We at The Feral Space have been livin the vegan hood diet this way since we started and wanted to share this with everyone. Health is wealth ya'll!
“7 Ways to Eat Good While on a Hood Budget“ by Stic of Dead Prez founder of www.rbgfitclub.com
In the work I do in promoting holistic health and fitness through the RBG FIT CLUB, I
have run into the following sentiment more than a few times: “I want to
eat healthier but it’s too expensive!”. Many people are interested in
ways to upgrade their diet without breaking their bank. Well, I can dig
it. And since I been striving to sustain the healthy grind in my life
personally since way back in the food stamp days, I think I may have a
few tips to share.
The following are 7 Ways to Eat Good While on a Hood Budget.
But bottom line always remember, we can pay now or pay later (in
suffering and doctor bills etc) when it comes to our dietary discipline
1. Choose Produce not Packages: People think eating
healthy is about buying a lot of expensive boxes and packages of
processed foods, but that isn’t the case at all.
The cheapest most nutrient dense food in a grocery store in the
produce isle. Fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Trying to buy costly
packaged goods, potato chips and sugary juices and all kinds of over
processed items, even at a health food store is when the budget starts
to soar. When we feel we don’t have time to cook we often go for a lot
of “quick fix” items like pizzas and pre-cut bags of French fries and
stuff like that. That’s where the money adds up. But if you fill your
basket with fresh greens and fruits and some basic staples like rice,
noodles, beans you will not only have an optimal basket of nutritious
foods … you will have saved a great deal of money of the food bill and
subsequent doctor bills. Eat real foods and save real money. If you
worried the fruits and veggies will spoil before you eat them, read on
to number 2!
2. Cook Big and Save Some for Later: Cooking meals in large batches and freezing the leftovers for later in the week or month can save you a lot of time and money.
Instead of buying fast food or eating out at restaurants, or even
cooking a full meal every time you get hungry, it’s way more cost
effective and time saving and healthy for you to pull something out of
the freezer and warm it up than it is to wash/chop/slice/boil/bake/wait
in line/wait to be served etc.
Pre-preparing and freezing weekly sized portions of rice or salad
choppings or beans etc will simplify your meal duties. Even if you have
to do a little cooking you will still save money and time seven days a
week. Spend an hour or so over the weekend like on a Sunday evening
preparing food for the week. Then, during the week, all you have to do
is pull something out of the freezer and heat it up. Them big Ziploc
bags ain’t just for the D-boys! Lol
3. Soup Up your Options: Large vegetable soups over
brown rice or whole grain noodles pack in vitamins and nutrients, fill
you up and are easy to make and delicious. Also Bean burritos, chili,
and bean soup can be easy to prepare, cheap and good for you. Going
totally meatless a couple of times a week (or for good) also helps your
budget and gives your palate a variety to enjoy. Frozen veggies, which
are inexpensive, work great in Soups. Nothing compares to that good and
filling, good feeling of a hot and hearty bowl of Soup. Cheap, packed
with nutrients, easy to prepare. Its the new “Soup-er” food! Lol!
4. Make A Plan and See Where Ya Values Are:.
In the hood, in all honesty, We spend a gang of money on cable, hair
dos, sneakers, weed, parties expensive bottles of alcohol,video games,
big screen tvs, rims, jewelry, strip club tricking, trendy name brand
clothes, car accessories, headphones, cigarettes all kinds of overpriced
things. But when it comes to our health, we often skimp and look for
the cheapest food we can find.
But in our best interest, We have to value our health above all these
other things, and make eating healthy a priority in terms of how we
spend the resources we have. Makes no sense to be fronting like a rich
person on the outside ,but in reality, in poor health on the inside,
right? But it’s easy for any of us to make excuses without looking at at
a budget, so that’s where budgeting comes in handy.
Budgets help us see where our money is really going not where we feel
like its going. Budgeting is also a master ingredient to financial
stability in general, so not only will it help identify funds that can
be used toward more healthful food choices; its an essential tool to
manage our financial responsibilities better in general. Usually when we
make a budget we can see plenty of stuff we can do without to make room
for healthier eating choices. You may say “shoot, I dont make enough
money to budget it!” lol, but you don’t have to make a lot of money to
benefit from budgeting. Budgeting helps what ever we make stretch
farther and get more of what we truly value out of what we have. When we
values ourselves more than our things we make healthier choices.
Budget, prioritize and prosper.
5. Season your Food: Eat fruits and vegetables that
are in season, that is! Otherwise you’ll be paying a much higher price.
For example, if you live in the north east United States and you want
some watermelon in the middle of the Winter of December, it’s gonna have
to be shipped from where ever it is in season to your local market and
you pay that extra cost. Also, eating foods that are current in their
natural growing season helps strengthen your immune system for that
season. Seasonal Fruits can be frozen and blended to smoothies. Frozen
vegetables also can be used to make a stir fry. They’re convenient and
they don’t spoil quickly like fresh fruits and veggies.
