Day 1: Negotiations

Tonight marks the end of Day 1 of our Food Bank Diet challenge.

Here is what Jason and I each ate:


1 packet of instant oatmeal
4 saltine crackers with peanut butter


½ can each of Beefaroni
~3 saltine crackers with peanut butter


Macaroni & Cheese from a box
2 hot dogs
Flat bread*

*We didn’t actually get any bread in our food bank hamper list, so I made some out of flour, oil (the recipe actually calls for ghee, but I ran out of that last week) and water.  Recipe courtesy of our friend Heather, who is also doing the challenge.

The recipe was only supposed to make 12 pieces of bread, but I managed to stretch it to 16.

Peach Jam? Yes! Homemade peach jam from my Aunt Laine no less! Sadly, I can’t eat it this week.  However, it did come in very handy when I realized I have no idea where my rolling pin is.

The whole process to make 16 pieces of flat bread took about an hour and a half – kind of extravagant for a meal of Kraft Dinner and hot dogs, no?

Today has been marked by negotiation.  I’m concerned that Jason won’t have enough coffee to get him through the week, so I’ve offered to save my tea in order to stave off the symptoms of withdrawal.  In return, I asked to have full access to our one lemon, so that I might at least have hot water and lemon to sip on.  That didn’t quite work for Jason, who had visions of it being used with our can of salmon and a baked potato.  So instead, I get the lime.  I haven’t tried it yet.

The biggest negotiation came when Jason asked how many chocolate pudding cups we have for the week.  The fact that we even have chocolate pudding cups in our house is foreign to us.  We have four.
“And how many chocolate bars?” (Yes, we have chocolate bars as part of our food hamper)
“Hm. Can we make a deal?”
He asked to lay claim to all four pudding cups.  I could have all four chocolate bars.  I countered with him having three pudding cups and one chocolate bar so that I could have one of the pudding cups.  I was curious to see if I was missing anything since the last time I had one in grade 8.  He agreed, on condition he could choose which chocolate bar he got. He chose the Snickers.

And so it goes.

We don’t normally need to have these negotiations.  If Jason wants pudding cups and I want pudding cups (we’re speaking hypothetically here), I’ll just go out and buy more pudding cups.  It’s not really about the pudding cups.  It’s about the allotment of finite resources.  This is it.  This is all we have for the week.  Once it’s gone it’s gone.  Any other week, once our fridge is empty, I just go to the market and buy more food…and pudding cups aren’t ever on my list.  There is nothing finite about our usual food situation.  I think if we were doing this more than one week, negotiating the little food we have could possibly affect our relationship.  Because then it wouldn’t be about pudding.  It would be about who receives our even more limited supply of fresh protein and vegetables.  It’s about getting enough food to feel full (and not cranky).

In other news…

I just looked at my nutrient intake for the day.


I already feel bloated from all the sodium.  The Vitamin C count means I’m bound to get a nasty cold.  The B vitamins are so low that I’m not sure how I’ll have the energy to do anything this week.

And this has only been one day.  And I’m only doing this for one week.  And there are people who have no choice but to eat Beefaroni and Kraft Dinner all the time, with no end in sight.

Not having the option of purchasing healthy, nutritious food is exactly whatPut Food in the Budget is trying to address.  They are asking the Ontario Government to add $100 to social assistance payments for people to have the option of buying healthier food.

Please check out their website.

Agency and choice are absolutely essential to human dignity.

And, I suppose, the ability to buy more pudding cups if you want them.

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