Thursday, May 30, 2013

3 Meals a Day

Lately I have been trying to figure out how to afford to eat 3 well rounded meals a day for a whole year... that is all 365 days for the year.  I have never been able to afford 3 meals a day for 365 days in my entire adult life... and that is just being able to eat 3 times a day well rounded or not.  I can usually get about a week maybe a few weeks the entire year where I can afford to eat somewhat of a meal 3 times a day... definitely not a well balanced meal and it usually consists of dinner being only ramon noodles.  It is a choice... do I get to have fruit and veggies or do I get to eat every day for the entire week.  Sure, I can go out to eat with my friends but that is the only time I can eat the whole day and I usually get a burger because it is one of the cheaper items on the menu and fills me up.

It was really hard for me when I would travel for work.  Everyone was much older than me with a real, steady full time job... here I was barely getting by... so when they would choose to eat at the really nice restaurants I was stuck.  They didn't seem to understand that for me that one meal out at a restaurant like that would cost my entire weeks allowance of food.  I surely couldn't justify doing that but if I didn't eat then of course something was wrong with me.  Being someone who had a Eating Disorder for most of my life it is a strange place to be.  When I choose not to eat one meal so I can eat the rest of the week people think I am slipping when in reality I am choosing the best option for myself.  I spent years of therapy to be able to eat at a restaurant and try new foods but I can't afford to do so... luckily I have some great friends around who take me out every once in a while for something other than a burger.

It is also really hard as someone who has had an Eating Disorder not to take it as some sort of sign... I can't afford to eat so I am not meant to eat.  I worked so hard to be able to allow myself to eat and it feels like a huge kick upside my head that I can't afford to eat what I need to keep myself healthy and not to trigger myself back into my Eating Disorder.  I have days where it is really hard for me to silence the voice inside me that tells me I deserve my Eating Disorder... Life is showing me that I don't deserve to eat.

During the midst of my Eating Disorder I had no idea what the cost of food was... I could get away with $20 or less a week for food (that included my diet coke addiction)... it didn't even phase me.  So when my nutritionist kept telling me I wasn't eating enough I just didn't understand how one can afford all that food.  It was so frustrating to see a nutritionist but unable to do what I needed to help myself out of my Eating Disorder.  I just kept telling her I couldn't afford anymore food... I had to only eat noodles for dinner because I had to ration my food for the week.

I have been looking into food banks and food stamps and all that jazz.  I have looked into food stamps off and on for years but as a single person it is hard to fit the criteria... I have always been just right outside the so called "need" for food assistance.  I still couldn't afford food but that didn't seem to matter.

I still have a hard time with food banks... it is that evil voice in my head.  I tell myself someone else needs that food more than me and I am selfish for wanting more than I deserve.  Even though I would tell everyone I know that everyone deserves to be able to eat and not ever go hungry... I seem to always be the exception in my eyes.

I did look into food banks here in South Florida but it is difficult.  A lot of them you have to be a resident or have some sort of documentation or referral which I have no idea at this moment what that is and where to go to get it.  Also I came across food banks that only serve a certain category of people... 55+, HIV positive or whatever.  The times of the food bank are also really hard... I work so I can pay my bills and afford the bit of food I can so it doesn't make sense that these food banks are open Monday thru Friday in the middle of the day.  Some places are one day a month or one day a week for a small 2 to 3 hour window.  I guess it would work if you were unemployed or worked from home or something but it doesn't work so well if you are the only person able to get the food and you work.

I had a friend find a food bank for me about 45 minutes away from where I am staying.  I called but of course no one answers and the voice message gave no information as to what you need, do you need to be a resident or even the hours of the food bank.  Again, how is that suppose to work??  (and of course I talked myself out of going because my need isn't "that much")

With realizing that as a single person I am unable to have the food I need to be healthy I can not even comprehend having a family.  Being able to supply the necessary foods for children to grow healthy and strong... I don't know how people do it... sure, schools are helping with breakfast and lunch but what do these kids do for dinner... on the weekends or the summer??

Something I talk about all the time when it comes to this stupid Obesity Campaign crap that is all around us... how fat America is...  I believe a good chunk of the issue is that availability of affordable, healthy food is lacking.  People are unable to eat as often as they need to keep their body functioning.  A good chunk of people are really starving.  If you can't eat when your body tells you you are hungry then when you get a chance to eat people will most likely binge.  I know I do that... and I look for something that is high calorie to make the hunger go away.  Also if all you have is boxed or canned food that is full of chemicals that play with your body's hunger cues then of course your eating is going to be out of whack.

It is so very frustrating to me... part because of my own food issues but it is so hard for me to see so many people hungry.   When I lived in Miami I would go for walks around where I lived and I would see so many homeless people.  I had the habit of going home and giving them all the food out of my cub-bards or fridge.  I only had the food because I was in treatment for my Eating Disorder and the deal with my therapist and nutritionist was that I have food in the house to eat ... if I could find a way to get rid of it that was great... for my Eating Disorder that is.  I got in trouble many times for cleaning out my kitchen to feed someone else.  I just didn't think it was fair.  They didn't deserve to be hungry no matter what their life path has been.  I know from a life of starving myself how miserable it is to be hungry. My team pointed out often how it was the same for me also... but again I was the exception in my eyes.

So, I am off to do more research about how one eats 3 well rounded meals a day for 365 days a year on a limited income.  I need someone to explain this whole thing to me because I just don't get it.  My goal for the next month is to really figure it out on a national level so anywhere I am my financial situation doesn't dictate my food situation.  And I really have to work on this "I deserve food just as much as the next person" thing.

Wish me luck!


  1. Food is so expensive, and cheap food certainly isn't healthy food. It is frustrating, and it makes me sad knowing that you can't afford to eat at least 3 times a day. Of course you deserve those meals, but no one more than I understands that maybe we are the exception to that rule. I know that Catholic Charities here in Kansas has a pantry. I will look into it for while you are here, and see if we can get you some groceries.