One Week to go and I’m swearing off Chili for life

24 Feb

I have a week to go on my Food Security Challenge and I feel relieved I picked a month with 28 days to live on $6.47 a day! I have $33.89 left of my $194 monthly allotment as a single person. (Which I am for the purpose of this challenge as the rest of the family has wisely declined to get involved this time.

Mrs. Talkin declining involvement in the festivities

Mrs. Talkin declining involvement in the festivities

My weekly allowance is $48.50, so I am down about 25% on where I should be this week – although I still have some of my monthly items left.

Food from Healthy School Pantry

Food from Healthy School Pantry

I am in this situation not because of my virtue and good sense, but because I had access to additional food from two of the Foodbank’s food programs (The Healthy School Pantry in IV in week one and Foodbank member agency Grace Lutheran’s pantry in Week 3). The value of the food I walked away with was about $40 from the IV pantry and $38 from Grace Lutheran). Between these two, they have been a lifesaver, otherwise I would have spent all my money and would need to be looking for free meals at the Rescue Mission or elsewhere.

I’ve been learning a great deal about how to keep healthy with little money for food. Firstly I had a kind of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ situation as regards oatmeal, which I loathed at the beginning of the month, but which I now love and look forward to each morning. Of course I have given its essential wallpaper glue texture a makeover with lots of nuts and dried and fresh fruit, but it shows that a lifetime of culinary prejudice can be overridden. I have also become a daily consumer of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) and cabbage. All are cheap here, and all help me bulk out my diet in a healthy manner.

Chili Week 1

Chili Week 1

The key challenges are related to variety, in that it is very challenging to have enough variety when you are eating leftovers of a large meal you made (so as to stop the vegetables from going bad) for two days and then freezing the rest. It takes time, energy and money to keep variety in your culinary life. The other major problem area is the social nature of food. Ever since a caveman invited his friends around for some wooly mammoth appetizers, you need to give as well as receive food. And if you are always receiving instead of giving, because of lack of money, it makes you turn inward and remain healthy in other ways. Let’s see how I fair in my final week. Just don’t ask me to eat chili ever again…

Chili Week 2 with added Farro

Chili Week 2 with added Farro

Chili Week 3: Defrosting frozen blocks

Chili Week 3: Defrosting frozen blocks

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