Hunger Challenge Day Three – “Food Outreach clients aren’t hassled about nutrition daily like I am” -- Craig

That about says it all. We got into a lively conversation about filling your belly cheaply versus nutrition. Lots of talking tonight, unlike Monday’s dinner when we had the veg rice casserole. It helped because we liked the pizza we made. I never concede in a discussion, but Craig had more compelling points than I countered:  cheap food does taste good (loaded with fat and sugar – Denise’s comment). Packaged/prepared foods are easy. It takes time and resources to cook from scratch (it took an hour to make/rise the pizza dough and how much did the pizza peel and stone cost, which make homemade pizza easier to prepare/taste better). We always eat grass-fed ground beef that is so lean that you need to ADD a bit of oil to cook it. We always eat vegetables and fruits on the USDA’s list of must-eat organic. We only eat fish off the Monterey Bay’s list of sustainable. You’re dreaming if you think this purchasing power is possibly on SNAP. Me: you CAN eat healthy and filling on the cheap – beans, lentils, carrots (albeit maybe not as tasty as a piece of grilled salmon from Whole Foods). And so goes my nutrition preaching. He contends you can’t eat healthy, have it taste good – over the long term – on the cheap.

Nutritionally, the disparity between haves and have-nots in our nation is CRAZY. A few folks we know are doing the challenge all organic. We stretched our food dollars A LOT more with conventionally grown. If this IS your only option economically, you are forced to eat celery and apples (among other things) that are grown with pesticides and loaded with toxins (reference the USDA)? On SNAP, you are forced to eat higher fat meats; little or no fish; bread, rice, pasta with little fiber; peanut butter with added sugar and trans fats; and cook blandly because you can afford no seasonings. WHYWHYWHY? Shouldn’t access to enough nutritious food be the RIGHT of every American, like education and healthcare?
Enough on my soapbox. Our makeshift pizza tonight was really good, pizza dough (which is the easiest and cheapest thing to make – about 60 cents) and ground beef, chili powder, garlic, onions, diced bell peppers, and cheddar cheese all planned leftover ingredients from yesterday’s lunch of chili. I added some (leftover) spinach to my portion for added flavor and fiber. Not the interesting, California Pizza Kitchen style pizza we typically make, but REALLY tasty. We decided it’s been our best meal during the whole challenge. Basically, sauté onions and garlic. Cover homemade pizza dough with tomato sauce mixed with chili powder, cooked ground beef, onion/garlic mixture, diced bell peppers, spinach, and cheddar cheese. Bake at 500 for about 10 minutes. Let sit long enough to photograph. Slice and enjoy.

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