Saturday, December 13, 2008

$1 a Day (Eat THAT, Rachael Ray)

I am always the last to find these things out.

Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard are two San Diego high school teachers who endured a very difficult project: they lived on just $30 of groceries for an entire month. Not $30 a day (that's anyone who spends close to $200 a week on groceries!!!). Not $30 a week (which I am closer to, considering all the food I get from my family, the food I already have in my pantry, and the free samples I get at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Wegman's). No. Just $30 a month. That's one tough budget to live on.

They got the idea after talking about how much they spent on food, which they both agreed was too much. So they eventually got around to this decision: trying to live on $30 worth of food for a whole month. It wasn't to see how fun it would be. They did it, in their words, "to learn". Perhaps, one thing they've learned - which we all would learn by trying this formidable challenge - is what it's like for those who literally have to live on that kind of food budget in a big, expensive city.

Some of the revelations they had, as noted on a recent TV appearance (they've been on Inside Edition and Fox & Friends):

  • Breakfast was unflavored oatmeal and lunch was peanut butter and jelly - one tablespoon each - on bread.
  • They ate a lot of things from cans, and a lot of things in bulk. Specifically, things you can buy cheap in cans or bulk.
  • One thing they had to steer clear of: fresh produce. Unless it's growing out of your garden, it gets expensive. That includes supermarkets, produce stands and farmers' markets, some of which sell produce pretty cheap - but not cheap enough to get you a month's worth of it.
  • They lost lots of weight - the husband lost 14 pounds! But they also felt light-headed at times, so I don't think they recommend this as a weight loss strategy.
Read all about it on their blog, which is now in the "Other Cool Links" section. It's surreal, to say the least, especially while sitting here watching Giada at Home, where she's just made a gruyere and sausage quiche which alone must have cost $30 to make. I doubt that'd last anyone a month.


Dara Bunjon said...

Fascinating story and sad. A friend was telling me that her father hired a part-time helper. He wasn't stopping to eat lunch and he was questioned. He said it was more important that there was food for his children, they came first.

No matter how tight it is for us a $1 from us will help someone. Do reach out to hunger relief organizations in your area.

John said...


jmc said...

I tried doing the Foodstamp Challenge last year, which was to live on a food budget of $3/day. After three days I was miserable -- and my problem wasn't that there wasn't enough, but the lack of variety and fresh veggies. Can't imagine living on $1/day.

Anonymous said...

That's amazing. Just don't try to make Barefoot's mac n cheese with gruyere. $30 on cheese alone. And it is a TERRIBLE recipe.

roopa said...

I, too, thought of the food stamp challenge. In NYC the value is (I think) $1.16 per meal, so ultimately you get $3.48 per day. I remember reading a blog last year of a couple who did that for a month, and they ate lots of oatmeal, lentils and dried beans, and cheap produce (carrots, onions, potatoes). But they, too, lost weight and were generally cranky.

I can't imagine having to live on that, and I am so thankful I don't have to.

John said...

JMC, Leslie Ann, Roopa - I haven't tried it like most of you, but I am intrigued by the idea. $3 or so a day in NYC sounds impossible to me. And I didn't know Ina made anything that was bad :) But yea, gruyere and quiche are not two things that I imagine go well together. Yuck!

Dan said...

The upcoming ish of THG has an article from a guy in Colorado who ate nothing but food from Big Lots for a week. Not a pretty picture...

John said...

Dude, that is scary. I've seen some of the stuff they sell at Big Lots (the "Olive-Flavored Oil" was particularly disturbing). Bleah!