Sieun Lee, Day 3

Saturday, October 18, 2014

For breakfast, I had a cup of soy milk with 20 Shreddies and 20 roasted black beans, and felt pretty full. I think my stomach is shrinking.

For the mid-morning snack, I ate the last quarter of the Fuji apple from yesterday.

Lunch at noon: a cup of steamed rice, and 1/5 of sweet and spicy tofu.

During the early afternoon, a labmate offered me an After Eight. Together we calculated one After Eight mint chocolate thin cost approximately 7 cents. This was not too bad. I took the chocolate.

I was hungry around 3PM, and decided to eat my Korean grapes. I had bought them on sale at H-Mart last Sunday. They were of a kind that could not be frozen, and they were going to spoil soon. I did the cost calculation, and ate 15 grapes at 38 cents.

The grapes were delicious but were not very filling. At 4PM, I ate the leftover from the lunch: 1/2 cup of steamed rice, and 1/5 of sweet and spicy tofu.

At 4:30PM, I left the lab to go to GardenWorks and then Saturday evening service. I took an emergency protein bar, but forgot to bring water. Walking to and from GardenWorks from the Holdom station made me pretty thirsty. There was a Starbucks and a convenience store by the station, but, of course, how could I spend, for a bottle of water, more than half of the day’s food budget? I waited till I got to the church to drink from the water fountain.

I ate a third of the protein bar around 6PM, then the rest around 8PM on the way home.

When I got home at 8:30PM, I was at again in the hungry + angry stage. I violently opened my rice cooker, took a cup of steamed rice, put a dash of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and another teaspoon of my roommmate’s special Chinese spicy sauce, and mixed with impatience. The rice was the most delicious thing I had eaten for a long while. Thank goodness for rice – I could not have survived without it.

The rice was very filling and I did not feel hungry until I went to bed nearly midnight. Before then I made a pot full of broccoli soup with 4 cups of frozen broccoli florets, 100 grams of rice, and 2 cubes of chicken bouillon. I also baked a sweet potato in the toaster oven.

Food count
1 cup soy milk: $0.53
20 Shreddies: $0.10
20 roasted black beans

1/4 Fuji apple

1.5 cup steamed rice: $0.10
2/5 sweet and spicy tofu: $0.80

1 After Eight: $11 * 1/150 = $0.07
15 Korean grapes: $10 * 1.3/12 * 15/43 = $0.38

1 protein bar = $11 * 1/14 = $0.79

1 cup steamed rice: $0.07
A dash of soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp Chinese spicy sauce


Not counted: 20 roasted black beans, 1/4 Fuji apple, soy sauce, sesame oil, spicy sauce

* I am spending a lot of time writing and updating these logs.

* I am also spending a lot of time just thinking about food and its cost. I think about how much I have eaten, how much I have left, how much I am eating right now, and what I should eat tomorrow and stay in the budget. This is one of the impressions I had from the last year’s Challenge also. Being on welfare must be that food is not simply taking up a majority of the financial budget; it is also taking much of the person’s time and mental effort. Simply, by restricting the food budget, I lost the freedom and choice to fully concentrate on other things in life. Keeping the body not hungry and moderately healthy becomes a constant burden and concern.

* The Cost of Eating report does not even include luxuries like take-out or prepared food. For these, you are paying not just for the food but for the convenience. During the challenge, I am spending more time thinking about making my food portable, and when I fail to make sufficient preparation ahead of time, I am forced to stay hungry or thirsty.

* I am not sure how much we can expect that a person finds time and mental effort to always have well-planned food plan, cook everything from scratch at home, and pack meals and snacks every single day, while having a full work and social life. Of course, the health aspect should come first when we talk about eating, but there are things like convenience and social connection that we don’t discuss often and that will be sorely missed by those who take them for granted in daily life – like sleeping in and then picking up a coffee and muffin at a coffee shop without worrying that just cost the lunch and dinner for the day.

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