As seen in the New York Times.


While today is Election Day, and many of you will be focused on the results as they roll in from each state, it is also an exciting day for the One Dollar Diet Project.

In today’s New York Times there is an article about our project titled “Money is Tight, and Junk Food Beckons” written by Tara Parker-Pope. This officially takes the conversation out of the blogosphere and puts it in print. We’ve come a long way baby. Look for it in the Science section of your newsprint edition.

It’s funny, because our friend and writer Dave Tow, who we had over for dinner during our project, was told by his editor at City Beat Magazine (our local alternative news weekly) that this was “irrelevant” and didn’t print the story. We’re not sure if she meant his writing or our project. What we do know is that Dave is good writer, and nothing is more relevant than our country’s widening conversation about healthful eating and the economics of food.

We hope you enjoy the article.

We continued to work today in order to refine our vision for furthering the experiment in exciting new ways, and spent even more time considering the outline of the book.

For those of you who are reading our entries for the first time, enjoy and share with friends. We look forward to hearing from you.


Christopher & Kerri


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45 responses to “As seen in the New York Times.

  1. susan dickman

    What a wonderful project/experiment, and a vital exploration for today’s culture. Also, I love it that you are teachers and am wondering how or to what extent you shared your experiment with your students. I am planning to share the NYTimes article with mine today…best of luck to you both.

  2. reader

    I read about your project on the online version of the New York Times. Interesting………

    If the point was to illustrate how poor people eat, it might have been more interesting if you had donated money to a food bank in exchange (to keep things fair) for whatever food they could give you and limited what you could buy to the same restrictions the gov’t places on use of food stamps. Also, $1/day/person seems too low even for the poor in the U.S.

    I grew up poor. I noticed that you have some vegan foods on your lists. While I realize that this was a voluntary project, realize that poor folks often eat whatever they are given. In our family, we ate whatever we got – I was thoroughly educated to not be picky. This was reinforced by stories of hunger in the third world countries some of our relatives came from — I am 2 degrees of separation from someone who starved to death.

    For readers of this blog, check out – a website to earn rice for developing countries while playing games.

  3. Just wanted to say that the NY Times article was worth the read. I think that you’re both dealing with a very important matter that people seem to neglect. Your experiment/project is really eye-opening and I wish both of you the best of luck and success.

    -One hungry American currently residing in Germany.

  4. Will Prescott

    I found the NY Times article very interesting. I had not heard about your experiment until the end of it.

    Your one month experiment has essentially duplicated the way I have eaten for years. Not out of concern about cost, but by preference. I eat oatmeal for breakfast, rarely eat lunch and dinner almost always consists of rice, beans, tofu and tortillas. I buy almost no prepared foods. When I lived in the US, I made my own tortillas. At present, I am living in Mexico (as a Peace Corps volunteer) where tortillerias are plentiful and machine-made tortillas are cheap. It does take a lot of time to prepare meals when you don’t buy processed foods, but I enjoy it.

    The only part of the article that I didn’t understand was the comment about a lack of energy on this diet. Maybe it is the tofu (the only mainstay of my diet not mentioned in yours), but I have plenty of energy. I have runs dozens of marathons and consistently train 15 to 30 miles a week.

  5. I congratulate you on this fine study….You know it is not only the ‘third world’ countries that have malnutrition. It is rampant in this country as well. Even the free food programs in schools hand out ‘junk food’ Millions of poor people (seniors), disabled and others do not eat well, and have to chose between medications (which themselves are toxic) and cause many health problems. Your menus would save a lot for everyone, and actually are not too bad if you added more protein and took a supplement of vegetable juice and/or vitamins.
    This type of diet can be alternated with one more balanced every other week. Caloried deprivation at intervals is a good thing. I also might recommend you take this to a certified nutritionist for their recommendation as to how it can be ‘tweaked’ to make it healthy. Your symptoms were due to acidosis as you began to break down fat, and more important, muscle.
    Great blog, and I am happy you are being published….although the NY Times does not have the readership it used to. Hopefully it will be syndicated…..
    In the real world few can afford to eat well, and it is going to get a lot worse here in the U.S.
    I also author a blog

    If you agree I would like to quote your article in pieces and will give you credit.

