Monday, January 31, 2011

Day Twenty-four

From the St. Louis Consolidated Five Year Plan:


"Homelessness is a persistent problem nationally and the situation is little different in St. Louis. Lack of education, lower socio-economic standing in the society, psychological problems caused by trauma, war, rape and a host of other causes, inaccessibility to adequate housing: these are just a few of the problems that face people who are at risk of losing their residences and live in dangerous, uninhabitable conditions, are doubled-up and/or are living on the streets.

Calculating a fair estimate of the number of homeless people in the city of St. Louis is difficult; estimates range from a low of 8,000 to 13,000 (see "Needs and Challenges" section). Though definitive numbers are difficult to quantify, the problem of homeless has not improved in recent years, and will in all probability become worse with the continuing implementation of welfare reform. Governments and private agencies often end up providing stopgap measures in the face of complex problems associated with this often-desperate population. Real change in the overall situation is hard to quantify; often, the best that can be hoped for is adequate provision of maintenance services to homeless individuals and families, with the expectation that the families will not fall into even worse situations than they presently find themselves.

In the midst of this otherwise bleak picture, many agencies in St. Louis have been providing important services to the homeless. Special populations, such as veterans, the mentally ill, HIV/AIDS clients, adolescents, families with children, pregnant women, and domestic abuse survivors are being attended to with programs that attempt to adequately address their issues. Improvements, often difficult to manifest in this environment, have occurred, such as a centralized intake system that has been created to more efficiently refer homeless persons to programs which can best serve them, and outreach aimed at the hard to reach homeless, plus a modicum of prevention programs."

I'm feeling very thankful for my warm home tonight and acknowledging how blessed we are.

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast~ steel cut oats and coffee
Lunch ~ black eyed peas and rice
Dinner ~ popcorn

Daily Totals ~ $1.19

Just a little bit of food for thought...


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day Twenty-three

We've been working hard all weekend to get through the list that we made Friday morning. This list was of the things that HAD to be done before the end of today. I'm proud to say that although we are still working on that list, we are almost through!

"I want a treat because today is Sunday," I said to Ryan this afternoon. He looked quizzically at me and used his standard response that he uses whenever I make random comments (which I do quite often), "Is that because of something in your childhood?" I thought about it...yes, it was from something in my childhood. Every Sunday in my family was (and still is) family day. We went to church (my dad was the preacher) then we came home and had a large Sunday lunch complete with my mom's nice china and stemware and of course, dessert! We would then all move to the den and each would pick their entertainment of choice: books, the Sunday paper, guitar, tv, a craft project. We'd all hang out until late afternoon at which time, we made a snack. We always had something fun for Sunday: chips and dip, popcorn, ice cream, homemade snack mix, etc... (my family is the king of appetizers and snacks). We didn't always eat this way, but we did on Sunday afternoons. I guess that's what was going on with me today. As soon as Ryan pointed it out, it made me very nostalgic about sitting in my parent's house on a Sunday afternoon without a care in the world enjoying life's small pleasures and the comraderie of family.

Anyway, we haven't really had any snacks for twenty-three days and I was missing the "crunch". We decided to have a treat today. We walked to the market and bought a bag of popcorn. Let me tell you, the first taste of that popcorn with salt still has my mouth watering! It was wonderful and well within our budget ! So, I got to reminisce and fulfill a tradition that I suspect my five siblings and my parents were probably fulfilling also today in their own way!

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast ~ steal cut oats with banana and coffee
Lunch ~ chickpeas and rice
Snack ~ home popped popcorn
Dinner ~ more rice

Daily Totals ~ $1.90

Just a little bit of food for thought...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day Twenty-two

As we've been eating so much less for the last twenty-two days, my mind and heart have constantly been turned toward those who are less fortunate. Most of the time I envision families in developing countries that are overworked, underpaid, and most definitely hungry. Hunger, though, is not something reserved for other countries or even for the homeless population. St. Louis is a very hungry city according to recent studies. Ryan read recently that according to the Food Research and Action Center, St. Louis is the 11th hungriest city in the US. According to this acticle from, the state ranks 5th in the nation for hungry children. This is a good reminder that poverty, hunger, and homelessness are right at our doorstep.

