no groceries challenge revisited

In May and June, I imposed a “no groceries” rule on myself. I was very low on cash. I wanted to find new ways to save money. I know loads about preparing, cooking, and storing good, healthy food. I also knew I wasn’t using the food I already had in an efficient way.

I wrote about it some, in these posts. On Monday, I’m going to start my personal challenge again. This time I’m in less desperate straits, but what I learned a couple months ago stuck with me. I know I’ve strayed off the path of financially healthy decisions.

There are a few significant lessons I learned from my month of not going to the grocery store—with a couple exceptions—that I didn’t share here. My first “real” trip to the supermarket after my challenge was to Whole Foods. As I learned in this personal challenge, leaning on…

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Poverty Has Same Effect On The Brain As Constantly Pulling All Nighters

Women Born Transsexual

From Think Progress:

By Bryce Covert
on August 30, 2013

The mental strain of living in poverty and thinking constantly about tight finances can drop a person’s IQ by as much as 13 percent, or about the equivalent of losing a night of sleep, according to a new study. It consumes so much mental energy that there is often little room to think about anything else, which leaves low-income people more susceptible to bad decisions.

One of the study’s authors, Harvard economist Sandhil Mullainathan, told the Washington Post, “Poverty is the equivalent of pulling an all-nighter. Picture yourself after an all-nighter. Being poor is like that every day.”

The researchers came to this conclusion after conducting two separate experiments. The first gave low- and moderate-income shoppers at a mall in New Jersey a number of tests that measure IQ and impulse control, but half of the…

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#AskJamieOliver turned into ,”Hey, Jamie…how am I supposed to eat like that when I’m poor?”

The hashtag #AskJamieOliver on Twitter didn’t go so well for Jamie the other day. I think the tweet chat Q & A was supposed to be to promote his new show but it ended up being a chance for people to call him out on real food privilege . Well, that and to generally mock him.

I’ll just get this sordid confession out of the way right now: I kinda like Jamie Oliver.

I think he means well. I know,I know. Meaning well doesn’t count for much.  I live in an area immersed with food snobs who are also bleeding heart liberals. They’ll dine together over local,organic meals while passionately discussing the plight of poor people. They think they get it but they don’t and they think that by just talking about all these poor people things, they’re being good people. Being good isn’t always the same as doing good…and “doing good” can sometimes end up being a poorly executed maneuver if you don’t have a full understanding of what you’re trying to fix.

This is the main problem with Jamie Oliver.  He is in a perfect position to shed light on and change an oppressive food system but he needs to learn how to do so without shaming those who are struggling with real life problems. He needs a dose of reality and really needs to listen to his critics here.

There were some great snarky and pointed tweets the other day…
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But my favorite tweets related to Jamie Oliver the other day  was a series of tweets by @RhymesWithJen . She summed up what I talked about in The Reasons Poor People Don’t Eat Healthy  a bit more succinctly (140 characters per point,you know) . I always feel like the points are worth reiterating . The people who have had negative critique of the points usually say I’m “making excuses for poor people”, instead of recognizing that it really is that way. For real. We’re not making this stuff up.

(Oh,language advisory here. I didn’t edit out the cursing. I know I was supposed to make this blog more PG Friendly but meh…I hate censoring)


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Mean People Suck : Senator Marbles linking race & food to poverty

There weren’t a whole lot of people making asses of themselves publicly this week. Unless you want to count Miley Cyrus but that doesn’t have much to do with us poor folks, I guess.images

Colorado Senator Vicki Marble made some rather rude and racist remarks about fried chicken. Wait, no…I have that wrong. She loves fried chicken and all that other good grub them black people down south eat. It’s okay if she eats it ….she just wishes they didn’t eat so much of it because …hello,poverty.

Most of the headlines I’ve seen about this have been polite and said that Senator Marbles linked fried chicken to poverty but let’s be clear…she made disparaging remarks about fried chicken and Southern food as a problem in “the black race”. It’s not about chicken.She also pronounced diabetes like Wilfed Brimley ,but that we will forgive. But the racial stereotyping of black people and their fried chicken? No love for that. I half expected her to start talking about how at least black people have watermelon and collard greens .

What she said exactly:

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it,” Marble said. “Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better BBQ and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I love it.”

Last I observed of my fellow white folks, they love fried chicken and they have diabetes like you wouldn’t believe. Oh, and Scottish people! Goddamn, no one deep fries candy bars like them.

People ….just plain people….all sorts of them…. eat fried food. Okay? If you want to link it with poverty, fine but I think you’ll actually find that people of all economic stature  and racial groups in America eat fried stuff.

She also said that Mexicans only eat vegetables in Mexico but once they get here, they eat poorly.  Well, could it be because they’re at a lower socio-economic level ,so their access to anything that isn’t crap is limited? Huh. Yeah, I think maybe that’s it.

Oh,there are so many talking points here. How racism is what keeps certain people impoverished.The disconnect far too many politicians have with poverty and our food system and how they affect each other. The fact that racism is a tool politicians consciously use . At least the majority of her colleagues are all like, Oh,honey, this is not about chicken. 

Creating an urban garden space

An Urban Revitalization Project (click for a video!)

This was a parking lot. This is a project done by a woman who bought an old ice house and renovated it to live in, in an urban area. The garden is her own space that goes with the property but I think it’s a great example of what can come from urban spaces. There are certainly obstacles when we’re talking about converting abandoned lots and parking lots … permission from the property owner,code enforcement… yadayada…but  these things are easier to overcome when you get a few like minded people together to fight a little bit  (or a lot) for the project. I find if you emphasize, “It’s for the benefit of our community “, you get farther and gain more support.