Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Dollar A Day Challenge Ebook

Want to read my blog easily from start to finish?  I edited it and published it as an ebook on Amazon here: 

It's 178 pages with lots of photos and only $1.99 or free for Amazon Prime members.
Thank you and enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1 - Challenge Recap

I made it! 

So here's a few stats from my challenge:

Weight lost in June:  7 pounds
Inches lost:
Bust - 2 inches
Waist -2 inches
Hips - 1 1/2 inches
Thighs - 1 1/2 inches

Total spent on food consumed:  $26.48 averaging 88 cents a day.
Total calories: 35,212 averaging 1174 calories a day.

Leftover food:  8 corn tortillas, 2 T Peanut Butter, 1 serving chicken soup, 3 oz of chicken breast, 1 serving red beans, 4 servings pinto beans, half a canister of oatmeal, and 12 oz soy milk.

I'm not sure why I have so much food left over.  I think it's because I couldn't eat the full serving sizes and also I had a lot more fruit available than expected.  I still have avocados, oranges and a few apples and loads of fresh vegetables.


What did I eat TODAY?
(I was working a craft show today and I didn't pack any food to go.)

Dessert:  Chocolate Cake, Coconut Creme Pie and a Chocolate Caramel Apple

McDonald's large decaf coffee
McDonald's Egg McMuffin with strawberry jam

McDonald's large decaf coffee
McDonald's Apple Pie

Lunch:  (from my brother-in-law, THANKS!)
1/2 hamburger
1/2 order french fries
1/2 order onion rings

Chocolate frozen soft serve ice cream

Dinner: (husband took me out to dinner)
Grilled Mahi Mahi and Kalua Pork
White rice
Macaroni Salad

1/2 Chocolate cake
1/2 Coconut cream pie
1/2 Chocolate caramel apple
Pot of decaf coffee

Okay, so my body might go into shock tonight.  But I will say this.  I feel stuffed.  Uncomfortably stuffed.  Things tasted good, but not as good as I thought they would.  When I think about how much these prepared items cost compared to my homemade items, I am appalled!  I prefer to have my homemade meals that cost pennies.  The slice of chocolate cake was $3.75, and my Orangesicle costs 5 cents.  I want my Orangesicle!

I told my husband that restaurant food costs too much and I am going back to my budget menus again TOMORROW.  And I am really happy about that.  Oh, and I will be cooking for both of us from now on.  He will eat what I eat.

So you see, I really did learn a good lesson.  More expensive food does not equate to better food.

I ate for a month on a dollar a day, and in the end,
I was a healthier person. 

Today, I came over the fence and tasted the conveinience of prepared foods, and tomorrow I choose to go back.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 30 - The Last Day

Chips and Salsa

I have a smile on my face as I go through the day, knowing that tomorrow, I can choose to eat whatever I fancy.  Yet, as I was shopping today in World Market, which stocks all sorts of international food goodies, including chocolates, gourmet dry goods and snacks, I did not feel compelled to buy any of it.

Today they were having a Hawaiian event and customers were invited to come and sample the new products.   I sampled some coffee and some tidbits of snacks, but it was dissappointing.  I had visions of feasting on a free Hawaiian appetizer tray to celebrate the last day of my challenge, but it was not to be.

So instead, I came home and fixed myself a plate of chips and salsa.  I simply toasted 2 corn tortillas in the toaster oven and tore them into chips.  I served them with homemade pico de gallo and some avocado slices.  This appetizer plate costs 9 cents.

Tomorrow morning is my last weigh in and I will retake my measurements and expect good news. 

Day 30

Oatmeal with soy milk and mulberries

Egg Salad Tacos

Tidbits of snacks at World Market
Tortilla chips and salsa

Chicken Soup

Calories: 1350
Cost: $1.05

Weight:  XXX - 7 pounds

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 29 - Super SPLURGE!

I was looking forward to attending the grand opening of Crafted in San Pedro this morning because I knew they were serving coffee, but I didn't know they would also be serving these freakin' crazy, decadent, gourmet donuts!  Wholly Cow. 

I'm sorry, I just couldn't hold back, and I admit, I greedily ate two.  One had a peanut butter cup on top and the other one had blackberry jam.  So let me give these nice people at "Donut Snob" a plug for their generousity.

Lisa and I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and had a blast visiting the new venue called CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles.  It is in San Pedro near the Los Angeles waterfront and is inside of a refurbished old warehouse. 

