Day Thirty

We're having strawberries in our lunch tomorrow.

We're having strawberries in our lunch tomorrow.

Today is the last day.

I spent most of the day considering this. I kept thinking about what I wanted to eat, what I was going to write about. I thought about all the folks who have been reading, leaving comments, and donating money to our project. I thought about how we would make the donation to the Community Resource Center. I thought about how the daily conversations with my students and colleagues would change after today.

I think it was all that thinking that gave me a headache at the end of lunch. Of course it could have been the lack of calories as well.

Having just finished our last meal as part of this experiment, I am thankful for all that I have learned this month. Thankful for the dialogue that has come as a result. Thankful that we’ll be able to help a local non-profit, and thankful that…it’s over.

Tomorrow we’ll spoil ourselves at each meal. It’s weird because while our diet will return to having a variety of foods, including more fruits and vegetables, I feel somewhat guilty knowing that while we splurge the fact remains that billions of people will not have the option to eat what they would like.

I figure that we’ll continue to post a few entries after this one. An entry tomorrow is appropriate, and of course an entry to show that the donation has been made to the CRC. So, stay tuned for those last few entries, and if you have yet to donate, please make sure to do it by the end of the week.

We’re still about $200 away from our goal, but I am confident that we’ll make it to $1,000.

Thank you for everything, and here’s to an increase in calories!

- Christopher

Daily Totals:

Breakfast: 1 Slice of toast w/ Peanut Butter – $0.15

Lunch: 1/2 PB&J sandwich – $0.15

Dinner: Wheat Gluten cutlets w/ Gravy – $0.31, Polenta – $0.09, 1 slice of homemade bread – $0.10, 1 TBSP margarine $0.06

Dessert: 1 Peanut Butter cookie – $0.06, 1 Cup of Tang – $0.07 (Christopher only)

Christopher Total: $1.00

Kerri Total: $0.92

Donation Total: $822

(THANK YOU FOR CONTINUING TO DONATE!)

NOTE: If you think what we’re doing is interesting, inspiring, or just plain nutty, consider SPONSORING our efforts. Simply enter in an amount, click “update total” and follow the prompting. If you don’t have PayPal, it will let you use a credit card. At the end of the of the month all proceeds will go to the Community Resource Center (here in Encinitas, CA). We will post evidence of donations at the end.

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “Day Thirty

  1. s.hoffman

    How I wish I had found you at the beginning of your journey, our family has decided to try a variation on your experiment as a way to realize the bounty of just our pantry. Filled to excess and still buying more than we need. Our start date was the first of October and the plan was to spend $30-40 a week and use up the pantry. Not nearly the challenge that you undertook. You experiment is just another example to all of us how blessed we are and that things, stuff, junk is not the measure of the value of our life. I will check your site in the next few days to see where donation level is and make sure you make your $1000.00 goal. I am grateful to be a part of your journey

  2. Joe

    Can I mail you a check since I don’t do paypal or credit cards? I enjoyed the whole month of postings very much. I’m inspired to cut back for October and see how it goes. Thanks Joe

  3. I am interested to know how much weight each of you lost during this last 30 days.

  4. you'llneverno

    you guys rock! i could never do what your doing! ms.holeva was worried though…

  5. you'llneverno

    you rock!!!!!!!!!

  6. Kim

    I’m vegan and I live on less than two dollars a day for food costs, all healthy and most cooked from scratch. That two dollars a day was a dollar day before grocery prices took their recent jump, and I should note that I’m not dieting or trying to cut food consumption. I eat as much as I want to, I just eat inexpensively. It’s not hard to eat healthy and inexpensively if you try; not everyone can be vegan, true, but buying tofu turkey and strawberries is NOT truly inexpensive living. Stick to beans and cheaper fruits than strawberries except as occasional treats, and you’ll see your grocery costs go way down without even really trying that hard.

  7. Maria

    This was truly inspirational, I applaud your humanity. Yesterday before I was even aware of your endeavor I got lost while driving to my destination and traveled into an area I did not know existed. The street was in a warehouse district and all along roadway there was a tent city of homeless people. I became nauseated when I realized that with all the materialism in our neighborhoods and country some of our citizens been so broken that they have to live like this. Thank you for bringing the reality of poverty to the forefront. I can only hope that someone in Obama’s circle brings this to his attention.

