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Drishti Journal:

Tales From The Mat & Beyond

Written by Carri Uranga

June 17, 2014

Food Stamp Challenge – Round 2

You may remember when I did my first Food Stamp Challenge in December.
As an act of self-discipline and awareness I ate on $4.50 a day for 5 days – the same amount New Yorkers on food stamps get to spend on a week of food ($31 for a week). At the time, it wasn’t that hard since we just had Thanksgiving and I had an overall feeling of abundance. You may wonder why I would do such a thing? I’m not poor. I certainly don’t have to suffer. A lot of philanthropists and yogis in particular spend a lot of time and energy giving to less fortunate people in other countries. That’s very commendable and I would never argue their reasons, but I do feel that right here in our own country we have our own people going hungry, jobless and homeless. I certainly don’t have the solutions to the problems. This is just my personal way of bringing more awareness to myself, going inward and maybe out of it, someone else is inspired too.

I decided to do the Food Stamp Challenge again this week and see how it goes during summer patio season in NYC and during the World Cup, a particular time of celebration for me. Again, Chris is out of town which makes it a lot easier to buckle down, but I have a feeling it will be a lot more difficult when the sun is shining until 9pm and there’s a lot of activity out on the streets.

The challenging part will be deciding if & how I want to curtail my activity level. As you may imagine, intense yoga classes or long distance runs and bike rides don’t go hand in hand with hunger.

Last time I bought all my groceries at the beginning of the week.
This time I will go day to day & see how it goes.

Day 1:

Banana for breakfast .25
Bar for snack $2
Dinner $1.57 – Bean Salad consisting of half can of red beans .65, half an avocado .67 and half a cucumber .25
Total for the day = $3.82
Technically I still have .68 to spend, but I’ll call it even since I ate a scoop of almond butter out of the jar after an 8 mile power walk!

Day 2:

Banana pre-run snack .25
1 fried egg post-run snack .42
Bar pre-yoga snack $2
Post-yoga snack – rest of bean salad from above. $1.57
$4.24 for the day, but tempted to hit a patio this evening…

Day 3:

I’m happy to report that I didn’t go out last night after all, but I did have a slight cheat. We had some opened cheese in the fridge leftover from the weekend so I ate the rest of it. I figured it was better than letting it go bad! Considering I was really craving Bare Burger onion rings at 10pm, I’d say I did OK.

Breakfast today was again a pre-run banana. This time I drizzled it with honey & sprinkled it with a couple tablespoons of granola that I had gotten as a free sample. Actually I ate half the banana before the run and the other half afterwards before going to Yoga. Not that it really matters, but just enough to keep me going.
After practice I had another fried egg. Not the greatest planning of variety, but quick and easy. Usually on Thursdays after class I go out to breakfast with my teacher, but today I skipped it. It was hard because I love our meet ups, but I had a lot of things to do at home before heading to work anyway.

Looks like lunch will be my usual bar. On the agenda for dinner is a half can of chickpeas, 1/2 avocado and half cucumber…a refreshing light salad. It’s already made up in the fridge for ease and convenience so I won’t be tempted to stray when I come home starving.
Sounds like I’m on a diet!

I ended up eating a decadent chocolate brownie cookie that someone brought to work so I didn’t have my usual bar. After a major sugar high, then a giant crash I didn’t even finish my chickpea salad when I got home from work at 10pm. I was just ready for bed.
Total for the day $2.24 because I ate someone else’s cookie. In reality, this was not a healthy day considering I ran 7 miles, did a yoga and a bootcamp class. Not enough fuel plus I got a headache from the sugar rush of the cookie on an empty stomach.

Day 4:

Aiming to make today more strategic and successful than yesterday. I always say Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
I could just cut the activity…hmmm…sound familiar – reduce activity and eat poorly? AKA – “typical” American.
I had the usual banana before class – are you noticing a pattern? They are just cheap, easy and filling plus the potassium is great for my achy legs.
After class went for a neighborhood stroll with my teacher between her classes. We stopped at Organic Avenue. Of course I couldn’t “afford” anything in there, but she got a $7 juice…GASP!

Now deciding what to eat before casual, fun bike ride…I think I’ll have the rest of the chickpea salad from dinner – that’s about 1/4 of a can + 1/4 of a cucumber. Sounds crazy, but just enough to give me some fuel. I usually save protein for after the activity. At this point it’s whatever I got.
I’m out of eggs and seem to have a problem stopping at the store.

Had a second banana post bike ride, a handful of nuts on the way to work and my $2 bar on break.
Dinner was – you guessed it…a stay at home netflix date with chickpea salad!
Total for the day $4.57 + cost of nuts I’d have to figure out, but don’t feel like it. Come on it’s Friday night!
Feeling over this. Will continue through the day tomorrow, but look forward to a nice meal with Chris Saturday 8pm when I get off work!

Stay tuned for updates!

Are you up for the Food Stamp Challenge? Join me and post your comments below!

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