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Thread: Eating Well While Homeless page

  1. #1
    Benpercent's Avatar
    Benpercent is offline Junior Member
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    Sep 2011

    Question Eating Well While Homeless

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    This may seem like a most absurd situation, but I'm voluntarily homeless, and will probably stay so until the spring of 2015.

    I decided to do this because after I lost my job in 2012 -- and no worries, I've been employed since -- I fell so far behind on my finances and kept having Charlie Brown after Charlie Brown disaster happen that I finally gave up and went homeless to both catch up on my finances AND pay off all my debts, which can be rapidly paid off likely this year, but have stubbornly persisted for a couple more years than welcome. (All in all, they're small enough.)

    I've also decided to do this because I've unfortunately lived with lots and lots of toxic people who involve me in their psychological problems, which has been a huge source of emotional difficulties for me. My bipolar mother kicked me out on a mood swing, my grandmother would beg me to stop doing healthy things like the Paleo diet, I had a landlord who nearly died of type-1 diabetes daily (since she wouldn't take care of herself), and a roommate so mentally off kilter I feared he would beat me up in my sleep.

    I know it's possible to live peacefully with other people, but I've had too many experiences-from-hell to be willing to take the chance anymore, so for me it's all or nothing. An apartment to myself or homelessness. Since I can't afford an apartment and am pushing for solvency, I choose homelessness.

    I've been at it for about ten months now, so I'm quite established in my routines of charging electronics at the library, reading with orange safety glasses in the Wal-mart parking lot at night, exercising and shaving at the gym, and so on. What worries me, however, is the quality of my diet.

    It's very difficult to consider an optimized diet since most of my foods have to be eaten in one-sitting, largely by hand, and cannot be stored for lack of refrigeration. Lots of deli meat, canned fish, the better brands of hot dogs . . . .

    As such, I'd like to ask: In the duration of my financial experiment, what do you think could be some ways I could optimize my eating within these guidelines?

    Additionally, do you think it would be possible for me to establish some minor form of useful refrigeration? I live in Texas, and the heat in summer can get quite intense in my car, making storage of things like dark chocolate impossible. Is there a really good insulated pack I could interchange some ice packs or something?

    My bosses at my restaurant job would probably let me bring something in like a steak to cook, but such events would be very limited due to the limited storage space in my car and how quickly I'd have to bring those items to heat since I can't keep them.

    It might be a weird situation to give advice on, but if you can, thanks!

  2. #2
    DinoHunter's Avatar
    DinoHunter is offline Senior Member
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    Mar 2012
    I don't know if its available there but we have a large coolbox from Colman that keeps ice & stuff cold for 5+ days without needing to change the ice sooner even in warm weather (says up to 30 Celsius ). I think they do one in a smaller size to (ours is 70lt I think)
    Called a Coleman Xtreme.
    Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

  3. #3
    Elliot's Avatar
    Elliot is offline Senior Member
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    Jan 2014
    Many public parks have grills. You could use those to cook. If you can maintain a fire with just sticks that you find lying around, it's essentially free.

    You could also build your own solar oven.

    You could try refrigerating food by submerging it in water. If the water is exposed to the air, allowing it to evaporate, this will cool it. So put your food in a jug or container of some sort and immerse it in water.

  4. #4
    Wildrose's Avatar
    Wildrose is offline Senior Member
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    Jul 2012
    Calgary Alberta
    Canned fish is great. Sardines and salmon would be best, tuna would be alright. And while tinned veggies might not be perfect, you do what you have to do. If you don't have any reliable source of electricity I can't see refrigeration working. I'd say depend on tins and try to get in what veggies you can.

  5. #5
    kmarie's Avatar
    kmarie is offline Senior Member
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    Dec 2013
    I second the canned fish. I'm in FL (hot too) and I often have a can of dish and nori wraps in the car.
    The nori wraps are great and easy.
    I'd also think you'd have to buy a fresh veggie a day and just eat that for the day bc of the storage issue.
    I eat the same few things through multiple meals anyway.
    Is there any way you can get a van/camper?

