Day Eight


Kerri shows her support for International Beans and Rice Day. Make your own poster, print it out, hang it up.

Kerri shows her support for International Beans and Rice Day. Make your own poster, print it out, hang it up.

Forget the fact that we are in a historic presidential race for the white house. Forget that Joe Biden is courting Green Bay Packers fans. Forget that the creationist, anti-choice Sarah Palin is now gracing the cover of women’s magazines nationwide. Forget all of that.


What really matters is that today marks the one week anniversary of our quest to eat on one dollar a day. While it could be argued that the discussion about which president will answer that 3 a.m. phone call is more important, I can guarantee that it won’t be as immediately painful as my 5 a.m. call to the toilet. I’m not sure if it was all the tomato based dishes, or just my body in protest, but it was not the best way to start a Monday. 

Just when I thought I was starting to get the hang of this, I find that I’m finally beginning to struggle. Today I was fine until I got home, but upon entering the kitchen, it took everything I had to not tear open the closest container of food and pour it down my throat. I was not just “hungry”, I was bordering on frantic. After a day of foraging samples from our local natural foods store, and eating half of a no-cheese pizza for dinner (who knew pizza was so cheap to make), I guess my body was just expecting more. 

Upon cooking up a large batch of Spanish rice, I scooped $0.70 worth of food on to my empty dish. A villainous laugh erupted from my taught stomach as I surveyed the landscape of my plate. A gentle sloping mountain of refried beans, the jagged ridge atop the mounds and plateaus of my Spanish rice, and canyons upon canyons descending through the depths of my split open baked potato. It was nothing short of breathtaking. The BBC television series Planet Earth aint got nothin’ on this, and I mean nothin’. I should have taken pictures, but to play shutterbug at a moment of such gravitas would have been unforgivable.

So I mark today as a new holiday. A holiday that celebrates the geography of food. A day where we turn the page on mindless gorging. A day when we stand up and embrace the foodscapes that so often go unnoticed. Today is the day when change comes to our dinner tables. Today will forever be known to all people of this earth as: International Beans and Rice Day.

Mark it on your calendars and vow that from now on September 8th will not live in the shadows. It will not be a simple date that comes and goes like so many others. It will be a day when we celebrate the simple beauty in a mound of rice, and the delicate texture of a pile of beans, so that all who come after us will know how seriously we take our food.  

While us rich folk usually sit around with the luxury of deciding on which of the thousands of possibilities we could choose from for dinner, one billion people have no choice at all. For while we do this as a challenge to explore the depths of our habits and our relationship to food, there are those who couldn’t fathom the idea of having food and not eating it. 




Daily Totals:

Breakfast: 1 Cup cooked oatmeal w/ 1 TSP margarine – $0.09 (Kerri only), 2 small pancakes w/ 1 TBSP Peanut Butter and foraged syrup – $0.15

Lunch: Pizza (2 slices for Kerri, 3 for Christopher) – $0.10 and $0.15 respectively, 2 Cups popped popcorn – $0.07 (Kerri only)

Dinner: 1.5 Cups refriend Beans – $0.14, 1.5 Cups Spanish Rice – $0.22, 2 Baked potatoes with 1 TBSP butter each – $0.32 (Christopher only)

Christopher Total: $0.98

Kerri Total: $0.78


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) and/or the ONE campaign. We will post evidence of donations at the end.



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19 responses to “Day Eight

  1. Feeling bad about the headache, I’m not going to mention any other possible ailments. But here I’ve got good news,…. or a question: you have used less than the full 100 cents every day, in the last eight days, you saved $1.18 by eating less than the limit. Are you going to use that bounty and have a party or just leave it there in case of hardship? .


  2. Cassie

    Not to thwart your efforts in anyway, but you guys might want to watch your daily vitamin and mineral intake. I apparently wasn’t eating enough and ended up in the hospital with low potassium and sodium levels. Low potassium can apparently lead to heart failure. It took several months of eating too little and not enough of the food was nutritious enough before this happened. Guess a bag of corn chips for dinner was a bad idea, and the ramen noodles…not much there either. Some good cheap items would be quinoa and dried legumes (sounds like you’re getting them already), and I would try and cook some of these with tomato anything…the tomato will act as a catalyst for maximum vitamin and mineral absorption. If you start to feel really weak and funky…grab a V8. Good luck!

  3. Brave young souls. I applaud your attempt to discover how it is for those millions of humans living on even less, going for days without a meal. Makes a body feel really guilty and “full,” having just been well fed for the third time today. Would others begin to try your unique experiment? – Only unique since we live in the land of plenty. I’d like to know if this happens. Thanks for a new take on an old problem. Oh – and are either of you overweight? Curious

  4. Mary Carson

    Listen to Abuela: beans and rice without chili (preferably green) is unthinkable.

    Aside from that, go to your (free) library and request books: Diet for a Small Planet, Recipes for a Small Planet, More-with-Less Cookbook, Laurel’s Kitchen.

    The impoverished millions do not have access to freeze-dried tofu (TVP) but they can get soybeans, and so can you.

    Good luck.

  5. Don’t assume all your readers are pro-“choice”. We you not once an embryo? If you value life enough to take on this challenge, don’t you think all human beings should be protected?

    — My dollar’s worth 🙂

    PS. Everything else about Palin appalls me. Everything else in your blog delights me

  6. Cathy S.

    I might comment again as I read but what I’ve read so far was that although you all say you don’t have an agenda or are not doing this for political reasons I have read this not to be the case. I’ve taken away that you all might be vegans or vegetarians trying to eat on $1 a day. I’ll keep reading…
    Not until you mentioned Palin and anti-choice did it dawn on me that you might have a political slant. I’ll keep reading…
    If you are indeed vegan than pro-life should really be your view…but I’ll keep reading.