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with banana and coffee
Lunch ~ rice
Dinner ~ lentils and rice with sprout salad

Daily Totals ~ 1.97

A little bit of food for thought...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day Twenty-One

Here is my friend, Jason's Facebook update from this morning:

"The world produces enough food to feed everyone ... enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day (FAO 2002, p.9). The principle problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. -"

"The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth, there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution." ~Federico Lorca

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with banana and coffee
Lunch ~ pinto beans and rice with sprout salad
Dinner ~ rice

Daily Totals ~ $1.87

Just a little bit of food for thought...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day Twenty

Ryan and I presented at St. Louis Pecha Kucha night tonight for our Green Strum Project. What a great gathering of conscious, motivated people doing great things in this city! I was talking to a friend of mine there and she was asking how the diet was going and what was difficult about it. I've been realizing more the last few days what really is difficult, at least for me. The portions we are eating are really quite satisfying and our bodies have adjusted to the amount of food we are eating. We are also getting balanced nutrition, so we don't feel we are lacking in that department. The hard part is knowing that there is nothing else. What I mean by that is, once we eat our portions for each meal, there is no other food to be had. I find myself wandering into the kitchen several times a day and just standing there looking into our bare cabinets and refrigerator shelves. There is no snack food healthy or otherwise. I realize how often I mindlessly do that...wander into the kitchen and consume without really needing to. I do experience some bouts of hunger these days with no way to assuage it, but most of the time when I wander into that kitchen, I'm not really hungry, I'm just looking for something that I can't have.

This in some very small way must be what it is like for an impoverished person. The knowledge that there is nothing else to be eaten and no way to get more. I've spent a good bit of time lately trying to train my mind not to think about food. I'm doing this, though, knowing that I'll get a decent portion of food each day. I can't really imagine what it must be like to know that there will be no food and to try to overcome that devastating knowledge.

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast ~ steel cuts oats with banana and green tea (Kelly) and coffee (Ryan)
Lunch ~ lentils with rice
Dinner ~ rice

Daily Total ~ $1.80

Just a little bit of food for thought...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day Nineteen

For the last couple of days, every time I get on the bus, I whip out Michael Pollan's "Food Rules". This handy little guidebook gives 64 "rules" to eating. A lot of them are really resonating with me right now. The book encourages people to eat more simply and not be bought by the food and media companies. There are some great rules like "If it came from a plant, eat it. If it's made in a plant, don't!" Or, "The whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead." And, "don't eat anything with ingredients that a third grader can't pronounce."

Pollan spends a large part of his introduction talking about how the more "scientific" our eating has become, the more disease we, as Americans, actually have. It's amazing to me that people are undernourished all over the world and yet tens of thousands of new "edible media" products are produced every year in this country. Pollan boils his food philosophy down to seven little words: "Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants."

These words are exactly what I needed to hear after 19 days of no pre-packaged foods and small portions!

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with a banana!!! Coffee (Ryan)
Lunch ~ Chickpeas and rice
Dinner ~ Rice

Daily Totals ~ $1.87

Just a little bit of food for thought...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day Eighteen

I had a small victory today - two in fact. First, was that I was again in the grocery store to pick up some more oats for our breakfast and I easily turned a blind eye to all the brightly packaged foods that for some reason I have been craving lately. Even the potato chips didn't sway me! I've settled into this diet even more the last few days. I also am feeling very thankful for the insights we've gained. I was pleased to see my new thoughts put into practice today in the store!

The second victory was that organic bananas were on sale for $.79 per pound! I bought five of them and they came out to be $.30 per banana. I am going to bed tonight eagerly looking forward to having banana in my oats in the morning. One thing this diet has done is make us very, very grateful for the small things!

