Clean and Healthy Living on Food Stamps

LB

Peace Love n Pretty Tings
*so places like Whole Foods in the States are now willing to accept food stamps? But you cannot use food stamps on "hot" food like rotisserie chicken?" The contributer does give some really good ideas for those on food stamps to access healthier food. But it does seem like a lot of work for someone on a strict budget.*

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Taken from Clean and Healthy Eating on Food Stamps | A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Following up behind the conversation about food stamps being banned for use in purchasing soft drinks… there’s also the inevitable question of what options are available for those of us who are on food stamps?

And with all this talk of farmer’s markets and fancy schmancy grocery stores that sell $7/lb mushrooms… perhaps its time we talked about the other end of the spectrum.

A few months back, a reader who identified herself as Naturally Single Mom shared with us the following tidbits:

We ARE one of the few (if I understand this correctly) places that allows you to use food stamps at the farmer’s market. Here, they charge your EBT card in increments of $10, and give you tokens that you use as cash at the individual vendors.
Whole Foods – I’m not sure if it is company-wide or not (Erika’s Note: It is company-wide.) – does accept food stamps. I’ve never seen the EBT sticker on the door of any Whole Foods, or our local health food store that was just bought out by Whole Foods (Greenlife Grocery, referenced in the above mentioned article)…I guess they don’t want the rich folks to know that us poor people are shopping there?


I live in an area with enough grocery competition that I can stretch my food stamps – I shop buy one get one free sales, and stock up on stuff like cereal (the healthy stuff DOES go on sale from time to time), salad dressing (because if you have enough salad dressing, you’ll eat salad more often, right?), yogurt, bagged salad stuff (which sometimes makes it cheaper than buying actual lettuce and cutting it up, but is definitely not a “stock up” kind of thing), frozen veggies, stuff like that. (Yogurt freezes well, and I use the frozen stuff for smoothies.)

I also buy fruit when it’s in season and on sale and make my own applesauce and apple butter, or flash freeze berries, peaches, and other fruits for smoothies in the winter.
I use websites like Southern Savers and Hot Coupon World (which has a coupon database, so you can find printable coupons online.) I never knew that you could use TWO coupons when you buy one and get one free, until I found those websites.

I go to the recycling center once a week. (Ours is only open three days a week.) They don’t care if I go digging through the newspaper dumpster and take out the coupons that other people discard. I usually walk away with 30 or 40 full coupon inserts in about 20 minutes of digging. I don’t even buy the newspaper anymore (since all I bought it for was the coupons anyway!)
The best part about food stamps, for me, was being able to buy seeds and plants with it. I have a HUGE strawberry patch ($3 for 10 strawberry plants at Wal-mart, have more than paid for themselves, and they’ll come back year after year), blueberry bushes, even an apple tree, all paid for by food stamps. (The caveat here is that you have to buy them at a store that accepts food stamps. Home Depot and Lowes and any garden place that I’ve ever seen does not.) I have a garden in my front yard growing zucchini, crookneck squash, cucumbers, lettuces of all types, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, and watermelon. As long as it is going to grow into a food, any packet of seeds or plant is covered by food stamps.
I try to use natural fertilizers – banana peels provide potassium to the soil, crushed egg shells provide calcium. Both of which can be bought with food stamps.
Like I said, I find it horribly sad that because a rotisserie chicken is hot, it’s a no-go. If it is a cooked rotisserie chicken that has been refrigerated, then it is allowed. Because I guess poor people don’t deserve hot food? I can buy freshly prepared sushi, fancy Perrier water, or pork rinds, but not a hot chicken. It’s very strange.
She asks some pretty interesting questions, if you ask me. She also put me and my bargain hunting skills to shame. Excuse me as I go find a pot so that I can grow a strawberry or something.
But honestly, I’m taking advice from her on how to penny pinch. Y’all know I’m cheap. Cheeeeeeeeeeeap.
I’ve seen suggestions that the value of food stamps should double when it comes to fruits and vegetables… and while that might work, the question will always remain “Are there stores selling viable fruits and veggies nearby the most affected areas?” Any suggested solution that doesn’t address the very real issue of accessibility and information/education will come up sorely short… and while the government tries to duke it out with itself regarding these people’s purchasing abilities, there are people like the above who won’t be affected by it at all. It highlights the idea that says “the more limited your means, the more valuable it is to be resourceful.”
While I’m not quite there on the grow-it-yourself aspect (but I’m trying!), I admire that kind of dedication to clean eating. What other tips are out there to help people make the best use of food stamps possible when it comes to clean eating?


