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Old 07-31-2009, 09:49 PM   #1
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Default The cold cruel facts of life

I don't mean to make anyone feel sorry for me, but I have been through in the past year. I've lost my house, job, investments, savings, health care, car, and have had to move somewhere strange and new and make all new friends. There have been times when I really wanted to end it all. I got on anti-depressants and got a part time minimum wage job (living on about 580 per month with 365 going for rent-- that is per month in the US)-- I am losing weight though, and it is really great, but it is because I have not had the money to feed myself. I keep buying things like cheese and nuts when I have money because they are more calorically dense. I also don't have money to waste so I am buying only fruit and vegetable and things that are "good for you."

Okay so this is the first time I have been able to actually lose weight, but I am doing it because of poverty. I remember seeing depression era photos of women who were really skinny. I am starting to look that way.

My rant here is that it seems that I have made my mind up about which diet works. My staples are rice, regular canned beans and diced tomatoes. terribly boring and vegetarian. I eat lots of any kind of vegetable or fruit I can afford because it is "good" my favorites are broccolii, and peppers. That's it. That is a day's worth of meals. One can of beans, one can of chopped tomatoes and a few cups of rice, with maybe some broccolii, cheese and an egg. I also eat eggs when I can.

I wanted to lose 100 lbs, and have lost now 40.

I actually need to eat more to stop from losing too much too fast (that was where the cheese comes in). I think all in all, I never get over 1500-1700 calories and I am 6 feet tall female.

So I really offer this to anyone who might want to try--It's basically a non-fancy version of the Med diet, I think. I also walk a good 3 miles per day, but not much other exersise.

My skin and hair look really great too. No explaination. -------------------------

What gives? How to eat well when you don't have money for food? I can tell you that the food handout places give you a lot of tragic garbage. Cakes and sweets too. Not much fresh food. No green vegetables. I won't put that in my mouth.

So Seriously, this is an elephant in the living room issue. I mean, so what happens when you are trying to lose weight then you lose your home through forclosure, lose your job, lose health benifits lose it all and are put on the streets? How do you keep healthy and eat the right to not gain weight? -----------------------------------
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:54 PM   #2
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I giselley, nice to meet you. I'm really sorry for your unfortunate circumstances, but it sounds like you eat like me (I"m on disability and also poverty striken though!) but I Try and make healthy choices and find that eating vegetarian and whole foods (or bulk foods) is cheaper and healtheir anyway!

Also, try and think positive, you have lost 40 lbs, congrats!

I'm almost right there with you, we will see on Sunday

I know food places can give out a lot of junk, but have you tried angel food minisitries? They give out a lot of healthy stuff I have noticed (at least in the past, maybe not now? Check them out anyhow)

I honestly don't remember if they have a vegetarian option or not. but they may.

just google angel food ministries.

I hope that helps some.

and again, congrats on the 40 lb loss!
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it's the courage to continue that counts." --Winston Churchill\

Check out my weight loss blog!: www.beyondwillpower.blogspot.com
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:01 PM   #3
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Hi giselly. I eat a lot of rice and beans myself. One thing you can do to cut down the cost of beans/rice is to buy in bulk and if you live an asian market, they are great savings. 1 lb of beans and 1 can of beans are about the same in cost but the lb of dry beans will go further than the can of beans.

Also big bags of rice at the asian market tend to cost as much as smaller bags at the regular grocery store.

I know it may mean saving pennies but when you are trying to save money as much as possible, any little bit helps.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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Wow, I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. You are very strong for continuing to move forward the way you are, and you should be very proud of yourself. Things always change in life, and who knows where you will be in a few months! The forty pound loss is def a silver lining. Keep going!!

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Old 07-31-2009, 10:30 PM   #5
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Your story is so interesting, because usually we think it is the other way around -- so EASY to eat the number 5 special for a few bucks, but you are definitely finding a silver lining.

Are you able to use frozen fruits and veggies? I do that in the winter here because of the cost...it might add some variety to your life. Dried lentils, too. Bulk shopping? ...argghhhh I so feel for you...sigh...


