Shape Up! – What You Can Get On Food Stamps

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

Those of you that knows me for a while now knows that I am on food stamps. Look, I am not happy being on SNAP and would rather be making money and buying my own groceries.  But when no one will hire you and you have crossed the 1,500th job rejection, what can you do?  So for now, I am on food stamps until someone hires me or I get on Social Security Disability.


So, those of you who are on food stamps knows how painful it can be, but you are also grateful that you are not starving in the United States.  So, for the ones who likes to criticize me on social media, I only get $190 a month on food stamps.  That means I have to plan meals for 30-31 days each month on that $190.  This means I only get about $5 a day to eat, only $5, that’s it!  So, how is it like to spend so little at the store?

Let’s start with the produce, sadly most of this is out of my budget.  I mean, spending around $3-5 on a bag of salad when you only can spend $40-45 a week (7 days) is out of my reach.


Then stuff like apples that costs over $5 for a bag is also out of my reach.  Remember, you have only $45 a week to feed yourself.


And last week, a pack of chicken breasts and a pack of pork chops both costed over $10!  Too far out of my budget!


So, what do I buy with the $40-45 a week?  I decided to take photos of what I would eat for the entire week, and you also have to remember this.  Anything I buy I also must walk back home for over a mile!


So, I buy the most food I can get for the lowest price.  I want a full belly, and not feel hungry.  And on weekdays, I only eat one meal a day for dinner, and that is it!  On weekends, I try to have some breakfast, and I buy a box of frosted flakes for 89 cents, and milk for about $2.50, the cheaper the better, and I don’t care about the nutritional stuff.


So for two nights of dinner, I got a pack of hot dogs for $1.39, hot dog buns for $1.29, and fries for $1.99.


Two other nights of dinner features a pack of ground meat for $5.50, hamburger buns for $1.29, cheese for $1.99, and fries for $1.99.


Two other nights of dinner features 10 fish fillets for $4.99 and mashed potatoes for $2.


And one other night of dinner features a frozen pizza for $3.50 and garlic bread for $1.99.


I also try to eat something sweet after dinner a few nights a week.  Even people trying to lose weight will enjoy some ice cream, and for $2.50, it’s a deal!


And for a snack, it’s microwave popcorn for $1.19.  I can only afford the cheap stuff!


I also brew some sweet tea at home which I enjoy during dinner.  100 tea bags cost $1.18 and the sugar cost $1.99.


And I have plenty of refillable water bottles at home.  I use these flavor packets where I get 8 for $1.


At the end, everything costs about $40.  And that is all I can afford!  Look, when someone hires me I can concentrate on eating healthier and can afford to eat healthier.  When people are on a very extremely tight budget, they are going to get the most food possible for the lowest cost.  Who cares about the fat and calories!  To sum things up, which will make your belly more fuller?  One apple or a big bag of microwave popcorn?

And let me talk about something else!  I posted this photo showing that I had some foot pain.  When you do miles and miles of walking, it is eventually going to happen!

Some people on social media suggested some things like:

Might be time to consider losing some weight bro.. even 20lbs would help your feet.

You don’t need money to exercise. You can use your own body weight to work out.

The ONLY thing that will make you lose weight is a caloric deficit. You MUST eat less calories than you utilize during the day.

You gotta ditch the empty carbs… Bread, sugar, flour, wheat. By the way, most of those end up as sugar and then fat. Better to avoid.

How about jump rope and air squats?

Well, good luck with that!  Without any income, what can you do?  To do more things like eating healthier, or doing more exercises, which can not be done at my apartment because people hear me and complain, you need something that is 5 letters long.  I will let the GIF below tell you what I need!


Shape Up!: My Detailed Walking Route To The Library

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

As some of you may know by now, I have been on a very slow and painful mission to lose some weight.  And it is a very hard task to do when you have been unemployed for three and a half years and have no income.  It gets even harder when you are on food stamps and can only afford one meal a day.  When I come to the library, since I don’t have internet at home, at times my stomach growls, and I start to feel lightheaded and tired, you get that way when you have not eaten anything for over 12 hours!  In my position, it’s like sitting in a classroom and trying to learn, try doing it when you are hungry and can not concentrate.

