Monday, September 15, 2008

Don your hair shirts: One Dollar Diet Project

Can you live off the food that one dollar a day can provide: One Dollar Diet Project?

My frugal Scots heritage makes me want to try such a project. Something tells me I could actually eat rather well, as long as you don't count the cost of energy it takes to prepare food. Fresh produces, of course, is the enemy in such a project, given that fresh fruit and vegetables are out-of-site expensive. A single apple, for example, is well over a dollar now. Eating frozen vegetables seems like cheating, given that you have to expend the energy to keep them frozen.

Rather than taking on the challenge of eating on less than a dollar a day, I think I might calculate how much I spend in food, and then attempt to maximize my food dollar. I know for damn sure that I can eat much more cheaply than I would by paying others to prepare food that I can easily make myself.

A dollar a day, however, would appear to be egregiously tight and near starvation level, of course. Then again, I presume that most of the third world is forced to live on such a diet. They, of course, would have to calculate their energy costs into such a budget. As I said, that's where we get into deep problems--energy is even more expensive for third world people. They have to hunt down non-existent firewood or pay outrageous amounts for portable fuel.

It might do us all some good to try to live the way the most unfortunate of our fellow humans have to live. I don't think, however, I could do it for a month.


  1. When I was in school and super broke, I did all my grocery shopping at the 99 cent store. I could have a lunch for $.25. However, This was a meal of Top Ramen with a hard boiled egg and a little canned tuna in it.

    Ah, then there was the fish chowder. Whatever cream of potato or mushroom soup was available with a couple of cans of fish (oysters, clams, whatever).

    My digestive system got so screwed up eating like this over the long term. It took me years before I could handle any kind of healthy food. I don't know if it was digestive enzymes or what.

    But I'll bet with only two meals a day and just warm water, it was $1/day.

  2. I am amazed by this project. It truly shows how wealthy most of us are, that a large part of our wealth takes the form of unlimited food supplies, and how much we take our wealth for granted. Some days I need to have a wake-up call, and this was one of them. Thank you.

  3. One Dollar Diet Project is a great social experiment.

    We invite everyone to follow our journey with a little bit of a spin from their project.

    We're using this as an educational tool as well as a fundraiser for my upcoming missions trip to Zambia; a country where living on just $1 a day is the norm.

    Come support our progress: