Diabetes type 2 and poverty.

By Krystabela Latest Reply 2014-01-03 10:45:38 -0600
Started 2013-12-27 18:45:17 -0600

I guess the title sort of says it all. I just want to say first off that I'm not lacking intelligence I just have multiple obstacles in my way that make it difficult for me to follow a proper diet or do everything that I"m supposed to. I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 years ago and have been having problems along the way. One of my major obstacles (other then myself) is the fact that I am poor. I have approximately $40 a week for grocery shopping and that is it. Anything more then that and the end of the month is nothing but ramen noodles (sometimes I end up there anyway). To top this off I HATE cooking, but if reading a recipe is knowing how to cook then I know how to cook. I understand that I have limited carbs (4 carb options per meal according to my last diabetic teacher), I even understand (mostly) exactly what good and bad carbs are. I have been handed complicated recipes and told "this is a good option," and even told that tuna and rice are good options for someone like me with limited funds. I need realistic help for my situation. How can I control my diabetes if I can't afford to buy things (food, my insurance covers my medicine)? I am frustrated with the whole situation and tired of doctors/teachers thinking I'm stupid when they don't listen to my problem. (sorry if to long)

22 replies

Jennieetch 2014-01-03 10:45:38 -0600 Report

I always ask why does a salad cost $5 but a burger is only $1. They sure do not make it easy. Keep people choosing badly because they have to keeps the pharmaceutical industry in business. Just my opinion…

kimfing 2014-01-02 22:04:46 -0600 Report

I just found something for you on this site. Hit menu, go to news, there is an article about low cost meal plans it will take you to an ADA sponsored website you may find helpful. Good luck!

Krystabela 2014-01-02 07:35:19 -0600 Report

Thank you for all the responses. Just to answer a few questions…I do have food stamps and that is where my budget comes from. I am on disability as well and trying to get off it (recently went back to college and graduated but job market being what it is I have not found one yet). I volunteer and am aware of all the local food banks which are stretched to the limit and having a hard time meeting the needs of people who visit it. Sadly these are hard times all around.

debbiedo89 2014-01-01 20:08:39 -0600 Report

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I work full time and still at times have problem buying healthy foods. It could be paying extra on a bill vs good food. My head conversation goes like this, if I pay off this bill I'll feel less stress and more willing to buy and cook healthy food..

charliescovel 2014-01-01 14:35:13 -0600 Report

I totally understand about the money side of it. I am on disability due to my diabetes and finding enough money to by the right foods for my needed diet is difficult and I have about 50 dollars a week for groceries. I do however have a more understanding Dr. He appreciates the fact that I use the log book from this site and print out my blood sugars to give to him at each visit.

denipink57 2013-12-31 07:50:18 -0600 Report

google things like "diabetic diet on a budget" or "cooking on a budget." go on facebook and look up words like "thrifty" or "cooking savings" or any other type of words you can think of. do you have a Salvation Army near you? they are really good at helping the poor. can you go to a local food bank? i am in Canada so these are all the things i can do here. please take heart. i know you can't eat words and it is food you need but i can't think of anything else. oh yeah, and what about service organizations like the Legion or the Kiwanis club. do they have them where you are? i will be praying for you. i am sorry you have to go thru this. i do know what it is like. i am on disability too.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-12-29 20:03:03 -0600 Report

Hi Krystabela,

I just wanted to say hi. I am glad you are here. And I am happy that so many of your new friends on Diabetic Connect jumped in to give you some advice and support. I am sorry you are struggling financially. So many Americans are having difficulty getting enough food and that is a very sad thing. I suspect you have investigated food stamp eligibility?

Stay in touch with us. You are not alone!


GabbyPA 2013-12-29 11:25:47 -0600 Report

I have used a food bank in the past for the things that tend to cost more like meats and veggies. They are hard to find these days, that's for sure. But that might be a place to start.

I'm sorry that you don't like to cook, but that may be something you need to do, just to make ends meet. There are lots of easy recipes that kind of cook themselves and things like soups and stews really do go a long way and with little effort. You can also use less expensive meats in stews. One of my favorite easy to do meals is egg drop soup that just takes a couple of eggs and some bullion cubes with water.

I skip the bread and buy lunch meat and use that to wrap up my "sandwiches" and if you have a jar, you can make sprouts for pennies and they are very healthy and go great as extenders in salads and sandwiches or wraps. Just get a bag of dried lintels and sprout about 2 tablespoons in a jar and it's great for you.

Even growing some of your own food might help. Things like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and even cucumbers do well in container gardens. You may not save a lot, but your access to fresh food is very satisfying.

If you have friends who can go in with you on a big store like Costco or Sam's might help too. The prices per piece are often much lower and if someone can split a purchase with you, it might help out. We used to do that a lot with meat.

Jude1952 2013-12-29 01:17:07 -0600 Report

I am in the same place you are but I have high co-pays. 1. I do not eat junk food so I wish wish people would not ask me to cut back on snacks. 2. I do not qualify for food stamps. I am just above the limit for all most all government programs.3. the farmers market are a great idea but in No. Calif. farmers are greed and there food is high than your local store. Check with your local food bank (if your area is lucky enough to have one) I do volunteer work helping pass out food "no" I can a lot of the food they past out but after they get to know you when they have a few extra veggie or meat products tthey will some time pass it your way also in a lot of food banks they are now get new diabetic food program. There still a lot of food in the box you can not eat but they are now see the need is out there. I find even tho I can not work any more be a volunteer talk to a few trusted friend about my struggle it get easier to make ends meet. Good luck

One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time 2013-12-28 17:40:42 -0600 Report

I just thought- popcorn is relatively low in carbs but filling. You could choose popcorn over chips and save $$ and carbs.

