I appreciate all the emails I receive; one in particular last week really struck me. It came from a man who recently became homeless due to financial crisis and is now living in his car.
One great question he asked was: "What is a dietary regime to follow? One that is cost-effective, easy/portable and provides adequate nourishment for what may be a prolonged period of frugal and austere living."
He doesn't have much other than his protein shake and access to a shower/sink in a local facility. Regardless of circumstances, I feel my advice to him could be helpful to others as well. So please feel free to share.
Thank you for sharing your email. I do hope things turn around for you soon. In the meantime, because I don't have all the details on your current circumstances — health wise, etc., I can only do my best to advise on a more general basis (based on the info you did provide).
No matter what, you'll always NEED to have all your macronutrients: protein, carbs, good fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and lots of clean, fresh water, in order for your body to function optimally. That said, I'll try and keep it as simple and cost-effective as possible.
First, you may need to get a portable mini cooker (or stove)—basically something you can boil water with or do some simple cooking or warming up of food. This way, you can make your instant oatmeal and things like that. To give you a general idea:
- Whole grain instant oatmeal (just add water). This will give you long lasting energy all day, as well as, fiber to keep your intestinal tract healthy.
- Eggs — you can make hard boiled eggs to get your protein and good fats. They are also very filling.
- Canned tunas (and other fish) are cheap as well, and are filled with protein. You need protein to maintain and build your muscles. It also helps build many other parts of you like your hair, nails, etc.
- Whole wheat (brown) bread and peanut butter, add some jam if want.
- Fruits for vitamins and mineral. Get whatever is in season as they will be well priced. The more colorful your fruits and veggies, the better!
- Bananas will certainly fill you well. Your protein shake will be great to go with it.
- Get bags of greens where you can steam or just eat raw: spinach, broccoli, lettuce. You could get the canned ones if it's cheaper. But you must get your green veggies for vitamins and minerals your body needs, and to keep your energy and vitality. Not to mention, they can care for your skin.
- Canned items can be cost effective given your scenario, so please get stuff like lentils, beans, or peas. This will keep you full while providing the fiber, good carbs, good fats and protein your body NEEDS.
Adding to this: drink lots of clean water. Your body is 70% water so you must match that everyday with at least 8 glasses per day or more, especially more if you're moving around a lot. If you can, boil the water to ensure it's clean. Also, squeeze lemon in your water for Vitamin C, alkalinity, cleansing and many other benefits. Also, important thing to add...
...Please take good care of your teeth and gums. Make sure to brush, floss and rinse everyday. This can help prevent health problems in your mouth that would otherwise easily absorb into your system and compromise the health of your body.
Aside from that, moving your body in a productive way is essential for good health (workout, exercise, stretch). This will keep your mind, heart, circulation, bones and muscles strong no matter what you're going through. You can do body weight exercises like the kind of workouts I have on my website. Check out all my earlier workouts that do not require any equipment.
Also, proper rest is essential to put all the food to good use in your body and for your body to recuperate, heal and maintain balance — to thrive day-to-day — to think clearly and move in a positive direction.
Take this time to also find a helpful book to inspire you. I recommend "Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. I believe it will carry you through this journey as he, too, was once homeless. This highly sought-after spiritual leader is such a success today because of his experience from being homeless for 2 years.
My well wishes to you, always,