  6. That’s exciting!

  7. I read the article on I just want to say how courageous you both are.

    Six of us in Toronto, Canada just finished a $25 Challenge this past Sunday. It was tough and my energy level was low and it really taught all of us a lesson on money and how we take food for granted.

    Anyways, $25 for a week is $3.57 a week is tough and I could just imagine $1.

    All the best.

  8. I’ve spent the last four years traveling across the United States interviewing 20 and 30 somethings living with cancer. I’m 35 and I have cancer too. Healthcare books and the media hit taut how-to messages enticing cancer patients to eradicate our disease with green, raw, and organic diets. They suggest using Whole Foods as your medicine cabinet. It sounds great, but who can afford the tab?

    * 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year.
    * 13 million young adults lack health insurance.
    * Our average annual income is $35,000 and that needs to cover medical bills, co-payments, and prescriptions, plus supplement lost wages and pay for normal living expenses.

    I’ve visited the living rooms and kitchens of real young adult cancer patients. Organic beets and lacinato kale sound great, but the harsh reality is that while on chemo and afterwards, toast, instant mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese are not just the foods we can manage to keep down, but they are often the only foods that many can afford.

    Thanks for your great experiment and blog.

    Kairol Rosenthal
    Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide To Cancer in Your 20’s and 30’s

  9. Mike

    Wow. Kudos for the awareness you folks have raised on this crucial issue

    I tried a similar experiment earlier this year, limiting myself to $5/day for food (a number chosen because it’s the toll I pay daily to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and I wondered what it’d be like for someone to eat on what I pay to cross a stupid bridge).

    I thought I was eating frugally but after reading your blog, I realize that on $5 I was living like a prince. I actually could afford beer and fresh vegetables.

  10. Found your blog article through the NY Times this afternoon. I have to tell you I went through a similar scenario while living in Florida a few years back. Although, it wasn’t an experiment. I was a struggling student trying to handle 3 jobs that barely paid min. wage and going to a full schedule of classes. Needless to say, I was on a truly strict budget. And it was HARD to find fresh food or healthy food to cook at a reasonable price. I ended up putting on about 15 lbs over the coarse of 2 months because of that.

    I really hope that your experiment sheds some light on things that are wrong in our country, as in the cost of food! I mean, really, why does one think there is such an obesity problem in America?

    Thank you for taking the time and telling us about your experiences!

  11. AJ

    Speaking as one of this country’s citizens who actually live with such devastating financial limits, there is much one can do to include fruits & vegetables in their diet. Foraging, usually on private land with the owner’s permission, can bring in fruits and vegetables after harvest, securing these dietary needs for leaner times. There are also many fresh fruit and veggie stands that would rather give away their less than perfect produce than toss it into a dumpster. It just takes speaking to the owners of these places & finding those providers who are willing to share their surplus. Neighbors who have surplus from their gardens are also great sources of fresh foods. When it comes to shopping, you must have an eagle-eye to find small items that can be stretched — almost any piece of fruit can be used to add sweetness and flavor. If you find fruit in a grocery store that appears moldy or overripe, a quick discussion with the store manager usually nets that fruit for free. (The stores must throw away their “bad” produce, and once taken home, the “bad” parts can be cut away; the remaining fruit is still good!)

    As pointed out in your article — which I enjoyed, by the way — many of these tasks take time, and many of us don’t have the time or resources to use these methods effectively. There must be a better way to ensure American citizens don’t starve in one of the most wealthy countries in the world. Thank you for exposing this travesty to the masses! Hopefully, someone will find a way to keep America fed! It’s nice that we help other countries, but not at the expense of our own people.

  12. Thank you! There is such a need to highlight the lack of affordable, healthful food in this country. I can’t wait to put up a link to your story on my blog.

    You are an inspiration, showing that anyone with sufficient willpower can be a symbol of and story for change!

  13. Dody Bush

    It is true I have never mastered $1 a day and have enough fresh food, even being on a mini farm with veggies. Being a family of 7, we were able to whittle down our food budget to 300 dollars or so a month, with a garden and eggs from our chickens. The only fresh food we really had was cabbage and carrots from the grocery store, and squash and turnips from the garden. I admire your determination.

