, I thought it was time for an expert to weigh in with some comments on what I’ve been up to in my challenge. The Foodbank is lucky to have an experienced dietician, Serena Fuller PhD, RD (and doubtless enough other acronyms to fill up a twitter post) on our staff. Serena’s job is to be our Health Evaluation and Education Manager, and to help us keep our community healthy.
I have tried to be a good boy, and I remained hopeful that Serena would not rap my knuckles for nutritional misbehavior and so it largely proved. I have certainly made major improvements over the last six months in terms of what I am eating, how much exercise I am doing, as well as giving up drinking and trying to moderate my McConnells and black licorice and Cadbury’s Flake (a British chocolate bar) addictions.
Serena did encourage me to look at my fiber intake. Serena explained that Americans in general have poor fiber intake, with the average being 12 grams a day, when adult males need 30 grams and females 25g. I have been using a lot of different beans as a way of getting fiber, but have not been making use of oatmeal as I could. It can be cheap bought in bulk and used in baking or sprinkling half a cup in a sauce so that you never know it is there.
Our conversation mainly focused on the challenges that our client families face living on a small amount of money for food, year in, year out. A major danger is the monotonous diet I have sometimes grappled with in my month. Also the fact that people are drawn to prepared foods, which at the cheaper end have a high sodium content and poor nutritional makeup.
The way to get by is by being able to buy and cook and store in bulk. There are a number of barriers to doing this: having the skills and confidence, the time to cook, the place to cook, the utensils to cook with (large soup pot, slow cooker, blender etc) and then a place to store both ingredients and completed meals. These can be huge barriers with many clients living in a hotel or sharing a garage. There is simply nowhere to store or save things.
The Foodbank is focused on helping provide the skills and confidence to encourage families to take the steps to equip themselves to be able to look after themselves like this.
There are also good resources out there. Serena suggests checking out:
I am hoping I will be able to get through my last week, because I will also be accessing services for those who might be homeless or living in their car or otherwise without a kitchen.
If you want to see a grown man try and defrost chili with a car cigarette lighter, stay tuned for my report