Day Nine


What Mrs. B thinks about corn syrup

What Mrs. B thinks about corn syrup

At school today it took me all of lunch to eat half of my PB&J sandwich. I did not eat the second half until after school. This is not because I was not hungry, but more because the bread was dry and this has become my least favorite meal. I am tired of PB&J (although I do still enjoy my peanut butter on a spoon in the evening). 


The bread that we have been eating is homemade. However, we do have the luxury of a hand-me-down bread maker ( I am pretty sure my mom got it when I was in 9th or 10th grade… I won’t tell you how long ago that was, but trust me it was a while). It is old, but it works well and makes great bread. That is until it has been around for a few days. Then it starts to get dry and my whole chewing process slows down. Despite the pace of my chewing, this bread does have advantages.  It has very few ingredients and I can pronounce every one of them. Had we bought cheap bread at the grocery store, I do not think I could say the same thing. 

I touched on this the other day, but it is amazing to me that the cheaper food is, the more ingredients it has. It seems that it should be the other way around. One thing that makes this different is the amount of cheap fillers that are added to make the food seem like there is more. “Natural” and artificial flavors are taking the place of actual food. Corn syrup and hydrogenated oils are in almost everything we eat. At one point we discussed (never with any seriousness) the idea of trying to completely avoid corn syrup. It would be a much more difficult undertaking than our current endeavor. 

I attempted to look up the ingredients in a can of refried beans so that I could compare it to the ingredients in the beans that I have been making (pinto beans, salt, garlic, chili flakes). I had a difficult time finding them. Of course I only looked up Rosarita which is the brand I ate growing up. I could not find the ingredients online, only the nutrition facts. I also realized that, prior to becoming vegan, I used to only look at the calories and fat and not at what I was actually eating. 

Packaged products that contain whole foods and little filler are much more expensive than items filled with unpronounceable contents. Sometimes we don’t even know what we are eating. The maple syrup acquired from McDonalds had 6 ingredients, and real maple was not one of them . The one we bought prior to this month had one: organic maple syrup. It was far more expensive.

I do, of course, realize that I have the time and resources to worry about this issue. In all reality, even though we are eating on a dollar, I know that I am going to have three meals everyday. I also know exactly what is in each meal  (unless we have a day where we need to eat the ramen).  I know that if one of us had a health related issue we have the option to change what we are  eating. Not everyone is as fortunate.

A friend of mine is an elementary school teacher. Lately when we talk we discuss this project, but also other related issues. I learned today that in her second week of school she has already had two or three of her students telling her that they don’t have food at  home. From  one of the students she got the impression that many times school lunch as the only meal of the day. If I was in this situation, food labels and whole ingredients would not be the first thing on my mind. 


These were my thoughts today,


P.S. I ate two cherry tomatoes from my garden today (Thank you, puppies for not eating those). We have not yet nailed down how to calculate those yet as they are not available to everyone. The cost/totals for today may change. Also, Christopher was in bed by the time I got home. I am guessing his totals. I will revise if necessary tomorrow. 


Daily Totals:

Breakfast: 1 Cup cooked oatmeal w/ 1 TSP margarine – $0.09 

Lunch:  2 Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (homemade bread, 2 TBSP Peanut Butter, 1 TBSP Jelly) – $0.36  popped popcorn – $0.07 (Kerri only)

Appetizer: 2 Cherry tomatoes from backyard-$0.10

Dinner: 1/2 Cup refried Beans – $0.07, 1 Cup Spanish Rice – $0.11, 1 baked potato with 1TBSP butter-$0.16

Christopher Total: $0.89

Kerri Total: $0.96


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.



Filed under Uncategorized

20 responses to “Day Nine

  1. Wow! You two keep going! I’d never make it.

  2. What an intriguing project you have undertaken.

    Can you clarify if $1 per day for that 1 billion poeple includes the coast of housing and other cost besides just food?



  3. I love what you guys are doing. It both draws attention to the fact that a quarter of the world’s population live on a dollar a day – and also makes us think how to eat healthily on a budget. And that requires education and information, such as the importance of eating wholefoods and combining plant proteins to equal expensive meat protein. I love your remark about cheap food having tons of ingredients – how right you are (cheap fillers are banned in organic standards in the EU).