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast ~ oats with raisins and green tea
Lunch ~ chickpeas and rice
Dinner ~ rice

Daily Total ~ $1.68

Just a little bit of food for thought...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day Seventeen

It's hard to believe that we are more than half way through this 30 day project. We have settled into it and the food cravings are slowly easing away. It has helped to have variety. We are relying heavily on the beans we decided to add to the diet. We haven't had a day without them in a while. A huge addition has also been the sprouts we've been eating almost daily. It is refreshing to have live food and I can feel their nutrients being hungrily absorbed by my body.

Several people have asked if we've been able to maintain our weight on this diet. The answer is no. This is one area where the difference between us and a disadvantaged person is glaring. We started this diet with plenty of balanced nutrients, so I don't think we could do much damage to our nutrition in 30 days. Of course, this is a very different scenario than a person who has eaten so little for a long period of time. Ryan and I also both started this diet with some extra "padding", so weight maintenance is not something we are worried about. If a person didn't have any to spare, though, this would be very difficult. I'm a long way from "wasting away to nothing" but for many people, loosing a few pounds could be very dangerous and life threatening. It's hard to imagine how arduous it would be to be undernourished and engaging in hard physical labor as so many in the world do.

We have not been participating in any extra exercise. We both walk a least a couple of miles a day (usually more) to and from the bus/Metrolink. We decided that this was sufficient and we didn't need to burn more calories by "exercising". I do yoga a few times a week and that is burning some extra calories, but I'm not jogging right now.

Today's Meals ~
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with raisins and green tea
Lunch ~ pinto beans and rice with a sprout salad
Snack ~ apple cider vinegar "cocktail"
Dinner ~ rice

Daily Total ~ $1.85

Just a little bit of food for thought...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day Sixteen's been a full, busy day. It has not been a day of rest! We've been working all day and hardly had time to think about our meals. That is a benefit of being busy - less time to contemplate things you might want to eat! We do always try, though, to slow down and take a break for meals. We try to clear our minds, eat slowly, and experience thankfulness for the food we get to eat. It is surprising how good simple food can taste when you take the time to enjoy it!

"He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise"

~ Henry David Thoreau

Today's Meals
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with raisins and green tea
Lunch ~ pinto beans
Dinner ~ rice

Daily Total ~ $1.47

Just a little bit of food for thought...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day Fifteen

Day fifteen!! We are half way through!

Even though we've been doing this for fifteen days, we are still running into difficult situations. Today for instance, we finished up the class Ryan was teaching at The Folk School and were about to head home when we realized that we needed to do some shopping. We were out of toilet paper, we needed new toothbrushes, and we needed some more beans to supplement our rice/oats diet. We set out for the grocery store and I was already experiencing some trepidation; I wasn't sure going into a grocery store was such a good idea. It had been several hours since we had eaten our oats for breakfast and by the time we did our shopping, took the Metrolink home, and cooked something to eat, we were looking at a minimum of two hours before we could eat and we were already hungry!

We could not believe all the cravings we were having when we got in the grocery store! All of the "edible media" looked so very good! I was even trying to convince myself that a bag of potato chips really wasn't that bad. They were organic and only contained potatoes, salt, and oil. They can't be that bad, right? We walked around that store for twenty minutes trying to figure out what we could buy for a snack that fit into our budget and our vegan diet. Well, needless to say, we left that store as hungry as we went in, road the train home, and put a pot of lentils to boil on the stove.

While we were waiting to go home on the Metrolink I did have a revelation! "Bananas," I hollered! Bananas would have been a great option. You can get an organic banana for about $.27. They are vegan, healthy, packed with nutrients, and cheap - we could have even "afforded" a couple! Oh, well. At least I'll know what to get next time when the grocery store cravings are getting to me.

The hunger pains we were feeling this afternoon is what it's all about. We really didn't "need" to eat right that second. We were perfectly fine waiting for our rice and lentils. I'm thankful for these reminders even though they don't always feel so good while they are happening.

Daily Food
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with raisins and green tea
Lunch ~ lentils
Dinner ~ rice

Daily Total ~ $1.39

Just a bit of food for thought...