And, when you live in one of the worst metro areas in America for unemployment and economics, it gets even worse!  So, some people have begun to see me walking around three miles one way to get to the public library here in Oxford.  I mean, Google Maps says it’s three miles on the nose!  And I believe it!

Walk Map

This week, a driver pulled up and wanted to talk to me.  No, I was not in trouble or they did not call the cops on me like what happened a few months ago.  This driver, who works at UPS, says he is inspired to see me walking on the side of the road almost every day.  And the driver said “you have inspired me to get off my fat butt and get moving.”  Wow, I am glad some people sees me walking on the side of the road as inspiration, not all people driving by are mean, some get far over when they go around me, and some drivers have given me a free car ride!  But, there are some drivers who honk their horns, or yell bad words, or swerve towards me, I hate those drivers.

So on this special Shape Up! post, I am going to highlight the route I walk to the library most weekdays.  I only walk there, and try to catch the bus back to save some time.  And yes, I am glad the weather is turning cooler!  So, my route starts walking down Hillyer Robinson Industrial Parkway.  When the road was repaved a few years ago, they added a shoulder, I am glad they did!


The worst part of this road is when you get to the guard rails.  As you can see, there is not a lot of room between the traffic and the guard rail.  I am not walking on the other side and can’t see the cars coming towards me, and I can’t walk on the grass, the business does not like it!


Continuing down the road.


Here, you cross the Anniston/Oxford city limit line, and as you can see, Oxford loves to neglect painting road lines on the road.  And here, the road splits.


Here at the Norfolk Southern train track, this is where I mostly take my train photos.


Now I am on US 78 / Hamric Dr.  This part of the walk sees me walking in the grass.


Then, there is plenty of hard parking lots I can walk on.


Then I get to the Snow St. traffic light.  You have to watch out for cars turning right onto Snow St., who don’t have to stop.


Then a full paved shoulder opens up on US 78.  It’s an easy walk for the next mile.  Just watch out for cars who are turning.


I am glad the bridge has full shoulders!


Then I get to the AL-21 / Quintard Dr. intersection.  You have to watch out for cars turning right here, and the full paved shoulder ends, back to walking in the grass.  And in between the ramp and the intersection, there are a lot of holes, fire ants, and other obstacles.


And at the traffic light, you have to watch out for cars who go way past the white stop line.


After the intersection, you must watch out for cars turning right again, at a very high speed!  The grass has plenty of obstacles in it as well!


Then I get to a gravel, then hard pavement portion of the road.  The worst part here is people parking their cars on the side of the road during home football games, I thought you could not park on the side of a state highway?


Then I turn right onto a city street.


And I approach the city library.  About 90 minutes later, I am at the library.


So, there is a step-by-step instructions on how I walk to the library.  I would love to try new things and actually afford to eat more meals a day, but that won’t happen until I am hired somewhere.  So, I am embedding my visual resume below (over 10,000 views), if you know of something, e-mail me at:

Shape Up!: The Doctor and Dental Visits

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

Here is a special edition of Shape Up!  This post is going to talk about my last two doctor visits and the attempted dental visit that did not end well.

For the last two years, I have been on a slow attempt to get into better shape.  Yes, I have lost some weight and have eaten better.  But when you have been unemployed for 27 months now, there’s not much you can do.  Also, being on Food Stamps limits your food choices.  I only get around $200 a month for all of my groceries.  That means I only eat one meal a day with a snack around lunchtime.  I do get meats and fresh produce which costs a little more.  I know I could go the cheap processed food route but that would blow my weight up!

