It seems disingenuous, as a man eating three meals a day, to complain about hunger. But damn.
One of our strategies for stretching our meager $3.36 per person per day for the week — our so-called Food Stamp Diet — is reducing portions. And, as I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life, it’s honestly something I wanted to do anyway, outside of poverty experiments.
Jenn and I haven’t gone more than an hour after a meal without the hunger pangs kicking in. We tell ourselves it’s just conditioning, mind over matter, etc. But without chips or a cookie, or even a beer, to psyche out the gullet, it takes a lot of mind.
So one of the tougher decisions was not to buy anything to drink. I love water, so how bad would it be drinking nothing but water?
Turns out, pretty bad. Giving up the nightcap has been easy, but I’m attributing an intermittent headache to a lack of caffeine. I’m thinking Day 3 will be the breakthrough day, where psychological and physical expectations have been successfully whupped into submission.
Today’s menu, so far, is a lot like yesterday’s. Grits and an egg for breakfast. Leftover hoppin’ john for lunch. And we’re cooking up a mess of (frozen) turnips to go with fresh cornbread for dinner as we speak. Smells good, and we’re looking forward to that.
We’ve been thrilled with the interest and support on the Website and through The Facebook. I should clarify a few things that people have been asking, though:
- It’s true that we’re trying to live on what probably most people use as a supplement. At the same time, 85 percent of the people on this sort of government assistance have a household income south of $19,000. And I’d be incredibly surprised if their rent and utilities left them much room for extra food. So we’re almost certainly skewing the intent of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. But we’re also almost certainly representing the way the money is often used. You can find lots more demographics of people on SNAP from the Congressional Budget Office.
- Mostly we started assuming an empty pantry. And that’s probably not the case with many folks. We’ve taken liberties only with a few staples, like olive oil, salt, pepper and the hot pepper sauce we made from scratch.
- Finally, Jenn and I had an interesting argument in the Publix, as we were doing the shopping. She was pricing the black-eyed peas, and I argued that we get a better deal when why by them in bulk from Country Life, a local vegan restaurant and dry-goods seller. Her argument: That many folks won’t have access to such. My argument: They probably actually do, and, more pertinently, I didn’t think we were trying to live like paupers, so much as see how good we could live on so little money.
This may seem like a petty argument over what was probably a 50-cent difference. But, by god, when that 50 cents could go toward buying you some tea bags, you appreciate the price difference.
And I think that was probably one of the points of this whole thing.