Registered dietician Roberto Lazzinnaro wanted to raise awareness about food insecurity and extreme poverty. His goal: live on a food budget of $1.75 a day for five days:
One of my primary curiosities in taking the challenge was to see if I could actually get in adequate nutrition on only a $1.75 a day. I specifically chose to track vitamins A and C, calcium and iron as these tend to be the most common micronutrient deficiencies in those who are extremely food insecure. I also kept a close eye on protein, as this tends to be the main overall macronutrient deficiency when food is scarce.
Despite his vast knowledge of nutrition and food preparation, his task wasn’t easy:
Nutrients aside, what surprised me the most over the five days was how much this challenge really impacted my well-being. I went in as a pompous dietitian thinking that I would make it through unscathed, but how wrong was I. My energy levels were low (I definitely didn’t follow my typical exercise regime), I struggled to mentally focus at work, my mood was at times depressive, I was constantly preoccupied with hunger, and it was only five bloody days! I have lived on a limited food budget before as a student (guessing ~$5 a day), but this challenge gave me a perspective I was not prepared for. When you are truly hungry your world changes, even if you manage to eat enough food volume wise, the nutrients and joy of eating are void. As a food fanatic, I can’t fathom many other scenarios more dire than not having enough quality food to eat. The thought of someone never being able to enjoy one of life’s simple daily pleasures overwhelms me with sadness.
Read how Lazzinnaro managed with his meager budget here.