I sprinkle with:
- cinnamon & sugar
- crushed red pepper
- garlic salt
- ginger

For variety.

theladyiscrazy 2013-12-28 15:09:18 -0600 Report

You didn't mention if that $40 a week just covers you AND ONLY food items. I know in my "grocery budget", I also have things like paper products, etc. You are only suppose to have 4 carbs (as in 4 grams of carbs) total per meal? So, only 12 carbs per day?

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-12-28 14:10:28 -0600 Report

One Step has excellent advice. Fruits and veggies at Farmers Markets are fresher and cheaper than supermarkets and corner stores. Our Farmers Market is next to a homeless shelter and the men and women will get there early and ask if they can help the farmers set up. They ask for fruits and veggies as payment. Some ask for money so they get about 5 bucks.

You could also get to one if there is one in your area about 30 mins before closing. Ask if they have any veggies they will give away because you need it. The more veggies they give you means the more money you have for meats. Ask if you can work for them for the veggies and fruits.

Green leafy veggies suck as kale, collards and spinach can be frozen without cooking. Tomatoes can be made into sauces to add to soups and casseroles. You can chop some of the kale, collards and spinach and freeze for soups and salads.

Find out if your community has a community garden. We have one in my community and because I am part an officer in the community association, our garden is under our control. Nothing in our garden can be sold. All gardeners have to plant a row for the hungry. Ask if the gardeners have anything they have grown that they can spare and also ask if you can help with cleaning, weeding and watering the garden. When you give back you can often reap the rewards.

You can also as One Step said grow veggies in pots in your yard or on a balcony . We grow Tomatoes, sage, peppers, strawberries and lima beans in pots in our yard even though my sister grows a lot in our garden plot at the community garden. If you have a yard you can grow some in the ground. We use bags of top soil in the pots.

Glucerna 2013-12-28 13:51:29 -0600 Report

You're definitely not alone, and I often hear from people who know what to eat to manage diabetes but have financial difficulties that make it more difficult for them to choose healthier foods. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-news/... has some good meal plans and recipes, along with tips for lower-cost healthy eating. ~Lynn @Glucerna

One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time 2013-12-28 13:31:53 -0600 Report

Try fixing stews- you can add in the veggies and less expensive cuts of meat. You can freeze the extra and eat it over month and months.

Farmers markets in the spring/summer are great for veggies- or you could grow some of your own. Tomatoes (cherry & grape) and baby bell peppers grow well in flower pots, so they're great for apartment balconies or small yards. I grow them on my deck each summer. I usually eat them right off the vine.

Brown rice isn't too bad in carbs and is better than the white rice. It keeps forever too, uncooked. Stock your kitchen with raw ingredients you can use to cook your own items. Make your own potato chips, or learn how to recycle leftovers. (Baked potatoes —> masked potatoes—> fried potato cakes) three days, three meals, same potatoes.

Throw leftovers in the freezer and stew them! Yummy.

You'll make it!!! Keep pressing forward.

jayabee52 2013-12-29 00:30:44 -0600 Report

may I suggest that the potato idea might put Krystabela rather high on the Blood Glucose (BG) level. David Mendoza's website has the Glycemic index (GI) of a boiled potato at 87 and the Glycemic Load (GL = {a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response - A GI of 70 or more is high}) of 4 (GL {how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar}) Instant Mashed Potatoes 87 GI and a 3 GL. (for an extensive reference on GI and GL see ~ http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm)

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-12-27 21:58:04 -0600 Report

You didn't say if you have applied for Food Stamps. If not do so. Check to see if there is a food bank in your city or county. Contact them to see if you can get food from them. Another source is Catholic Charities. They provide all kinds of services. These days a lot of churches have food pantries. Check the churches in your area.

I agree with Correctionsnurse. Cooking your own meals are more economical and healthier. I buy whole chicken breast with bone in and skin. I can filet them and remove the skin and they are cheaper than boneless/skinless chicken breast. A whole chicken is also cheaper than cut up. Frozen veggies are cheaper than canned and healthier as long as they are not in a sauce. Soups and casseroles can be frozen and you can make several meals with them. Good luck to you.

dagger1234 2013-12-27 21:48:48 -0600 Report

I ,.. And am pretty sure you aren't the only one dealing with $$$ problems and eating healthy. Don't be ashamed. I eat ramen noodles from time to time too. What I suggest is to eat less in portion, drink a lot of water and work out more often.

Harlen 2013-12-27 20:04:03 -0600 Report

Ben there done that yes it is hard .
There's always a way to make some cash .
You just got to find a way that works for you

correctionsnurse1 2013-12-27 19:04:28 -0600 Report

Hi…Sorry to hear about your situation. I know you said you do not like to cook, but really, that would be the most economical way to have healthy food. I usually purchase chicken breasts and butterfly them, put enough for one meal (half of a breast) in a zip lock and divide the rest and freeze. Homeade soups are pretty economical as well. Hope this helps.

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