Salad time!

I have finished my final day of the food bank diet. My initial food hamper:

1) 3 potatoes
2) 2 apples
3) 2 onions
4) 1 can of beans with pork and molasses
5) 1 can of fava beans
6) mini box of frosted flakes
7) 3 cups of cheerios
8) 1 can of beef ravioli
9) 2 individual sized yogurts
10) bag of green beans (fresh)
11) 500mL of sour cream
12) 1 litre of 3.5% milk
13) 1 box of Hamburger Helper
14) 1 can of vegetables
15) 1 granola bar
16) 2 individual cracker packages
17) 8 individual packages of nescafe latte
18) Knorr packaged Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and Broccoli Rotini 19) 12 tortillas
20) 12-pack of chicken hot dogs

What remains are the beans with pork, chicken wieners and beef ravioli. I almost ate the hotdogs for dinner  yesterday, but their main ingredient was “mechanically separated chicken”, so I opted out. I do have to be honest, on Wednesday I caved and brought peanut butter into my diet, technically it was allowed, as a ‘pantry item’, but it made things a lot more manageable. PB will go down as a personal life saver.

Today I went to the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre for lunch. I met with 3 other awesome individuals that were also doing the challenge. The drop-in experience was really enjoyable. PARC has made a safe space for people to come, relax, play music and socialize everyday of the week. I spent some time talking with Tracy, the program coordinator. I was interested in the types of people that use the service. I will do my best to pass on her wisdom. She explained a distinction between” street-involved” individuals and those with mental illness: These two groups being the most common patrons. I must add that the line between the two groups is quite fuzzy, as many individuals experience both sets of ills. Street involved generally refers to individuals that are suffering from addictions or for which circumstances have brought them to life on the street. Even more intriguing she revealed is that a tension exists between those with mental illness and those that are street-involved. She expressed that people with mental illness perceive the ‘street involved’ individuals as choosing their lives, whereas they themselves are not able to control their mental state. At every turn, society finds its divisions. Perhaps distinctions are more appropriate, we are all just one big tossed salad.

Side note: Lunch was pretty yummy! Fresh salad, beef samosa, chicken fingers. Not my personal favorites, but everyone seemed to be happy. The biggest realization of the this week has been the importance of quality food. ‘Importance’ however, is quite a subjective term. Canned beef ravioli may terrify me beyond belief, but to others, it might be a starting rotation food item.

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