Living off $4.90/day – Day 3: Meditations on Gum Chewing

I spent $3.81/day on Days 2 & 3! Technically I started my Day 3 post on Day 2 after chewing real hard on yet another piece of Trident to ward off feelings of hunger. Being a research nerd, I remember that the act of chewing actually helps control appetite.  I’ve been using lots of gum and water to mask hunger so far.Quick shout out for this book about a dedicated father and this Steven Pinker TedTalk. Also, at the end of this post I address the recent nonsense about 47% of America wanting handouts (aside: from an admittedly far left news source, but the video isn’t in dispute). But first the food.

Anyway, so the actual food hasn’t changed from yesterday. But staying with the theme of over-analysis, here’s the breakdown of the cost of what I’ve been eating:
Oatmeal
$14.85 for 72 oz Costco pack (used 2.66 ounces): .55 cents/serving

Split Pea Soup: $1.05/serving
Split Peas – .93 cents
Onion – .50 cents
Garlic – .03 cents
Olive oil – .53 cents
Carrots – .97 cents
Celery – .50 cents
Ham – $2.50
Potato – .60 cents
Chicken Broth – $1.80
Total: $8.30/pot (8 servings)

*PS – for those hating on split pea soup, try the recipe I posted on Day 1, it’s really good and a TON of protein and fiber.

Meatloaf & Broccoli, potatoes & brussels sprouts (yes!): $2.21 $3.10/serving

Update: To my utter shock and delight, my dinner menu changed. Wife surprised me by using the left over potatos from our breakfast burritos on day 1 and some brussels sprouts to create this:

Surpise additional sides, still within budget for CalFresh Challenge

Oh glorious gift from above, how I was exhilarated by your presence!  I sat for a moment and took it all in, the site of what felt like a new meal I was trying for the first time.  The new additions did not disappoint.  I’ve had both those items before, actually, but something about time (and in this case hunger) making the heart grow fonder really rang true.  One thing I also noticed about half way through my meal is that I was actually getting full.  I’d forgotten what that sensation felt like.  Apparently thousands of years of potato consumers are onto something.

This video is a very good snapshot on the history of the Food Stamp program and it’s impact on hunger in the US. Unlike now, with Gingrich and more recently Romney (yesterday) making comments, the program was expanded under leadership of Senator Bob Dole (R) and George McGovern (D). Also, another myth is that people receiving foodstamps all don’t work. In truth, nearly twice as many recipients nationally are working families.  Finally, here are the actual eligibility requirements in California and the contact for SD County.

One last note, I’m not really sure why the Challenge requires you not to accept food received through work.  I have to imagine there are plenty of people who get coffee or occasional pastries at work.  Too bad, because hotel I’m in has “free” continental breakfast. This week I plan to put some non-governmental ideas out here, but this is what I found today.

2 thoughts on “Living off $4.90/day – Day 3: Meditations on Gum Chewing

  1. Thanks for another thoughtful update.

    Regarding your last question: my office pantry is stocked. I could easily subsist on the nutrition bars, nuts, granola bars, crackers, etc., and probably would “cheat” on the challenge in a pinch. I think part of the point is: no safety net, which is the reality for too many.

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