Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 5 - reflections

It's still Friday morning, but I have a few thoughts about why this was easier for me this year. And also why it is SO much easier for a healthy person to do this for 5 days without the incremental health degradation that a poor person who always eats this way faces.

First, I over-budgeted for the fillers - rice, beans and lentils. So I was more full than last year, but traded off the little variety I had - broccoli and a kiwi a day - for carrots, which were cheap and I figured wouldn't spoil, like my broccoli did.

So interesting to me that I did this without thinking, because when I'm working in Kenya I preach the gospel of more variety and less ugali (boiled corn meal). In my defense my beans and lentils balanced with rice give me a complete protein, and corn has scant protein or nutrients, but that urge to go to bed full overcame even my knowledge of nutrients.

Second, I continued to take my vitamins and supplements (and thyroid meds), which probably took care of any nutritional deficiencies, which obviously poor people can't do.

my daily supplements

So, off to Rockford to pick up my speaking partner, then on to Quincy, where we'll spend the night. Giving a presentation tomorrow morning on the importance of switching to a graduated rate income tax. So, I'm going to pack up lunch and dinner, and hope for a microwave for my dinner. My plan is to eat in the hotel room and then go out to dinner with my friend, but only have tap water. Going a day away from home without being able to have a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit to get me from one meal to the net will be a challenge.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day 3 of Live Below the Line

getting ready to drain the carrots and get rid of the repulsive sludgy bean broth
lunch day 3 - black beans, lentils and rice with cooked carrot, salt and olive oil

So I've discovered if I heat the beans using some of my olive oil allotment for the day, and sort of crisp them up a little, they carmelize a teense and taste much better. Two things (among many other realities) really poor people can't do - refrigerate their food so that they don't need to cook every day, and squander valuable cooking fuel (wood, which had to be carried perhaps for hours, or charcoal, which is costly) to crisp up their bland food.

I measured out 2 tablespoons of oil per day (10 T), and one teaspoon of salt (5 tsp) so that my 5 day allotment was ready to go. I budgeted quite a percentage of my money - 22 cents a day - on oil, because last year my lips got cracked and dry, and I was itchy. One friend suggested that it might have been too much salt rather than too little fat, so I also measured out my salt for the week so I didn't oversalt the bland food. So far, I seem to have quite a bit of both oil and salt left, suggesting that I'm not actually using the daily amount that I'm "entitled" to. And have neither cracked lips nor itchy skin. Hmmm. Maybe the air was drier that week last year?

I feel okay, pretty good energy levels and not too hungry. Last year I actually napped, and also went to bed early once. But I also had both a vegetable (broccoli) AND a fruit (a kiwi) every day. And maybe I got a better deal on the legumes and rice? Have to check back.

Day 2, AKA "throw away the bean soup"

Okay, yuck! I threw away the water the beans were soaked in, of course. But I read up on the cooking water, and it seemed that it would be perfectly fine, people use it as a stock for stews, soups, etc. Which makes sense - if you make bean soup, you're eating the water it was cooked in, right?

In my case, oh so wrong. So, yesterday mid-morning I decided to have a nice pick-me-up of the carrots simmered in bean-cooking water, that I had so frugally saved. I'd had breakfast at 5:30 am so I could go to a polling station at 6:00 for a candidate friend of mine. Get home hungry about 9:00 am. Decided to warm up the carrot soup instead of digging into lunch.

One nice big bowl of bean-broth carrot soup later, and I was canceling my afternoon plans. Maybe I simmered it down until it was too intensely beany? Anyhoo, no need to describe further, other than to say I stayed close to home until late afternoon.

Upside? Lunch never did sound good, so I had a nice big dinner and went to bed full!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 1 Live Below the Line 2013

For the second year I'm taking part in Live Below the Line, a poverty and hunger awareness campaign that also raises money for poverty-related projects. 

It takes some planning, and the insights just keep coming. I shopped at a fairly cheap urban grocery store yesterday, and realized that whatever veggies were available were what I would get - decided not to make another trip to get something different to add variety. For one thing, poor people usually have to sacrifice variety for a bit of an economy of scale. And last year my broccoli was sad and limp by Thursday and Friday, so this year I decided on carrots.

food for the week, not including olive oil and salt
I'm using half of the beans, and 5 of the eggs. This is a cheat, because we're not supposed to buy more than we would eat in the 5 days unless we go in with friends (like low income people do in some areas of the world). But I just priced it out by portion - and I'm having all of the rice and all of the lentils.

(My other cheat: coffee in the morning. The headaches and constipation that go along with my addiction withdrawl do not bear contemplating.  Or discussing. But no rice milk in my coffee!)

all of the food, rice, beans and lentils  cooked, carrots
cut up and ready to simmer in the cups of bean cooking water,
olive oil and salt in little bowls
simmered the carrots in the bean water so I can have some "soup" in the afternoon

5 days of rice, beans and lentils. add an egg and a bowl of carrot "soup" each day and I'm good to go.

sold one serving (1/4 cup) of dried beans to Sheila for 16 cents!

My calculations for daily intake: (one serving of each dried food is 1/4 cup)

    .25      1 free range egg
    .26      2 servings rice
    .44      3 servings black beans minus a few tablespoons
    .26      2 servings lentils
    .12      .2 lb carrot
    .22      2 T olive oil
    .01      1 tsp salt
$1.50 !!!/day