Excerpted from Clean and Healthy Eating on Food Stamps | A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
First thing to jump out at me is that Walmart is not the place to be buying seeds or plants. I came across something bout a year ago...they had an online order form for low income, seniors etc and you could get a certain amt of free, organic, non genetically modified seed packets. Thought that was kinda cool. I don't see anything she's doing as that much work..nothing will ever top the dumpster diving article :kicks I would say growing your own and joining coops (the one's that allow you to donate time if you don't have the $) are the best bets to supplement a diet restricted by income. What I find tho is that more ppl are jumping on the raw foods wagon but I don't see enough mention of what I think is even more important, keeping the hormones out of your diet -esp for the kids.
 

LB

Peace Love n Pretty Tings
that's a good idea with the seeds and Walmart. Not a fan of them but that is better than nothing.

I guess ( and remember i am a Canadian) from where I stand, if you are poor and are on food stamps living in the inner city, you dont always have access to small plots of land to grow a few veggies, or even a balcony to store some pots.

Its not like living in the suburbs where you have access to things I that I take for granted. Plus have more time on my hands because I dont have to wait on a bus to get from point A to point B....grocery stores like Whole Food (my version is Planet Organic) are just around the corner. etc.

So I was thinking as a single mum with limited time and access to certain things, she is putting in a serious effort for her family. Dont get me wrong, I rate her for that cause it shows its possible but your average person would think its a lot of work if they arent used that mind set.

You read the comments after the article from the site?
 

DSP

Heri
that's a good idea with the seeds and Walmart. Not a fan of them but that is better than nothing.

I guess ( and remember i am a Canadian) from where I stand, if you are poor and are on food stamps living in the inner city, you dont always have access to small plots of land to grow a few veggies, or even a balcony to store some pots.

Its not like living in the suburbs where you have access to things I that I take for granted. Plus have more time on my hands because I dont have to wait on a bus to get from point A to point B....grocery stores like Whole Food (my version is Planet Organic) are just around the corner. etc.

So I was thinking as a single mum with limited time and access to certain things, she is putting in a serious effort for her family. Dont get me wrong, I rate her for that cause it shows its possible but your average person would think its a lot of work if they arent used that mind set.

You read the comments after the article from the site?
It's even more work or close to impossible in cities with horrible slow public transit and people with no car. The more coop/community gardens for them the better. I read in Detroit they were turning alot of empty lots into gardens and had a school(closed now) teaching teenage single mothers how to farm.
 

LB

Peace Love n Pretty Tings
It's even more work or close to impossible in cities with horrible slow public transit and people with no car. The more coop/community gardens for them the better. I read in Detroit they were turning alot of empty lots into gardens and had a school(closed now) teaching teenage single mothers how to farm.
yeah I was thinking about daily logistics and how it might require more effort than say me.

love that second part!
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
that's a good idea with the seeds and Walmart. Not a fan of them but that is better than nothing.

I guess ( and remember i am a Canadian) from where I stand, if you are poor and are on food stamps living in the inner city, you dont always have access to small plots of land to grow a few veggies, or even a balcony to store some pots.

Its not like living in the suburbs where you have access to things I that I take for granted. Plus have more time on my hands because I dont have to wait on a bus to get from point A to point B....grocery stores like Whole Food (my version is Planet Organic) are just around the corner. etc.

So I was thinking as a single mum with limited time and access to certain things, she is putting in a serious effort for her family. Dont get me wrong, I rate her for that cause it shows its possible but your average person would think its a lot of work if they arent used that mind set.

