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TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR DIET!
Since of all our pages, the one on EBT/Restaurants gets the most hits, we thought that we would try to encourage you to use your EBT or limited income on SSI to eat healthy and detox a bit while you're at a shelter, in a room or SRO, or in your vehicle, or going to feeds while you live in the park.
You still have to own your own body and advocate for your health!
SOMETIMES A FOOD BUDGET IS THE WAY TOWARDS BETTER FOOD CHOICES!
PLEASE KNOW THAT MOST FOOD PANTRIES AND FOOD BANKS WILL STILL PROVIDE YOU FOOD even if you are already getting EBT!
We're always looking for fresh veggies and fruits at food banks!
NEW DEC 2014 MARKET MATCH is a program that works like this for CALFRESH EBT and WIC recipients. You use $10 of your benefits and you GET $20 worth of produce!
Here is one of the links you can use to find a market near you that will MATCH your $10 for another $10.
http://ecologycenter.org/fmfinder/ MARKET MATCH
If you're eating at a shelter, your diet may still be challenged.
We hear complaints all the time.
We hear everything from "They're taking thousands to feed us and aren't feeding us enough food, how can a grown man eat one egg for breakfast?" to "They keep putting out deserts but don't have veggies and I'm a vegetarian," to "I eat whatever is put in front of me and that means sausages every morning," to "They get a lot of food donations but they don't know how to cook!"
We hear of inadequate food, unfair portions and people gaining an average of about 40 pounds in a year at one shelter while at another they starve. We hear about a shelter where men are supposedly are given more food than women, which is sexist.
Shelters often rely on donations and make the best meals they can with what they've gotten. Some shelters are lying to donators and the government about providing food to "clients"/ "residents." We also hear of stores that are getting huge tax deductions by donating stale bread and of cooks who are frustrated by having to make a meal out of donations of dozens of turkeys that actually needed to be thrown out.
HOW DARE YOU BE UNGRATEFUL for food when so many in this world are starving!
Well, you can be grateful but also watch your diet.
First, you may overeat at shelters because you are NURTURING yourself, because you don't want to waste food after having the experience of hunger, because you haven't had much variety in recent years, or because you're ignorant about calories.
Even if you get housing, you may not have a stove or refrigerator and have to buy canned goods or microwave everything!
Now we aren't doctors or dietitians, but we're challenged to eat healthy ourselves, so we read a lot about the subject and feel confident that we are giving you good info here!
1) VEGGIES ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND! Strive to eat veggies at every opportunity, especially fresh ones. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and full of health benefits. If you can digest raw veggies, eat celery with peanut butter, zucchini cut in thin slivers instead of corn chips to dip, even ask for extra pickles when you buy fast food.
IF YOU CAN STEAM THEM!
2) A FRUIT A DAY. At least one banana, apple, orange, or other serving of fruit every day! Try for fresh rather than canned that is in syrup.
3) WATER! Drinking enough pure water is one of the biggest diet and health challenges of the homeless. If you drink your 8 glasses a day will you be able to find a place to pee 8 times? Many people on meds are not even getting enough water to properly flush their systems and are harming their kidneys and livers with prescription drugs because they can't find toilets! Water from the tap (as long as the pipes aren't rusting or lead) is said to be as good for you as bottled water! Water that is running and oxygenated is better for you than distilled or sitting water! Water that is not full of plastics from being in overused plastic or plastic that's been sitting in the sun cooking is important!
EXPERTS say that you should only reuse plastic bottles with the PETA 5 designation or you'll get plastic leakage into your body. (The PETA 1 plastics that you get in microwave meals and most bottled beverages should be put into recycling and not used again!)
YOU NEED THE PURE WATER, even though coffee, vitamin water, and other beverages are fluid!
4) STOP DRINKING SODA, even when it's DIET SODA! There are studies coming out that people drinking diet soda are somehow getting fatter than the ones drinking an equal amount of old fashioned sugary soda! You really are better off with PURE WATER!
5) BEWARE OF "HEALTH FOOD" THAT IS REALLY JUNK FOOD!
YOGURT that is full of corn syrup, sugar, and has no living probiotics is JUNK! You can use natural yogurt full of the living probiotics as a substitute for MAYONNAISE on sandwiches though! Plain yogurt with some spices mixed ib can also make a good veggie dip or become a treat over fruit or cereal!
HEALTH BARS may be as good for you as CHOCOLATE and believe it or not DARK CHOCOLATE is the best buy for your health if you need to have candy! (There are even "belly fat busting" diets that recommend having a small piece after every meal!) We know that a health store type bar may be subbing in for your breakfast cereal but the plainer the cereal the better. Which means read those labels and don't buy a cereal that is called Oats but has Corn in it.
6) READ THE LABELS for the MANY NAMES OF SUGAR! CORN SYRUP, FRUCTOSE, and so many other names! While you're at it, check out the "servings," and the "calories." yes, HONEY is a sugar, and maybe a teaspoon of it in a cup of tea is all the sugar you should be having every day!
The experts are telling us that we are eating way too much sugar and without knowing it because of the hidden sugars in fast foods, even burgers, cereals, and other foods. At the shelter, don't overuse sugar or pancake syrup, and pass on the deserts!
7) PASS ON THE CARBS! Do you really need to eat desert every day? Every meal? PASS ON THE WHITE BREAD and buy WHEAT or WHOLE GRAIN or OAT (without honey!) BUY BROWN RICE and forget WHITE RICE. Forget pudding, pastries, pies, except maybe PUMPKIN PIE -because the pumpkin is so good for you!
We're reading that 24 g of carbs is about all a person should have a day and as we read labels we find that you can eat that much by just smearing your toast with jelly so...
FAST FOOD? TOO MANY CARBS ARE IN FRENCH FRIES. Potato are best baked and then you eat the skin too! When you make potato salad, use red or white potato and keep the skins on. Potato, carrot, and beets have so much sugar that some say you may as well be eating the candy bars, but since they also have more nutrition in them than candy, we say eat them in moderation or, if you have any sugar imbalances, check with your doctor.
Here's the deal we made with ourselves. We will eat desert on our birthday, or any NATIONAL or RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY such as Christmas, Fourth of July, Memorial Day... See there are plenty of times when having a piece of cake is a good thing!
8) EAT NUTS! Avoid the ones that are honeyed or sugared and be careful of the ones that are salted or flavored. Otherwise eating a hand full of nuts is a good thing for you. (Unless you are a rare individual with nut allergies!) We would go for a banana and a small package of nuts for lunch over a burger!
9) OLIVE OIL and OLIVES SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR DIET, especially the black olives, which are being touted by the same folk who say to eat small amounts of dark chocolate! A teaspoon of olive oil or three olives -not much more- at a meal. MAKE YOUR OWN olive oil and vinegar salad dressing! Add some spices! You can put this oil lightly on sandwiches and salads.
10) MEAT should be LEAN and UNFRIED. You do need the protein. You can pick off the skin if you have to reduce the amount of fat you're eating. You can also get protein from beans, nuts, seeds, dairy products, eggs, and plant sources.
CHECK OUT MARKET MATCH farmers markets!