Welcome to Poor Woman’s Lunch! I’m glad you’re here.
I’m Clara or Dr. Clara, as my students called me because I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
I fell on hard times a few years ago with tragic events, such as depression, a cancer diagnosis, and more, and when the pandemic hit, it turned worse. So I found myself, “poor.” My job as a psychology professor and a freelance journalist got put on hold indefinitely, and my online center closed permanently, and my budding nutritional consulting business halted due to COVID-19. So I lost all my livelihood and found myself living in a garage with my dogs. But then the worst and unimaginable happened; I lost my three dogs, one after another within a year and I was devastated, as my heart shattered into pieces and I lost the will to live. I am still grieving and taking it day by day.
There is no kitchen in the garage, but a small single sink with even a smaller counter space that holds my dish rack, soap, and sponges. There’s no stove or an oven here, but I have a single portable electric stove, a small standard refrigerator, a toaster oven, an electric kettle, and a microwave oven, all stacked up on a shelf, and surprisingly I’ve been surviving, as necessity is really the mother of all inventions.
Even though I am “poor,” I cannot sacrifice health. It is the single most important thing in my life. I’m a cancer survivor preventing recurrence, as well as potential medical issues from midlife and beyond. I’m also managing the demons of my 30-year-old depression and the unrelenting daily stress and chaos that is part of life. So, even on an extreme budget and circumstances, my mostly plant based, vegetarian, and vegan meals have to be very nutritious, affordable, eco-friendly, and absolutely delicious. I’ve been doing this for years even before the pandemic. It’s second nature to me. But now I am using new and old ways to stay healthy under toughest times.
Making a Difference
Being “poor” doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference. I may not be able to contribute financially, but there are many ways I can help with causes I am passionate about such as healthy eating, healing our planet, wildlife conservation, fighting climate change, and helping local animal shelters and rescue organizations, and so much more, just by my daily life choices, in what I buy and consume, which is more powerful than most people realize.
I also volunteer and offer my skills to nonprofit groups, as I’ve done for decades. In return, these acts fuel my spirit for life and keep me going when life seems at its cruelest. Nature and animals have been my lifeline and solace when people judged me harshly, as they still do. Without nature and animals, I simply could not be.
So, if you’re in the same boat as I am and/or you want to eat healthy, survive on a budget, and keep yourself mentally sane and positive during insane and negative times, and make a difference in some way, come join me as I share not only my cheap, healthy, and yummy meals, (often no recipes), but how I battle and survive issues and demons using all my skills I have acquired professionally and personally in a lifetime, to stay healthy and happy, with some laughs, during life’s darkest times.
As long as we are breathing, we will survive, together.