Day 1 - Grab yourself a plate buddy

Food is just one of those things that makes people feel comfortable and good; it’s like Hugh Grant movies or silk boxers. And since it’s a little assuming to hand out silk boxers at most potentially awkward business receptions, they tend to hand out food.

So was the case today, ironically the first day of this little experiement. I knew I would encounter my fair share of free food, but it hadn’t really occurred to me how many “functions” I go to that dole out the chicken wings by the barrel.

Given that I had only been doing this for 12 hours, passing up on the food wasn’t too hard. The bigger problem was ducking all the people that kept trying to give it to me without being a jerk. There’s something locked away deep in recess of the reptilian part of our brains that just instictively tells us to eat when food is presented, as if you don’t know when the next meal will come along. So when you see a bunch of food and some guy with the gall not to eat it, the first thing everyone seems to say is, “Grab yourself a plate buddy.” I would of course respond by that ridiculous grabbing of my stomach and leaning back as if to prentend I had just gorged myself out of sight.

Anyway, sticking to my plan that I’d only take free food that would be readily available to the average person, I had a glass of lemonade. I figure that was in the same category as a free cup of coffee or something the like.

Aside from that, I only ate one meal today. Two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches plus a packet of chicken Ramen. It was OK, although I can tell you I�ll be bored with that meal pretty quick. It came in at a grand total of $.90, which means I can bank roll that dime for a latter date.


Blogger Mungo said...

Very interesting! I did that in University once too - amazing how cheaply (but unflavouringly) one can eat...

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried the "being poor" thing once too... for about 20 years! I decided to talk to this person called a "financial aid officer" whose sole job it is to get money (either grants or loans) for poor people to go to college! I went to college, worked a minimum wage internship... and two part-time jobs on campus for what amounts to LESS than minimum wage... then the internship turned into a real job after I graduated. Sure, I had to pay part of the money back, but I had a job and could afford to. Funny how we (Americans) think there is an excuse for being poor (other than being lazy or dumb) and expect everyone else to feel sorry for us. College assistance is a great way to get help, but you have to make the effort yourself and you have to be willing to promise to pay some or all of it back when you get done.
I'm doing pretty well now. I'm not doing as well as most people in the U.S. financially, but I'm not "poor" anymore. I WORKED my way out of it. No one said life would be easy and no one said changing your situation could be done without working hard. No one SHOULD say those things because they aren't true!

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was pretty cool! Hey i tried that too ,but unfortunatly it didn't work out much so i didn't do it n e more. "hey i lost alot alot a weight though"!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did you eat 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a packet of chicken raman for only .90 thats amainzg!!

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

work is hard!

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:49 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I found your blog interesting, not from a poor perspective as I pretty much grew up that way. I remember eating butter sandwiches for lunch, yumm. Now as an adult I have encountered something that truley rocks my world called Hyperemisis. It is something that 2% of women get while pregnant. Basically you throw up everything you eat. I almost laughed while you described missing taste, I haven't been able to eat in almost 9 months. This is my second child and I have had it both times. I have a very hard time keeping any food down and eating is a chore. The irony is that I used to love to cook and would spend hours in the kitchen now I am lucky to choke down a PB&J. I can't wait to birth our new son and be able to eat again. You can imagine (and identify) in a weird way how much I worry about weight GAIN and nutrition for the baby. Every day is a struggle. Every meal basically sucks. Thanks for your perspective.


7:50 AM  
Blogger Dea said...

A long time ago I was living on .50 a day or less.
I had enough money for a week to give the baby her milk and very little for myself. Not even knowing how to cook decently on charcoal.
You said you did oatmeal for one solid month with nothing! Yipes!
Even I did not have to do that. What I learned is that you boil some water in a pot, throw in stick of cinnamon (or a sprinkle) and half palm of sugar and a handful of oatmeal. I makes a very satisfying "meal" when drunk by the cupful. Great and cheap way to "eat." Uses less oatmeal per day per person and tastes a lot better than plain oatmeal with nothing.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was very interesting. I will try to write down the amount I eat every day this november. It will be harder though because I have 2 kids and a husband that will obviously continue eating as normal. I will be doing this for experience only but you never know what tomorow will bring you.

Ps. that was very nice of you to give the money you saved to the food bank.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an AWESOME blog, Eric! You did OUTSTANDING!!!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Orion Xavier said...

College degrees are for people who have AMBITION for that career. People who are passionate about working as an editor, a doctor, a journalist, a nurse, etc. It's not for people who consider it a means for job and financial security.

Because often the case is you leave with a huge debt and not much to show for it in terms of job opportunities. The economy is always changing, and you could find yourself in the middle of a recession. Or massive layoffs at the first job you take. Or you find that you have to take contract/temporary work. Etc...

There are plenty of jobs out there that pay a living wage, but do require certain skillsets. Sous chefs make twice the minimum wage. Kitchen managers make upwards of $10/hr. As do warehouse clerks/personnel. I was making $400-$500/wk (which is a lot in the Midwest) as a warehouse clerk. Just utilizing my familiarity with computers and software.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Orion Xavier said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Orion Xavier said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Orion Xavier said...

'm in the same situation with having to spend very little on food each month. I also noticed that STARCH is very cheap. I bought rice from China at Wal-Mart, 20 lb. bag for $10 I think. That lasted a month. I supplemented with broccoli and egg whites.

But STARCH (and sugar) is also what encourages the proliferation of FUNGAL CANDIDA. (Currently a silent epidemic in the U.S.) Which pumps the body full of toxins, namely acetaldehyde. Causing mental confusion, poor memory, poor neuromuscular coordination, and visual disturbances. It sounds like you experienced these during your first week..

Fungal candida also grows faster when the body is under stress. Like that from starving every day. Or psychological.

So for some people who have compromised immune systems from age, antibiotics, or severe stress (usually work related), are very prone to an overgrowth of fungal candida in the gut.

I think this describes most chronically poor people and therefore this diet is actually very toxic to them. I'm one of these people and I cannot eat these foods, as it actually prevents me from working. It causes extreme joint pain make it unbearable to stand (like someone took a hammer to your ankle and feet).

While it's definitely not $30/month, I'd suggest looking at a ketogenic diet. I can usually get by on $180/month from food stamps, buying cheap sausage patties and broccoli. Another thing you failed to recognize is that your diet is WOEFULLY inadequate in PROTEIN. This will make you very weak, as your body becomes catabolic and breaks down a lot of muscle for energy. At least with a ketogenic diet, the body breaks down mostly body fat for energy.

A lot of jobs that you can get fairly easily, and that pay reasonably well, are physical labor jobs. That means you need protein to conserve muscle.

9:02 AM  

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