Since I have been unemployed for 27 months now, I went to the Quality of Life clinic in Anniston.  Their co-pays for people on Food Stamps, Medicaid, Disability, and other assistance are affordable!  I only paid $20 for each visit.  During my first visit, my blood pressure readings were taken, and they were way too high!  Then my weight was taken, and it was at 400 lbs.  That’s better than the nearly 500 lbs. I was at around two years ago.  Ms. Covington told me my blood pressure levels were too high, and she prescribed me Lisinopril, which treats the high blood pressure.  Then she ordered some lab work, it did not cost anything extra, I just hate needles!  Yes, in the past people have had to hold me down to get an injection.  I acted like a man this time and got my blood drawn.


For my second visit, my lab results were revealed!  My thyroid and bad cholesterol levels was fine.  My good cholesterol levels were sightly lower.  I had a sightly higher red blood cell count and my white blood cell count was fine.  My blood sugar counts were normal.  And functions of the kidneys, livers, and heart were going normally.  My Triglycerides levels were also slightly elevated.  After a second visit to the doctor’s office, my blood pressure counts were down from the first time around, so the medication was working.  But the doctor also wanted me to take a low dose Aspirin daily.  I was also prescribed another medication called Carvedilol, which treats the high blood pressure.

bill 001

And to freak me out, Quality Of Life sent me a bill in the mail for $311.00.  I thought, this can’t be right, a general check-up and lab work can not cost that much.  I took the bill to the receptionist and they worked quickly to fix the error.  I owed nothing extra other than the $20 I paid for the visit.  I will be back for a 3 month check-up in December, unless I have moved away from the Anniston area.

Now for the dental, Quality of Life has a dental department and they do cleanings, cavity work, and extractions.  But sadly, they don’t work on crowns, caps, or root canals.  I will have to go to another dentist that will do that work.  The people working there told me I needed to get the cap issue fixed and then I could come back for a cleaning.  The cost for a cleaning will only be around $25 since I am on Food Stamps.  They did go ahead and take an advanced x-ray of my teeth.  That x-ray is good, you can see where I have had cavities filled and where I have had the root canal.

teeth 001

So, for now my cap is still off of the tooth, but there is no pain.  I will need to find another dentist that will work with me on the cap, and it will cost some money.  The office has the x-ray copy and can easily send it over to the dentist office I go too.  And the good thing, I was not charged for the x-ray!  So there you go, there is an update on my overall health.  I hope I can resume my weekly posts about what I am doing to get in better shape as soon as someone hires me again and I have the income to eat better and do better exercising other than walking.


Shape Up! – Week 81

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

This is week 81 in my series of Shape Up!  The weekly post on what I did over the last week in my quest to getting healthier.

This video doesn’t exist

Today, I am kind of sleepy.  For the last couple of nights, I have struggled getting some sleep.  On Saturday night, I could not fall asleep.  On Sunday night, I slept for over 12 hours.  And on Monday night, my body felt so cold that I had to put two huge blankets over me to stay warm.  No, the apartment was not too cold and the apartment was at 73 degrees.  During the day, I felt really tired and fatigued.  So what could be causing this you ask?  Just take a look at this on my right leg.

shape 003

Yep, that is a nasty sore.  While walking along Greenbrier Dear Rd. last week, I guess a tick somehow got attached and tried to go inside the skin.  I did remove the tick and killed it, but as you can see, my body is not reacting to the tick bite very well.  After doing some research, I found out that this tick bite could have released a disease inside my body.  So here I go, I think I have Lyme Disease.  First symptoms includes joint pains, chills, fever, and fatigue.  Symptoms down the road could include severe fatigue, a stiff, aching neck, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or facial palsy.  If you let symptoms go for too long, you could experience severe headaches, painful arthritis and swelling of joints, cardiac abnormalities and even mental disorders.

Yes, if I was employed and had money, I would have already gone to a doctor to get this checked out.  But when you have been unemployed for 25 months now and hardly have any money, you can’t go see a doctor.  Obviously, if the City of Anniston had sidewalks along Greenbrier Dear Rd. instead of tall grass and trash, I would have probably not gotten this tick bite.  See, walking on the side of the road is very dangerous.  Ticks can bite you, you can step on trash and broken glass, you can step onto fire ant mounds, and some car drivers will serve towards you almost hitting you.  Ahh, the joys of walking!