Oh, P.S. Remember that extra $.50 we spent at the coffee shop yesterday? We didn't mean to, but we made up for it today. We've now got $.11 to spare!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day Fourteen

Today we were in a situation that took some debate. We had a meeting this morning with a local organization with whom we are collaborating for our Green Strum Project. The meeting was held at a local coffee shop. There was our quandary...what do we do about ordering something. Neither one of us likes the idea of hanging out in a place of business without buying something. We ALWAYS purchase something if we are going to be in a shop for longer than a couple of minutes. Of course, on the dollar a day diet, we have decided to not to accept free things, not to go out to eat or drink, and to only spend one dollar a day each.

We debated what to do. We could have gone and explained to the others in the meeting (whom we'd never met) about our diet project and not have ordered anything. If we had done that, it would probably have seemed odd and possibly made them uncomfortable if they were eating and drinking and we were not. It would definitely have taken away from the focus of the meeting. It would also have been disrespectful to the place of business.

We eventually decided that we would each purchase something inexpensive (we got a tea and a coffee) and we would use the money that we've "saved" so far on the diet. We haven't been eating quite two dollars worth of food everyday - we usually have some cents left over. Actually, over the last thirteen days, we've "saved" $3.50. Our tea and coffee cost us $4.00 with tip. So, we have fifty cents to make up. We'll make that up in the next week or so and still be on track with our dollar a day each.

Daily Food excluding this morning's purchase:
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with raisins
Lunch ~ beans, rice
Dinner ~ sprout salad, apple cider vinegar

Total ~ $1.60

A little bit of food for thought...

P.S. The meeting was at 9:00am. Ryan is still zinging from his coffee!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day Thirteen

Snow Day in St. Louis! It is a rare thing for us not to have anywhere we have to be and we approached the day with excitement! What would we do with all this time. Without even discussing it and without eating breakfast, Ryan headed downstairs to his basement workshop and I headed to the sewing machine. We both worked steadily for hours before reconvening for "breakfast" around one o'clock. We realized how different this day was from previous snow days. Normally, we would have gone to the store yesterday and stocked up...not on necessities, but on "fun" stuff for the snow day. We would have bought snacks, extra food, and alcohol. We would have enjoyed our day at home and we would have "treated" ourselves with all of our food and beverage purchases.

Today was very different. We had no special snacks, I wasn't spending hours in the kitchen preparing a special dinner, and we certainly didn't have any special beverages! The day had a very different focus. Not only did we have a day at home, we had tons more time than usual. It just doesn't take long to throw a few beans in a pot to simmer. Other than that, I was hardly in the kitchen at all. Instead, I made a dress that is a copy of a vintage dress that a friend just bought at a retro store. Ryan made two different bass instruments for our Green Strum Project ( and we played music this evening.

We made ourselves eat dinner even though we weren't hungry. I think we were enjoying our projects too much.

Daily Food:

Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with a few raisins and some green tea
Dinner ~ Sweet potato and bean "stew"
After Dinner ~ apple cider vinegar "cocktail"

Daily Total ~ $1.25

A little bit of food for thought,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day Twelve

When we began this project, our plan was to cut back on our food intake which, of course, has cut into the amount of money we have spent "out". We aren't eating at restaurants, we aren't hanging at coffee shops, we aren't buying drinks at the bar. Needless to say, there has been a huge savings in the eating out/entertainment section of our monthly budget. One thing we didn't expect, though, are the changes that are taking place in other sections of our budget. The financial focus of this project was not in any way to save money, but rather to become aware of the money we do spend and where we spend it.

Once we began the dollar a day diet we started noticing a reticence to spend money at all! Naturally, I am paying our bills, but for the last twelve days I think Ryan and I have spent a total of $5.20 outside of our bills and our food. We find ourselves in stores planning to buy something and then we just put it back on the shelf. There's something about spending so little in one area of life that transposes to the other areas. It seems outrageous to think of spending $25 on an item in the store when we realize that we could eat for almost a month on that amount of money! For this, I am thankful because it is yet another reminder of the money we spend mindlessly on things that perhaps we don't really need. It is encouraging me to be more conscious in other areas and reuse, remake, and reprocess things rather then casting them off and buying new. My mama always quoted, "I'm trying to make a dollar out of 57 cents!" This has been running around in my head especially the last few days. In so many instances, you can make a dollar out of 57 cents. I'm encouraged to continue this austere lifestyle and looking forward to each new revelation.