    Best to you, it's great that you've found a way to pay off your debt!


  6. #6
    MarkChopper's Avatar
    MarkChopper is offline Banned
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    Oct 2013
    If it were me, and i have done this before in a similar situation, I would buy only non perishable foods to eat throughout the day, mostly fruit. Then have one huge meal a day that I would get at the Whole Foods deli. They have a really good selection of food for like $7 a lb. usually I would end up spending $20 a day which isn't bad considering everything was organic.

  7. #7
    eKatherine's Avatar
    eKatherine is offline Senior Member
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    Feb 2013
    Instead of chocolate, eat cacao beans. They're like the nut version of chocolate. Buy them by the pound (or more). They should keep well in your car.

  8. #8
    TQP's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    buy jerky if you can find ones without too much additives.

    dried fruits, canned fruits, canned veggies, rice cakes, whey protein powder, cartons of coconut milk, fresh fruits that are non-perishable, sweet potatoes (can be eating raw). SPAM isn't too shabby.

    Other things for easy immediate consumption: kefir, yogurt, milk, perishable fruits/veggies.
    Last edited by TQP; 02-12-2014 at 04:54 PM.

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  9. #9
    glorth2's Avatar
    glorth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Bucks County, PA
    Damn dude. Best of luck. Any desire to leave Texas?

  10. #10
    Drumroll's Avatar
    Drumroll is offline Senior Member
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    May 2012
    I'm cautious about the canned fish. If it's tuna, it's going the high in mercury and likely in a can giving you large doses of BPA when consumed on a daily basis. Salmon may be a better choice for mercury, but it too, is usually canned in cans containing a bit of BPA. Even worse is canned shellfish such as clams, oysters, and tiny shrimp. They are typically canned along with citric acid meaning there absolutely MUST be a plastic lining or the citric acid would erode the cans. And since citric acid IS an acid, it will leach even more BPA from the linings!

    My go-to for canned seafood these days is sardines and kippered herring. Why? Because they are typically canned in unlined cans, meaning at least, in theory, they should be BPA-free if nothing else. Not all brands are this way however. You can tell by "feeling" the insides of the cans. Do not rely on site! If the inside of the can feels plasticky or vinyl-like, it probably has been lined with plastic (BPA or BPS alert!) even if you cannot see it.

    I know that Crown Prince offers sardines in cans that should pretty much be BPA-free, as they claim their smoked clams in olive oil are also. Same for their kippered herring. Both the Wild Planet sardines and King Oscar brand sardines (at most Wal-Mart or Target stores) should also be in liner-free cans if their website is to be believed. I think the Brunswick company once confirmed that their kippered herring and sardines were in BPA-free packaging at one point, but I haven't had them in forever, so do the "feel" test!

    Whole Foods brand canned ANYTHING will not be BPA-free as they released a statement saying they did not consider BPA a major health concern. Trader Joe's has switched a lot of their canned products to BPA-free packaging, but they refuse to publish a list of which cans are or are not. So you can't know for sure.

    Best option is to go for salmon in pouches if you're making it a daily staple. Just be aware that you should check the labels! I know that Chicken of the Sea salmon in pouches is typically packed in a soy-based "broth" so you may want to pass on that brand. Bumble Bee salmon pouches are just salmon, water, and salt, so that should be ok.

    Since cooking meat is largely going to be out of your ability without access to a stove or oven, and you may not want to eat raw meat, I suggest carrying around a bottle of coconut oil it's to make sure you're getting your healthy doses of saturated fats that you may be missing out on from animal sources, particularly the red meat! Best benefit is, it will boost your metabolism because of the MCT content and is very supportive of the thyroid gland so it will help keep you warm on a cold winter's night.

    Best of luck, hope this was helpful in some way, and PLEASE check back in regularly so we know you're doing well. If you're ever around DC, feel free to bug me! I have a fold-out couch you could use for a few nights.
    Last edited by Drumroll; 02-12-2014 at 06:08 PM.
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