    So far this is good. This experiment has been done before but I find it now interesting because you are vegan and to see if you all can do it.

    But also, keep in mind that 3rd world countries and rural poor will often have farm animals that will give them sustenance (milk, eggs, fruit trees, etc.).

  7. ~veronica

    i’m so excited to see this project taking place – today was the first i had heard of you. i have so much to say, but i will wait until i get to day 30 and want to caution you a wee bit, perhaps suggest that you edit a bit the line about sarah palin. i was 100% on board with you until i read that line and now i have a sour taste in my mouth, unfortunately. it’s not enough to turn me away, but if you want the support of the masses, it might be wise to leave behind talks of the presidential election – or at least the really ugly tone in your remarks. i was even considering giving money!

    see you at the end of 30 days for more feedback. i’m from a 3rd world country, so i am fascinated by your experiment!

    in love,


  8. This project was such a great idea! I wish I would’ve known about it from day 1, not after the project so could’ve followed along. AMAZING! I’d also love to feature you guys on our eco-friendly blog. Shoot me an email if you guys would be willing to do an e-interview with GiveThemRoots!

    I do have to respond to Cindy above- just because they *might* be vegan has absolutely nothing to do with being pro-life or pro-choice. Simply put, being vegetarian or vegan can be 100% health related and have nothing to do with animal cruelty.

    Off to read more!!! 🙂

  9. Karen Waide

    Not sure why the comment I left didn’t go through, not sure if it should have right away. I just wanted to say I am really impressed by this experiment, but was very turned off, as others obviously are, by the Sarah Palin comment. There is definitely an anti-life feel to the comment, not sure if you meant it that way. It seems you have a problem with Palin being Pro-life not “Anti-choice” as you put it. I am not sure why it is such a problem with her being on “women’s” magazines while being pro-life. I am thinking of the fact that the early feminists who showed the world the value of a woman were pro-life.

  10. Patrick McCarthy

    I am still reading, but I cannot recommend strongly enough to stay out of politics if you want to reach more people.Remarks about Palin nearly made me stop reading.

    I will wait to see what the new administration does for America first, and the world second, before any judgement.

  11. Tiffany

    In response to the comments above about Sarah Palin – Christopher and Kerri gave their opinion of her, and they have their right to do so, especially on their own blog! If you don’t like what they have to say, stop reading, no one is forcing you to. Instead you criticize their own opinion on their own blog? Odile – they are not assuming that their readers are “pro-life” or “pro-choice”. However, they obviously do not agree with Palin’s believes, and that is entirely their prerogative.

  12. penelope streng

    a bit late suggesting it, but a 33cent bunch of cilantro would keep with its stems in a glass of water in the fridge with a plastic bag over the leaves for several weeks and would provide nutrition and flavor to the rice/bean dishes all month

    interesting the way the fox spot did bring out so much rancor over your comments on Palin. was taken aback for a minute there until i noticed the dates were all right after the interview.

    great idea. really enjoying the blog.

  13. Courtney

    Did nobody notice the slight to Senator Biden? I think you’re only being fair, politically. Why are people only concentrating on one sentence about Palin? Keep on truckin’ you guys…

  14. I just found this blog yesterday, so I am going back to read it from the beginning.

    Interesting that you’ve decided that taking little things from restaurants is okay, but ramen noodles is somehow cheating. If I did this, I’d going to use lots of ramen noodles, and then I’d have money left for veggies.

    I don’t so much think that getting condiments from restaurants is stealing, but the way you’re doing it is wrong. I would just be keeping the leftover condiments when I am a paying customer, not making special trips to the restaurant when I’m not going to buy anything.

    And you can’t have your holiday on September 8th, because that is already Star Trek day. Pick a different day.

  15. nazliah_malaysia

    hello, i juz got to know of this blog today. i’m so amazed with ur efforts. Thank you for doing this – thank you for reminding all of us to be always grateful for the things we have in our lives. i’m sure ur blog have touch many people as i am. i cant wait to read the end of your one month journey!

  16. Allyson

    Guys, your project, your message, your hope for the planet totally speaks to me. Loved reading your WHOLE blog and comments (even the annoying ones from the vapid pro-lifers and hopeless Palin supporters~ oi!~ Like Tiffany said~ “If you don’t like what they have to say, stop reading, no one is forcing you to. Instead you criticize their own opinion on their own blog?”

    Power to you~ looking forward to your future endeavors and successes!

  17. K.T. is Mommatude

    I was wondering(I havent read all the way through yet)if you guys mixed it up with different types of beans,noodles with tomato sauce,maybe some bananas,etc.-around my area you can buy a bunch of bananas for 38 cents a lb.If you split them up,it may have given you some fresh fruit and be within your boundaries as well.Very intrigued,reading on now.

  18. 2boysmom

    Hey guys! I just got a link to your blog today and I have been reading it ever since. I think that there are some well-intentioned readers of your blog who are warning you that the political comments turned them off.
    For the rest of you who are getting into a debate and telling readers that this is their very own private blog; You are correct. But, it is a private blog that your friends have made public in order to bring attention and MONEY to the plight of the less fortunate. In that regard, I feel like the political jabs are misplaced. I was one that was going to give money as well. Now I am thinking that I will donate it to an anti-choice establishment, like the National Right to Life Committee.
    Other than that, I am fascinated by this experimaent and the will power that the two of you have exhibited so far. Way to go.

  19. Pingback: Eating Contests and Home Economics –Astrogirl

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