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View Diary: Eating on $5 a Day, the Food Stamp "Entitlement" (302 comments)

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  •  No one should have to eat on $5/day (10+ / 0-)

    but if you do, you should seriously consider rice and beans, especially if dairy is a dietary problem for you.  I don't think there's a cheaper source of balanced nutrition available, and it adds an affordable option to the inevitable lack of variety.

    I am assuming, of course, that if you have a bread machine you also have a working range to cook on, a fridge, and the time to do some cooking, at least. Beans take time, but they are easy to cook in bulk and reheat beautifully.

    If you can manage to set aside perhaps $10 just once for seldom-replaced staples, the kind of things that will last a long time, get some canned tomatoes (the biggest cans you can find - once opened, repackage and freeze the remainder in smaller containers) and seasonings: maybe some chili powder, soy sauce, freeze-dried garlic and/or onions, or whatever flavors you enjoy. Using different seasonings can add taste variety, at least.

    And if you can save enough by forgoing some of the animal protein you mention in favor of rice & beans, you might have enough left over for the occasional bunch of broccoli or bag of apples. The lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet you describe is the most worrisome thing about it, but I know those things can be budget-busters.

    If you'd like recipes for some of my suggestions, please let me know, I'd be happy to help.

    I hope things get better for you soon, and you don't have to live this way much longer.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 11:20:05 AM PST

    •  Beans: obtain a pressure cooker (7+ / 0-)

      it cuts down on the cooking time enormously. Relatively cheap pressure cookers -- usually from China and made of aluminum :-( -- can be found in many ethnic markets.

      •  Excellent suggestion! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atana, aitchdee, glorificus, high uintas

        I've never owned one, but my mom did: she made split pea soup (another very good low-budget meal choice) in 1/2 hr!

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:36:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One of the most useful pieces of cookware I own. (5+ / 0-)

          And they are much faster than slow cookers. If you eat meat, there are many meat dishes you can use them for too. I've pressure cooked cut up whole mackerel with some red miso and a little spice, sugar, mirin and soy sauce to make a silky smooth, delicious Japanese fish dish that is eaten -- bones and all -- with rice.

    •  Beans and grain are the foundation of civilization (7+ / 0-)

      Corn & beans made the Incas & Aztecs. The Romans did chickpeas & wheat. Ancient Egypt did favas & emmer wheat. India did lentils & rice, wheat, sorghum, etc. China did rice & soy. Much of Northern Europe did field peas (split peas to us) and rye bread.


      Anthony Bourdain does ful medammas & wheat

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:17:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So true! If you can eat beans, this is the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mumtaznepal

        best.  I've been eating corn and beans every day for almost a year now, needing to keep my costs down to 4 or 5 dollars a day, and supplemented with lots of vegetables and the cheapest fruit, have never been healthier.  This is mainly because vegetables where I live are almost free, so I am aware that it is different for everyone depending upon where they live.  But yeah, beans and grains.

      •  Corn needs some processing to be healthy (0+ / 0-)

        The Native Americans relied on it, with beans, but they first boiled it with wood ashes, because otherwise you can develop terrible vitamin B deficiencies.  

        Pellagra used to be quite common in the South when poor people depended on corn for a large part of their diet, but didn't know about the wood-ash-boiling step.  

        If you buy masa in Spanish markets, it's ground corn that's already been treated, so you won't get pellagra from eating a lot of it.

        And yes, beans are wonderful, too.  You can make a very good vegetarian chili that nobody will notice doesn't have meat in it.

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