me, bellyachin’

June 24, 2010|Posted in: food, Food Stamps, frugal, The World as We Know It

Beans, beans, beans. Beans, beans and more beans. I like beans. I love beans, in fact. But I can’t take any more beans this week. I’ve been eating 3-bean salad every day, twice a day, since Sunday, it seems, and to be blunt, I am in gastric distress, and I can’t eat anymore. As awesome as beans are as a protein and an inexpensive food, I’m done. I will just eat cereal and milk til that runs out, and then I’ll eat oatmeal without milk. No more beans for me.
Interesting — until this moment, I hadn’t considered that there might be physical side effects from my food stamp budget. I thought I might lose some weight. I just didn’t think I’d be rolling on my bed holding my stomach and hovering near the bathroom. Yes, that’s too much detail — but it’s a fact — what a person eats has a huge impact on health and well being. I was thinking in terms of fats, sweets, sodas and other “bad” foods. I hadn’t thought that over- of a “good” food might make a negative difference. After all, we’re eating what we have.
Tonight I dumped a bowl of 3-bean salad (there are still 2 bowls of salads leftover!) into the colander and rinsed all the dressing off. Then I put the beans, onions and peppers from the salad into a pot, added the leftover ranch-style beans, that random leftover half-cup of red wine and a cup of water to soup it up. I added half a cup of cornmeal for thickener, and a packet of taco sauce mix for the spices. Voila — four-bean chili (see photo above). And the family says it’s delicious. I, however, ate the remains of the Grapenuts, and will probably have some plain toast later. I’m off beans til the weekend, at least.

Food Fatigue
I’m tired. Don’t want to play this game anymore. Want a platter of sushi, a nice hot chai latte, some M&Ms, a slab of charbroiled tri-tip, a cheese enchilada with green salsa, a black and tan sundae, a pint of chocolate milk. I want a carne asada burrito fresh from the grill, with cilantro, tomatoes and guacamole oozing from the tortilla. I want a platter of salumi with a hearty red wine and fresh sourdough bread, and a handful of Greek olives. I want Kettle Korn, pistachios, a Hershey bar with almonds, a salmon steak with dill and lemon and capers, rice pilaf and a waiter to ask me if I would like cracked pepper on my salad and freshly grated parmesan for my pasta. I want a Pepsi. I want a box of Junior Mints. I want a Tucker’s milkshake made with locally made coffee ice cream and whole milk and the crunch of crushed real coffee beans down in the very bottom where the fat straw can suck them up. I want to stop thinking about my food. I want to eat what I want to eat and stop talking about it. I want to get off this ride. I want my money back. I wanna go home.

Guess what? So do people on food stamps.

Wednesday Menu
Breakfast: Coffee. Simone: chocolate croissant, green tea. Patrick: grapefruit, oatmeal. Julia: generic Cheerios and milk, nectarine.
Lunch: Julia: apricot, 3 bites of 3-bean salad; watermelon, chocolate chip cookies*. Simone: watermelon, carrot/celery sticks, peanut butter sandwich. Patrick: deli lunch at work (company paid).
Dinner: Julia: Grapenuts dust and milk. Ana: nectarine, Top Ramen, chocolate chip cookies.* Simone: 4-bean chili, hamburger bun, chocolate chip cookies*. Patrick: 4-bean chili, hamburger bun, tortilla chips, Pepsi (purchased: $1.50).

*Finally baked the cookie dough that was sitting in the fridge since Saturday. They were so good!

Food budget left: $13.50

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.



    June 25, 2010

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    Food fatigue – I anticipated THAT – but not the weight Gain! I was raised in a family where food was comfort. We didn’t have much money, so I’m finding that as I cook from scratch and lo-budget that I am drawing on many of those old comfort recipes. We never had salmon, but man I’m enjoyin’ the heck out of grilled cheese sandwiches on home made bread and let’s not even talk about REAL mac-n-cheese. Home-canned meatless sketti sauce on $0.88/lb elbow mac – oh yeah! Fresh fruit with sugar in milk – doesn’t get much better. I’m finding that I really do like the taste of my own cooking but sure am getting tired of doing it. Maybe that’s the allure of the “covered dish” – a chance to eat someone else’s cooking – even if they got the recipe from you.


    June 25, 2010

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    Somehow the words “I dumped” in the paragraph after the one in which you mentioned gastric issues aren’t a good segue. My eyes flew open for a second, until the comprehension part of my brain took in the rest of the sentence. Funny.


    June 27, 2010

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    June 27, 2010

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    Misery loves company! I thought I was all alone in my bean bourn bellyaches. Too much fiber???

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