Adventures in Free Food

I’ve been acquiring free food in a variety of ways. A couple of years ago, I blogged about Food Not Bombs, which has since been renamed “Community Solidarity.” Most of the food they distribute is donated from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s- things like dented boxes of cereal, slightly over-ripe produce, and dairy products close to or JUST past the expiration date. They also accept donations from individuals.

Leah’s friend’s father works for a food distribution company, and brings home unsalable items. She gets a lot of frozen meat and fish, that’s past the expiration date but was frozen in time. She also gets a lot of packaged stuff, such as canned fish or 30 pounds of spelt flour, and I can’t always figure out what was “wrong” with the items. Leah and Hannah keep what they can use, and bring me what I think I’ll use. Occasionally, she’s brought things that none of us can use, and then I donate them to Community Solidarity. Once she brought me several boxes of anchovies, confusing them with sardines. Sardines are a diamond beneficial for me, and I enjoy eating lots of them. Anchovies, meanwhile, are an outright avoid, as well as being very high in salt. I saw no point in eating something that was likely to harm me, just because I got it for free. So I passed them along, and I’m sure somebody else enjoyed them.

Last time, Leah also brought me 2 packages of frozen quark cheese. As poorly as I tend to do on dairy products in general, quark cheese IS a “beneficial food” on my SWAMI. So I thawed one package and left the other in the freezer. I figured if I actually did well on it, I would use the second package as a starter to make more. Then I could keep a batch of homemade cheese going for as long as I wanted to.

I just finished the first package and I’m not sure how I feel about thawing the second one. It was an 8 ounce package and I only had a tablespoon or two a day- it took me about 10 days to finish it. The probiotics felt good in my tummy, but overall I’m not feeling well. My pain levels have been high. I’ve been short-tempered and easily overwhelmed. I’ve been having a lot of headaches and nasal congestion, even on days with a low pollen count. I can’t be completely certain this is from the dairy intake, but it might be.

I think I’ll keep that second package of quark in the freezer for now. When I’m feeling healthier, I’ll experiment with using it as a starter in goat’s milk, rather than cow’s milk.

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