So for now, my walking days are over.  My legs are stiff and sore because of this bite.  And I wonder if I will be able to go see a doctor to get the antibiotics I need to treat this bite.  Of course, I still have the cap from my tooth that is still off as well.  With my birthday on August 15th, I wonder if I will end up in the emergency room instead of celebrating my birthday.  Yes, I hate being negative again, but I really don’t have anything positive to talk about right now.  Maybe my 27th year on this Earth will be better for me.

This is what I ate last week:

Tuesday: Chicken Breast, Rice, Sweet Tea.

Wednesday: Hot Dogs, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Thursday: Pork Chops, Rice, Sweet Tea.

Friday: Burgers, Fries, Sweet Tea.

Saturday: Pizza, Sweet Tea.

Sunday: Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea

Monday: Burger, Fries, Sweet Tea.

Have a great week everyone!

Shape Up! – Weeks 79-80

Geek Alabama Shape Up!

This is weeks 79-80 in my series of Shape Up!  The weekly post on what I did over the last week in my quest to getting healthier.

This video doesn’t exist

For a few days last week, I was walking like crazy.  I had to walk from my apartment on Greenbrier Dear Rd. to the library in downtown Anniston.  The walk from there to back was around six miles of walking per day just to access the internet.  Here’s a map for you to look at!


From Google Maps.

I took some photos of my route that I am going to share.  Alabama lacks sidewalks in many places!  That meant I was walking alongside the road in the grass.  At times I had to dodge fallen trees, tall grass, trash, and even hypodermic needles, yes I saw a few.  Walking along Quintard Ave. and Noble St. was good because sidewalks were present.  But walking along Greenbrier Dear Rd. was a pain because there were no sidewalks and I was walking up Greenbrier Mountain.  Yes, I was tired!

On the return trip home, I began by walking down Noble St.  There are ped signals to help you cross the busy roads along Noble St.  And I was glad to walk on sidewalks.  The only portion lacking sidewalks was around a curve.  I had to walk around tree branches, glass, and trash while walking on the road without getting hit by a car.


Then I turn onto E St. to connect to Quintard Ave.  The reason, because the traffic light has ped signals.  The light at Greenbrier Dear Rd. does not have ped signals.


Then I begin the climb up Greenbrier Mountain.  The first part has curbs and I walk alongside them.  Then the road has no curbs and I take a risk walking along the side of the road.  It’s easier to walk on pavement then walking in the grass.  You never know what’s in the grass.


At the top, there are guard rails on both sides of the road which means I have to walk in the road.  It’s no fun having cars go by you at 45 mph.


Then I go downhill which is very easy.  I enjoy the view overlooking Anniston and Oxford.


Then I get home and sit down and drink a lot of water!


Sure, I know I am burning a lot of calories while walking for six miles and over a mountain twice.  But it’s dangerous when there is no sidewalks to walk on.  The side of the road is littered with trash, tall weeds, and fire ant mounds.  The city has said that sidewalks will be coming to Greenbrier Dear Rd. soon.  I hope it happens soon!

By the way, New York City will never be able to limit the size of sugary drinks. The Supreme Court’s Appellate Division found that the city’s Board of Health “failed to act within the bounds of its lawfully delegated authority” when it moved to ban sugary drinks of more than 16 ounces in New York City food service establishments.  So next time you go to New York City, you don’t have to worry about using a small cup for your drinks.  A drink size ban will never work ever!  People must have self-control over what they decide to consume.

This is what I ate last week:

Monday: Hotpockets, Sweet Tea.

Tuesday: Fish and Chips, Sweet Tea.

Wednesday: Chicken and Dumplings, Sweet Tea.

Thursday: Chicken TV Dinner, Sweet Tea.

Friday: Tacos, Rice, Sweet Tea.

Saturday: Pizza, Sweet Tea.

Sunday: Tacos, Rice, Sweet Tea

Monday: Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Chips, Sweet Tea.

Have a great week everyone!