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12/12/12 1:12 P

You're obviously on the right track, so congratulations.

My grandparents grew their own fruit trees and vegetables and dried their own soup beans, and they ate cheaply because they had very little money. My mother cooked the same way -- lots of inexpensive foods like beans and split peas, not much meat -- because that's what she knew. I don't garden much, but I still like those foods, and it turns out they were the healthiest foods all along. A big pot of homemade soup and cornbread still makes me really happy, and it's cheap!

Good luck to you, you're obviously doing it right.

SAKS20111 SparkPoints: (18,208)
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12/11/12 11:51 P


SPAGIRL1964 SparkPoints: (43)
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12/11/12 11:27 P

So proud that you are meeting your goals!!!

12/9/12 12:53 P

I am glad that you proved yourself correct!....exercise and good nutrition are the secret.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,529
12/8/12 4:57 P

Congratulations on your weight loss. Keep proving your detractors wrong. You can do it!

I am going to look at that budget bytes blog.

ANARIE Posts: 13,192
12/8/12 4:08 P

I read it as facetious, too.

That said....

Where do you live where you get $188 a month for food stamps? Is that per person or per couple/family? That sounds like a LOT for a single person to me-- I eat healthy on a little more than half that. Of course, it does take some work and planning, but since the healthiest food also tends to be the cheapest, the work and planning do double duty.

I think the most important thing to remember is "a penny saved is a penny earned." Just as an example, for 1/2 hour's work and just under $1 in ingredients and gas/electricity, you can make 4 or more loaves of whole grain, fat- and sugar-free bread that would cost at least $3 each in a bakery or upscale grocery. If saved=earned, you're making $22 an hour, tax free, for work you can do in your pajamas if you like. I wish more people would think of it like that-- both the people doing the work and the people accusing the poor of being "lazy." It takes a lot of work to live off public assistance. Having a job with a paycheck is easier than scraping along without one!

SDROCHELLE SparkPoints: (5,027)
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12/8/12 3:35 P

I'll start by saying that I believe the poster was being facetious rather than dramatic. Or maybe a little of both. It made good copy, right? We all read what was written and I don't think any harm was intended. But hey, that's just my opinion...and you know what they say about opinions. LOL

That said, CONGRATULATIONS on your weight loss! Woohoo! Good for you! I do believe it is more challenging to lose weight on a smaller budget, but it can certainly be done...and you've just proven it all over again. Good for you!!! Never let someone else tell you what YOU are capable of doing.

TIME2BLOOM4ME SparkPoints: (0)
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12/8/12 1:46 P


LUCY-LOLLIPOP SparkPoints: (102)
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12/8/12 1:13 P

Good for you, losing with such a challenge!

JUSTDOIT011 Posts: 1,461
12/8/12 12:53 P

I agree with ONLYZOMBIECAT. When prominent people (celebrities, politicians) decide to cut their food budget down to below $200/month they sometimes groan about how "difficult" it is. But like you said, they're not buying a bag of dried beans or a container of oatmeal-- they're not using their money wisely.

I've lived on $164/month for food for the past 11 months. I eat healthy. I've lost weight. It's not difficult at all, really. I could even cut my monthly food bill down to below $150 if I were to cut out certain foods such as granola bars, ice cream, and chocolate chips (for baking).

Just like ONLYZOMBIECAT said, eating healthy on a lower budget takes more planning and a willingness to cook, but it can definitely be done and it gets easier and easier as your cooking, planning, couponing, and shopping skills increase.

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
12/8/12 12:35 P

I think many people sincerely believe that a person can not eat healthy on a low income. I don't think they are lying, rather they are mistaken in what they believe.

I really dislike it when prominent people decide they will do the "food stamp diet" for just 1 week and make bad choices and then tell the public how they were starving and how impossible it is. They never have a realistic budget meal plan. They never buy a bag of dry beans or a large container of oatmeal.

I believe it is very possible to still eat healthy foods on less money even if it is not as easy. I think it takes more planning and a willingness to cook but can definitely be done.

Good for you on making good choices!

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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12/8/12 12:31 P

Budget Bytes is one of my favorite food blogs! Her food always has such great flavor. I'm making her baked spaghetti on Tuesday.

12/8/12 12:21 P

Well... "Lied to on Sparkpeople" with exclamation points is certainly dramatic as a title. Made me click on it. Problem is, it's highly suggestive and leads people to think that the SP staff lied to you or something in the system lied to you.

But from your description, it sounds much more like you came into the forums (which have people of really varied experience, some good and some really bad) and asked random people for advice (a lot of which can be good, but a lot can be bad). Sometimes in the forums there are nutritionists with great info, like Becky... or other SP specialists, but it's not a guarantee they will answer every single question.

