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Day Thirty-one

So, dinnertime on Day 31. No month is longer than 31 days, so I suppose this means I have officially "made it." I still have enough food for a few more days, though.

$6.67 a day, with room to spare.

The monthly benefit that eligible people receive is not pro-rated for the number of days in a month. You get the same amount for 28 days in February as you do for 31 days in January.

As an able-to-work, single woman under age 50, I would be restricted to 3 months of food stamps out of every 36 months, so calculating the daily average for a year isn't possible. If I were a mother with two children, for example, I could receive benefits for up to five years at $526/month. For 12 months, that is $6,312. Divided by 365 days in a year, and that family of three needs to eat on $17.29 per day, or $5.76 per person.

Can it be done? Yes, it can. Is it difficult? I am not sure I can say. It was difficult for me, certainly, but it is hardly the most difficult thing I have ever done. The things I found challenging about it had more to do with lifestyle and priorities than actually being able to procure enough food to feed myself healthfully. Again, though, I owe a lot of that to access and friendship and ability to plan and shop thoughtfully and creatively.

Could I do it for a whole year? I suppose I would do, if it was this or starving. It would not be easy, though. Imagine if I had children and wanted them to have birthday cakes, or it was my turn to provide treats for the Girl Scout meeting, or we wanted to have a nice dinner for a holiday celebration. None of those of essential to survival, but surely life is about more than just surviving, even when you are poor.

My parents are no longer alive, or I would ask them how they managed to send me to school with cupcakes, how my mom managed to get caramel apples and popcorn and apple juice for my Girl Scout troop, and have big steaks and chocolate cake every June 8 when we were living with so little. My mom always told me she just wasn't hungry in the mornings, so she never had breakfast, and that she genuinely enjoyed plain canned tuna. I wonder, now, if that was actually true or if she, like many mothers do, went without so that the kids could have more. I guess it's too late to find out now. I suspect my siblings and I owe her a thank-you.


Tonight's dinner was slightly improvised. I know I said I was sick of quasi-sort of Mexican food, but it is easy and it reheats very well. Also, I was too hungry tonight to wait for a meatloaf to bake. So, a sort of stew made of the last ground beef, onions, peppers, a few black beans I had left over (dry beans need to soak, and I hadn't planned on making this), the last of the tomato sauce, garlic, cumin, chili powder, topped with a few shreds of cheddar cheese (I have a "fancy shredder" which shreds so fine that it makes your cheese looks much more voluminous than it is. It's great) and a tortilla that I sliced into strips with a pizza cutter and toasted in the oven at 450 degrees.

I also had some dessert; one of the frozen GF brownies I made on Halloween, along with some pineapple and a few more of those frozen blueberries that have been in the freezer for who knows how long.

Also today:

Breakfast: Leftover frittata (egg, sausage, pepper, onion, potato, sour cream, cheese)
Lunch: Risotto with red onion and asparagus and a cup of chicken soup. Risotto does not microwave as well as I would like, but it's still pretty good.


So, I did it. 31 days, and not a single Ramen noodle, strand of spaghetti, or bite of dry cereal to be found.

I did have bread, thanks to the GF bread mix I bought, but it came out to one serving of bread every other day. I had very little if any transfat, although I didn't check the GF chicken fingers from early on, and I bet they had some in there. Processed foods often do.

I got quite a lot of fruit and vegetable, and calcium, and I cooked with only natural fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and butter, which I know from past bloodwork do not bother me. My bloodwork was at its worst when I was eating a low-fat diet back in 2002. I have had bloodwork 4 times since I stopped cooking with soybean and corn oil in 2007 and my lipid panel has always been outstanding, so I am pretty confident it will be fine at my next office visit.


Some miscellaneous trivia:

Number of times I set off the smoke detector: 4, including tonight
Number of eggs I broke by dropping them: 2
Number of times I cut myself while slicing onions before I finally searched for a youtube video on how to do it properly: 3
Number of times I ate something anyway after dropping it on the floor and washing it off: 5
Number of times I had an internal argument with myself about going to the soda machine: immeasureable
Number of black beans that I had to fish out from my garbage disposal so it would unstick: 9
Number of sponges worn out due to increased dish washing: 4
Number of coupons: 0. I had thought coupons would help me, but in reality, coupons are often for convenience foods and/or name brands that end up costing more than generic and/or scratch ingredients. Not a single one from the Sunday paper was needed for this challenge.

My blood sugar this morning was 89, which is outstanding for someone with insulin resistance. It's actually pretty good, period.

Thank you to everyone who commented, emailed, or just read along. I'll still be here, but it seems like a good time to say it again.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
Congrats, Caryn! I think it's impressive what you've done. :)
Nov. 24th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
Congrats! you must feel really accomplished. Good job.
Nov. 24th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)

well done.
Nov. 24th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Well done! *hugs*
Nov. 24th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
Brrrrrrrrrrrravo! Now, about that book...
Nov. 26th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
Maybe I will save the book for when I have actually managed some long-term success. ;)
Dec. 8th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
You crack me up. I like how you totally ignore medical science "I know butter doesn't bother me". Really? How can you prove this? I am glad you know better than all physicians, allopathic, or naturopathic, what constitutes a good diet.
Dec. 8th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Really? How can you prove this?

Weightloss, improved blood sugar, and improved lipid panel. Thanks for playing, though.

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )