I really wasn't expecting this. I felt despite my cooking disasters and random wildlife encounters, that I was slowly but surely doing better day by day. I had a few days at the beginning of this challenge where I ended up having a breakdown here and a tough day there, but that was mainly due to having limited food. That is no longer the case so when the cooking rebellion happened, I couldn't understand where it was coming from.

I'm still not exactly sure what caused it (lack of sleep or working too many hours being the most likely culprits), but I had a terrible food day. I've been struggling to figure out a way to write about it so that it doesn't sound as bad as it was, but no matter how many times i have tried, there is no real way around the truth. It was the type of day that I think my sister assumed I would be having on a daily basis when this entire challenge began — it certainly would not qualify as eating well.

I ended up getting up late (about 10:00 AM as opposed to my usual 6:30 to 7:00) and the cooking rebellion was already in full force before I was even fully awake. No matter how much I tried to convince myself I needed to make myself something that I could take a photo of for this challenge, my mind just completely rebelled. I had absolutely no desire to make anything. I just plain, flat-out could not motivate myself to even turn on the blender to make a smoothie.

I figured that it was just because I still felt tired and hadn't fully woken up, so I thought that if I gave myself a little time and I woke up a bit more, I would be fine. I decided not to fight it and simply poured myself a bowl of the Apple Cinnamon Cheerios I had just purchased.

While I had sugar withdrawals when this challenge first started, I now find that I have to water my juice drinks down because they are too sweet. I took a bite and it definitely was sweeter than I would have liked it to be, it didn't keep me from finishing the bowl (I like apple and cinnamon, but I think I would like it a lot more if I had a 3/4 regular Cheerios, 1/4 Apple Cinnamon Cheerios) although I couldn't finish the milk in the bowl because it was just too sweet.

Now, one would assume that having that experience to start the day would have woken me up to the fact that I needed to make myself something more substantial and not quite so sugary, but no such luck. It was all down hill from there. I swear, every time I thought I should make myself something, I would get up, go into the kitchen and end up grabbing a snack instead. This was the damage:

snack food eaten

3 bowls of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (one box is 3/4 gone)
2 Nature Valley Granola Bars
1 full bag of Nature Valley Nut Clusters
3 bags of Ritz Bitz cheese

The worst part was that I didn't even want to eat the stuff — I just didn't want to cook more so it was easier to eat it. I really should have stepped back and told myself how ridiculous the whole thing was, but instead I just kept grabbing and eating snacks.

While there isn't a whole lot of good to be taken out of the day, one small positive was that the rebellion wasn't against the food I had been buying or eating. Never was there a craving to go out to the store and buy a whole bunch of food I haven't had — it was caused by wanting to avoid cooking. Of course, knowing that isn't enough. This cooking rebellion will cause a lot of problems if I can't figure out a way to quickly rectify the issue. I guess I will just chalk it up to one of those days and hope that I can do a little bit better tomorrow…

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

Goal: 100 days eating on $1 a day
Current Money Spent: $49.15
Money Left to Spend: $50.85 ($5.83 must be spent at CVS, $1.50 must be spent at Safeway)
Retail Value of Everything Purchased: $1370.97


The Beginning ::: Day 77: Recovering From Cooking Rebellion


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  1. Don’t feel too bad about it – everyone has a day like that occasionally – and they aren’t even doing a challenge! 🙂 You’ve been doing this for months now, sometimes a little break is required.

  2. Don’t despair – this happens to all of us, whether we’re trying to do a $1-a-day challenge or not! You can get back on the wagon tomorrow…sometimes everyone’s brain needs a day off from whatever it’s doing. 🙂

  3. I bet you really felt sick after eating all that junk. Don’t get me wrong, a little junk in moderation is perfectly fine. When you eat sugar, your body will tend to crave more of it. You would have been better off eating the cereal dry and drinking a glass of milk. The protein in the milk would have helped cut the sugar effect and kept you full longer.

    I know that you really don’t enjoy cooking. If I were you, I would cook 2 to 3 times as much as you need. This will save you a lot of time in the kitchen. Leftovers are good for several days, you don’t need to eat them the very next day. Cook dinner two days in a row, then take two days off. If you cooked 3 times as much then freeze those leftovers for the next week, pasta dinners tend to freeze well(not the pasta salad).

    Everyone needs a day off, don’t feel bad just pick up were you left off.

  4. This is why some women do once a month cooking and put it all in the freezer. This doesn’t fit well with your itinerant lifestyle, but something like Tammy is talking about would help.

    I hope you got more rest last night.

  5. I agree with Tammy: cook more than you need when you DO feel like cooking, and then you only have to microwave the leftovers to have a good meal. Heck, if you can (and you’re not moving around too much), you can cook a casserole on the weekend, freeze the leftovers, and then just defrost/microwave during the week when you’re busy. I’m not the greatest cook myself, so I can’t help you with recipes, but I’m sure someone here could give you a simple casserole recipe to make with the stuff you have on-hand.

