About the $3 Diet Project

Eat on $3/day for 30 days. That's the essence of the project.

We're each doing this project for different reasons.


I've read about people who have tried this experiment for various reasons. My background is as an economist. I teach economics and finance for three graduate programs in health care and business management. I have an interest in health, poverty, and economic development. I'm also a libertarian, so I often stress the need for people to take responsibility for their lives, and live within their means.  I recognize it is easy for me to comment dispassionately from my warm, comfortable office with my mini-fridge full of goodies tucked under my desk, so I plan to undertake this experiment in part because I want to have the subjective experience of trying to deal with a poverty diet. Maybe it will change my perspective on redistributive politics.

I am really excited that Kerryn and Matt are going to go along with me on this journey! I think their respective specialties will bring additional perspective to the project.

I will be blogging about what it's like to try to live on a $3 diet. As I started planning this project, one of my colleagues noted that we (meaning he and I, and our other colleagues) don't even think about food costs. We go to the grocery store and buy whatever we want. We frequently eat out. We don't worry about the cost. We do worry about our waistlines, which is clearly a "first world problem". In fact, weight management has become something of an issue for me as I press on into my 40's. I'll talk about that on the blog. In one sense, I'm hoping this project will help me reduce some of my bad habits - having the scrutiny of a dietitian for a month should help raise my own awareness of what I'm doing on a daily basis to my body. So the question is, can I have a healthy diet on $3 a day?

So, I will talk about the details, like what I bought, how much each serving cost, how I am preparing it, and share some pictures and recipes as I go along. And I will be commenting subjectively about what that is like.

Kerryn will be providing me advice and criticism as we go along. Matt has agreed to review my baseline and post-experiment health to see if living on $3 a day for 30 days has any observable impact.

Hopefully we'll all learn something and have fun doing it!


A chance encounter at Starbucks earlier this week led to interesting conversation and my involvement in Mark's current challenge: to eat on $3 a day. We have a common interest in poverty in general, and I am particularly interested in its effects on the nutrition status of populations lacking food security. I have to admit that when Mark mentioned his idea, at first I doubted there was any way he could accomplish this without compromising his nutrition status. He stimulated my interest enough that I actually went home and checked my latest grocery receipt just to see how many of the healthy, nutritious foods I love so much that I would have to give up if I did the same. Much to my surprise, I think with a little creativity, patience, and drive to meet this challenge, I think it may be possible! But, Mark may have to give up eating out and some of the "goodies" he enjoys! My goal is to help Mark meet his challenge and hopefully throw in some healthy foods along the way as he plans his $3 a day meals!

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1 comment:

  1. I'd recommend reading Pritikin, McDougall, and Ornish, who show tremendous improvement in the health of their patients from eating a diet of rice, corn, beans, potatoes, squash, Yams, and veggies/fruits. I gained lots of weight after being hit by a drunk driver, and have lost 60 lbs. since July by eating this way. Saved some $ too. There are benefits to the environment as well, since eating grain is more efficient than eating an animal that ate ten-twenty times as much grain to provide the same calories. I'd love to hear what you come up with, and read about your recipes and experiences; I think it's a great idea.