I am a cunning vending machine, a-lurkin’ in the hall So you can’t kick my delicate parts, I’m bolted to the wall Come on! drop in your money, don’t let’s hang about, I’ll do my level best to see you don’t get nothin’ out.
I see you all approachin’, the fagless and the dry, All fumblin’ in your pockets, expectant in your eye. I might be in your place of work, or on a high street wall, Trust in me: in theory, I cater to you all.
Within these windows I provide for every human state: Hunger, night starvation and rememb’ring birthdays late. Just read the information, pop the money in – that’s grand. And I’ll see absolutely nothing ever drops into your hand.
I might be at your swimming bath as you come cold and wet, With just a shilling in your hand, some hot soup for to get. And as you stand in wet anticipation for a sup, I will dispense the soup for you, but won’t dispense the cup.
And then it’s all-out war because you lost your half-a-nicker, Your mighty kicks and blows with bricks will make my neon flicker. But if you bash me up so I’m removed, my pipes run dry, There’s no way you can win: they’ll send my brother by and by.
Once there were friendly ladies, years and years before Who stood with giant teapots just to warm your shiv’ring pores. They’d hand you all the proper change and pour your cup of tea; But they’re not economic, so hard luck: you’re stuck with me.
Illustration by Anthony Sawrey
Recipes for (Avoiding) Disaster
Unhealthy situations arise every day. Occasionally we give in to these situations which may damage our health, wellbeing, mental state and relationships. Being realistic that these situations may occur, and being prepared for them, form the key to being in charge of our own health and wellbeing.
For adequate nutrition during these situations (such as being under the influence), try to make sure that you follow these simple steps:
Always have tinned food available
Tinned food can be a very healthy alternative to fresh foods. Foods like baked beans, four-bean mix (or any beans, really!!) are a great way to keep some high quality protein around the house for a meal which keeps your muscles intact. Having tins of vegetables such as corn, diced tomato, peas and asparagus, is an excellent way to make sure that food which generally has a lifespan of a few days can be on hand whenever you need it.
Tinned fruits like peaches, pineapples and apricots are high in the vitamins and minerals that you find in fresh fruit. Eating tinned fruit is high in sugar as well, so be careful not to indulge in these as a replacement for fresh fruit; but when supplies are low and funds are tight, tinned fruit is a great option!
Here’s a simple and super-healthy way to stock up on tinned foods:
1 tin corn kernels
1 tin beetroot
1 tin tuna in spring water
1 tin red kidney beans
Open tins and drain water from the corn, tuna and beetroot.
Rinse the kidney beans under running water until water runs clear.
Mix together and enjoy a hearty meal.
Keep some frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer
There is a myth that frozen fruit and vegetables have fewer nutrients in them, but it’s not true. Frozen fruit and veggies are “snap frozen” at the farms when they’re picked, so that most of the nutrients are kept intact. Some of the heat-sensitive nutrients are lost (e.g. vitamin C, thiamine and folate), but the majority will remain. There is also very little or no salt added in frozen vegetables, so frozen vegetables tend to be healthier than tinned.
The really important thing is how you prepare them. Frozen vegetables should be stored at -18°C (for no more than six months) and cooked quickly in as little water as possible. This method makes sure that you don’t lose a lot of vitamins in the water when you throw it down the sink.
Remember: If the water you cooked in is green, you’ve probably cooked it for too long and lost some key nutrients!
Try to keep fresh milk on hand
Sometimes there is no desire to eat food at all. There are lots of reasons for experiencing these symptoms, and one good way to overcome it is to drink nourishing fluids instead of eating food. A very healthy, nourishing fluid is cow’s milk. It contains important nutrients such as calcium for strong bones, protein for muscle development and vitamin A for good eye health. Keeping fresh milk in the fridge is sometimes difficult because of the quick shelf life, so buying long-life milk which can be stored in the pantry is a good, healthy alternative.
Here’s a good way to include frozen fruit and some milk in one recipe. It’s easy to make in advance, as it keeps well in the fridge for about 24 hours.
You will require a blender for this recipe. Alternatively, you could use a drink shaker to blend all the flavours together.
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1½ cups frozen yoghurt
1 cup milk
Handful of ice
Put all ingredients into a blender.
Blend until smooth, pour into a glass & drink cold!
Cook in bulk and freeze leftovers
Cooking a hot meal is sometimes the last thing you feel like doing when you’ve used all your energy elsewhere. The best trick is to cook in large batches every time you do have the energy, and freeze a few portions as leftovers. This way you can keep coming back to a hearty, nutritious meal without the fuss of cooking! Remember, if meat has been frozen and defrosted to cook with, it can’t be frozen again. Also be careful to leave meat/chicken/fish in the freezer for a maximum of three months.
A suggested meal to cook and freeze:
Simple chicken casserole
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
600g chicken breast fillets, diced Note: You can swap this for chicken thighs, but make sure the skin is removed before cooking!
2 carrots, peeled, sliced
8 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
2 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
400g can no-added-salt chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons no-added-salt tomato paste
Heat oil in a large pan and add onions. Cook until softened
Add chicken and cook until browned
Add remaining ingredients and wait until mixture comes to the boil
Reduce heat to low, simmer and cover for 35 minutes
Season with salt, pepper and herbs if desired
Only keep healthy snacks in the house
It’s quite normal that people will choose to snack on certain foods because they’re ready, available and tempting. That can be true for any snack foods you see, so why not take away all tempting snacks that are going to harm your health and replace them with healthy, nutritious options?
Some suggestions include:
Swap chips for unsalted and unroasted nuts (e.g. almonds/walnuts)
Swap ice cream for frozen yoghurt
Keep a stash of wholegrain muesli bars for a high energy snack
Swap soft drinks for milk or water
Make some jelly and keep it in the fridge for a sweet snack
Jessica Lewis Dietician, Nutrition Development Division Albion Street Centre
Illustration by Bodine
User's News No. 69 Winter 2012 - Credits
Published by the NSW Users & AIDS Association Inc
ABN 99 709 346 020 PO Box 1069 Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia