“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information” (TM)
Over the week-end, I learned how one healthy vegan couple “fed” themselves on $1 a day per adult person! It was an eye-opener. In past years, when things were tough, periodically I’ve had to feed two adults for about $30+ a week, total, and that was hard enough. Experts on low budget sites currently say a bottom-rung reasonable budget in America is a minimum of $100 per person per month for food. I think Food Stamps probably equates to less than that.
Cheap foods do not usually end up being healthy for diabetics. so, we have to craft this carefully for Type 1 diabetics and sensibily show Type 2 diabetics how this nutrition-focused budget-plan can help them become healthy again. But, after this autumn’s huge jump in food prices, in today’s even more challenging economic environment, can this severe cut-back in food even be accomplished without compromising health? And, if its a balancing act between diabetes medicine, other medications and food in your household, then this discussion is critical for you.
I think the young couple I first mentioned, Kerrie and Christopher, did have health consequences that may not “last” from only a one month “experiment”, but which in the real world would not bode well, longer-term, for anyone on their regimen. I am going to begin to figure this out, off and on, over the coming weeks and months. Just how do we eat well on the least money? And, how much is that likely to be, as prices continue to rise? Join me on the Journey.
Below, I am also posting an original, diabetic recipe and a health explanation of the ingredients used.
Meanwhile, it’s Veteran’s Day. My father’s grave will have a little American flag on it today, placed there by Boy Scouts, as usual. Maybe one day, there won’t be any more wars to send Girl and Boy Scouts to. And, today, those who served and those who serve, are in our hearts. We send you our eternal Gratitude. And, meanwhile, the citizen-politicians need to steer the Country you fight and die for, into better waters, so your families survive and thrive.
Yes, things are really tough now.
My husband, also a Veteran, has been unemployed for 3 of the last 4 years, and that’s with 3 Ivy-league university degrees, but corporations don’t want to pay for “experience” anymore and don’t want to hire people who would usually be “retirement” age (even though that’s illegal, it’s happening). We’re on the most stressful roller-coaster, but it’s been a longer Journey than 4 years, so we’re pretty experienced, unfortunately. And, the fact that he worked closely and personally with some of the nation’s wealthiest families, for the first 25 years of his career, makes our situation even more bizarre.
Now that the rest of American society is joining us, you’ll likely have many questions. This series will try to give you the benefit of what we’ve learned.
We’ll lose my health insurance, again, in the Spring, (if we can still pay the C.O.B.R.A. out-of-pocket for it until then). I’ll also be OK if another job materializes, or a national health plan is fielded and passed by Congress, (but I doubt that will happen quickly). My husband has Veteran’s benefits, so he’ll mostly be OK. I’ve had to learn a great deal about how to keep my family healthy, even when under the most traumatic stress; so far, I have done very well at it, especially during the 3 years (2003 – 2006) when I had no health insurance at all, and never could go to my doctors, as they were part of an HMO, rather than private-practice physicians.
The crisis is likely to get much worse, and I don’t think ANY Administration will have an easy time or even have a chance to be successful. So, my advice to all of you is that you need to be proactive.
In a New York Times article printed today, they report:
First American CoreLogic, a real estate data company, has calculated that 7.6 million properties in the country were underwater as of Sept. 30, while another 2.1 million were in striking distance. That is nearly a quarter of all homes with mortgages. The 20 hardest-hit ZIP codes are all in four states: California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona.
Read that again — “that’s nearly a quarter of all homes with mortgages“! That group also states that only 10% of Americans have succeeded in completely owning their homes. The other 65% are at risk, too. And, it’s not a matter of people being “irresponsible”. There are huge societal and global aspects in play.
And the magnitude of the current declines has little precedent. In the article, the question is asked, “When (my)(a) house is valued at 50 percent less than it was, does this begin to challenge the way I’m going to behave?” That’s the real central issue.
Rebecca Muscarello, pictured above, is a newly-divorced, single-Mom in the post-Katrina havoc. Until recently, she was married, with a job, but Katrina’s aftermath blew all that away, so now she and her two children are on Food Stamps and are using one of the few remaining food-banks in Louisiana. (Others existed but where never replaced post-Katrina, even though the needs were greater.) Rebecca says she uses her Food Stamps to buy as much fresh food as possible, and gets the shelf-stable items from the food-bank. That seems a good strategy. I can’t speak to using Food Stamps; we never could qualify, even though we felt we needed to. You literally must almost have nothing, so please remember that.
