Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fat and Malnutritioned: Honey Boo and My Diet When Young

Deep fried Oreos? Those sound gross to me. I feel sorry for this girl, because I think what chance does she have with the average American diet?   Why are they eating cheap macaroni and cheese on a reality show salary? Of course they lost the show when the mother decided to date a child molester. 

There's many thin Americans eating the processed foods too and not getting as fat as Honey-Boo and Boo and her mother. Honey Boo-Boo is basically eating the diet of mal-nutrition that is creating more obesity. Potatoes, and eggs and macaroni and cheese and way too much sugar.  The typical American diet especially for the working class and poorer.

They eat processed foods to the hilt. I get unhappy with my food choices when we are lower on money. Food pantries give you the worse foods too. Some of the worse weeks, I have more intense feelings of hunger. I've seen rich people eat, they have side dishes, salads, pickles, and good breads on the side. Those things are wiped away when you are broke.

Eating frustrates me. I joked the other day, I wish I could go back to college just to have the pantheon of available food in your average dorm cafeteria. I lost 80lbs one year of college without even trying just because I had plenty of good food to eat like an open salad bar at every lunch and dinner. It's hard to describe the type of hunger I get when poor. It's like the body is hunting for food, it doesn't have. There's been times, where I have said "Screw it!", and gone and bought a SALAD with my last five dollars on earth because I have felt so desperately hungry for nutritious food.

I am actually DIAGNOSED with mal-nutrition. It's on my medical records. The doctors think I have some kind of mal-absorption problem but never having had weight loss surgery, my body is anemic--severely low on B-12, and severely low on Vit D and others. I eat vegetables and fruits. I reintroduced eggs back to my diet slowly--still on fence with that, and yesterday vegetables and fruits in the mix included an apple, a soup that had zucchini, pablano peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos in it. Dinner had more of the peppers and tomatoes in it too. So I try to include what fruits and vegetables I can.

Many are not educated on nutrition. I am and constantly frustrated. The good foods always DISAPPEAR FIRST because they are what I want to eat. I hoarded zucchini all week to put in tonight's dinner and a package of frozen spinach. I'm making  ground turkey lasagna with it and putting grated carrot and cottage cheese in the concoction. I casserole things to death to spread the food out.

 My poor diet as a child and later impacted me. It set me up for a lifetime of obesity. My mother controlled the refrigerator with an iron fist, even putting locks on the freezer because my brother loved to steal ice cream. She counted every slice of lunch meat and cheese and crouton in the kitchen. While my mother could cook she was not educated in nutrition.

Ironically as a fat child, I had severe hunger pangs all the time. Examining what I ate for breakfast and lunch for years, so wonder I was not doing well and grew fat.  It was the worse diet ever for a future woman with PCOS and severe insulin resistance. 

Here is what I had to eat everyday literally for YEARS:

Breakfast was two slices of toast with margarine, and a bowl of sugary cereal like Life cereal or Honey Nut Cheerios. I was not allowed to cook an egg, or make a sandwich for breakfast and trust me I tried to ask over and over. This breakfast was worthless for a pre-diabetic teen and actually brought severe hunger pains, by 10:30 in the morning.

Lunch was always a bologna sandwich with mayo and a leaf of lettuce on Italian white bread, the kind with the sesame seeds on the outside. With this came potato chips and three Oreo or Chips Ahoy cookies in small plastic baggies. My GC sister would get gold fish crackers with her lunch but those were "hers" and the rest of us were not allowed to touch them.

During Lent, remember my family was Catholic, the sandwich would be a tuna or egg salad sandwich.

When my mother decided I was too fat, the sandwich would be cut to a half and a few carrot and celery sticks would get thrown in the baggie instead of the three cookies.  Then the hunger really rolled in.

The numbers and amount of the food always stayed exact. I remember being so hungry in high school from the carb rich breakfast, I would eat some of the sandwich on the bus. When I had my own money, I was so tired of the same lunch for years, I would throw it away and buy some hot meal at my high school. Sometimes there would be salad bar. I went to Catholic school with no school cafeteria so outside of an occasional hot dog day, there was no hot lunch or other offerings. In high school, my parents refused to pay for any hot lunches demanding we take food from home, so unless I had my own money I was stuck with the repetitive lunch.

