Cornmeal. Wheatberries. Millet. Sound like bird food? Not to Rebecca Currie, 41, of Durham, N.C. Last November, after reading an article about an Encinitas, Calif., couple who tried to eat on a dollar a day—and found it impossible to do with fresh foods—Currie sought to prove them wrong. “I wanted to see,” she says, “what I could do with a dollar.”
To get started, the single Currie, a computer consultant, scoured five different stores for the lowest prices. She then planned two small meals each day: Breakfast was only half a cup of cornmeal mush, millet or steel-cut Irish oats, while dinners ranged from a cup and a half of chicken soup to a small bowl of curried eggs and rice. On her blog, lessisenough.wordpress.com, readers marveled at how rich the food looked. “I like how you make your meals appealing to the eyes,” one wrote, “as well as to the body’s nutritional needs.” Still, by Day 22, Currie had lost eight pounds, and experts say the diet could be harmful long-term. “She’s not eating enough,” registered dietitian Keri Gans says, “and not getting much calcium or vitamin D.”
Currie acknowledges the shortfalls of her diet—and stresses her point isn’t that people should eat on so little, but “about eating well for less.” So what’s the first thing she planned to splurge on once her dollar days ended March 11? “A nice ham and cheese omelette—with cheese grits!” she says.