Is Gum Food? Day 59: Eating Well On $1 A Day


I made a huge couponing mistake. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that the Kraft money making deal was ending, but I had thought it was on the 30th. I had about 10 coupons left that I was planning to use for myself to get some more free food and stock up on salad dressing. I was just about to head out the door, but something stopped me from going and look at the deal on the Internet again – and I saw that the Catalina ended over the weekend. While I am disappointed that I missed out on some free food for myself, I am far more disappointed that I failed to get the extra free bottles of salad dressing for the food banks. The coupons don't expire until August, so I have my fingers crossed that another deal comes about so I can redeem myself before they expire.

I was with a group of friends and someone asked me if I would like a piece of gum — and the ensuing debate was whether or not gum is food? While obviously it is not food in the traditional sense, the debate surrounded around if I happened to want some gum and bought it, would that have to count against my $1 a day. There was a pretty even split so I decide that it should go to a vote. Please feel free to comment and leave your opinion on this question:

Should gum be considered food for this challenge?

View Results

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Blueberry Drink Banana Smoothie

Since I didn't have time to explore and see if I could forage any fruit in the new area, I went with the blueberry drink banana smoothies again. While it is good, the real fruit smoothies are much better, so I'll be doing a little bit of wandering in the afternoon to see if I can find something new for tomorrow:

Blueberry smoothie

Hash Browns & Yogurt

I decided to try and fry up some hash browns, but it doesn't work nearly as well without oil. I did squeeze out all the water from them which helped a bit, but it would have been much better if I had oil. I paired them with a cup of yogurt with Kashi cereal mixed in:

hash browns and yogurt

Spinach, Mushroom & Tomato Omelette

It was another busy day so lunch was on the fly – it consisted of a peanut butter banana sandwich and a small salad (lettuce, spinach, tomato and onion) which I failed to take a photo of…

Later on I made a spinach, mushroom and tomato omelette. I used the oil from the salad dressing to cook up the mushrooms and spinach and then placed the tomatoes freshly on top. I also finished off the rest of the mashed potatoes I had:

spinach mushroom tomato omelette

omelette and mashed potatoes

There was also a lot of little snacking throughout the day. When I get back home, I will need to do a full inventory of what I have left and it will definitely be time to do another shopping run to stock up on basics.

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Money Spent $40.01
Money left to spend: $20.99 ($5.04 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $1171.64

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The Beginning ::: Day 60: Is It Acceptable To Bring Your Own Food To The Movie Theater?

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23 Responses to Is Gum Food? Day 59: Eating Well On $1 A Day

  1. Denise says:

    Gum is considered indigestible and therefore we do receive any nutrients form chewing gum. I say count it as you would a personal care product such as soap or shampoo,and use coupons when available. I use gum as a tool not to eat more when I am having a craving for sweets.So in the long run gum may help you preserve your food budget. Remember for the sake of your teeth stick to sugarless.

  2. Dana says:

    I say that gum is food because we put it in our mouths and our bodies absorb some of its ingredients. For example, my niece has PKU, so she has to avoid most sugarless gum because it would harm her body to absorb the artificial sweetener. Instead, she has to chew gum with sugar and while she does so, her body absorbs a few scant calories from the sugar in the gum.
    However, it looks like you might be able to get some free gum this week at Walgreens. The Dentyne or Dentyne Pure Gum costs 3/$1.98. Find a Walgreens July coupon book, it has a coupon for $.99 off. Use $1/1 from 6/13 SS, and you pay nothing out of pocket.

  3. Jessica says:

    If you can’t (or shouldn’t) swallow it, then it’s not a food. Would chewing tabacco (which you could make a very loose connection to chewing gum)be considered a food? Keep up the great work! I think people are learning a lot from you:)

  4. Adachi says:

    Very interesting read – fascinating! Gum is definitely not a food and great way to stave off cravings for snacks.

  5. Jaime says:

    I put yes but only because many kinds of gum do have a caloric content. Also, you’re doing so well and there are so many gum coupons out there right now that it won’t even make a dent in your budget. :)

  6. pepsibookcat says:

    I voted “NO” – gum is not a food for this challenge. I do, however, understand the opposite argument. There’s a little gray area here. But, I came down easily on the “no, it’s not a food side” after giving it a little bit of thought.

    However, you aren’t deriving sustenance, nutritive value, or “filling” value from it. It’s not really food. It’s more of a, ummmmm, mouth toy. A mint flavored toothpick wouldn’t be a food.

    BTW, when you go to the bank or through the bank drive through, see if you can get one of the suckers they give away free. My son gets one every time. And, since the bank ladies know me, they give ME one every time whether he’s with me or not. I believe a free lollipop would be fair in this challenge, and it’d give you a much needed pick me up on the sweet’s front. 😉

  7. Dana says:

    Fwiw, I was talking to a friend of mine about this question and she told me that gum can be purchased with food stamps and therefore is considered a food by parts of our government.