Last edited by kiramira; 07-31-2009 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:44 PM   #6
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It's very difficult, there's no way around it, but there are a lot of good books and online resources, that can help

When it happened to us, after we had to file bankruptcy (medical bills and husband's job loss and my impending job loss), we read everything we could. Mostly borrowed from the library, but also acquired second-hand. Some we learned alot from (and still reference) such as the Tightwad Gazette and Good Cheap Food (which I now own, and continually reference) and a couple ground beef and tvp cookbooks.

We even read more extreme books that we were lucky not to have to apply much from into our lives, such as

Art & Science of Dumpster Diving by John Hoffman
Living Well on Practically Nothing: Revised and Updated Edition by Edward H. Romney
How to Survive Without a Salary: Learning How to Live the Conserver Lifestyle by Charles Long

I googled, I used amazon (using the search features on amazon including the customers also bought lists and the you might also like lists, to make a wish list on amazon full of these books, printed it out and then took it to the library).

I must have read 40 books on saving money, eating healthy on a budget, living on very little.... and I probably found at least a dozen websites.

Finding the information wasn't difficult, sorting through it all was. One resource suggested raising guinea pigs, rabbits, even poultry "free-range," (even in the city) in a basement, throwing hay down on the floor and sweeping periodically to clean (yeah, not very practical for apartment dwellers, or people such as myself with severe asthmatic reactions to animal urine and droppings).

Not every tip, or even one in ever 50 tips were those we could use, but the ones we found helpful were lifesavers. For example, I mix cheap ground beef with much cheaper tvp and brown with onions and other seasonings to make a ground meat mixture that is equivalent to extra lean chicken or beef at less than the cost of the cheapest ground beef or pork. The browned meat mixture can then be used in any recipe calling for ground beef or tvp granules. I freeze it, but smoosh it as it freezes, so it freezes in crumbles so I can make a big batch and scoop out what I need at each meal. It's a tip I found and adapted from the Tightwad Gazette books.

I have the full recipe and variations as well as other cheap recipes on my blog

My Etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)

etsy link by permission from 3fc! Want to add yours? Ask them!

Last edited by kaplods; 07-31-2009 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:08 AM   #7
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Hi Giselley

You have certainly had more than your share of tough knocks haven't you? I'm sorry for all you have gone through. I'm also really impressed with all you have accomplished. Losing weight is one of the toughest things we do, yet you are doing it. Good for you!

You have already received great advice and tips, so I won't add to that. My only question is if you have given thought to how your eating will change once your financial circumstances improve? I would think that making a plan of action in advance will keep you from regaining the weight you've lost once you can afford to eat what you want. That would be a shame since you have gone through so much. Your payoff right now for living in poverty is that you will get those unwanted pounds off and look and feel so much better. Take care and don't ever give up on yourself.
This is my final time 6/16/09

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Old 08-01-2009, 09:25 AM   #8
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You bring up some interesting points. Whenever I give to foodbanks, I try to give healthier foods. I know a lot of it is probably processed box foods. Things that are easy to shelf.

My only thoughts are ways to get inexpensive, healthy foods is to ask friends or family with gardens to give you (or others in that situation) produce in exchange for work on the garden. Or even ask people you don't know. I think there's a lot more bartering going on than there used to be. When you are able to get cheap produce, you can freeze or can the leftovers.

There are a lot of resources on the web for living frugally. I work, but my husband stays home with the baby. Looking for frugal tips is my second job.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:29 AM   #9
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You have already received excellent advice above. Does your community have food/paper product/etc. pantries? They are an excellent source of staples for folk where I live. Check with your local chamber of commerce or churches in the area, they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Also - are there any meal programs in the area? A local church here serves hot meals several times per week.

Do you live where you can plant a garden? Is there a farmer's market close by? How about neighbors/friends/church members with gardens?

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? ICor 6:19
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:53 AM   #10
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You know... I've had my fair share of rough, rock bottom times. Times I thought about giving up (literally) as well.

But after all those times... I finally realized that there's a reason behind all of it. Sometimes, like with your weight loss, we don't notice things or learn things or understand things that we need to learn to grow in life.... until we've hit that rock bottom.

It seems to me that you have some blessings in the form form of sorrow here.... take your lesson, learn from it, and hold it tight for the rest of your life because it was definitely a gift from somewhere. That's what I try to do.

