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What I learned on a week of the Food Bank Diet

I’m trying to decide how to wrap up my day on this Friday, Dec. 7, but I’m pretty sure a good meal and a glass of Chardonnay will figure prominently. Since last Saturday, at the request of CBC radio, I’ve been on what I call the Food Bank Diet.

Today is their Food Bank Day, in which CBC studios all over the province raise funds and food for food banks. I was asked if I would be interested in living off a Food Bank hamper for a week, to which I agreed, but I figure up to but not including dinner tonight is close enough.

I began by getting a list of items from the Food Bank that are normally included in the monthly hamper provided to single clients. Some of it was already in the cupboard, so I made a stop at a grocery store and added the rest.

This is what’s included in the hamper: 1 tomato sauce/ pasta sauce, 1 dry soup, 1 small bag of rice, 1 can of beans, 1 can of meat/tuna/salmon, 3 cans of soup, 1 can of vegetables, 1 can of fruit, 1 small bag of dried pasta, 1 bag of cereal, 1 rice dish/Sidekicks, 1 KD.

That won’t get anyone through a month; I found that, by stretching things (for example, making two meals instead of one from a can of beans or soup), the hamper could likely last about 10 days. But then, it’s not expected to last a whole month; food bank clients provide the rest of their own food needs, helped out by twice-weekly offerings of perishable goods — bread, produce, pastries, etc. — from the Food Bank.

I allowed myself a loaf of bread and some greens in keeping with the perishable allotment and that definitely helped. But I wasn’t able to keep my meals totally in synch with the food available, and had to mix it up a bit, sometimes eating something for lunch or breakfast that would normally be reserved for dinner, and vice versa.

While the hampers are designed with the help of nutritionists, the non-perishables are pretty low in calories. My daily intake has easily been under 500 calories a day compared to the 2,000 a man of my age, weight, height and level of activity needs.

The result has been that I’ve dropped a few pounds. I was actually down five pounds until a couple of days ago, when one of them came back. Four or five pounds might sound pretty good to weight watchers, but I’ve been thin for the past while already so I can imagine the difficulty some hungry people have staying healthy.

What did I learn? A small insight into the challenges of not having enough food in the cupboard, and a re-affirmation of my admiration for those who make our amazing Food Bank possible, and for those who rely on it.

Thanks to CBC for inviting me to do this, and to Bernadette and Cori at the Food Bank for helping me set it up. I will toast you this evening when I uncork a fresh bottle of Chardonnay and enjoy a nice dinner.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5151 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on What I learned on a week of the Food Bank Diet

  1. Robert Archibald George Esq, // December 19, 2012 at 1:08 AM // Reply

    Mel; Interesting. My wife and my niece went off to jolly old for two weeks recently for a respite from their men and to attend their Auntie Mable,s 100th birthday party.When auntie Mable was told about 80 people were to attend this gala occasion she remarked ” How can that be? My friends are all dead” and yes she did receive a congratulary card from Herself,who hasn,t far to go in that department.I,m sure she,ll make it but who will be sending HER a card?
    Almost all of us eat too much. While the cook was away I feasted on lots of big salads made up of lettuce,tomato,brocolli,green pepper,cauliflower,olives and feta,topped off with an oil dressing.There was also homemade soup and a few organic hamburger patties with sometimes fried unions and also the odd spud boiled steamed along with green cabbage and carrots.No dessert just a coffee and 1/2 an English muffin at 3:00 oclock.Forgot breakfast; 1/2 an orange and a piece of toast,peanutbutter on 1/2 of it and honey on the other.
    I also forgot to mention my pre supper weakness for a relaxing Scotch on the rocks,sometimes referred to as Highland Dew or The Nector of the Gods.
    Anyway,the gist of all this is,I lost 8 pounds over those two weeks and felt better for it. Since my advisors return I have course regained it all back.The moral of this tale? no idea.
    Your humble?servant and admirer
    R A.George
    R is for Bob,my moms dog and the brother she wanted but never had,A for,no,not that,but for Archibald,my highland granddad.George is of course Welsh and one of the oldest sirnames of Britain,or so it is said.

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