Dinners were better and would be some type of red meat --lots of steaks, roast beef, fried pork chops or chicken and mashed potatoes. There would be glass of milk or diet Pop.  My family would eat spaghetti on occasion with meat sauce and shakes of parm cheese out of the green can. Rice a Roni would pop up from time to time. We would have turkey and ham on holidays and home made deep dish pizza with Italian sausage, green peppers, onions and mushrooms every Saturday night.  Sunday morning she would make breakfasts with scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, Bob Evan sausages, bacon and those orange frosted cinnamon rolls out of a can. The vegetables were usually green beans or corn out of a can. In high school my mother's cooking talents expanded so at times I would get these fancy party salads of a taco salad with sour cream and , and a layered salad with bacon and cheese and peas every once in a while. She would make chocolate including almond bark and tons of chocolate sheet cakes during various holidays. Much of the cooking was done for company and not us.  It was a high carb, high meat, high fat, high sugar diet.

As a cook at dinners,  she was very good at it. So a lot of the food would be tasty at dinner time but it definitely was not the best for my body. The daily grind of cereal and bologna sandwiches did me no favors either. When I was away at college I would eat more soup,  salad, and hard boiled eggs. This was my best time of eating in my whole life. Even at the sandwich bar, I would pile on the veggies like an early version of Subway. My time in college was the time of my lowest adult weight. I never went to totally normal was down in the lower 200s for a time at nearly 6 feet of height. I had no inkling of what would happen to me later but knew then, I grew more tired and swollen from walking for miles--I had no car, then my friends did. I loved to walk for years and even as late as 1994-1995, could walk for a few miles and think nothing of it, before the weight took over.

When I got poor in my twenties, and had no money for groceries, my diet hit a rock bottom for years. Ironically during my weight gain of 400lbs I had the least money for food. My diet was ramen noodles, commandeered school lunches while substitute teaching in child portions, often some mystery meat buried under gravy and some limp peas or white meat chicken nuggets. It also included some eggs, and cheap pasta. I bought food at a discount store, and did not know how to cook. One dinner I remember getting is paying 2 dollars for these cheap fried Chicken wings at a Chinese restaurant about a block from my house apartment and paying 50 cents for a little carton of rice to go with it. My diet worsened when I moved to Chicago. My job had long long hours and I remember eating only once a day on many days or twice, and literally having to scrounge. We were allowed to eat some food at the group home, but it was low quality cheap food. There were no salads or vegetables. Just fried chicken, sausages, bacon and rice, turkey ham and fried egg sandwiches and more sugary cereal. I don't know how some of those girls managed to stay thin on that food. Later on the way to disability came dumpster diving. I remember days of eating nothing but a package of cheap ramen noodles and some green onions, I had managed to save. How sad.

 Money was so extremely tight. Sometimes I would get a decent meal out once in a while, a salad or a stir fry like on Payday, but the rest of the time it was grind of cheap carbs. Working stoves were rare in the slums and for two years I had to eat whatever could be made in a microwave or on a hot plate. Let's just say that is not the healthiest food.

I look at Honey-Boo Boo's diet and know that is the mal-nutrition diet many poor people in America are getting fatter on. What chance does she have? You know they pour endless chemicals into the food. My diet now frustrates me. I fear weight gain because of the money being low. Its far better then it was years ago though. My eating has to be so controlled even for the sake of the diabetes. There's too many cheap turkey bologna sandwiches and cottage cheese even now. I would rather have more salad and hot cooked vegetables. There is a lot of soup made in this house. I do what I can.

This is the unspoken reality of obesity in America. Cheap food makes you fat. Lack of nutrition makes you fat. Some act like changing the diet is so easy, but there is a real financial edge to all this, like it or not.


  1. In my area there are local farmers who give fresh vegetables in large boxes once a month for 20$. For each household. I can't mention the program, it might give me away, but the contents of these boxes are way beyond the 20$. I've seen the contents of these boxes, and it is very good. I was wondering if you have something like that. I mean big big boxes. I one time saw a cauliflower in there that looked like it came from a science fiction movie, it was huge. And everything is fresh beyond belief.