  14. A dollar in NY is not the same as a dollar in most impoverished or emerging nations. For example, $0.50 can get you a large bowl of noodle soup stocked with vegetables in China. It just goes to show how good we have it here in the US where hunger (the kind we see in Africa, real, starvation type hunger) is unheard of.

    Yes it’s difficult if not impossible to eat healthily on a dollar a day here in the US, but even so a person will not starve! That’s quite amazing to me that all it takes is a dollar to get enough calories. A McDonalds double cheeseburger is only 99 cents and provides enough calories for an entire day. Add a multi-vitamin and a person can get by. This is indeed a great country.

  15. Campbell

    My wife and I have had to live on about a dollar a day for a year now. We found that the best way was to live on pasta, rice and tortillas, all home cooked. We have our own little “victory garden” to give us fresh vegetables for free, including fantastic tomatoes.

    Regarding the time spent – yes, it takes time to cook for yourself. I was curious reading the article about this problem: do you normally eat out 7 days a week? Even if you’re making your own tortillas, you can make a large batch once a month and eat off of that – that’s what I did with homemade pasta when I wanted to get REALLY fancy.

  16. Ligia

    I found the article on nyt
    i think u’re helping thirds, yourselves and all the wolrd. Cause when u start to eat only the necessary, and think about it, u slow down the food industry, u save
    the nature saving packages e reduce agriculture lands.
    Today i’ve been learning an article describing a food lack some hundreds years ago. We dont have food to everyone! And a scenery like formerly its not impossible.
    Kisses from Brazil, a place where a lot Live a day dolar only

  17. runningburro

    I found you by way of the NY Times (online version). I enjoyed reading through your blog entries; thanks for taking the time to share your month with us. It was thought-provoking and inspiring.

  18. I have to feed a family of 5 on as little as possible. Our income puts us just above the poverty level. To make matters worse, my seven-year-old daughter and I have a condition called Celiac Disease, which makes us intollerant to anything containing wheat, barley, rye, and most oats. I have to buy specialty flours like soy, fava bean, and others. I am a stay at home mom, so I have the time to make foods from scratch, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If I do run out of time, or energy, I can buy a loaf of bread at a Health Food store for about $5.75, but it is half the size of a “normal” loaf of bread (only about 10 slices) and it doesn’t taste very good.

  19. Kerri and Christopher –

    Here’s to you and the One Dollar Diet Project! I have posted a piece about you guys on my blog, DallasEats, and I’m so glad I can help spread the word and raise awareness of the issues you explored throughout the course of this experiment.

    Lisa Petty

  20. gapyeargal

    Bet you’ve seen a lot more readership in the last few days than ever before! Great article and looking forward to reading the blog. Very relevant topic.

  21. Just found your project via New York Times via Very interesting. I will definitely be keeping up with you and your project. Thank you for sharing!

  22. What an amazing project you have completed, I have just now learned about it. It is sad isn’t it, that healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins are so expensive. Being the food snob that I am I often feel guilty enjoying decadent meals, as well as wasting money. Kudos to you both.

  23. After reading the NY Times article, I thought I’d visit your blog. It is great that your experiment can be used to show people how lucky they are. Thank you for doing this- it made me have an entirely new appreciation for what I put into my mouth! 🙂

  24. Congratulations! And Thank You for making us more aware. When you see it in the ‘eyes’ of $1 a day, it’s a different ballgame.

    I just had to post about it over at my Carolina Mama blog. 😉 Because we love our blogs and I thought other Mamas would benefit too.

    The best was the NYTimes article. That’s awesome too. What next?

  25. mea

    Having been thin my whole life, I often skip meals and forget to eat. My lifestyle is not food focused and I work full time. I am so busy I often forget to eat and lunch or dinner has passed… If you don’t have money, don’t eat at all. That’s the secret to being thin.

  26. terry b harris

    As a vegan on a budget, I appreciate your hard work and putting your principles where your mouth is – literally! The lack of variety would have gotten to me quickly. We make a batch of something and eat it once, freezing the rest in meal-sized containers; but you probably couldn’t do that within the restaints of your experiment. It might help in real life, though! Best of luck with your continuing projects, and thanks for sharing.

  27. holly

    i just found this website through the whole foods website. i spent my afternoon reading through your thirty day process, and i must say that, not only am i impressed, but completely inspired. thank you for raising awareness for your community, for poverty, and for challenging us to question the way that we are living- and whether that way is beneficial not only to myself, but to the world as a whole.

