Living off $4.90/day – Day 2: HUNGRY!

We made it through Day 1 basically unscathed. I’ve never savored a stalk of broccoli so much in my life, though. It was an odd sensation, being hungry almost right after lunch…and then again shortly after dinner. I’m actually typing this a little hungry and realizing its time for my split pea soup! If you missed the Day 1 post (here) or overview post (here) please have a look. The short version is that my wife and I (somewhat avid consumers of good food) are living off $4.90/day each to raise awareness about hunger.  Here’s my update…

Before I get started on Day 2, please check my new friend Sara’s blog post (here) with lots of recipes and the such. Nice work.

First off, can I just say that packing all of my meals because I have out of town work is really the epitome of suck. A close second is the sensation of looking wistfully at the last morsel of meatloaf, devising ways to savor it more fully because it’s the last food for awhile. I’m not addicted to food, I swear. Food addiction is a serious issue, so while I’m prone to many jokes, that’s not one of them.

What is a joke, however, is the serving size on our container of oatmeal.!?! You know those fancy restaurants that serve exceedingly tiny portions for exorbitant prices (the ones I usually love)? This is just like that. Only in this case the option is not tasty and dirt cheap. This is supposed to be an exercise in hunger awareness, not portion control.  But I digress.  This reminds me of when I fasted for Ramadan in college. No, I’m not Muslim, but both my roommates were and when they explained the rationale behind it, I thought it sounded like a grand idea. (aside: I was swayed by sentiments expressed in bullets 3 & 4 under “purpose for fasting” and the notion of everyone having to be decent to eachother for a month). That might be the last time I voluntarily embraced hunger.  And what I remember–and notice now more than depriving myself of a Carnitas Torta from Carnitas Snack Shack ,braised beef cheeks from Urban Solace or even squash blossoms from Alchemy, is the mental impact of being hungry.

If you have time, try it for a couple days. Don’t starve yourself, just under-eat a bit if your health allows. A couple hours of being hungry changes the appreciation for why food programs exist. I agree with attaching strings like work requirements or limitations on the type of food. But I really think it’s harder to be productive when you are thinking–even in small measure–about the emptiness in your stomach.

Transpose this little adventure onto the psyche of a 10-year-old. I’m not saying that there aren’t some bad ass kids who are just unruly for no reason at all. We ALL know them. But try this thing for just a couple days and tell me if you still believe we should eliminate food aid programs. Actually, this makes me wonder if there aren’t better ways to get food to the hungry, like loosening food restrictions that stop restaurants from giving away slightly old food. I wonder how restaurant owners feel about disposing of their food. Does anyone know? Here’s a pamphlet from 2007 by the National Restaurant Association on giving food away and this direct link for restaurants to hook up with donation efforts. My meals are, rather boringly, set for the next two days. So the actual food updates will be lame and focus more on the mental/emotional aspects of being hungry (and the ridiculous ways I now linger over crumbs of sea salt, of course).  Thanks for dropping by, if you give hunger a try for a couple days please let me know your thoughts. By the way, I tweet nuggets about this challenge, San Diego local issues and (usually) food & craft beer at @omarpassons. There are great conversations happening on Twitter, come join.

4 thoughts on “Living off $4.90/day – Day 2: HUNGRY!

  1. I continue in awe. While I’ve been limiting my portions it’s mostly for weight loss reasons. I have gone to bed hungry but that’s because I’ve allotted myself the all the calories I could consume and not because I had to.

    My gig used to throw lavish parties several times a year (the TET has reduced this number) and I know they were able to donate uneaten food to local food banks/charities. Not sure what the restaurant policy is in DC but it would be interesting if they were able to donate more food not just to shelters but to the working poor.

  2. It is incredible what others endure. You are doing a great thing spreading hunger awareness and we’re cheering for you!

    Chief Seed Sower

    Light of Mine
    Seeds of Hope

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