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HunGRy - Day Five

September 26th, 2011

DAY FIVE - Sunday, September 18

Have you ever stopped to think how much of our lives revolve around eating in this society? It is definitely more than satisfying hunger. This experiment in eating as well as possible on $4.37 a day has made me so aware of my profligate eating habits. Though I am recognizing more and more that I eat all the time without thinking of cost or calories generally, my real torture has come from the sense of missing out on something others are enjoying. It is the social eating opportunities that most affect me emotionally.

[Today is the fifth day of my participation in the HunGRy? Week challenge to limit myself to the foods I could purchase with SNAP funds. The average is $30.59 per person per week, that’s $4.37 a day. For this challenge, I cannot receive free food. Everything, including the cost of eating out, has to be included in this incredibly small amount of money. I wanted this experience to help me to empathize with people for whom this is the extent of their food budget. To read the previous day's blog, click here.]

My partner is just about done with my experiment. Though I had not expected it to affect him much, it has. He is avoiding eating out because I can’t join in the experience. Maybe this is a little shadow of the effect a chronically limited food budget has on others. It is not just the person who can’t afford to eat out that is affected, but those who are close to us who are disappointed when we have to decline a social invitation with some excuse because we just can’t afford to pay our way.

Today, I attended the 175th Anniversary dinner for Park Church, and what an affair it was. I gaged my food cost on the cost of the ingredients as though I were preparing this at home. I ate well, if moderately, and spent most of my food allowance for the day anyway. Three fresh green beans wonderfully flavored, a 1-oz serving of dark turkey over dressing, a small portion of mashed potatoes, a fresh dinner salad (luscious) and water. Estimated cost: $3.00. Dinner was vegetarian, a cheaper way to go, and I love vegetables. I had 1/8 of a baked acorn squash, a small baked potato (I splurged for a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese), a ½ cup of cottage cheese and a ½ cup of fresh chunky apple sauce. $1.25 was my total cost. Barely under the wire, there would be no snack. Water has become my beverage of choice because it doesn’t count against my food allowance.

I go to bed thinking about food.

This limited a budget for food is no fun.

Read the Day Four Blog.

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