Please give generously to food banks, as they try to collect food for the Holiday Season. Even the least of us can find something to share.
In the four months since June, demand for food aid has risen 20 percent in areas of the country with the healthiest economies and more than 40 percent in areas with the weakest, leaders of nonprofit food-distribution organizations say. And they predict that the need will keep growing in 2009 if the job market continues to contract, as expected.
The statement in red shows how “private” this issue was and is. One of the first lessons is, don’t keep it to yourself. Don’t suffer in silence. Start with a list of people you feel comfortable sharing this with and go from there. The second lesson is how to do everything you can to help yourself, first. That’s what we’ll try to help with here. Remember, ask for other help, after you have done everything you can.
Having had parents who had to survive the Great Depression or generalized, periodic poverty in the generation before theirs (the newly-arrived immigrants), our family still remembers the struggle. Little did we know that our hard-won 5 university degrees would not protect us. I thank our parents and grand-parents for passing along their basic-survival knowledge and skills; I never thought I’d “need” it, and my use of their knowledge had always been skewed towards being a better steward of the Planet, and not wasting resources etc. etc. Now I NEED these skills.
Even when much of America is prospering, hunger is a significant problem, according to annual reports issued by the United States Department of Agriculture.
One American household in nine was “food insecure” (the government avoids the word “hungry”) for part of 2006, and more than a third of these households “had very low food security — meaning that the food intake of one or more adults was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food,” according to a recent department report.
The federal study estimated that 35.5 million people — nearly as many as live in California — sometimes lack enough to eat and that 10.1 million adults and children, roughly the population of Michigan, often go hungry in America.
And the article continues:
At the core of the problem is the lack of job growth. The number of Americans earning any wage grew by two million a year in the 1990s, but at only half that rate in the first seven years of this decade. In recent months the economy has been shedding jobs at a quickening pace, especially in construction and manufacturing.
At the same time, tax data show that 55 percent of Americans have no interest-bearing savings accounts to draw on during hard times. Among the bottom half of taxpayers, who make less than $30,000, two-thirds have no interest income.
And just as more people need help, less is available at food-banks, so that’s even more reason to learn all you can to help yourself, even if it will not be completely in place before winter.
Food manufacturers, restaurants and grocers are giving less to food-banks, or even not at all. Part of this is lack of Government foresight. When the laws make it easier for manufacturers to sell old or over-stocked inventory overseas, rather than get an “equal return” as a “charitable contribution”, something is wrong with the Tax Code. Restauranteurs and grocers seem to still be giving, but less, as they hone their skills to have less inventory waste.
One somewhat dubious silver-lining is “The Bush administration has also started shifting the federal government’s support of food banks toward more vegetables and fruits, and away from surplus agricultural commodities like nonfat dry milk, butter, peanut butter and lard.” But, this is more expensive for the food-banks, as they now require refrigerators and have higher utility bills, and less protein foods are available. Over all, I think Rebecca’s strategy of using Food Stamps for fresh food is good, but, remember, many people going to food-banks don’t get Food Stamps, so having SOME fresh foods there IS essential.
I think food-banks need both types of food and less packaged food. The Lesson: that means the best “donation” to a food-bank is money, so they can buy what their people need most, and to volunteer your time, if you can. Do what you can as hungry people are already being turned away, in many parts of the country.
Now, I want to share an inexpensive meal. I spend all my discretionary money on food, so that’s why I still can buy the most important items as “organic”, but I’ve cut back to only those items necessary as “organic”, too. More on that another time.
Buy Omega-3 eggs (free-range, organic too, if you can — use a co-op grocery or Trader Joe’s as less expensive sources). Eggs are one of the best protein sources, as 100% of the protein in eggs IS bio-available, unlike other protein sources. So, with Omega-3 eggs you get the most protein for your money, and these types of eggs provide Omega-3 essential fatty acids for people who eat little or no cold-water fish. Omega-3s are needed for brain development and for heart health.
Along with a green salad (with dark lettuces, not iceberg) and as many other veggies as you can, and a slice or two of sprouted grain bread or sourdough bread *, try the following recipe.