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

Overall Weight Goal (Started Spring 2006)

My Newest Goal: Lose 2011's Gained Stress Weight & Get Back to my Lowest Weight in Time for my Dec' 11 Vacation!!

Last edited by starfishkitty; 08-01-2009 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:01 PM   #11
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Hi, thanks for thoughtful and non-judgemental answers. Some important issues have been brought up. For example: when giving to a food bank, a lot of times, they allow the "poor" people a choice of maybe 3 cans of food and that is all. Many people seem to give something totally useless like "pumpkin pie filling" because they are cleaning their cabinets out. Giving foods like "hearty beef stew" is much more appreciated. I agree that you can eat well on pennies per day. You don't have to spend a lot of money on ready-made food from a national chain.

The question, what will I eat after I start making more money? Well, I have no indication that it will ever happen. By the economy, I figure I will be in this situation for several years to come. One thing I have learned is that you do not need nearly the amount of food we Americans (I am in America) normally eat. I know that a 1/2 cup of rice, an egg and something like an orange will tide me over to the next meal. I have been very careful about not over-eating because I ration my food. Even without a refrigerator, I can keep a 1/2 can of beans cool for the next morning.

I also have made an astonishing find. I eat less when I eat mainly dry goods-- I am trying as much as possible to "shop like the French," which is to shop only for a day or two at a time. In other words, except for bulk dry goods, keep the refrigerated and frozen food out of the equation. Rely on local produce. Eat all the produce within a few days.

my main meal tonight, 1-1/2 cup fresh broccolii, 2 eggs and a nectarine.

Never buy in bulk. Buy only what you need for a meal. If you get meat, don't buy a family pack. It will actually tempt you to eat too much. For example. If you want a burger for the night, then buy only 1 burger patty from a meat counter, and buy one bun. Buy only what you need. I think that a lot of people get overweight because they buy too much and are forced to eat what is in the fridge.

some people will say that this is false economy because it is cheaper to get the family pack and freeze it instead of one patty-- I am here to say that the result of the family pack thinking is a long and expensive period of trying to lose weight. I'd rather spend an extra 10 cents then have that frozen beef waiting for me (like I said mostly eat vegetarian anyway).

As far as snacking. I have totally stopped it. I reallly dream of eating a bag of cheetos, but I can't afford it.

Well, thanks for the niceness. Don't feel sorry for me. I just thought I would tell you all that "poverty" was a main reason I was losing weight because it is actually a good strategy to keep with a very small food budget. Eat only simple cheap foods. Like some diet experts say, only shop around the edges of the asiles. Don't go down the cerial aisles and so on. Don't buy fast food when you can cook a good rice/broccolli meal in 15 minutes.

And thanks to those who have thought about what you donate to the poveryth stricken. I really think there have been excellent reports that the poor have higher cases of things like obesity and diabetes because of all the "aisle interior" food they consume.

Last edited by giselley; 08-01-2009 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:43 PM   #12
Hi From Canada, eh?
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I guess we all have to live with reality, yours is kinda crappy right now but at least you're getting by. It 'works' for you to shop a meal at a time, but I'm afraid i'm one of those 'bulk buyers" and bulk cookers, mostly for convenience and economy. It doesn't really prompt me to eat more as it's frozen solid LOL

You say you don't want Cheetos because you can't afford it -- when you CAN afford it again, do you think you'll walk away from it because of all the lessons you've learned during this lean period? Not that those revelations would be worth going thru all this, but at least it's ONE positive outcome right?

Glad you've got access to an internet connection so you can stay in touch with us all !!

Started: 323
Now: 171 - nope, 165 now!
NOPE -- 162 now! Holy crap i've lost a PERSON!
Goal: 160

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:28 AM   #13
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Im so sorry to hear of your rough time. I grew up extremely poor so I know how that can be. Like someone mentioned above, buy big bags of beans and rice. You can make a pot of beans for practicly pennies and eat on it all week. You can make bean soup, beans and cornbread, etc. Switch it up. And macaroni. You can buy inexpensive macaroni cheaply. Also Ramen noodles is inexpensive if you can work that into your weight loss plan.
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