You read the comments after the article from the site?
For real. The mentality is the key...anything can be done w/ a lil effort and to be honest..I feel that a mom like her who may not be able to do completely organic and might even give her kids a tv dinner now and then...kids will be just as fine because she has it in her head to supplement and do the best you can. A lot of ppl their mentality is still that a full stomach and boxs and cans that say enriched or fortified means everyone is healthy.

No I didn't click the link, lemme go see. I started watching that HBO doc from the other thread btw..scary stuff and I after watching, i think I stand a lil closer to you and chinks view that the low income factor is MIGHT play a bigger role than just the individual's responsibility.
 

LB

Peace Love n Pretty Tings
For real. The mentality is the key...anything can be done w/ a lil effort and to be honest..I feel that a mom like her who may not be able to do completely organic and might even give her kids a tv dinner now and then...kids will be just as fine because she has it in her head to supplement and do the best you can. A lot of ppl their mentality is still that a full stomach and boxs and cans that say enriched or fortified means everyone is healthy.

No I didn't click the link, lemme go see. I started watching that HBO doc from the other thread btw..scary stuff and I after watching, i think I stand a lil closer to you and chinks view that the low income factor is MIGHT play a bigger role than just the individual's responsibility.

yes please read the comments. Love to hear what you think. Once again, cause I live on the other side of the border, I try to keep in mind my experience is a bit different.
That documentary is frightening to say the least :( I still have to finish watching it too.

otherwise I do agree with you on the mentality part.
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
It's even more work or close to impossible in cities with horrible slow public transit and people with no car. The more coop/community gardens for them the better. I read in Detroit they were turning alot of empty lots into gardens and had a school(closed now) teaching teenage single mothers how to farm.
yeah I was thinking about daily logistics and how it might require more effort than say me.

love that second part!
Lemme tell you, i don't even take that for granted. My garden, the serenity of my yard is my sanity lol. I like the Detroit idea but lets face it...leaving your house to go work a community garden is completely different than working your own by your house which becomes partly recreation...so unless those mothers see that plot as having something they and their kids actually NEED how long will they stay involved?
 

LB

Peace Love n Pretty Tings
Lemme tell you, i don't even take that for granted. My garden, the serenity of my yard is my sanity lol. I like the Detroit idea but lets face it...leaving your house to go work a community garden is completely different than working your own by your house which becomes partly recreation...so unless those mothers see that plot as having something they and their kids actually NEED how long will they stay involved?
true ting! Just planted my vegetables so I dont have to find the grocery store to buy lettuce and them things in the warmer months up here.

Funny enough, I see this all the time when I am in London. I thought the same thing too but so many ppl love the idea of having their own plot of land and dont seem to mind leaving home to tend to their plot. Or they co-share the plot with someone to lessen the work to maintain it.

But your point is what I was getting at earlier. Not everyone has a back yard in the inner city areas. So it will be effort to leave your house and deal with a little plot up the road. But if its still within your neighborhood I dont think that would be so bad. You cna walk up with your kids and tend the garden, and it gives you an activity to do with your kids and provide them with a new experience. I think many would welcome that the more I think on it. Could be wrong though. lol
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
I have to agree with Jaci’s comment. Some people feel that being poor means being ignorant and low-class. It’s common knowledge that poor people tend to not be as healthy as more well-to-do. But it is a lack of access to what can keep them healthier, not ignorance. If you don’t know that eating an orange is healthier than drinking fortified “Tang”, you give your kids “Tang” ’cause it’s cheaper. If you don’t know how to cook baked chicken with carrots and potatoes and celery and a green salad for $10, you’d probably buy one of those fried chicken meals with a biscuits, side of slaw, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes for $12.99 to feed your family. If you don’t have good produce in the market where you regularly shop, you buy stuff that not gonna go bad.
The information is out there, but you have to have a need to find it. If most of the people around you are chowin’ down on fast-food and soul-food, and you’re told that “thick” with a lot of make-up and weave is sought after, and that food isn’t edible if it hasn’t been fried and doused in gravy, that’s your “normal”.
Another problem is that the information is sometimes not wrapped in an attractive package. Exercising and sweating are not attractive. Cooking brown rice, prepping vegetables, cutting up large cuts of meat are not attractive activities. Trekking across town to an outdoor, crowded noisy farmer’s mkt where you have to carry multiple bags for blocks is not attractive. The results are, but not the process. Understanding the steps to get to the desired outcome can make the process interesting, and then later attractive, but even that takes time. And we are and “instant” “gotta have it now” culture.
I had to show a visiting relative that fresh basil and oregano mixed with tomatoes from the garden could make a quick delicious marinara sauce in 15mins, not hours of simmering on the stove. And that you don’t mix sauce and pasta in the same pot (a whole ‘nother post!) And that there are more types of apples than red and golden Delicious. And that ripe peaches and strawberries smell like peaches and strawberries, are soft, and are sweet wnough without additional sugar or fruit dip.
REPLY

