Saturday, May 26, 2007

Try The $21 Low-Carb Diet Experiment

Low-carb is just too expensive for me. Eating this way is not reasonable for the average person on a budget, so I don't think it's a very feasible solution to my weight problem. Eating healthy will hit you in your wallet!

Have you ever felt this way? I know a few of you have because I've read your e-mails and comments at my blog about it. It's quite logical to believe that being poor can promote pudginess since most of the cheapest foods available in supermarkets today are high-carb, process junk products that don't belong in anyone's mouth. And yet they do.

Somebody recently told me that they have learned how to keep their weight and health under control by doing one thing: when they grocery shop, DON'T BUY WHAT FAT PEOPLE PUT IN THEIR CART! While that's funny, it's also a fact.

But obesity is not necessarily something that just impacts poor people--there are plenty of overweight rich people as well. In fact, the sign of a successful businessman in the past was a big belly.

The connection between weight and wealth is something that continues to interest the media as my fellow low-carb blogger Regina Wilshire points out in her latest post at her "Weight Of The Evidence" blog.

In the column she cited from the Los Angeles Times, the reporter cites a statistic where one million Americans have at their disposal a mere $21 per person for an entire week's worth of groceries. TWENTY-ONE BUCKS! That's it!

Of course, the journalist whined about how impossible it was for her to eat her vegetarian diet on just three dollars a day--the pro-rated daily percentage of the $155/month food stamps per person for somebody on welfare--unless she compromised and ate something she really shouldn't.

A few member of Congress joined in this effort, but Regina wanted to invite people who are livin' la vida low-carb to give it a try, too. Are you willing to try the $21 low-carb diet experiment with you and your family?

"What would be more important - satiety or nutrient-density; could I manage both?" Regina asked on her blog.

Making herself and her family a self-appointed guinea pig with this, Regina has decided to undertake this task of eating on just $3 a day for the next week to see how well she can feed herself, her husband, and that adorable little boy of hers.

"What compromises would I make in my diet to assure his diet was healthy?" she inquired.

Excited about the challenge, Regina has already bought her $63 worth of groceries--that's $21 per person in her family--and is rationing it all out this week to see if she can maintain her low-carb lifestyle on this super-skimpy budget. Remember, this is EXACTLY the amount of money one million Americans have at their disposal for food day in and day out.

Committing to do this for one week, Regina said she is going through this experience "to learn even more about nutrition and provide my readers with insights about how possible it is to maintain a controlled-carb diet while on a tight budget."

Do you think YOU are up to the challenge? If so, then Regina wants to hear from you. E-mail her with any photos or descriptions of how you plan to do this $21 low-carb diet experiment and she will include your struggles and victories in her blog post next week. You can also leave your comments in the post about this challenge throughout the week.

Unfortunately, my wife Christine (who recently started livin' la vida low-carb and is doing FANTASTIC!) and I will not be able to participate in this unique opportunity this week because we are going on vacation in the Smoky Mountains beginning on Tuesday through Saturday with prior plans for meals. However, we have both committed to eating on $42 worth of groceries for the week we get back...hoo boy, we can't wait! :D

If you dare try this, here are Regina's 7 simple rules:

1. The budget for food, all food, is limited to just $3.00 per person in our households each day ($21 per week, per person), so if you're single, you have $21....a couple has $42....each child adds $21. One major caveat - we cannot use anything during the week we already have in the house unless we deduct the cost of it from our budget - so if you're using chopped garlic in a jar already in your refrigerator, deduct the price from your budget for the week! Same goes for spices, cooking oils, and such since it's unlikely we'd have a stocked pantry if we were living life routinely on $21 a week per person!

2. We can shop for, prepare and cook whatever we want to eat, but cannot eat free food at business functions, meetings, work, or other places; but we can sample from tasting stations in grocery stores, and eat at parties we attend, hosted by friends or family (but not business functions!)

3. If you have a child in school, buying school lunch, the cost of the lunch is part of your budget....or you can pack their lunch for the week to buy more groceries. Or you can opt not to include your child in the budget and only do this yourself (and/or with your spouse).

4. We can eat out, but any cost to eat out must come from our $21 a week per person, so if we plan to eat out, we need to plan the cost and keep it within that amount when we do eat out. Friends and family cannot pay for us to eat out during the week, nor can the business expense account pick up the meal.

5. The budget does not include paper products, cleaning products, or non-food items available at grocery stores (lightbulbs, batteries, etc.); the budget does include alcohol, so shop wisely if you want a drink with dinner or use wine in cooking!

6. The budget does include condiments, spices, supplements, and anything you'd consume as part of your "diet," but does not include over-the-counter medications or prescription medications.

7. The challenge includes preparing and eating what you are able to purchase throughout the coming week, and any meals eaten out, since it's one thing to have to shop with a limited budget and another to live with it for a week.

So how about it? Anyone gonna do this? I'm anxious to see how it works for Regina and others who are brave enough to hop on the bandwagon and give it a go. When I return, you can bet I'll post the food I bought for $42 betwen the two of us along with meticulous details of how it went. Can it be done? A $21 low-carb diet?

We shall see, won't we?

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Blogger Viking Dan said...

Its possible, but not pleasant.

I'd probably go with bulk packs of eggs, humongous bags of spinach or kale and some kind of multi vitamin...oh...and MAYO! Yum!

5/27/2007 9:57 AM  
Blogger Lisa E said...

With the price of all foods rising due to increased production and transpotation costs I don't see this as very feasible. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it would be very challenging. My husband and I spend between 45 and 75 dollars per week on groceries not counting runs back to the store to get things we forgot and the meals out. We are already very careful about what we spend, tryng to stay at or under budget, but it is frustrating to find prices went up again when you go to the store. I have found the largest increases to be in cheeses, meats, and produce, all staples of a healthy low-carb diet.

5/27/2007 2:58 PM  
Blogger thudlike said...

I've been doing this for a long time,not as a bourgeois "challenge" but due to lack of money.
I buy eggs in bulk, buy whatever meat is on sale,freeze whatever veggies I can find on sale, and dumpster dive for veggies behind supermarkets.
Poverty ain't pretty.

5/27/2007 6:08 PM  

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