  8. Good, interesting stuff! One thing that strikes me is that this could give conservatives fodder for not raising welfare rates. In Canada at the Fraser Institute, a conservative think tank, ideologues have been arguing that poverty should be measured by an absolute standard, as opposed to measuring poverty as an access issue, relative to the economic conditions. (Google “chris sarlo welfare”)

    As an aside, I remember Ghandi saying somewhere that the lentil is the most perfect food, capable of sustaining one.
    ~Kevin Hellman

  9. Shannon R.

    I noticed that there were several days when you ate for less than $1 each per day. I was wondering why you did not maybe add that surplus into another day or maybe for snacking on a Saturday. Your journey has made me stop and think. There are a lot of times when I look in the fridge, freezer or pantry and think… We have NO food! When I just need to take what’s there and be creative! There is no possible way we could do this experiment. We have 2 small children who need all the nourishment they can get, it wouldn’t be fair to do that to them. We aren’t vegan or even vegetarian so meat is a vital part of our diet and that is a lot more expensive than creating steaks out of wheat gluten. I have always felt I or we should donate to a local food pantry or soup kitchen and I think I will do that this year.

  10. K.K.

    Christopher and Kerri:

    You should be applauded for your efforts. I’ve noticed that many people’s posts focus on the food aspect of your project and not the fact that you set out to do something, and you accomplished your goal. I am an elementary school teacher, and I work hard to help students set goals for themselves and achieve those goals. Further, you have exposed a terrible reality in our country…it is very expensive to eat in a healthy manner. That being said, when families are struggling for cash, they are more likely to choose items such as chips, sodas, cookies, hot dogs, balogna, etc. These items carry very little, to no nutritional value at all, but they are inexpensive. A recent study on school nutrition found that more and more students are receiving free or reduced lunch. These findings indicate that more families are in need of financial assistance. This all correlates to your project because if families qualify for free or reduced lunch, they have an income or lack of income that justifies the need for financial help; therefore, they often choose unhealthy food to satisfy the dietary needs of their families. Just the other day, I was in Kroger and noticed a young gentleman and his basket which was filled to the brim. As I surveyed the things in is basket, I noticed boxes and boxes of Little Debbie cakes, Ramen noodles, hot dogs, moon pies, canned vegetables, bags and bags of chips, several bags of beans, cookies, and flavored drinks. (He wasn’t planning a party.) He did not have one fresh vegetable or fruit in his basket. It just made me wonder!!! Thanks again for your passion and dedication to education. This project was truly more immense than eating on a dollar a day!!!

  11. Kim

    You guys should have tried frozen vegetables. You can get a bag real cheap. I microwave them and then put cheese sauce on top.

  12. Deidra

    You could still get your quota of Vitamin C if you start planting your own food. I don’t know what kind of property you own, if there is yard space, but if you planted your own tomatoes for example, then you could get lots of vitamin C for free!! By the way, I am from the Caribbean. This is how many people here do it – we have our own fruit trees.

  13. Kathy Davis

    saw your new show on yahoo…. I am trying to cut back myself…. I have to stay away from the dented can cart I always find something i think i need LOL

    think what you did is really cool… good luck on what ever comes next….

  14. Dani

    I applaud what you have done. We are a family of six on a teachers salary (I stay at home). I have been doing the same with my family for several years. I spend $200 a month-just over your $1 a day per person-but that includes paper products, toiletries, cleaners, etc. We have plenty of fruits and vegetables, meats, and have a full pantry and freezer. I do make most everything from scratch including bread and tortillas and some cleaning products. We are all healthy and always have plenty to share when a friend drops in or the school sponsors a food drive. $1 a day can be done responsibly, healthfully (is that a word?) and long term-We are proof.

  15. christina Clifford

    I was a single mom with two boys who are now grown. I finished school and now a therapist. However, my boys now with their spouses both with a baby on the way. My oldest delivers pizza, his wife in school with a part-time job. My youngest full time job at target and his wife was laid off. He then lost his car to a blown rod. Now both starting families find themselves being barely able to pay apartment rent and utilities. They both applied for help (i.e. foodstamps). I watch the struggle, though I help where I can. But also knowing that my struggle is what motivated me to get an education. Struggle sometimes makes us stronger. But I find myself intrigged by your adventure and found it an important what you said about not being to afford fruits and vegies. And as a society we wonder why children have heath issues and why the poor are overweight. I am thinking about a community garden that families could participate in for fruit and vegies for their families. My plan is to start at home with a garden that I will supply my kids and their families and with the rest donate to families that are experiencing the same as my kids.
    Thank you for your inspiring me. Christina

  16. jazmin

    Just finished reading all of the blogs and posted these same comments on the day 1 blog. I still don’t understand why it was so hard to do fresh produce. Produce from Costco is NOT fresh. In the spring, summer, and fall it is possible to grow some kind of produce in a garden or some container in a window or balcony. Fresh herbs are a great thing that grow year round in a window…even in winter in the Rockies. If you eat seasonally you are either eating out of your garden or are able to find it at a lower price on a roadside stand, farmers market, or generous neighbor who gardens. If we took some responsibility in producing our own food instead of looking to the big supermarket to do it we could cut our food bill greatly, have more nutritious food, help clean up the environment, and take pride in what we eat.