Excerpted from Clean and Healthy Eating on Food Stamps | A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss
wow at this one. URBAN area where a grocery is 30min away? wow. I've heard before about local groceries jacking up prices but I don't think they do it based on supply and demand...these stores are small and have no bargaining power because they don't buy in big bulk..since they get no savings they have none to pass on to consumer. There should be state or federal laws to keep stores..at least the big ones from jacking up prices at the beginning of the month...its federal money they're robbing by doing that.

Interesting that so many ppl say that they dont' see ppl on assistance, esp ppl of color at the whole foods, trader joes and farmers markets that do accept it. Weird that they don't put the stickers on the doors tho..I'm gonna ask my trader joe's if they accept ebt, they don't have a sticker on their door. If they say they do I'm gonna suggest that they post it.
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
true ting! Just planted my vegetables so I dont have to find the grocery store to buy lettuce and them things in the warmer months up here.

Funny enough, I see this all the time when I am in London. I thought the same thing too but so many ppl love the idea of having their own plot of land and dont seem to mind leaving home to tend to their plot. Or they co-share the plot with someone to lessen the work to maintain it.

But your point is what I was getting at earlier. Not everyone has a back yard in the inner city areas. So it will be effort to leave your house and deal with a little plot up the road. But if its still within your neighborhood I dont think that would be so bad. You cna walk up with your kids and tend the garden, and it gives you an activity to do with your kids and provide them with a new experience. I think many would welcome that the more I think on it. Could be wrong though. lol
I have a g/f who lives in Newark. She's far from low income but lives in a brownstone..she's gone juicing crazy. Other day I go to her house and if yuh see produce everywhere..so I mention it and she says she went to the asian market today so I ask her wda she buying produce at the asian market...she say its ok, she'll take her pesticides etc..I suggest a coop and go on and on about how much fun would be for her boys...chick say she have better things to do on her weekends and her kids wouldn't be interested *shrug
 

LB

Peace Love n Pretty Tings
wow at this one. URBAN area where a grocery is 30min away? wow. I've heard before about local groceries jacking up prices but I don't think they do it based on supply and demand...these stores are small and have no bargaining power because they don't buy in big bulk..since they get no savings they have none to pass on to consumer. There should be state or federal laws to keep stores..at least the big ones from jacking up prices at the beginning of the month...its federal money they're robbing by doing that.

Interesting that so many ppl say that they dont' see ppl on assistance, esp ppl of color at the whole foods, trader joes and farmers markets that do accept it. Weird that they don't put the stickers on the doors tho..I'm gonna ask my trader joe's if they accept ebt, they don't have a sticker on their door. If they say they do I'm gonna suggest that they post it.
yeah that is the part I was curious about. I figured you all would know better whether this is common practice or not. I've only seen Whole Foods out in the suburbs so I didnt know how often you see them within the heart of the bigger cities.
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
yeah that is the part I was curious about. I figured you all would know better whether this is common practice or not. I've only seen Whole Foods out in the suburbs so I didnt know how often you see them within the heart of the bigger cities.
They're tons of them in manhattan and I believe a couple in BK...ive never noticed in a manhattan one has a sticker or not...few times I've been in one was middle of the work day and all I've seen in there were pretty much corporate types and hipsters. makes me think tho...I wonder if these stores play up the illusion the poster was talking about that healthy eating is for ppl w/ money?
 