    Also too, in some areas there are community gardens. I realize it might be hard for you to work in a garden, but there might be a way that you can contribute. I don't know.

    I know you would know if there was, but vegetables are easier to obtain when the community gets together. Just wondering.

    1. Wow vegetables in large boxes for 20 bucks, that's good, they charge 400 dollars to rich people for a membership for real vegetables around here. During around July-early Oct, we do go to this one veggie stand, we eat better during that time. In the USA, they sell something for the very wealthy called CSAs memberships and they want 400-600 for a season membership. Things are run insanely here. One local farm I called even takes everything to a huge metro city that is more then 100 miles away. Yes a community garden would be nice. They don't have one here. There isn't much community cohesion here, and down to earth people working together. This is a lack I feel acutely here, the people together don't even seem to talk to each other. I think I got spoiled in that very small town. Thanks for the ideas though. When we do move I definitely want a place that has a health food co-op.

  2. The vegetable box program is only for those on low incomes. I don't know how it works, or how its maintained, but it has gone on for more than ten years, and so therefore must be very doable. Its not always the same stuff, so its like a surprise opening the box. All summer and all winter too.

    I feel sad for with that program alone, you would have all the nutrition. I just wish you could have it. I hope you can move to a place where more of your needs can be met.

    1. We do have a mobile food pantry program that hands out some older fruits and vegetables. It can be competitive to get a place in line, we have to wait 2 or so hours, my husband may have to go when I'm housebound but the vegetable box program sounds great and like they are giving out good stuff.

  3. This is one respect in which I was lucky. I always had balanced meals with veggies. When I was in my teens I had to prepare them all myself (for the whole family) and there wasn't a whole LOT of food - we were never allowed more than 4oz of meat a night - but I got that bedrock that meals had veggies in. I was also lucky later, that at both of the poorest times in my life I was able to reach city markets that sold some vegetables very cheaply.

    I've been very, very lucky with jobs in the last few years, but I still go to the remainder market to buy vegetables. It means I can get a LOT and not worry about money. I buy root veggies and other things that keep well so I know they'll stay good.

    When I was poor I had a whole routine down for keeping meals to about $2 per plateful. I kept an eye out for when meat was on sale and would stuff the freezer with broth-infused chicken if I saw it for $2/lb or less, even though the texture was nasty... The first thing I did once I stopped being poor was switching to chicken that wasn't broth-infused. Buying meat for $3/lb is such a luxury. I also don't have to make so many things from scratch, and can choose easier options. Frozen carrots are more expensive than fresh but I don't have to chop them...that kind of choice, it's a luxury.

    I realised about a year and a half ago that I was no longer checking grocery store receipts (I caught so many errors when I was poor) or even looking too hard at the total. But I still have a lot of those numbers memorised. What's a good deal, what's not. Carrots at 75c/lb, mashed potato powder at $1 for 4 servings. It's such a relief NOT having to keep meals under $2 per serving any more.

    1. Finding cheap veggies is a good idea, I'm glad you can et the better chicken now and have better meat options Here. meat is the most expensive, Indian cuisine if you can figure out a cheap way to get the spices is good with veggies and vegan meals. I have to take a certain amount and work within it. I use cookbooks on frugal cooking, think one is called small planet one, or something along those lines.

    2. In both the last two cities I've lived in, I've found places that sell spices by weight rather than in little glass jars...they're so much cheaper and usually more fresh. Search for Indian markets you can get to.

      I used to use a lot of cheap veg and pasta to bulk out; these days, I don't eat pasta much at all, as it's really not healthy, but when I was poor it was helpful to have something that could be really filling for about 15c per serving. Celery and carrots were vital then as they were always cheap - the market also did onions, bok choy and mung beans for a good price. Corn cobs and zucchinis can be a steal in summer. I never bought fruit much because it doesn't keep so well; even now I have money, I don't get much fresh fruit. I buy frozen fruit that I put in stir-fries sometimes.