Today's diet includes:
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats with a few raisins and green tea
Lunch ~ sweet potato and bean soup with a sprout salad
Snack ~ Apple Cider Vinegar "cocktail"
Dinner ~ Brown Rice with Tamari

Totals ~ $1.93


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day Eleven

When I first had the idea for this dollar a day project, I thought that I was the first one to come up with this brilliant plan, but of course, it had been done before. I've found several blogs of others who have attempted the same thing. They've done it for various reasons, but a constant theme among them all is that their dollar a day experience changed the way they think about food.

There are a couple of teachers who did this a couple of years ago and they have just written a book about it. They have a similar outlook as Ryan and I and I have enjoyed perusing their blog. You can check them out at

Here are a couple of articles about a North Carolina woman who wanted to prove that you could eat healthily on a dollar a day: and

Here's another gentleman who ate for $30 for a month:

Our daily total came to $1.94.

We added some steel cut oats with a few raisins for breakfast which was a real treat and we had lentils with our rice for lunch. Dinner was brown rice as's amazing how good it can taste!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day Ten

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day Nine

The sprouts were ready today! I've been sprouting broccoli and alfalfa seeds in a jar in my pantry for the last week or so. I purchased the seeds in bulk from a natural foods store for pennies. Sprouting is a simple way to have live food any time of the year. Any seed, bean, or whole grain can be sprouted. I am also currently sprouting mung beans. I just put a few seeds/beans/grains in the bottom of a jar and then soak them for a few hours. I cover the top with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Then, I rinse them a couple of times a day until they are ready. Broccoli and alfalfa are fast sprouters and only take three to four days. Beans and grains take a bit longer.

Much research has been conducted about the nutritive value of sprouts. Johns Hopkins University conducted a study that showed that eating 1 ounce of broccoli sprouts was equal in antioxidants to 3 pounds of fully grown broccoli!

We've been experiencing hunger, cravings, and detox the last couple of days so the sprouts were a nice change from our rice and bean diet.

Today's total - $1.96


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day Eight

The encouragement we've received during the first week of this project has bolstered us through the hunger pains and the cravings. Thank you for all the comments and messages. We saw many friends today and had multiple conversations about our 30 day venture and each time I talk to someone about it, I feel that I learn more and more. I am also more and more humbled as I gain insight from each person. I am thankful for the conversations because that was our goal:
personal growth and conscious interaction. So, thanks for joining us in our exploration of the gap...


Friday, January 14, 2011

Day Seven

Almost half the world - over three billion people - live on less the $2.50 per day.

At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

More than 80% of the world's population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.

Around 27-28% of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted.

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they "die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death."

I'm overwhelmed...


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day Six

We haven't been as hungry the last couple of days, so we only made half of our usual daily rice amount. We also wanted beans again, so I made some adzuki beans to go with our rice for lunch.
Adzukis are some pretty impressive beans in the nutrition department.

Here's the run-down:

Adzuki beans, 1 cup (230g) (cooked, boiled)
Calories: 294
Protein: 17.3g
Carbohydrate: 57g
Total Fat: 0.23g
Fiber: 16.8g
*Excellent source of:
Iron (4.6mg)
Magnesium (119.6mg)
Potassium (1,223mg)
Zinc (4.0mg)
Folate (278mcg)

They are very tasty, cook quickly, and kept us full all afternoon. We ate a 1/2 cup of rice for dinner. When we got home we realized that we hadn't had our full $2.00 for the day, so we split a 1/3 cup of raisins for dessert! It was hard to believe how sweet the raisins tasted! We haven't had anything but rice and beans the last few days and the flavor of the raisins was an explosion of sweetness!

Daily totals:
1 cup rice - $.58
Green Tea - $.08
ACV - $.19
Adzuki beans - $.50
Tamari - $.10
Raisins - $.40
Chamomile tea - $.08
Total - $1.93

The sprouts are taking longer to fully sprout than usual, probably due to my chilly kitchen! They will be ready in a couple of days so that we can have some live food. I started another round of them today so that we will constantly have them available to eat.