Em’s Harvest Scramble
1 medium-large yellow onion, very tiny dice **
2 organic Gala apples in tiny, 1/16″ slices, then diced; leave peel on ***
~ 1/8t Celtic sea salt
tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
~ 1/4 t organic, dried oregano
~2T extra-virgin organic coconut oil and organic butter mix
___ Have your salad already made and serve it in a separate bowl, as a second course. Toast some sourdough bread OR sprouted wheat bread, buttered and sliced before you start the eggs. Keep the toast warm. And, especially in winter, warm the plates too, in a lowest temperature oven.
___ Mix the eggs and the spices together well. Set aside.
___ Using a deep stockpot saucepan instead of a frypan, and using medium temperature, add the coconut oil-butter mix and saute the onion and the apple together. When just beginning to soften, add the egg-spices mix. Using a wooden spatula, keep moving the whole mixture quickly so it does not stick or carmelize. Do not overcook the eggs; they should be moist. (The high sides let you move the food around quickly without it flying out of the pot!)
___ pile the eggs in the middle of the plate with toast triangles on the sides. Have salad on the side with olive oil or hemp oil or flax oil dressing, each with lemon squeeze.
And use the Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (O3-EFAs) daily; from the Omega eggs, hemp or flax oils or cold-water fishes, especially salmon (wild-caught, canned, Alaska salmon counts). Yes, they ARE “essential”.
Fats don’t raise blood sugar, and they are needed in winter even more. MUFAs like the ones mentioned target deep, visceral fat, the loss of which will help diabetics greatly and also helps those with Syndrome X (Metabolic Syndrome Disease), so don’t be afraid to use these healthy oils in moderate amounts.
Organic butter has counter-balance substances in it, too, so it is naturally a food, not a demon (don’t use regular butter!).
And, by the way, it is possible to be thin-looking and still have killer visceral fat, that hides deeply inside and strangles your organs, so thin people need these healthy fats, too.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT FOR THIS WEEK: inventory your pantry. Get the oldest items to the front — oh, you don’t label them by date — start. I use removable labels rather than using a permanet marker pen. You choose how to do it on any item that doesn’t have a legible use-by date when you purchase it. Anything you make and freeze should also be labeled. All left-overs should be labeled for date and content and preferably packaged in a way to use them for lunch the next day.
Americans waste as much as 40% of their food; this has to stop.
And, to prevent the flu and stay healthy this winter, so you can work on this budget-food project with me, you need to up your intake of Vitamin D. It’s a fat soluble vitamin that most of us are deficient in. The flu map shows that even families in Texas have shown to be lacking in this sunshine vitamin because most of us don’t spend enough time outdoors and then we use sunblock. To help prevent all those nasty flu symptoms, at least for winter time, up your intake to at least 1,000 units a day, according to Dr. Mercola, and even more is needed if you actually get the flu. I am using this as my strategy to prevent the flu. See Dr. Mercola’s reference below and sign-up for his newsletter; you’ll learn a lot and he doesn’t overwhelm your mailbox.
Check out the specialized recipe search-engine in the Reference section to see if you can start to brainstorm how to use your oldest food. More later.
Best to all — Em
Help prevent the flu: Simple way to help prevent getting the flu.(Click here.)
Learning more about the housing crisis. Homes – New York Times(Click here)
When the cupboard is bare. New York Times(Click here)
Visceral Belly Fat and Heart Disease – with MRI photo: Science Daily(Click here)
There are important differences among body fats. Science Daily(Click here)
Root-cellaring and food storage. New York Times(Click here)
RECIPES USING INGREDIENTS AT HOME, SEARCH ENGINE: Supercook(Click here)
GLEANING and FOOD BANKS:
US Department of Agriculture Gleaning(Click here)
How To glean. Gardeners.com(Click here)
Learn gleaning basics. Oregon foodbank.org(Click here)
Tips for gleaners. Fields to Families.org(Click here)
Gleaning. Slow Movement info(Click here)
Year of the Potato potato2008.org(Click here)
Feed the Hungry, Save the Earth. Southern Cuisine at Suite 101(Click here)
Real Food – Gleaning at the supermarket, too. Mother Earth News(Click here)
Read the first two parts of this series at:
And, to read more articles, click on the Titles Archive on the upper Navigation Bar.
(2008) Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
If you desire to quote from or use my article, please respect my copyright by including it and my website’s address in a footnote or reference section for your article. Thanks.