Low Budget, A Little Low on Energy

So my week’s challenge of eating food for only $5 a day + anything in the pantry is over and thank god. Unfortunately, in Los Angeles especially since it’s so expensive to live here, sometimes the cheapest foods are the unhealthiest. And even though I made a conscious effort last week not to buy junk food (like chips, frozen foods, sweets, etc), a week’s worth of bagels (whole grain, mind you), eggs, and cheese is enough to make anyone’s health plummet a little bit. My wallet may have thanked me last week but my digestion nor my energy did not! I was fatigued the whole time, my focus at work was fuzzy, I was yawning every two hours, and my skin was turning dry and flaky and a little pale. Not good. So what did I learn?

Of course, there is a learning lesson behind everything and making myself do this food challenge taught me to really think carefully about all my food purchases and what I spend my money on. It made me realize that the afternoon hot chocolate from across the street is absolutely unnecessary and the $15 salad with goat cheese from next door is absurd. I learned to plan carefully, not let anything go to waste, and monitor my mindless spending when it came to things like packs of $2.99 Juicy Fruit gum, $1.75 coffee at night, a cup of $4.95 gelato from the market….it adds up!

Anyways, as much as I’d like to only spend five measly dollars a day on food, my body was begging me to cleanse a little from all the dense foods I had been ingesting. Here is a little rundown on some of the things I’ve been noshing on. It’s soooo nice to be back on a healthy kick, by the way. I think I’m going to juice in the mornings for a little bit to get my organs back into gear, followed by my usual cup of joe (because I’ve accepted the fact that I’m a coffee addict and nothing will come between me and that little cup of steaming hot caffeine.) I’m going to try and go raw until dinner, too, but don’t be surprised if I sneak in some cooked foods every now and then for my nooner meal.

Before I go through a reel of my healthy foods this past week, let’s take a look at what I did with pantry items to save some money.

Ah, the good old tuna sandwich. I found a can of tuna in the pantry (zero dollars for me to spend) and had some Ezekiel bread in the freezer, which I toasted and then proceeded to cut off the edges. How elementary school of me, no? I melted string cheese (zero dollars yet again because we have a HUUUGE pack from Costco), some lettuce from the garden and paprika and chili powder.

FAGE greek yogurt is my favorite. I get a large container of 2% yogurt and it’s $4.99 a container, and it lasts me for a good four to five days. I found a really old ruby grapefruit in our fridge (I know, ewww…) but it was still good! No mold or defects. So I drizzled honey over the whole thing and called it a day.

Ha, this was my gourmet lunch. We always have sweet onions lying around so I sauteed a giant onion with some sundried tomatoes I found in our pantry in melted butter, olive oil, and garlic. Then, I pulled out some frozen fish from Costco (I HATE eating farm raised fish but then again, I was on a budget) and baked it in tin foil in olive oil, herbs, and spices. Mmmmm! Very tasty although the thought of ingesting farm raised fish really grossed me out the whole time. Farm raised is BAD! Unless you’re saving money and need to have fish, always go for fresh.

Mmmm pizza. I had frozen cornmeal pizza crust in the freezer from decades ago and poured a container of pesto sauce over it, then layered string cheese and red pepper flakes on top. Baked in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees. It came out super oily (what was I thinking with all that pesto) and the crust tasted stale. BLAH! That’s what I get for eating a thousand year old crust from the freezer!

So there you go. I may have saved some good money but my energy completely plummeted! Onto the healthy foods….

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