The fuzziness in our heads that we've been experiencing from the detox is easing. We are starting to think more clearly and have more energy. This combined with the fact that we are saving a lot of time by not cooking and not spending as much time focusing on food means we are getting a lot of work done!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day Five

I had a friend over for tea today and we talked about gratitude. She is practicing being thankful for the things that she has rather than focusing on the things she doesn't have. This has been a part of my meditation lately too - spending time filling my heart with gratitude for all the blessings that I enjoy every day. Being thankful that I have warm boots to walk through the snow, thankful that I have a warm house to come to at night, thankful for the friends that encourage me, and thankful for the food I get to eat.

Today we had lentils with our rice, we used two teabags since I was hosting, and our daily total was $1.91.

I end the day happy, satisfied, and very very grateful,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day Four

Today was an incredibly busy day and we just sat down to eat dinner at 9:45 pm. Until now, each of us has only had about a 1/2 cup of rice and some green tea today. We were very hungry when we got home! Our appetites are shrinking daily. We didn't even finish all of our rice today; we got full after eating our miso soup and about half of our dinner ration. Neither one of us had our apple cider vinegar ration either today so our daily food expense was $1.48.

Before we started this project, we debated what the ground rules would be. Would we accept meals from friends, would we use things that were still in our cabinets, and would we use the tabs we get at venues when Ryan plays (like our weekly tab at Atomic Cowboy for hosting open mic)? At first it didn't seem like such a big deal; wouldn't a hungry person accept something offered to them? We came to the conclusion, though, that we would not indulge. Offerings made to us here in our lovely city would surely be more than most impoverished people would be offered. Also, we want to stay as true as we can to our project both for our physical and conscious selves. The idea is to remain aware of those who go without and a full stomach makes that harder to do. My friend, Michael, brought me the most beautiful bowl of winter vegetable soup last night. When I got home, I stared longingly at it for a bit, took a big long inhale of its tantalizing aroma, and put it in the freezer to be enjoyed at a later date.

So, my friends, I will gladly accept your company, your thoughts, and your conversation.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day Three

Today we went big time and substituted garbanzo beans for miso broth and tamari. We've been experiencing some pretty serious detox symptoms from all the things we've cut out (alcohol, most caffeine, all processed foods). Ryan's detox has been more serious than mine, but we both have headaches, some nausea, and a general feeling of lethargy. We've experienced these symptoms before when we've done cleanses and detoxes. All of the items we are eating are pretty cleansing. We decided to slow it down a bit and add some beans. I have felt better this afternoon; hopefully Ryan has too (we'll have to ask his students)!

The monetary breakdown of today's daily food goes like this:

2 cups uncooked rice ~ $1.16
1 green tea bag ~ $.08
2 tablespoons ACV ~ $.19
1/2 cup uncooked garbanzo beans ~ $.50

Grand Total ~ $1.93

The past couple of days our miso has cost us $.14 for a tablespoon, and the tamari is $.10 so our daily totals have been at $1.67. We are under for the last few days and other than a few hunger pains, detox, and cravings, we've been just fine.

We continue to talk about our surprising cravings and desires. We had a long discussion this morning about how we use things like food, eating out, lattes, and alcohol to fill a void and satisfy us. We do it without even thinking. Stripping it all away leaves a big void, one that we know needs to be filled with more important things. The spiritual side of the experiment is deepening and I hope it continues to do so. Will we treat ourselves when this is all over? I hope not; I hope we've changed our thinking enough by that point that it will seem very unnecessary!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day Two

Our current daily intake for each of us is as follows: 1 small pot of tea, 1 cup uncooked (3 cups cooked) brown rice, 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (mixed in water and taken as a cocktail), and 1 cup of miso broth. I failed to mention yesterday that I bought a few broccoli and alfalfa seeds for sprouting. The sprouts take about three days to grow and will give us live food packed with nutrients. Again, we have about $10 leeway in the budget to add a couple of things.