  28. Tony Addison

    Excellent project. Very thought-provoking. I have commented further at Ending World Poverty (

  29. jampa

    This is inspiring. I don’t like the foods in restaurants. I love vegie foods especially those I cook. I am always doubtful about the cleanness and freshness of restaurant foods. Yes, preparing foods takes time. Once it becomes a ritual then I think it wouldn’t be that difficult. Remember, how difficult it would be if we have to melt ice to get water and burn cow dung to cook foods heheheheh.

  30. The ‘snap’ pop-up ad thing that happens when one drags their cursor over a hyperlink is really annoying.

  31. Hi Christopher and Kerri! My sister and I just heard about your blog through a friend and were so encouraged. We did something similar earlier this year and are in the process of trying to get our article published. We considered it a “personal social awareness” challenge, but it started as a dare! It’s surprising all the people who are on the same wave length with food-cost awareness right now. I’d like to think American’s are getting “pampered out” and are ready to experience the reality that lies on the other side of wealth. Our website is, Good luck with your future endeavors!

    Bernice and Christine Cannistraci

  32. Joan Donofrio

    I wondered why poor people are so overweight. So I decided to just eat the cheapest food I could get at my Safeway. turned out to be rice, pasta, potatoes, bread and frozen peas, and some chicken when it was on sale. I was determined to not spend more than $100 a month on food. It has been two months and I have gained 15 pounds. I think it is not because the food is all just starch but because I have been eating so much of it. I literally consume an entire pound of pasta at dinner and rice and peas are the things I constantly eat all day long. I have been drinking just water–who can afford soda and have finished up the last bottle of olive oil that I drench my rice and peas with. When I still had eggs, I would eat two of them every morning with coffee (black). Two hours later, I was hungry again and could not wait till lunch. So I would start in on all the other starchy food until I was so stuffed I could hardly stand it. Also, let’s face it, being poor is deeply depressing and if one has to survive on so little money, you begin to feel very sorry for yourself and the only satisfaction is drowing your sorrows in food. I ate no fruits and certainly no sugary foods or potato chips and snack. For me it was starch, starch, starch. I am now living on unemployment checks and have no job prospects in sight. What started out for me to be an experiment is fast becoming a reality. Joan

  33. Dorothea

    One great way to get fresh organic salad for pennies is to buy sprout seed and grown your own in a jar (alfalfa, radish, brocolli, clover, mung, lentil) or in a small flat of soil (sunflower, buckwheat) in a window.

  34. Inger

    Wow. I salute you, this must have been really difficult. It does remind me a bit of when I was in college, when I was broke enough to find the cheapest bread in the store: 50-cent-a-loaf Pan Blanco, a pseudo wonderbread that probably had fewer nutrients than cardboard.

  35. Rainier Wolfcastle

    As another commenter noted, and I’ll go further, equating $1/day in an emerging country with $1/day in the U.S. is ludicrous and useless. $1 buys a LOT more in an emerging country.

    Also, to the person who said, “A McDonalds double cheeseburger is only 99 cents and provides enough calories for an entire day.” That sandwich contains 440 calories (source: McDonald’s own website). The average adult needs on the order of 2000 calories a day. I exercise very little but, even so, if I cut my calories to even 1600 a day I start dropping weight at a rapid pace.

  36. Hey Kerry and Christopher,

    I did read the article and I’ve shared it with many of my friends.

    I’d be pleased if you would read “The Theodora Foundation” on my blog:

    Claudia Hastings

  37. Melodi

    Wow! Congratulations you guys! Or should I say thank you. I just watched you on CBC up here in Saskatchewan Canada and was so impressed by your task. I think it’s so telling that technically most of us could live on a $1 a day diet, but we don’t. It might not be the tastiest or most satisfying meal, but it can be done and I take that to heart. (Or stomach, I suppose.) I will certainly be thinking of your experiment next time I go to the grocery store. Thank you for getting me thinking.

  38. Karen

    With a lot of careful planning, living on a very tight budget for a time is possible:

  39. Thanks, guys. I’ve been thinking about food + the economy lately, and your project partly inspired me to start a budget-eating series of my own.

