Eating well on Poverty Budget Day One

Day One.

One of the biggest adjustments to this project, at least in the first week will be not drinking coffee. I would like to see if I can fit in some decent coffee but I know that will reduce my vegetable or protein options, so I don’t know if it will be worth the lack of food just to drink coffee.

I started the day with green tea, of which I added 2 bags to my 8 oz mug, thinking that more caffeine might help make the adjustment. It was okay, not really that flavorful and I actually felt a little stomach ache for a while but that had more to do with waking up feeling out of balance (drinking wine & erratic sleep the past few days), not from the green tea.

I had previously bought a box of 100 “organic” green tea bags at an Asian market in Seattle while visiting my sister for about $6. I say “organic” because they are also made in China and I don’t see any organic certification on the box.

2 green tea bags 12¢

Green tea is a powerful antioxidant that would beneficial to anyone–and certainly someone who is poor and possibly under stress and lacking in proper nutrition. EGCG-one of the main flavonoids in Green Tea has shown to have cancer fighting and anti-tumor chemicals. Green Tea has much less caffeine than coffee and can help with weight loss by helping to digest fat.

One study in Japan noted a  lower rate of death, especially from cardiovascular disease drinking over 3 cups a day from a study following over 40,000 people in Japan for 11 years. For more on the vast researched potential of green tea, go here. 

Oat/WW Flour Pancakes with a topping of banana, nutritional yeast and tahini

I want my pancakes to be more nutritious & more filling than just flour so I will use ground oats. I don’t like sweet in the morning and I am going to have a banana so there is no need for syrup. Tahini, made from sesame seeds will add some flavor, calcium and it’s easier to digest then other nut butters in my experience.

Nutritional Yeast is a deactivated yeast grown on beets and sugar molasses and fortified with isolated vitamins like B-1, B-2, B-12. It is also 52% protein and has a nutty, salty flavor. I eat it on toast regularly and I will use it often during this period for the vitamins and as a seasoning.

 I could not bear the thought of having to purchase non-free range eggs, although I’ll probably have to buy commercial chicken. While supposedly they are not allowed to use hormones or antibiotics in chicken, I don’t know what conditions those big bird farms are in.

1/2 cup organic rolled oats .11¢

1/2 cup ww pastry flour .10¢

1 free range egg .23¢

1 tab tahini .16¢

banana fair trade organic .43¢

1 tab nutritional yeast  .07¢



oil for the pan

You want your oats to be ground so o they cook fast on the grill. I put the egg, flour and oats in a bowl and used a hand blender but you could use a regular one. Or soak your oats in water the night before.

The Weston A Price foundation advocates soaking grains before cooking to make nutrients more digestible and  to neutralize the phytic acid content–an acid present in whole grains that can bind with other minerals in the intestine and block absorption of essential minerals. I don’t do this often but if you are concerned about getting enough minerals and you are eating a lot whole grains it’s worth considering.

Total Cost: $1.21


I did some volunteer work in the afternoon and they bought us pizza! 2.5 slices including one with chicken was a satisfying way to start my day in food poverty.


Leftover mini Trader Joe’s carrots leftover before I started and 1 piece of whole wheat bread from TJ’s  .62¢

I looked for the cheapest whole wheat bread I could find that did not have sugar or high fructose corn syrup and so Trader’s it is. I don’t want sugar in my daily meals.


Yellow Split Pea Soup w/ 2 slices of WW Toast w/ butter 

1# organic yellow split peas $1.24

1/2 onion .10¢

russet potato .33¢

organic tomatoes (free from a fellow dancers garden)

cumin powder

curry powder



This yielded me a substantial amount of soup-I am going te leftovers for a few days. Maybe 5 servings so 1.67 ÷5= .33 per serving.

Tonight’s dinner (guessing on butter b/c hadn’t priced yet): .67¢

I am going to budget about .25¢ per day for oil and seasonings, also like Chef Wilder. It will be mostly for oil, as I don’t use much spices and my house has a communal spice shelf so it’s currently a low financial impact. I won’t include the seasonings in the daily meal budget, leaving me with $3.75 per day.

Total on meals today: $2.50 leaves with a plus $1.25 for tomorrow.

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