    Incidentally, you say you didn’t want to turn on the blender. Did you consider just having the fruit raw?

  6. I wonder if the Panda Express had anything to do with it? I always seen to fall into the same lazy “don’t wanna” mentality after I eat out (after a good run of home cooked meals). It’s as if the food itself encourages you to go and eat more crappy easy to grab junk food. If I splurge and get a burger on Friday night, I’m much more likely to want a biscuit sandwich Saturday morning, a toasted sandwich at lunch, and order a pizza for the next dinner. Before I know it I could easily fall into a dining out pit of misery – full and lacking any energy whatsoever. Give yourself a fresh food ‘flush’ and see if you don’t feel better about things the next day.

  7. We all have rebellion type days. You realize that, and you move on. Hang in there…you are still doing great!

  8. I agree: don’t beat yourself up over a one day slump. It happens, you’re human.

    The idea of cooking ahead is great of course. It actually adds only seconds here and there to make twice as much of a dish. For some things it takes ZERO extra time. Like, always boil twice as much of things like rice/beans/pasta/potatoes as you plan for your immediate menu. There are a million ways to reuse them, and having them already cooked cuts way down on the cooking end.

    Another thing you might want to do is come up with a list of stuff (relatively healthy) that you can eat without cooking or at least minimal prep.

    Your peanut butter/whatever sandwiches are a perfect example. Hey, delicious protein/carbs/fat and all you have to do is spread it on the bread!

    You have carrots and celery right now, right? And various salad dressings? Maybe you can find the energy to cut the veggies into pieces and pour some dressing into a little bowl — ta da!

    If you have a microwave available, baking a potato take four minutes. Split it open and eat it plain. Or with butter. Or a sprinkling of cheese. Or (my favorite) with a splash of salsa on top. Potatoes are filling, and for all they fall into some people’s odium of ‘white’ foodstuff, they do have some minerals, quite a bit of vitamin C, and roughage.

    Soups can be a wonderful ’emergency’ food. Don’t you ever get coupons/sales on soup? Even ‘boring old’ cheap tomato soup can be great. And a splendid way to use up leftovers: chop up anything to spoonsized bits and mix in. If you have some of the precooked pasta/beans/rice, toss them in. Add some spices, pretty much anything you have. Add some salsa. Add in a leftover baked potato, chopped up. Of course, don’t do ALL of these additions at once.

    Or do. You’ll have a huge pot of wonderful soup that’ll feed you for many days. 🙂

    Another not-horrible thing to have on had are pretzels. Way less grease than chips, but filling and instantly edible. Here you can horrify your sister some more: dip your pretzels into some peanut butter! Adds yumminess and protein. Who says pretzels and peanut butter can’t be a meal?

  9. Your still doing great! It could have been alot worse… you have extra food on hand so snacking is ok!

    Keep up the good work!

  10. And you thought you wouldn’t eat the ritz. Seems like something deep down new you would be needing them.

  11. In my newspaper today, in Parade magazine, McDonald’s has a coupon for a free 12 oz smoothie or frappe.

  12. Oh, sweetie, everyone has a day like that every now and then. If it’s not a cooking rebellion, it’s another kind of rebellion. Be gentle with yourself about this. And, remember that once you get started on the right track again, you’ll build that positive momentum quickly and feel all clean, spritely, and new soon.

  13. I’ve read quite a bit of this blog. Maybe I missed it but, I haven’t come across anything about farmer’s markets. If you have any in your area, they can be quite a frugal way (though there wouldn’t be any coupons) to add fresh produce to your diet for not very much money. Often, if you time it right(towards the end of the day when they are getting ready to pack up and go home), you can get bags of fruit and vegetables for $1 each and the freshness and quality is typically quite good.

  14. I’m not much of a cook either. Many suitable meals I cook extra and eat leftovers the next day or day after, that lightens the load. You can also freeze soups and such for hard days like this. I suppose that’s a bit harder to do when housesitting, but cooking for 2 days is easy and doesn’t require much more work!

  15. Every so often everything I cook seems to be just – not that great. I then go back to a few fave recipes and follow recipes properly, it usually fixes the problem – until the next time.

    I’ve been cooking for more years than I care to remember! I don’t like the idea of junk food and when raising my family it wasn’t about here in the UK. However, after having to put three meals on the table, day after day, week after week, year after year – the novelty wears off and I can understand mums resorting to a fast food meal once in a while.

    I think your experiment is very good. I imagine it is teaching you a lot in all sorts of areas you didn’t expect. There is a book in the UK about someone who did something similar – How to live on a pound a day. The writer said many of her values changed over the year of her experiment.

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