As for "food pantry" items, this is what a lot of people will typically think of:

when they hear that term. But others might not understand what you meant.

The real deal with food pantry items as the link above will note, a LOT of those items are breads, pastas, cereals, rice, crackers, chips... and many of those items that are available at a food pantry are going to be "simple sugar" types of carbohydrates and not complex carbs. When you (or I, or others) eat simple sugars, they get digested FASTER than the complex carbs in most fresh veggies. What this means is that you won't feel full after eating those simple carbs, and the natural tendency is to seek out more to eat. It makes the process harder. Yes, you can still do it, but it's better to feel full on complex carbs rather than starving all the time on simple carbs. Motivation and will power can be helped, or hindered.

It's about choosing the RIGHT things from a food pantry. Food pantry snacks, in particular, often are a variety of crunchy chips, twinkies and "Lil' Debbie" cookies loaded with sugars (simple carbs). Avoid those, because they might taste good for 2 seconds but leave you wanting real food. Choose canned veggies, canned fruit, the really wholesome foods that will stick with you and not make your stomach or brain demand that you eat more.

As far as being on a budget, YES it's totally possible to lose weight on a strict budget. I suggest the following for help in meal planning:
Budget Bytes is wonderful, and helped me figure out how to eat wholesome, satisfying foods on a budget. To me, $188 can stretch really far - it really can. But you can't obviously buy the rarest cuts of meat or buy lots of processed meal or snack items. That said, DO BUY fresh veggies and fruits when you can... and freeze them. Bulk buying and storing can help with money a LOT.

Advice on public forums must be taken with a grain of salt, always. You don't know my experience, or someone else's experience, simply based on an anonymous name on the internet. Look for what works for you. Test things out personally. Do what works.

Edited by: RACKMYBRAINS at: 12/8/2012 (12:23)
INAFFIT319 SparkPoints: (12,340)
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12/8/12 10:39 A

Congratulations on your weight loss! It just goes to's all about the choices you make! Keep it up :)

MLAN613 Posts: 18,849
12/8/12 9:57 A

Congrats on your weight loss! And I like the blog idea. Keep up the good work.

LIBBYL1 Posts: 5,933
12/7/12 9:42 P

Think you should start a team on how to lose weight using food pantry/food stamps... and a blog on it.

JESSSCHROEDER SparkPoints: (1,135)
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Posts: 105
12/7/12 7:37 P

Great job on the weight loss.
Like other posters have said, it's about making excuses. People often say they can't lose weight because they can't afford it.
I call b.s. My husband and I get some of our food from foodstamps and we manage (when I am making good choices) to eat healthy. Frozen veggies, dried beans, chicken, whole wheat bread (or make your own), eggs and apples are all cheap and good for you! It helps if you know how to cook!

12/7/12 3:43 P

Sparkpeople has many tools and resouces.

Our message boards (specifically this diet and nutrition board) is were members can ask specific question about foods, nutrtion and weight loss. Of course members help answer questions; but also the sparkpeople experts monitor the boards closely and provide feedback, tips, support and encouragement.

If you had wanted information about "healthy ways to lose weight when using food pantry selections, " your best option would have been to ask the question on this message board.

Your personal blog page on sparkpeople is for your personal use. It is not monitored closely by our sparkpeople experts. It is like your personal journal. You can make it public for all to see, or turn it off to just friends, or turn off your page completely. Your blog area, would not be the area to use to obtain accurate sciene based nutrition information. It is not a place to ask specific questions.

And just to provide accurate research for your question. Yes, you can lose weight using food panty foods. Weight loss is about total calories consumed and exercise (calories burned). It may be more difficult when using food pantry food --but if you monitor your intake, weigh and measure portion sizes, and stay within your weight loss calorie range---you will lose weight. In fact, a little over a year ago, a college professor documented this---and it was called the "twinkie diet". This professor ate only twinkies, ho-hos, ding-dong, and chips, snack foods---yet he stayed in his weight loss calorie range; and he lost weight. I am sure the quality of the food you are receiving from the food pantry is higher than this man's twinkie diet.

You may also want to check out some of the food budgeting articles on sparkpeople. Once again, these are written by our experts with accurate information.

And always---if you receive posts, comments that concern you---please use the "report inappropriate post" button---so our staff can keep this site safe and accurate for all.

I don't think "sparkpeople lied to you;" but you may have received some opinions from a few members that was not scientifically sound. In the future, use the message boards when you have specific questions.