    My ‘Real Food’ blog competition may be just down your street and you can enter by linking one of your posts with my blog (deadline 8 October 08). The details are here

    Well done and keep up the good work, Elisabeth

  4. Joy

    Regarding corn syrup- early this year, I realized that anything with corn syrup in it was setting off “allergy” symptoms for me. (Eventually, I realized it was ALL forms of sweeteners.)

    As a result, I have managed to completely remove any form of corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, added sugar, including cane sugar, or any sweeteners, natural or artificial, for over a little over 6 months. For about 4-5 months, I also did not eat any fruit, because of the sugars in it.

    It IS hard. But you would be surprised what it’s like to eat without the added sweeteners.
    I began to actually TASTE my food for real!

    As in, how sweet carrots REALLY are, and the subtleties of different herbs and greens. I didn’t realize how much of the range of taste I had lost in all the modern added flavors. I much prefer the all-natural stuff now.

    Good luck on your project – don’t give up!

  5. Hi Guys wow what a challange in South Africa we have loads of people with no food and kids get sponsored at schools with food provided by big bussiness which helps I am certainly going to look at saving on food bills and sposoring a child thank you for your inspiration

  6. Are you guys taking multivitamins? I’d imagine that not having fruit/vegs in your diet must be difficult…

  7. I really appreciate the thought you are putting into this. The picture of your cat reminded of how much I learned by making natural food for my animals. Many of these same issues occur with pet food. When I started making my own food for my companion animals, I saw amazing gains in energy, happiness and overall health. It was a big lesson to me on the power of food.

  8. I think it’s great that you’re doing this, and much harder than giving up corn syrup. I’m allergic to corn and as such, avoid it, and it’s not so hard, but it is expensive to buy food made without it.

  9. I am not usually the person, that has any right to call people on spelling mistakes but because your my English teacher:

    “I seems that it should be the other way around.”

    Anyways, I donated, great cause. I am going to try to get you a school “ad” on (if you don’t have problem with that of course). Its all falls down to, “is Trocchio moved enough to allow me to put it on the website.”

    If you don’t want it on the site, then just email me. I emailed him, to ask him if it was ok, I’ll probably get a response tonight. I wont do anything unless you give me permission to do so.

    See Ya Friday!

  10. I don’t think you should charge yourselves for the food you grow, unless you count the cost of seeds/plants. It would be nice to get more vegs into you somehow…

    If you lived up by me (PNW) you’d be picking blackberries along the side of the road right now.

    And I think Rosarita beans are pretty ‘clean’. I can check the ingreds tonight when I get home.

  11. I really appreciate you saying that if you were in a bad position you wouldn’t worry about the “extra” ingrediants. Sometimes you get people who do these projects and don’t really see why poor people eat ramen or any of the other things they do. It’s because mac n cheese is 75 cents and one pound of apples is 1.30. That’s about 2 apples. With a box of mac and cheese and some hamburger, you can feed a family of four. With two apples, you have a nice snack. Keep it up. I think an even better thing would be to look at some of these low income areas and start noticing how much money it takes to be poor. Not having a bank account costs money to cash checks, so they have to buy money orders at a dollar or two a pop. Not being able to pay a speeding ticket incurs court costs and jail time. I have also noticed that alot of Gas stations seem to artificially inflate the price of gas in poorer sections of town. Along with poor diet this can really start to add up. If you look at how bad our public transportation system is and how hard it is with someone without a car to just get to work, let alone go to college and everywhere else it’s a wonder anyone gets anywhere at all. The best movie in the world about this dominoe effect is ‘the pursuit of happyness’ with will smith. Poverty breeds poverty. Just saying. While you and I may not be on the same page ideologically. We can all agree that leaving people in poverty helps no one and hinders everyone.

