For the Forks Over Knives blog, Darshana Thacker recently wrote about trying to eat on $1.50 a day for five days. And it went great!
Eating on a low budget oriented me toward simple, unprocessed food. I actually felt quite healthy!
The “Indian vegan chef who is well known in the yoga community of Los Angeles,” as her bio states, went to the 99 Cent Store and picked up potatoes, carrots, brown rice, lentils, pasta, and tomato sauce. She also bought some organic oatmeal at Whole Foods (42 cents) and splurged on a lime (33 cents) and some fresh organic spinach (45 cents). Here’s what she found:
[L]iving on a healthy, plant-based diet does not have to be expensive. While eating a plant-based diet on $1.50 per day was inconvenient and challenging, I found it to be surprisingly satisfying. While $1.50 per day may be particularly extreme, it is still entirely possible to be sufficiently nourished, even at that level. This is great news for students and those on fixed incomes. Mission accomplished!
Whoa, there, Nelly. I think you and I have different ideas of what “mission accomplished” means. Mine involves maybe not being so quick to think you’ve singlehandedly solved world hunger in a work week:
The main lesson I learned is that to feed a hungry world we need to focus our resources on simple starchy staple foods, which provide the highest number of reasonably nutritious calories for the least amount of money.
Excellent. I will pass that right along to the World Health Organization.
The problem here is that not everyone has access to “fresh organic spinach” or lives next to a Whole Foods. (See: food deserts.) People might not be eating Pop Tarts because they’re shunning the farmers market; they might not have a farmers market at ALL. And it goes way beyond individual choice — our food system is so messed up that it’s ludicrous to suggest the problem is choosing the right food. But legislation and large-scale change is less fun to chat about at your vegan yoga cocktail hour.
- My $1.50 a Day Challenge: Eating a Plant-Based Diet on an Austere Budget , Forks Over Knives