The protein question has come up several times. There is a lot of debate among nutritionists about how much protein we really need. The mainstream thought is that each person needs 60-70 grams per day. Many raw foodists and those who follow a macrobiotic diet suggest that we only need 15-35 grams of protein per day. This site has some interesting history on how we evaluate protein and our dietary needs:

My friend Sean makes a good point: "In rural Haiti, $.50 can get a person a decent amount of greens (spinach, cabbage, and a few other things I don't know the English words for), but once you start talking protein it's a whole different story. Nearly everyday we saw children "eating" a bowl of "soup" with three or four beans in it. This is an enormous problem as protein deficiency is the main cause of malnutrition (a global epidemic, no matter how you slice it). When one hears statistics that more than a billion people live on less than $1 a day, you can be sure that a decent percentage of those same people live on less than $.10 a day."

I think the question is not, are Kelly and Ryan getting enough protein, but what about the nutritional intake of the one billion people who survive, not just feed themselves, on a dollar a day. And, what should we be doing about it. When it's all said and done, I have the luxury of consuming as much protein as I think I need, while others don't. This is the very gap that we are exploring.

Thanks for the support, concern, and encouragement.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day One

As we contemplated what type of food we wanted to eat for a dollar a day, we felt strongly about eating healthy, organic food. So many of the inexpensive foods at the market are processed and may provide calories, but certainly no nutrition. We want as much nutrition as possible. So, we went with the basics....rice, rice, and more rice! Brown rice, of course. We are topping the rice with a bit of wheat free tamari. We also decided to add some miso soup for it's vitamins and nutrient absorption properties. After hard consideration we are also allowing ourselves some green tea (1 teabag for both of us a day). The amounts we've chosen work out to about 800 calories a day. That isn't much, but they are packed full of the good things our bodies need. I think I'll take fewer calories over the empty ones.

The rice seemed like an obvious choice. Not only is it healthy, but the vast majority of people in the world eat rice on a daily basis. Brown rice is an excellent source of magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese, and the vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6. Brown rice is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and gamma-oryzanol. Not to mention, Calcium and Iron.

Miso helps absorbs nutrients into the body and balances ph. It is full of nutrients, beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Miso provides: protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, tryptophan, choline, dietary fiber, linoleic acid and lecithin.

We've been cutting down on caffeine drastically the last couple of weeks to prepare ourselves to go caffeine free, but at the last minute, the healthy properties of green tea persuaded us and we decided to keep it. We aren't drinking much (as our caffeine headaches can attest), but it's a nice comfort.

As far as the Apple Cider Vinegar goes (Braggs, of course). Don't even get me started on all the things it can do for you - here's a good link:

So, these are the basic components of our diet. We bought all of these items in bulk for the whole month and have spent $50.31. That works out to about $1.67 per day for both of us. We have $9.69 left over and we will probably use it to work some beans in at points. Right now, we are planning to save it for a while to see if we run into any emergency must haves.

We have felt pretty good today. We have the general haziness that comes from detoxing and eating less. We've experienced some hunger, yet at the same time, we feel very blessed to have these healthy foods in our cabinet.

We have been surprised how many times each of us has thought about food, restaurants, and coffee shops throughout the day. I for one, realize how much I take those things for granted now that I can't have them.

Day one down, twenty-nine to go. I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

One Day til One Dollar

Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow we start eating for One Dollar A Day each. This has been done before and blogged about and nearly ONE BILLION people in the world LIVE on one dollar a day! We've been contemplating this for a while now. Not just as a sociological experiment but as a spiritual one. Our goals are two-fold:

1) We want to be reminded of the gap that exists between the poor and the not so poor.
2) We want to be reminded that we don't need luxury to be fulfilled or happy.

I'm not arrogant enough to think that I will understand what it is like for the one billion people in the world who live on a dollar a day, much less eat on one. I do hope that the hunger pains I'm bound to experience will continue to bring awareness to me of the world's reality and prompt me to consider what my role needs to be. I also hope that the practice of stripping away some of the things that we use to make us happy, will make me realize that I don't need them at all.