  8. Shae says:

    For god’s sake. Gum is not food outside of this challenge, so why would gum be food inside the challenge.

  9. hippiefemme says:

    Look at you! Today is the last day of the month, and you still have over $20. Granted, this could have changed by the time you post today’s entry, but it’s still amazing. I am so proud of what you’re doing to help the local food banks and the knowledge you’re giving your readers.

  10. TarWalker says:

    I do not think gum is food. To me, it’s more like chewing on a straw or fingernails when bored. Or using it to freshen your breath when you can’t brush your teeth.

    I’ve been wondering this for awhile, and perhaps I just missed you answering these questions, but as far as I can tell, you are doing $1/day and cooking for only yourself. What would you do if you had to feed someone else one night? Would you continue to make the meals like you are doing, but double it? What if someone wanted to try this challenge, but had to cook for two or more every day? Would you suggest keeping the $1/day or would you change it to $1/day/person?

  11. Chrys says:

    I’m amazed at the number of no’s. I guess I’m wondering what the definition of food is now, since I would think most things that we chew, would be considered a food. I swallow mine, s I definitely consider it a food…Dictionary says ‘any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.’ I imagine many prepackaged, convenience items filling the store don’t meet that definition though…I think you just like posting polls at this point though!!

  12. frosty840 says:

    Gum is only food if cigarettes are also food.

  13. Kelly says:

    Yes, gum IS food. It has calories and the sugar ingested makes your mind believe it is eating and your body reacts accordingly….just like it would to food you swallow, which is what you are doing. It’s just the sugar you are swallowing, not the package the sugar was in.

  14. jeffrey says:

    @TarWalker

    First and foremost, I would not suggest that anyone try for $1 a day. Just because it is possible to do, doesn’t mean that is what you should shoot for. What I hope that people do is look at the methods I use and incorporate them into buying the food that they enjoy eating and this should drastically reduce the amount they are spending. In addition, they will have food that they will not use and I hope that they will donate that to their local food banks making it a win-win for everyone involved.

  15. Wendy says:

    I don’t think gum is food, but it is something I would normally purchase using grocery budget money. I thought you could have it anyway though since it is the same situation as when the nice lady gave you oranges from her tree.

  16. Melanie says:

    Gum is not food. it is a synthetic rubber product with added flavorings and sugars or artificial sweeteners. Do we eat tires, erasers or rubber bands? No, so gum is definitely not food.

  17. Sarah says:

    I think if someone offers you a piece of gum, you don’t have to count the monetary value. However, if you go buy a pack you do.

    Gum is used by people to help hold off hunger. So, in the interest of the challenge, I think anything that affects your hunger level should come from the $1 a day.

    I don’t think it would really be an issue, though, as gum sales at drug stores are fairly common.

    I have a separate question: When you travel from store to store getting various deals, do you drive, walk or use public transportation? I was just thinking that this would be a great resource for those on a limited budget – but not having a car would make taking advantage of all these deals very time consuming. Having a car, it would use extra gas which would have to come out of the same tight budget being used for the food.

  18. Gail says:

    Gum is not food and whoever decided it could be purchased with foodstamps should be fired!

  19. Dawn says:

    I agree with Sarah (post #17) about gum. If someone offers you something like gum, it shouldn’t affect the challenge.

    As for food stamps being used to purchase gum, it depends in which state one lives as to whether it can be purchased using them. Same with candy bars, but those aren’t under scruitny.

  20. Jen says:

    I also agree with Sarah.

    As for my vote, I voted that gum does count as food. Most people don’t swallow it (I do depending on the circumstances), but chewing it gives your body calories. And people use it to stave off hunger.

  21. Renee says:

    Hey there, so I was thinking about all the different ways I’ve made eggs in the last month and realized that you probably haven’t even considered most of them.

    My favorite, and the easiest way, is a dead omelet which is where you whisk a few eggs for just a minute or two and then put that in a small pan (over medium heat), put any chopped omelet-y greatnesses on top, cover, and then take off when the top looks done.

    There’re also french omelets, which are similar to crepes. As well, there’re poached eggs, fried eggs, sunnyside up, baked (and baked in things like putting a piece of bread in a cupcake pan hole and cracking an egg in the well), soft boiled, hard boiled, and a trillion more. I recommend foodgawker.com if you even feel like browsing for ideas. Good Luck!

  22. Pingback: Eating Well On $1 A Day - Grocery Coupon Guide

  23. Just me says:

    Gum isn’t food, but chewing some can help suppress the appetite, so if you purchase some, I think it should probably count against the $1 a day, the same as any other snacking type item would.