  12. Holly

    As a single mother, gainfully employed and what used to be middle-income it hit home when you wrote about some kids their only meal of the day is the school lunch. There have been many days in the last few months that my children have been in that situation. At first they were embarrassed, but when their was no option they would eat. They have become aware of just hard hard times have gotten and that there is someone always worse off. As a mother this is painful to see your children go without even the necessary items sometimes. Who would have thought meat would become a luxury. A luxury which my children look at longingly in the grocery store but do not say anything to not make me feel bad. For those that say you shouldn’t love beyond your means – well I’m not in debt nor do I hold any credit cards.
    The reality is it is due to the living cost and everything gone up, car repairs on an aging car – living one paycheck away from homelessness now. I have always carefully budgeted. The days of eating meat are down to two to three times a month. Kids are getting vitamins in hopes of supplementing their needed nutrition.
    I admire the challenge you’ve taken on and made more people aware.

  13. Christy

    I’m just reading a fascinating book called “Twinkie, Deconstructed” by Steve Ettlinger, all about the many peculiar ingredients that go into processed foods (Twinkies specifically), precisely what they are, how they’re made, and what they’re for. You might be interested.
    Incidentally, it’s not very hard to get plenty of food without high-fructose corn syrup or such, if you can afford it. All it requires is not buying processed foods and instead making your own, if you care to. It takes time and energy, but it tastes much better and is much better for you.

  14. Okay, I don’t see why two little tomatoes count as ten cents, especially when you got them off of a plant already in your garden. Are you counting the cost of the plant? A dollar plant produces twenty tomatoes and twenty into a dollar equals five cents per tomato?

    I also have an old bread maker, but I haven’t used it in at least three years. But if anyone needs an old machine, the Goodwills and such are full of them for about ten dollars each.

  15. Amy

    My husband and I completely gave up hydrogenated oils about 2 years ago…everyone makes fun of us, as we stand in the grocery store looking at the backs of everything we buy (because even though the front says “zero grams of transfats”, the back tells a completely different story)…but it’s been so worth it, and I’ve found so many substitutes out there for the things we used to enjoy that were so bad for us!

    We’d like to give up corn syrup and all it’s variations in 2009…we’ll see how it goes.

    Enjoying reading this blog! Thanks for the challenge!

  16. Linda

    I do all my shopping at Whole Foods, which effective eliminates many horrid ingredients (there are about 80 things they don’t even let in their stores, like hydrogenated fats, artificial colors/flavors and lots of scary chemicals). But I’d have to agree that corn syrup is one of the hardest-to-avoid ingredients if you don’t make absolutely everything by scratch. By shopping at Whole Foods, I actually have a shot at finding things that use natural sugars instead of corn syrup, but it still requires dedicated label reading. And of course, those better-for-you foods cost more than the junk.

    I’m enjoying reading the blog — back when I was in grad school, my family (me, hubby and 4 y/o)tried to live on ‘a food stamps diet’ for 2 weeks as an experiment for a social justice class. It gave us more than a dollar a day, but we still both lost weight (though my daughter was fine — we sacrificed so she was fed and she also attended a day care which provided lunch and snacks). I think we were allowed $72 for the two weeks. My husband lost about eight pounds and he really pushed the rules (dare I say cheated?) by going out to lunch frequently with buddies that ‘owed him one’ and so they treated.

  17. Whole Foods is lovely. I think the food there is incredible. I earn a six figure salary and can’t afford to shop there.
    This experiment is interesting and I am sure I will finish reading about it tonight. Just wanted to note the lack of relationship between Whole Foods and anything like a budget.

  18. I am allergic to corn and all it’s derivatives. It is extremely hard to live on a totally corn free diet. The typical US diet is so full of corn and HFCS it’s not even funny. Corn is fine for some but I really do believe High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for everyone. If you look at the rate of HFCS’s introduction to the American food supply and the rising rate of obesity in the US the two curbs almost follow themselves. Scary.

    I’m enjoying reading your blog about this experiment.

  19. Mariner

    As a former New Hampshire-man and current North Minnesota-dude, I can tell you that there is no such thing as non-organic maple syrup. Trees is trees. If it’s 100% pure maple syrup, it’s organic. (Same with honey. Bees is bees.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s