    I’m not trying to do anything as ambitious as eat for a dollar a day, but I did get curious about how much my go-to recipes really cost per serving.

    The results are here (and I’ll continue to add more). Anyone who’s interested is welcome to check them out.

    I’m looking forward to following along with the progress of your book project.

  40. Cool Blog– funny, newspapers thinking they know what’s relevant. LOL.

  41. Akamai

    I got here via the NYTimes article. This is great!
    I am living in Prague, the Czech Republic. Food prices and rents are skyrocketing, while pensioners (retired folks) get 8,000 crowns ($400) a month.
    It is common to see dozens of pensioners combing the grocery store for something they can afford, or buying the cast-off overripe or damaged produce quietly offered in the corner of our local fruit-and-vegetable market.
    BTW, in winter, root vegetables, cabbage, and sauerkraut are staples here. Sauerkraut soup, garlic soup, potato soup. I’ll have to do a cost analysis after reading about your experiment.

  42. In 1992 i was in my first apartment ever. with a folding cot a radio and 14 dollars to my name……..I have since gotten on my feet but sometimes I’m embarrassed when i want purchase expensive things……The thought that this could happen again is very real to me…………..I am grateful to you for caring……..I will donate soon and I will continue to give back just as you do not only in actions but also in prayers.
    You are loved and appreciated.

  43. George in Seattle

    Thanks – this project is thought provoking. COST at the market is a VERY big item. Seattle has a discount chair, 4 stores, Grocery Outlet, where food is half the Kroeger or Safeway. Save, Save.

    Also, there are a half dozen mass scale Asian markets with no frills, but, great prices on produce, some very fresh, other over ripe or past the prime. Tomatoes, squash, celery, all greens and green veggies are cheap and cheaper. Local owners as well.

    I eat anything, coming from a rural and low income family. BUT mom and granny were superb cooks from the old school even when the food budget was spent penny by penny. We had chickens, livestock (homegrown lamb is super good), GIANT gardens, small orchard and native berries and fruits galore (blackberries and salmon berries and wild currents, etc.)

    I never use salt, never use sugar. Day old whole wheat bread or tortillas. Use a sprinkle of hot sauce for salt substitute, good taste and some nutrition.

    And on top, get a freezer, stock up on good sales, and throw away nothing. Remember soups ans stews are easy and fast to reheat.
    any leftovers are thrown on the roof below my kitchen window, where crows, seagulls and pigeons and starlings eat every spec and are a great diversion.

    Cheers, and on to a better and healthy CHEAP diet.

    By the way I too am a great cook, cook extra often, with few takers – many people are absolutely tied to fast food and frozen stuff. Pity.

  44. Congrats on The Effort!
    I Live in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. For Over the Last Year & a Half I Have been able to Produce a Meal for $3:00 & Under every Single Day.
    I’m just an Ordinary Guy That Cooks; I Believe that anyone can do it; You gotta try!
    The Changing economy & inflation are directly affecting the amount of Money people have To Spend on Food.

    Good luck on Your next adventure!

  45. Katy M.

    Hi Guys,
    I think the article and your experiment are spot on. When I lost my job and was subsequently out of work four almost four months I gained more weight than I did when I was working. The combination of the lack of movement and high starch/high fat/high calorie foods were all contributors, as was the fact that I was so frustrated with the lack of quality ingredients to cook with that eating fast food seemed like an easier option. The social services agency I currently work for houses a food pantry, along with many other community based programs. Seeing the assembled packets of food I have noticed how few times fresh produce is included. Bananas are almost always available, but canned good and other non-perishables such as boxed dinner, rice, pasta, and foods with lots of preservatives seem to be the rule. In talking with the pantry’s coordinator she stated it was difficult to gauge how many pick-ups they would have in a given time frame, therefore the majority of the fresh food they received went bad more often times than it was given out. Also, organizations that take up collections for the pantry may not drop off their donations in a timely enough fashion to collect fresh ingredients. In addition, discount grocery stores that we have in this area such as Aldi and Shop and Save seem to only carry produce in large amounts. In stead of buying a single bunch of grapes, you have to buy an entire 1 lb bag. In stead two or three tomatoes, a container with over a dozen. Is this really cost effective? Are we really saving by buying in bulk when the majority of our fresh purchases are being thrown away? This is definitely food for thought.

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