I had a reply to my Food Stamps Challenge post that I wanted to reply to but, it was written by Anonymous with no way of of me responding to the person directly. So I am responding in this post. The comment said:
My husband and I eat for approx $50 each week, and we are not on food stamps. We eat very well.We eat meat everyday.We don’t have a garden or chickens.We don’t go ‘grocery shopping’ we go hunting for bargains, specials,and reduced food. We don’t plan our meals in advance, but instead base our meals on the food we are able to obtain, and fill in our grocery list with required ingredients.We substitute whenever possible.We make our bread in a bread machine for pennies.We make a lot of food from scratch. We buy a lot of whole chickens and have the first couple of meals as roast dinners, then a simmersauce and rice meal,sandwiches, and then finally we make a soup with the carcass (this last for days). A roast pork will do the same thing. Cheap steak/pork makes a great stew. Add dumplings.Buy fruit/vegs in season. The best thing you can have is a positive attitude. Don’t see it as derivation, but as a first step to gather control of your life.
I’ll respond to each part to make it easier to follow along.
My husband and I eat for approx $50 each week, and we are not on food stamps. We eat very well.We eat meat everyday.
Wow! I would love to see your menu to see if it is something that would work for someone with extreme allergies. I am very curious as to what you eat. If you would be okay sharing, I would love to see it.
We don’t have a garden or chickens.We don’t go ‘grocery shopping’ we go hunting for bargains, specials, and reduced food.
We don’t have a garden or chickens either. We live in a small town and the grocery prices here are astronomical! I usually drive out of town to get better deals and make our money stretch further. The bargains here aren’t really bargains at all.
The biggest problem I have in shopping for sales is that we are allergic to so many foods. I can’t pick the cheapest spaghetti sauce if it’s going to send us into anaphylaxis or an angioedema attack. I have to buy specific brands. Other foods have to be gluten-free and gluten-free foods tend to be VERY expensive.
Once you start avoiding corn, wheat, peanuts, soy, and eggs, the food you can buy already processed is very limited and very pricey. Add in all our other allergens and you are left making a lot of things from scratch. That sounds like it would be cheaper, but most of our flours and other foods are “specialty” foods. Companies know that they can jack the price of those foods through the roof, and they do!
For example, one 16 ounce bag of garbanzo bean flour here is $4 a bag. Compare that to a large 5 pound bag of wheat flour that is about $3. The wheat flour stretches very far and can make a ton of tortilla’s while my little bag of garbanzo bean flour can’t make a lot of tortillas at all. Maybe 30 tortillas, at most.
We also don’t buy canned foods because they are too high in salt and we’re on a lower sodium (oldest son) and low sodium diet (me).
Plus, the salad dressing I buy, the ONLY one I can have, is $3.99 to $4.99 for an 8 ounce bottle. The price of one serving is easily 2 to 3 times more than other salad dressings.
These are just a few examples. It’s just not as easy as some may think when it comes to shopping with food allergies.
We don’t plan our meals in advance, but instead base our meals on the food we are able to obtain, and fill in our grocery list with required ingredients.
We do something similar. Although we buy the chicken we can eat without getting sick all at one time each month. It just doesn’t go on sale. Ever. But we do look at what we have and make meals with what we have in the pantry/ fridge/ deep freezer. We do plan an occasional “special” meal, like for birthdays, holidays, and family visits. But mostly we just make sure we have the basics and go from there.
We substitute whenever possible.
We substitute a lot of our foods because of our allergies. Eggs get substituted for flax meal or bananas; Cow milk is substituted with coconut milk (which is expensive!); wheat flour is substituted with rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, sorghum flour, arrowroot starch, or buckwheat flour (depending on the recipe).
We make our bread in a bread machine for pennies.
If we could eat wheat flour bread, I would be right there with you! But, we can’t. So our bread is either homemade biscuit style or Franz Gluten-free bread. Unless we can use a tortilla, then I make homemade tortillas.
We make a lot of food from scratch
I’d say that 99% of our food is made from scratch. We don’t have much of a choice.
We buy a lot of whole chickens and have the first couple of meals as roast dinners, then a simmersauce and rice meal,sandwiches, and then finally we make a soup with the carcass (this last for days).
We eat whole chicken too! A whole chicken, between the three of us, is a meal. There are no leftovers LOL. Since we can’t eat the legs or wings, we pick those off for the cats. It works out quite well. Although I don’t buy whole chicken often though. The whole chicken I have bought here freezes well. But once it is thawed, it REEKS! So I opt to buy the Costco sized bag of chicken tenderloin.
A roast pork will do the same thing. Cheap steak/pork makes a great stew.
We don’t do pork roast. I am allergic. I don’t want to die. I also can’t buy cheap meats as they are corn fed. I have to buy grass-fed beef which is considerably more expensive. Because of our live disease, any meat we eat needs to me as low fat as we can get. I usually buy ground beef at 4-6% fat content. That is quite pricey!
We can’t have dumplings. I haven’t found a good dumping recipe that doesn’t have wheat. But I am open to suggestions!
Buy fruit/vegs in season
We do, but they are still very pricey. One apple here costs $2 by itself. On pear was $1.89 the other day. While I love fresh fruits and veggies, they are limited as they cost a lot.
The best thing you can have is a positive attitude.
I do have a positive attitude when it comes to food. I actually love eating a lot of different foods. Having food allergies has taught me to enjoy a lot in life and has helped me be healthier than I have ever been in my entire life! Life, and food, is good to me.
Don’t see it as derivation, but as a first step to gather control of your life.
Did you mean “deprivation”? I certainly don’t see this as a deprivation and I don’t quite understand what you mean by “a first step to gather control of your life.” But it sounds good.
I don’t feel deprived. I do have more food income that isn’t just food stamps, as food stamps is meant to be SUPPLEMENTAL, not your only food income. It’s even part of the programs name, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (AKA SNAP).
This was, after all, a challenge. This wasn’t something I was planning on doing long term. I would end up with serious health issues if I did. I only did it for a week to see how it would be to live on that little amount, with all our allergies and, without leaving this small town/ big food prices area.
I limited myself a lot by doing that. Usually I can leave town. Usually I can buy food cheaper. But for that one week, my food prices were 2 to 3 times more than what they usually are. If I planned this again, I would plan on being able to leave town so I could eat better. The reason I chose to stay put for the week was because most people on food stamps can’t leave because they can’t afford it.
Please don’t think I am being difficult. If you would like to try one week on my diet, I would be happy to share my allergy list with you so you can attempt it on $50 a week. I would be thrilled to see if someone can do it.
Your points are great for other people with your lifestyle. But they don’t work for people with extreme allergies and celiac disease. I posted the comment in full so that hopefully someone else can use the information to help themselves.
Thank you so much for replying to the blog. I am really excited about seeing your menu plan. If you don’t mind, I can post it so others con use it for ideas of what to make on a lower food budget. I would love to get some ideas for us as well. So please, feel free to email me with it. If you don’t mind. I won’t use your name on the blog if you don’t want me to.