Must You Be Rich To Eat Well and Live Smart? surviving, thriving, being healthy while resisting cheap, corporate food.

POOR correspondent - Posted on 23 June 2010

Tiny Gray-Garcia and Tony Robles
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

As the very poor daughter of a poor woman of color, I watched my mama struggle, juggle and go through all kinda trouble to feed me a nutritious meal that was low in sodium, low in fat and high in natural sources of vitamins, minerals, protein and good carbohydrates.

To eat well in this 21st century overpriced corporate food reality, the first thing we all need to realize is that eating healthy is a resistance to a racist and classist society where big corporations make money off feeding you cheap foods filled with no nutritional value. Big corporate pharmaceutical (drug companies) make huge profits by selling you all kinds of drugs for food, fat and weight related illnesses like high blood pressure, heart medicines, insulin and cholesterol blockers to name a few, not to mention thousands of diet pills and potions. HMO’s (Doctor groups and hospitals) make money when you get sick with related illnesses and countless other companies make money off your early death.

So the first thing to do is stop thinking that cheap food means piles of processed cheese, meats, chips and cakes just 'cause they can be bought in bulk at your local target, Wal-Mart or Food For Less--or better yet for .99 at your nearby liquor store.

It's All about strategic Shopping

Feeding you and/or your families a healthy diet without a lot of money and time is all about strategic shopping.

Whether you are on WIC, Food stamps, SSI, or are one of the many working very poor, find out where and when the farmers markets are held and when. That said, don't go to the Farmers Markets in the bourgeois (rich people) neighborhoods ‘cause they are catering to the rich folks and mostly stock overpriced "gourmet" veggies and fruits.

So how do you shop strategically? Create a shopping map. Shop for your veggies at the Farmers Markets or if you live in an area that has ethnic markets nearby like the Mission, East Oakland, Chinatown or Koreatown, you can pick up reasonably priced veggies in those markets as well as chicken ,fish and even meat for a lot less than a trip to Slaveway (Safeway).

In the Bay Area we have several options (see below) and in San Francisco alone we have a Farmers Market in the heart of the Tenderloin that meets on Wednesday and Sunday and at the Alemany Flea Market. In Oakland there is one that is held in Downtown Oakland on Fridays 11-3:00, and in Downtown Berkeley on Tuesdays and Saturdays

The place that healthy shopping truly starts to be based on wealth is when you buy your staples like milk, butter, cheese, bread and eggs. Most corporate dairy is filled with harmful hormones and antibiotics from the way the corporate farms deal with the cows and process the dairy products so the best thing to do is cut back on these things as much as possible. But for those of you with kids who should have as much calcium as possible, the best and cheapest milk and eggs are from Clover dairy. A gallon of Clover milk is only $3.99 instead of the usual "organic" milk prices of $8.00 and over.

Finally, limit your big box shopping sprees to paper goods and staples like dry pasta, beans, bulk canned, unsalted tomatoes and yogurt.

Each issue of PNN will feature a healthy and cheap menu, with a shopping map of prices. For any readers who also have recipes that are healthy, low-fat, low- sodium, cheap to create and tasty, please send em in, as well as information on any healthy food programs or markets and we’ll publish them... Cause a healthy body doesn't have to mean a wealthy body!

********You Can Eat Healthy and Cheap: Recipes that taste good and Cost Little!!!

Tiny & Tony's healthy (and cheap!) recipes

For all of these recipes you should get a couple of staples for your kitchen. A bottle of vinegar- preferably rice vinegar $2.99, chili pepper, curry pepper and garlic powder. But if you can’t buy all of them you can substitute limes or lemons and black pepper.

Green pepper chicken-Dinner for two for under six dollars!

Shopping List

one package of Rosie's drumsticks (best cause these chickens are range free- in other word they don't have all kinds of anti-biotics and steroids added to their chicken feed and they aren't cooped up in a cage for their entire life) from Safeway or cala - $3.36
one green pepper .65
Roasted root vegetables (all farmers market) one sweet potato $.65, one carrot loose .35 – one baked potatoes $.65, one turnip $.35
Cilantro $.79
Onion $.30


To prepare root veggies; wash the veggies, cut each vegetable up in quarters and put on a baking pan. Put a quarter cup of vinegar or lime juice on top of the veggies and a teaspoon of black pepper. These have a taste of their own. To add more spice add chili pepper. Cook at 350 in an oven for 45 minutes to one hour minutes or until a fork goes through them. If you don't have an oven, you can cook in a toaster oven.

To make chicken: heat up a frying pan. Put in one tablespoon of vinegar or half of a lime. No oil or butter, Cut up your chicken into pieces, dice up half of your cilantro bunch and toss it in the pan with the chicken. Dice up your green pepper, and add one more teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of red pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with fresh cilantro and root veggies

Tony's Low-sodium HOOOOOT Chili
This can feed up to 10 people

Total: $13.57 (with meat) $9.08 (without meat) for a really big pot of low sodium, low-fat chili that will last several days. This is the cost of two Carl’s Jr. Meals that are laden with fat and sodium.

Shopping List
1 small bag of pinto beans $1.07
1 small bag of kidney beans $1.52
1 can crushed tomatoes—preferably with 100 Milligrams of sodium. Read label for this info. $1.95
1 green bell pepper $1.64 (The peppers were purchased at Safeway. Cheaper at Farmer's market)
1 red bell pepper $1.41
1 Onion $.75 cents
1 Clove of Garlic $.39 cents
10 serrano peppers $.35 cents
Optional: 1 package of ground turkey $4.49


Boil beans in a medium to large pot until tender. Chop onions and garlic and sauté in pan. Add turkey meat to pan and cook until brown. When beans are tender, add the ground turkey, onions and garlic. Slice the chili peppers and green and red bell peppers and add to the pot. Add chili powder and stir. Let simmer for an hour or until desired taste is achieved.

Tony's Low-sodium pasta surprise

Total: $6.38-the cost of a burger meal at Carl’s Jr. This pasta can last a couple days.

Shopping List
1 can crushed tomatoes (preferably with 100 milligrams of sodium or less) $1.95
1 package spaghetti or vermicelli $.79 cents
1 package of ground turkey $4.49
1 onion $.75 cents
1 garlic $.39 cents

Instructions: Saute the garlic and onion in a pan. Add turkey meat until brown. Add Crushed tomatoes. Let simmer. Boil pasta until tender. Serve.

Also be sure to check out these programs...

2008 Summer Lunch Program
From June 23rd to August 15th San Francisco will be serving FREE healthy lunches to anyone 18 and younger regardless of income. Call 311 or 211 after June 1st for a list of sites and serving times.

People's Grocery
Located at 3236 Market Street in West Oakland, this organization offers community programming on nutrition and cooking, as well as bulk food ordering. For more information call 510-652-7607


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