6. Join a Co-op or Local Community Garden: You get
discounts on your groceries by being a member of grocery store co-ops.
In exchange for your minimal volunteer work hours per month, you get
your groceries at Co-op member’s only price. Same thing goes for
community gardens. And not only that you get to learn a WHOLE lot about
nutrition and health being in that kind of environment.
There are many urban farm movements popping up all over the place
where folks are going back to the land, utilizing whatever small plots
there are right in the hood, to grow food. Participating with these
farms are awesome ways to educate ourselves on growing food. Also, there
are usually harvest markets where the food is sold for really
affordable prices and you can get first dibs by being a community
member. Places like DTown Farms and Freedom Freedom in Detroit and Truly
Living Well Farms and Habesha Gardens in Atlanta are great examples of
gardens in the hood that you can google and “dig” into! If you have even
the smallest plot of land in your yard growing your own food from
heirloom seeds (non-gmo varieties) is also another way to save on the
grocery bills while mastering a very useful and fun survival skill.
My wife Afya, has been a great source of inspiration in this area in our household. You can Follow her instagram (@AfyaIbomu) blog to see our latest harvests. And last but certainly not least….
7. Drink more water. Many times we think we are hungry, it may be actually a sign of thirst.
The fact that it is recommended by holistic healers and medical
experts alike that we drink half our body weight in ounces of water each
day, it’s safe to say many of us are chronically dehydrated and as
Rocko’s song lyric says “we don’t even know it”. When we are drinking
enough water it curbs our appetite so we don’t over eat. Drinking water
also says us money on all the sugary drinks on the market that are often
what we choose to wet our whistles due to the drug effect of the high
sugar, high fructose corn syrup content of most beverages sold in the
hood. We can save our money and our internal organs by saying no to the
liquid sugar caffiene crack juice aka sodas and artificial energy drinks
and just sip on nature’s good old original elixir -H20!
oh…Bottle water getting too expensive? Get a basic filter for your
tap, some for as low as $20 bucks and like Kendrick Lamar’s song says
“pour up, drank!”
In summary, the main thing to remember for eating good on a hood
budget is that it is doable! People often say things are not possible
that they haven’t truly dedicated themselves to figuring out. Many of us
say it’s too expensive to eat healthy but we spend and waste a lot of
money that could have been spent in a wiser manner. The reason that many
of us think health food is expensive is because we are not clear on
what health food is. Health food is not going to Whole Foods and
stocking your pantry with fancy processed boxes and packages of this and
that. Health food is simple and is the least expensive most nutrient
dense food in the grocery store, basically fruits and vegetables, beans
and simple whole grains. Those are affordable staple foods and even on a
food stamp budget (I know from experience) have been scientifically
applauded for their health benefits.
It’s important that we not be intimidated by all the health
information nor swayed by all the different opposing views on what
health is. A lot of it is simple common sense, if you will. We know a
bag of chips isn’t a health food. We know that McDonald’s isn’t exactly a
health food restaurant either. We can begin to take ownership and be
ever vigilant in studying and learning all we can to educate ourselves
on how to make healthier choices. Do your own research and take
ownership for your health. To live a healthy life its not about always
depending on the doctors and medications. One has to in essence become a
lifelong student of your own holistic health so you can make wise
choices for yourself and your families. Most graduating Doctors spend
very little class time studying nutrition when getting their degrees. So
they may have a lot of knowledge on surgery and medicine but few
mainstream minded doctors are trained in Nutrition. They are trained to
diagnose symptoms and prescribe medication, for the most part. However, a
holistic nutritionist (as opposed to even a conventional nutritionist)
is trained to help us understand the ways in which our food choices can
help us heal and keep us healthy without the use of medicines and
As mentioned, its important to plan ahead and have a weekly goal and
vision on the meals and needs your family has so that we are making less
impulsive decision when hunger strikes and more pre-planned long term
health affirming choices based on wise consideration and preparation
before hand. When we cook in bulk for the week it’s one of the biggest
helpers in saving money and eating less fast food and junk food. With
realistic budgeting we can see what we really have to work with and
choose consciously to value our health over things. Each season nature
gives us plenty of fresh foods to nourish us in harmony with our
environment and these foods are plentiful in there natural seasons so
they are less expensive.
And lastly, but not leastly, we need to realize that our taste buds
are conditioned and can be re-conditioned. When we only eat for taste we
become slaves to taste alone. And as we learn from seeing far to many
of our relatives sick and miserable and overweight and diseased, eating
for taste without regard to health leads to self destruction. We can eat
healthy on a hood budget. We deserve the best and we can start living
like we understand our value by choosing to adopt healthier habits. When
the hood is strong, we are truly unstoppable. Salute!