Hope this helps as you use our site to its fullest

SP Dietitian Becky

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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12/7/12 3:27 P

PUNKYB830, Frozen is better than canned, in my opinion, and certainly better than no veggies at all. Even canned is better than none at all.

I volunteer with a program called Cooking Matters, which teaches nutrition and cooking to lower income folks. They also provide a sack of groceries each week that has the foods needed to make the recipe taught that week. Everything they teach keeps the average food stamp budget in mind. If you (or anybody else) wanted to look to see if there's a program in your area, here's their website:

Edit: Here is the link to the actual map where they have programs:

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 12/7/2012 (15:30)
STEPHEN_NANNY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (16,232)
Posts: 385
12/7/12 3:25 P

For everyone who makes an excuse why they can't treat their own body with respect...too little time...too little money...I don't like veggies...I have other priorities...your post should serve as a kick in the keister. Great job!

PUNKYB830 Posts: 5,295
12/7/12 3:19 P

Sorry about my miss spellings i have a heck of a time posting. from my daught phone.

PUNKYB830 Posts: 5,295
12/7/12 3:15 P

I wouldn't say impossible but certainly not easy . I once got two apple pies, a cake mix, corn bread mix and pulled pork. That was it for me as one person. I had no food stamps and no income at the time. I ate what they gave cause i was hungry. Now i do get stamps and there are three of us in the home. We only get to shop about once per month so we buy a lot of frozen fruits and veggies. many on here will say that's a no no but many experts. say otherwise. and u have to use your. own judgement on here a little. I'm sure frozen is better. than canned and much better than junk. But there are so many more factors. that go into the foodstamp diet than just food alone that people have to work through. There is an emotional side of poverty and often food id used as a reward. But it is not impot i have lost about 16. pounds in the ladt couple months. we struggle pretty hard the last week of the month though so i need to do some tweekingt to the budget. et

NIKKITLOVE SparkPoints: (609)
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12/7/12 2:50 P

Thats fantastic, congrats and keep it up!!!

FURBY7207 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 91
12/7/12 2:37 P

congrats on your loosing good for you.i believe the answer is YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOUPUT YOUR MIND TO! stay strong we can do this emoticon

Edited by: FURBY7207 at: 12/7/2012 (14:38)
BUBBLEJ1 Posts: 2,981
12/7/12 2:16 P

Well, the topic line is slightly misleading. You weren't lied to, you were given someones advice based on opinion and they ended up being wrong. That is just misinformation. I think you are being a little dramatic, TBH. You could have just posted saying that you have had success losing weight with a low budget.

SLASALLE SparkPoints: (272,251)
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12/7/12 2:06 P

I'm sorry this happened to you. With that said, SparkPeople is much like any other environment in our lives, with a large, diverse group of people. Sometimes, people just don't think about what they say. Sometimes it's a matter of ignorance; people don't know, but they're trying to be helpful. Other times, people are just flat out wrong; they think they know what is right but they do not. And finally, sometimes - and I hope this is very occasional - people are just mean.

What's really funny is that exercise is the other key component of weight loss ... and has nothing to do with budgets. You can exercise easily spending no money!!!

First, congratulations to you!!! Second, I'm glad you posted so that maybe others can learn from your experience. Third, keep on a healthy road ... don't ever give up.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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Posts: 2,171
12/7/12 2:03 P

Great job! I think the people that say it's not possible are the ones who constantly want to make excuses as to why THEY can't eat healthy and lose weight. They think because they can't figure out how to do it and it's not easy, then it's not possible. It is totally possible to eat healthy on a very limited budget, it just requires some planning and YES some cooking too. I know I spend around $300 for 2 people and that includes a ton of extra stuff that I could easily do without since it's things BF asks me to buy (like junk food and tons of soda). I spend a fair amount of time planning, but I could do even better than I do now in terms of buying stuff on sale etc.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 12/7/2012 (14:04)
12/7/12 1:58 P

Hello fellow Sparkers!! I wanted to post about an injustice that happened to me here on Sparkpeople just 6 months ago! 6 months ago, I signed up(had a different profile) and had posted in a blog entry that I was having problems losing weight on a Food Pantry and Foodstamp diet. I was told by SEVERAL people that it was impossible to lose weight on Sparkpeople while eating food from food pantries and with only a food budget of 188.00 a month.... Well.. I was lied too.. Here I am 6 months later with a new profile and I have lost 3 lbs so far doing just that!! I am hoping that people will read this, and will realize that irregardless of where people get their food or how much we can budget for food, as long as we make the right choices and stick to our calorie goals each day we too can lose the weight and be proud of ourselves!!! I just thought I'd share... :-)

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