LB

Peace Love n Pretty Tings
They're tons of them in manhattan and I believe a couple in BK...ive never noticed in a manhattan one has a sticker or not...few times I've been in one was middle of the work day and all I've seen in there were pretty much corporate types and hipsters. makes me think tho...I wonder if these stores play up the illusion the poster was talking about that healthy eating is for ppl w/ money?
hmmm, okay cool.

Well I definitely think that marketing plays a role it the image. When you read a articles/blogs/etc about healthy living, organic food et al. that is the impression that is put forth and there are tons of discussion as to whether its true or not.

but look at the agricultural industry and who gets subsidies vs who does not. Your lettuce farmer doesnt get subsidized like how your corn farmer does, and corn is used to make so many of the processed foods cheaply that we see on the shelves.
 

DSP

Heri
Lemme tell you, i don't even take that for granted. My garden, the serenity of my yard is my sanity lol. I like the Detroit idea but lets face it...leaving your house to go work a community garden is completely different than working your own by your house which becomes partly recreation...so unless those mothers see that plot as having something they and their kids actually NEED how long will they stay involved?
Alot of the gardens were close by and have volunteers and people coordinating and scheduling who does what. With most of the girls, alot of them lived in older houses with mother/grandmother in the city that still had some plots where they could garden. There's also alot of flats with yards.

I also forgot about the chicken coups(sp?) with hens. It was a big deal with some people in Toronto last year with getting permission for them.
One lady said all you need is about 3 hens(and no roosters) and they lay a decent amount of eggs without the contribution of roosters.
 
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mz_JazE

Southern Belle
Thank goodness this area have several that located along the metro lines. I know when I started working here, I was beyond excited because I could buy my daughter's snacks from the Whole Foods across the street, and then hop on the metro. Now that I drive to work it's even better, and thanks for the link because I plum forgot about Whole Foods having online coupons.

When I was in grad school, I was contemplating starting a patio garden. She was going on 2, and wasn't going to start school so I wanted her to have fun learning. Also I needed something that was going to keep me sane besides cleaning the house (it was a distraction), or watching Golden Girls during her naps/my study breaks. We were on a budget, and I needed to find a better way for her eat her rainbow (all fruits and veggies of all colors). Eventually that passed when I found out how to buy fresher cheaper. I wish I did have that commitment though because it would be better for all of us.
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
hmmm, okay cool.

Well I definitely think that marketing plays a role it the image. When you read a articles/blogs/etc about healthy living, organic food et al. that is the impression that is put forth and there are tons of discussion as to whether its true or not.

but look at the agricultural industry and who gets subsidies vs who does not. Your lettuce farmer doesnt get subsidized like how your corn farmer does, and corn is used to make so many of the processed foods cheaply that we see on the shelves.
I hate to say it but this is where the color line comes in. Cause low and middle income mothers actually make up the majority of bloggers and forum contributors about healthy lifestyle and natural parenting....but the majority are white..its only as income and education levels go up you see more ppl of color in the mix.
 

BacchanalDiva

Registered User
Alot of the gardens were close by and have volunteers and people coordinating and scheduling who does what. With most of the girls, alot of them lived in older houses with mother/grandmother in the city that still had some plots where they could garden. There's also alot of flats with yards.

I also forgot about the chicken coups(sp?) with hens. It was a big deal with some people in Toronto last year with getting permission for them.
One lady said all you need is about 3 hens(and no roosters) and they lay a decent amount of eggs without the contribution of roosters.
Oh I see. I forget sometimes that one places urban is totally different from another. ummm, I shame that I didn't know you could get eggs from hens w/ no rooster..look how yuh sending me to google now :kicks
 

DSP

Heri
Oh I see. I forget sometimes that one places urban is totally different from another. ummm, I shame that I didn't know you could get eggs from hens w/ no rooster..look how yuh sending me to google now :kicks
Dont feel bad, I didn't know either till last year lol
 
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