97 with physical disabilities
51 with mental health disabilities
31 with sensory disabilities
20 with other cited disabilities
19 with cognitive disabilities
15 with learning disabilities
Severe food, environmental (including inhalant) allergies--often requiring hospitalization
Autism (unsure where to put that)
Eyes fatigue easily, and after many years of difficulty and little help due to invisibility of my disability (which is TBI) I am exhausted and don't h ave energy for interacting with others, constantly teaching, explaining etc. since no one understands.
In addition to mobility disability, have medical conditions affecting diet
hearing loss, food allergies
health disability, autistic
Autism, then not listed above- 1 of my kids is autistic, one has Down syndrome, both have anaphylactic food allergies, I have a medical concern that requires me to eat a totally different diet than my partner and kids
Autistic with sensory sensitivities, IBS, Coeliac, Lactose intolerant, Hypothyroidism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Cancer survivor surviving radical surgery, heavy duty chemo, radiotherapies, Restless legs Syndrome, insomnia, and more, GAD
Food allergies play a major role in my eating/shopping habits
not sure where autism goes in here. also chronic illnesses
Chronic pain/traumatic brain injury
Autistic, and irritable Bowel Syndrome and PCOS. Not a fun combo.
Chronic illness- asthma
Type 1 diabetes
I probably should have included a few more disability types, since there is a lot of overlap and ambiguity among these very broad, generic categories ... particularly mental health, cognitive, and learning disabilities. I also wish I had added a chronic illness category for people with conditions that more readily fall into that category.
On the other hand, I think allowing people to choose more than one category means we get a pretty good picture of who is responding, and the vast majority of respondents had some kind of physical disabilities, sometimes along with others.
Those are the survey results, in detail and summary. But what about my own shopping and eating habits?
I do most of my grocery shopping online with delivery by mail. I order once a month. I've only been doing this for about 4 months though. Before that, I shopped at a supermarket about once a month, and picked up things at convenience stores here and there. Even though I drive, my shopping was definitely too irregular, physically difficult, and unnecessarily expensive.
Before I started grocery shopping online, my biggest problem was getting fresh fruit and vegetables, buying household supplies in bulk, and getting anything large or heavy ... like big bottles of milk, juice, or soda, or big bags of sugar (for my twice daily tea).
I eat frozen dinners about half the time. A quarter of the time I eat take-out, and another quarter is conventional home cooking.
Speaking of fruit ... and the mini-controversy last year about whether selling pre-cut or packaged fruit is wasteful or accessible ... I do buy pre-cut fruit and bagged salad, as well as large boxes of single-serve fruit cups.
I often think about these new meal kits by mail services, but I never seriously consider them because they are expensive. And anyway, their big selling point seems to be that you don't have to worry about ingredients or portion sizes. I used to have that kind of problem, but at this point I know pretty much what I will and won't actually prepare and eat. For me it's not hard to figure out. But for others it might be more of a thing.
I don't really have any, except for this:
If I had unlimited power and resources to make one radical change in American society, I sometimes think I would institute free public breakfast buffets. Two things make me think about this:
TV shows about the British upper class, where everyone just comes to the dining room in the morning and the servants have laid out a full range of breakfast foods on a big sideboard.
Motel chains that offer free breakfast.
My life would improve enormously if I could easily got to a big breakfast buffet every morning and just dish up a plate of whatever looked good. You could do the same thing with lunches or dinners, but for me, breakfast is the thing. I love breakfast food, but it tends to be labor intensive, and my body is at its worst in the morning. It's the time I need good food the most, and am least equipped to prepare it.
What new kinds of food or shopping services would improve your life and independence? What changes have you made in this area that have made a difference in your life? Are these strictly matters of individual planning and innovation, or are there larger-scale systemic changes that would be both feasible and helpful to disabled people?
Share more of your comments below! And thanks for helping with this survey!