*This is a previous post from my old blog
Update: My article is up, check it out! Eating Organic on a Budget in Sacramento
As the last day of the Hunger Challenge was upon me I felt relieved and sad at the same time. Because this time of hunger may be coming to an end for me, but I know that it’s not the end for the 1 in 4 people in the SF area who are hungry every day because a lack of food.
I have such gratitude for the San Francisco Food Bank for providing much needed pantry items to those in need. I felt very lucky for these items during the challenge and know that without them, it would’ve been impossible for Mando and I to stay within our $45 budget for the week.
Breakfast: Egg on toast w/ sliced tomato, onions and early clipping from the lettuce in my garden
It was hard not to feel depressed about not being able to afford even a cup of coffee if I felt so inclined to buy one. No happy hour drink with friends, no mid-day snack while delivering groceries downtown–nothing. All of a sudden, the dollar menu at Mc Donald’s didn’t look so bad and all of my memories of electrocuted baby chicks to make McNuggets and Big Macs that could outlive my Great-Grandmother, vanished.
I felt deprived throughout the challenge and constantly needed a “pick-me-up” in the form of delicious meals. It was unfair, I thought, for us to feel like we couldn’t eat nice meals just because we were on a limited budget. I thought about all my Instagram photos of food, the reality food shows on TV and cookbooks with step-by-step baking instructions, photos included. I thought about how all of this “food porn” is taunting and devastating for those who deal with hunger on a daily basis. I wanted for myself during this challenge, and for people who live their lives on this budget, to feel satisfied with their meals. After all, why can’t people on food stamps eat well? And that’s where the Eat Well Cookbook came in. The cookbook provided by the SF Food Bank was a much needed resource for me to feel inspired about food in a world of little inspiration and little cash.
My struggles were even greater by purchasing organic because it’s generally more expensive to buy organic foods over non-organic foods.
*Note: I’ve found some great ways to get around expensive organic that I’m excited to share with you in an article for City Scout coming soon.
But just because this is our food system now, (i.e. expensive organic), it doesn’t mean that we have to blindly follow these corporations. It takes all of us voting with our dollars. We must support a food system we agree with. When you buy products filled with GMO’s, pesticides and cancer-causing ingredients, you are supporting these things. When you buy non-organic items, you are asking the stores to provide more non-organic foods and telling its makers that it’s OK to put toxic ingredients in our food. You are voting for a food system for your children or somebody else’s children–it doesn’t really matter if they’re yours or not because they’ll run your country–and ultimately deciding their happiness, health and financial stability and yours.
Every time you take a sip of Coca-Cola or bite into an Oreo you are saying it’s OK for these companies to continue to make their products with ingredients known to harm your body. I know you love these foods and drinks. I know you trust them. I did too. It’s extremely difficult to stop consuming products you love and have supported for years. But what if you stopped consuming them in order to motivate these companies to continue making the foods you love but only with the purest of ingredients with no modifications or additives? If you stop buying it, they’ll do anything possible to get your vote (AKA your dollar) back into their pockets. So insist on only the best and the best is what you’ll get. This country needs you to do it. If you are someone who is fortunate and hard-working enough to have more than $4.50 to spend on food for the day, I ask you, please spend those dollars wisely because how you spend them matters to those who have less to spend. Only we can make organic affordable and accessible to those in need by demanding it in our grocery stores, markets and even liquor stores and gas stations.
The choice is yours and you’ve already made it, just look in your fridge.
To show how much food we went through in the past five days and how much we spent, here’s a breakdown of our items and their prices:
Oatmeal–$4.00–2lbs. =1cup left=$3.00 spent
Wine–$8.68–a little leftover but we’ll call it 0 left
Green Beans & Zucchini–$3.00–0 left
Lettuce–$1.50–95% left=$0.30 spent
Lemon–$0.80–half left=$0.40 spent
Garbanzo Beans–$4.78–0 left
White Beans– $1.50–0 left
Trail Mix–$7.49–0 left
~Pantry Items~ *Items donated by the SF Food Bank, therefore, “free” during the challenge.
Cantaloupe (1)1/4 left
Onions (2)-half left
Eggs-2 left at the end of challenge
Rice (1.5 lbs.)-gone
Snack: Leftover Curry Chips, recipe courtesy Isa Does It
Homemade Hummus–my recipe! coming soon…
Lunch: “Tuna” Sandwich made w/ mashed chickpeas, vegan mayo, lemon juice, organic nori & onions w/Cantaloupe on the side, recipe for sandwich courtesy Vegan Junk Food
Spicy Green Beans–Eat Well Cookbook
Homemade Pasta–Eat Well Cookbook
Roti –Eat Well Cookbook
Tofu Burgers–my recipe! coming soon…
Veagn Tuna Sandwiches–Vegan Junk Food
Caramelized Bananas–Eat Well Cookbook
My first try at homemade pasta–Recipe courtesy Eat Well Cookbook provided by SF Food Bank
I made my pasta with Wheat Flour which requires longer cooking
Homemade cooked pasta w/homemade tomato sauce
Caramelized Bananas, recipe courtesy Eat Well Cookbook
This challenge has inspired both Mando and I to look for further organic resources for those in need around SF.
Healthy Fast Food restaurant to open in the Tenderloin, SF.
The SF Food Bank, in particular, their Eat Well Cookbook which I was so impressed with during the challenge for its tips and delicious recipes that I will continue to use it in the future.
Free Farm Stand — Free, organic produce available in SF! Mando found this while researching for a homework assignment. We were both so excited to find this and only wish we knew about it before we began the challenge.
What we ate for day 5 below:
One Egg on Toast w/sliced tomato, early lettuce clipping from my garden, onions, salt & pepper & hot sauce
Curry Chips leftover from the other day
Vegan “Tuna” Sandwich
Homemade Wheat Pasta w/ Tomato Sauce from my freezer
Potato and Summer Squash Gratin
Oatmeal, Blueberries, Brown Sugar, Chocolate Chips, Honey, Strawberries, Grapes
*Mando had a snack provided for him a work today
*gifted to Mando
Vegan “Tuna” Sandwich w/sliced tomato
Homemade Wheat Pasta w/ Tomato Sauce
Potato and Summer Squash Gratin