WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Could you eat on 4 dollars a Day?

Now try to imagine feeding a family of four on 4 dollars a day. Not possible right? What if you had allergies or gastroparesis or other digestive issues? Impossible.

Yet, thousands of families in America wake up each day even with food stamps and have to figure out how to feed all 4 in their family on 4 dollars a day.

There was a time when our family had to work very hard to make sure the food made it paycheck to paycheck. When I made a whole chicken last 3 days worth of meals, when brand names only happened if they were cheaper then the store brand.. how soon we forget that daily struggle when food is fresh and accessible. Honestly, these thoughts would have never made it to my blog if I had not stopped by the Gluten Free Dr's blog and read her most recent post- she has some great thoughts on how to make a difference.

I could feed us something on 4 dollars a day but we would be lacking nutritionally, we would likely be hungry and we would be sick from the chemicals(msg and more make us all ill), I don't think Abby would be as healthy as she is, in fact odds are she would be better on the supplemental formula's(free for those who get medicaid,which many disabled children's family benefit from in Texas since it doesn't matter how much the parents make for an income) full of corn and chemicals she was so allergic to that accelerated the progression of her disease then on what I could feed her with 4 dollars a day.

Today, I took a close look at my fridge. I had all sorts of bits and pieces I would likely throw out at the end of the week. Some homemade kraut that was fine but aging, a fourth of a jar of blueberry sauce, some chickpea nofu... I plan on cooking them this week and eating them- even if I "want" something else.

It is probably time to do a pantry clean out. That food will go to friends or food pantries- NOT the trash.

Add insult to injury, American's do NOT know how to cook. Or grow their own food. Or their own eggs any longer. My friends really think I am nuts for making chickpea nofu,our own kraut,our own yogurt. I do it because if Abby wants to eat and get better, I MUST,to do any less would be neglectful. I would be clueless on how to do it if I had grown up in a Western style household or community. I count my blessings I grew up around hippies, old fashioned Seniors, and a budget driven frugal and health focused Mother. I grew up eating veggies from the garden, mushrooms from the woods, clams I dug myself at age 7.. getting full on an endless supply of wild blackberries, huckleberries, thimbleberries- I learned to fish while I learned to read. My neighbors had pigs,chickens, cows.. My neighborhood was more Senior citizens then young folks- they never bought caramel popcorn balls or divinity or fudge- they made it. That was my world, and as a teen- I hated it! I wanted a family who ate twinkies, who gave me change for the junkfood machine, I wanted McDonald's twice a week or a coke after school. Eating "homemade" was soooo not cool.

Today, as I water the parsley,rosemary, tomatoes,peppers,figs,lemon,orange trees in the yard- I am so grateful.

Imagine never learning how to make a loaf of bread, or how to cook fresh cabbage, or what to do with a bag of dried beans and being given 4 dollars a day to eat. Heartbreaking. Dried beans, cabbage and clearance foods are the only foods I can fathom even stocking up on if I was only given 4 dollars a day.

Our government needs to stop the corruption in our medical,social services and make sure that the families that are literally going hungry are taught and cared for first. I am pretty certain it is universal to want to feed our children the best. Why else would things like pedisure and fortified bread have ever become popular? Because we wanted not just healthier food, but faster food. Unfortunately, neither healthy or affordable are fast- even today with all our modern packaged foods.

Is it any wonder that children in families dependent on government healthcare and foodstamps are more likely to suffer from chronic health issues? Asthma,behavioral issues,diabetes, obesity.

And our government says that cheap food in a box is safe- it isn't. Fresh is best. Sadly out of reach and after a generation of dependency on boxed and packaged foods, American's don't grow their own fresh foods or even how to cook it.

Some may say we don't have time- but like exercise(so many make time for the gym or exercise)we must make time for food, real food.

Instead of TV after dinner, put a planter on the patio, you can grow parsley, basil, rosemary. Have a flower bed? Plant a tomato or radishes or anything really- veggies and herbs are easier to grow to then flowers. Have a yard? Plant a plum tree, or peach or fig, or loquat- depending on where you live there is usually a fruit tree or berry that once established needs little to no care.

Have an orange tree that you aren't able to eat all the oranges? don't leave them on the tree to rot- take a box to your neighbors, to work.

We really need to reassess what we consider food, and the value we attribute to it.

I might try feeding Derek,Sara and I on 4 dollars a day, just to truly understand what much of America is facing today. I won't risk Abby's health for this particular experiment. I am horrified that as I sit and type this there is a Mom somewhere likely close by trying to figure out how to feed her children tonight. Even worse, there is probably another family with a child with allergies or diet restrictions having to feed their children on 4 dollars a day- and we wonder why the rate of chronic health issues is going through the roof.


Laura said...


I am shocked by how much I spend at the grocery and how little food I actually bring home. I cannot imagine feeding my family on $4/day. Not possible. I am not naturally a cook, but am trying to learn. We all feel better when I cook vs eating out. We are starting small and in the process of creating some vegetable garden beds on the side of the house. As I become more proficient at gardening, I hope to expand the beds in the backyard on that side ( gets the best sun!). Chickens would be cool, but I don't think my POA would be too keen on the idea. The amount of cooking you do positively amazes me!!

Diane said...

I don't think I would do half the cooking I do, if Abby did not also have all her allergies- complicates things :-) Doesn't it make a difference though to even have a little bit of stuff growing in the beds? The prices are OUTRAGEOUS to buy clean food- I could not feed Abby what I do, if our budget was 4 a day- no way.

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