Monday, May 2, 2011

Lucky in Food

Did I mention we got food stamps? It is THRILLING. I can afford produce again.

My fully stocked and overflowing fruit bowl.

We were really in trouble for a minute there. We're not nearly out of the woods yet, financially speaking, but the food stamps will make a huge difference. (Actually it's not stamps anymore, the program is called now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and the funds are deposited to an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card, like a debit card. Still, I continue to call them food stamps.) The past few weeks were rice and beans and eggs. Peanut butter, bananas, lettuce and canned tuna when we could afford them. And a few wonderfully timed food donations. Let me tell you, we may be on hard times, but we never forget that we are very lucky people. In the past month, we have avoided extreme hunger because of the following people, who will remain anonymous, because I mostly am.

-Our neighbor gave us leftovers he snagged from his food service job.

-My parents also gave us leftovers, food they "have too much of", random bulk staples from Costco, some home-cooked dinners, and free reign in their fridge when they needed us to house-sit.

-The food bank gave us some staples, and some weird stuff. Last time it was nearly all canned green beans and a chocolate coconut cake. But they also often have pasta and sauce, rice and beans, and even a little produce if we can remember to visit on the one day of the month they offer it. But we never remember.

-My friends surprised me with a grocery bag filled with different teas, after I'd shared that my normally large and varied stash was totally dry. I could have cried when I saw the chamomile. And the peppermint! I'd been drinking groundcover mint tea** and hot lemon water for weeks, so having real tea again was a revelation.

Getting the food stamps is a total game-changer for me. Living on starches and cans, with very little fresh produce, is terrible for my head and not great for the rest of my body either, really. But, as soon as we got veggies back in the house, I started feeling more human. I don't feel as foggy, or weighed down, I have more energy, I feel less head-triggery and more able to bounce back from being triggered, and my digestive system is functioning much better.

The only downside to the food stamps is that not single CSA in my area accepts them, and I'm struggling to find a farmer's market that does. Well, I found one, so far, but it's in the middle of a massive flea market, which I don't ever feel up to navigating, so it's basically inaccessible to me. It's disappointing, I'm coping by writing emails requesting change. As I do.

**Fun Fact of the Day: Mint doesn't grow true from seed. I've been trying to grow an edible variety for years now, but my cuttings just die and the only seeds I can get to sprout keep turning into the only mint variety that isn't really considered edible. It won't kill me or anything, but it's much more of a creeping groundcover than an herb for tea, at least according to my herb book (and my palate says meh, too). So, yeah. Groundcover tea. The things we do when we're desperate for a cuppa.

Groundcover mint. It works in a pinch.


Migrainista said...

So glad to hear that you have an overflowing produce basket :) These foods are so important. I hope that they will be more accessible to you from here on out. You deserve it.

Jessica said...

Oh honey...I understand the need for tea! I will gladly send you some! My fav is a mix of chamomile and peppermint. I drink it every night before bed. In the mornings I enjoy a chai tea latte!

If I were inclined to send you something...where would I send it too?

You can email address is on my blog! =)

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

I wonder how you can mail starts, we have wild spearmint and peppermint here (there are more than one kind of mint) more than anyone could ever use. Let me know Steph if there is a way to dry the leaves for you or send a couple of starters. I would be glad to have a use for it as mint can be extremely agressive towards other plants. Sending it to CA via mail is probably so illegal - isn't CA one of those states that looks in your car for stray plants as you cross the border??

steph said...

Migrainista: Thanks! I really agree, eating good food is the most important thing I can do for my body right now. Well, that and good sleep. :)

Jessica: Thanks so much for the offer! I'll never, ever pass up tea! (Oh wait, that's not true. I don't like chai. I KNOW. I think my taste buds are broken. It smells amazing but my tongue goes ewgross. Sigh.)

And, Winny: I'm not sure how to mail mint starters successfully. Google tells me that mint is legal, but the plant must be bare-rooted, that is, without any soil. Google led me to an informative chart here:, which looks reliable enough. I'd love either mint, but don't want you to go to too much trouble! The internet says that any old mint cutting will root, but my speamint attempts have consistently died, so I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. :/

Jessica said...

Oooh...chai is my favorite morning time tea!