    I think your project was very inspiring. I do spend a lot on food and the sad thing is, very rarely do I enjoy it. I have found the opposite to be true of processed food being cheaper. I can spend $50.00 on veggies, fruit, grains, locally produced eggs and milk etc. and walk out of the store with way more food than if I bought frozen lasagne, white bread, potato chips, and soda. I can also get more meals out of the produce and grains.

    I heard you guys are working on some new ‘experiments’ for 2009. How about eating everything from within 50 miles from your house? I think your success at this goal will make most any other challenge seem easy. It’s people like you who are thinking and educating yourselves to make better decisions, that are going to change our world. I’m happy you are sharing your life with us!!!

  17. Bhushan

    Those who use any electricity products should be adding the cost of electricity also to food, I think. In that way one who eats raw fruits and vegetables will have lower costs.

  18. Marilyn

    I read each day. Very compelling. When the discussion touched on poor people and not enough money for food, I was reminded of my childhood. I grew up in a poor home that often didn’t have enough food. But as I look back I realize that no matter how poor we were, my parents always had their cigarettes. I didn’t question it as a child but now as a parent myself I’m appalled that my parents put their cigarettes before our food. As a parent I would never allow myself a luxury while my child went without a basic need. I’ve also noticed that many poor people smoke. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who choose to smoke rather than eat.

  19. I caught this story on yahoo’s homepage and just finished reading through all 30 days. I really admire the determination you both showed to complete this experiment. Thank you for bringing some more awareness to this issue.

  20. jacey

    I also found this site from an article on my yahoo homepage. i’m actually only 16 years old, but I’ve been working for over two years and my family has more than financial issues. I’m one of those people who love to cook. I bake nearly 5 times a week and i never realized how expensive it was. I want to be a professional chef when I’m older, but there are chances I won’t be able(even with financial aid) to afford a college education [with two older brothers to graduated before me and the second having to leave his Art school and come home to a community college]. But, this ideal experiment has made me think that maybe i can find a way to cook cheaply. A cup of butter and four cups of flour for something that isn’t even healthy (cookies, cakes, etc.) now sounds outrageous to me. I live in a busy town in New Jersey and about 5 minutes away from Stop & Shop (local supermarket). And as i was reading this, i was wondering where you guys would find those things at such low prices.
    For istance a small jar of peanutbutter is over three dollars usually and with 2 tbsp a sandwich it wouldn’t last long. It could just be that i live in one of the most corrupted states, though our tax is only seven cents on the dollar, I feel that the prices in general make up for that.
    But nonetheless, props and kudos to you two for succeeding in this inspiring challenge. I’m using the Stamps article on your main page for the basis of a paper I’m writing.

    What you have done is truly honorable and me, being the craver that i am, am quite certain that i would not be able to live like that. It’s strange knowing that that’s the kind of life so many people live everyday. Congratulations for making it through! It’s good to know that there are people who care and people who try. And especially those who share with others to inspire them to care and try as well. :)

  21. katiyah

    A lot of times I do notice people who complain about money the most either smoke, drink and/or eat horribly. They also have more children than they know what to do with. Hello, think about it a little.

  22. Kendra

    Katiyah: remember this from Day 24?

    “The challenge lies in recognizing that our own experience, no matter how powerful, can not possibly account for the infinitely diverse number of experiences regarding an individual’s economic situation.”

    Perhaps there are infinitely more reasons and variables that you don’t know about/don’t understand that might help explain why poor people tend to do things that you condemn. It’s even possible that we are indeed thinking about it a little.

  23. KS

    I’ve been living on a diet of oatmeal and homemade soup. This diet is low in sodium. The oatmeal is with brown sugar, walnuts, peanuts, cashews and rice milk. The soup is water, yam, mashed potatoes, rice, curry powder and chicken or or ham (< 1oz). Oatmeal 2x per day and soup 2 bowls per day for 2 lunches. It works for me and I have no headaches and I generally eat no fruit otherwise. I run a couple times a week (6 miles) on this and row on a rowing machine often (30 – 40 min). It’s cheap, easy to digest and very healthy. I eat only organic ingredients, but it would be much cheaper with non-organic. I would guess that it’s pretty close to the $2 per day.

  24. Congratulations. Your idea so inspired me, I tried a similar experiment, but I abandoned it on Day 10. I did not allow myself to take freely available food, so I was only getting 1,046 calories each day. I am already near the bottom of the safe BMI range, so it wasn’t safe for me. I love the lessons you learned, and I feel like I know how you feel. Great work!

  25. Jonathan

    Hi,

    Can I have your permission to use the strawberries pic you had?

    Thanks,
    Jon

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