Being crafters ourselves, this is really exciting.  We hope this site will be a success although in this economy it can be a tough ride.  I'll admit, I was drooling at the idea of having a booth here, but realistically speaking, it is a big committment of time and money.

Since I splurged on the two donuts, I ate a light lunch and dinner.  Was it worth the splurge?  Those donuts are worth it anytime!

DAY 29

Apple with peanut butter

2 gourmet donuts

Pinto beans with pico de gallo

Egg fried rice with green beans

Calories: 1328
Cost: 56 cents

Weight:  XXX - 6.5 pounds

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 28 - Lessons Learned

Egg Salad Tacos with Avocado,
red currant tomatoes and cucumber salad

I've been asked what I've learned from this experience and what I will continue and discontinue as I go forward.

On eating on a dollar a day:

It's doable if you have access to a lot of home grown food, you shop wisely and you are willing to cook.  The food you purchase must be the healthiest you can find for your money.  You may have to give up some of your comfort foods, but you can come up with a lot of new, great tasting favorites.

I've become a better cook through this experience.  I've had to think creatively and discover combinations of flavors which were new to me.  It's been a rewarding experience to know what I can do with limited ingredients.  These were my favorite discoveries:

  • Lemon Dressing - fresh lemon juice with a touch of olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Egg Avocado Sandwich - Mash egg with avocado instead of mayonaise. 
  • Crispy Roasted Green Bean Snack - Roast green beans with a touch of olive oil and garlic salt until crispy.
  • Orangesicles - Freeze blended oranges with vanilla soy milk and sugar.
  • Teppanyaki Dipping Sauce - Fresh lemon juice (usually I use rice vinegar) and soy sauce
  • Cold tofu and takuan - The combination of sweet and salty I didn't get tired of.

What I'll discontinue:
Oatmeal.  It's strange, but eating oatmeal makes my blood sugar drop and I get hungry.  Maybe it's the sugar in the vanilla soy milk.  Or maybe I need to eat more protein with it. 

What I'll add on to my list of unlimited foods:
Greek Yogurt
Sparkling Water

What I'll add on in limited quantities:
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Decaf Coffee
Dark Chocolate

On losing weight:

  • I can eat all I want of healthy food choices and I will lose weight.
  • Meals should be simple and quick to prepare.
  • When you feel like a pick me up snack, take a nap instead if you can.
  • Don't eat too late at night.
  • Housework counts as exercise.

Day 28

Oatmeal with soy milk, 1/4 banana and mulberries

Egg avocado tacos
Cucumber salad

Small apple
Orange juice

Chicken stir fry with spaghetti noodles

Calories: 1135
Cost:  $1.01

Weight:  XXX - 6.5 pounds

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 27 - Easy Teppanyaki

Here's a meal I can eat everyday.  It can be made with whatever vegetables and meat or fish you like.  It's simple, tasty and economical, and it's very healthy.

Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cooking.  Maybe you've had it before if you've been to Benihana.  The meat and vegetables are cooked on a grill and served with rice and dipping sauces.  But you can make it at home very inexpensively. 

I haven't made this in awhile because I've forgotten about it, but I had a nice portion of chicken breast to cook up and some patty pan squash I harvested today.  I was going to stir fry them together and at the last second, I remembered teppanyaki.

All you have to do is grill the vegetables and meat in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  The green beans were boiled.  The dipping sauce is simply lemon juice and soy sauce.  It is unbelievably tasty and you can vary the combination to your liking.  This meal tonight cost 41 cents.  It includes the cost of the chicken, onion, brown rice, olive oil, and seasonings.  The patty pan squash and green beans are free from my garden.  The lemon came from a friend's tree.

A meal like this keeps me motivated to eat healthy, everyday, for a long time.

Day 27

Small apple with peanut butter

Orange juice

Bean tacos with avocado and pico de gallo

Chocolate Peanut Bars

Chicken and vegetable teppanyaki

Calories: 1360 
Cost: 89 cents

Weight:  XXX - 7 pounds 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 26 - Fear of the Unknown

I'm winding down to the end of the challenge, and people are starting to encourage me to continue into next month.


It's not that I'm suffering or anything.  It's just that I'm looking forward to celebrating at the end.  You know, with a strawberry pie or something like that.

The thing that scares me is that on July 1, I'll revert back to my old self and gain all the weight back and probably more.  So people, if you are reading this, please don't all bring me a strawberry pie.

So what should I do?  Someone suggested I need a new challenge in July.  Like maybe a 75 cents a day challenge?  Of course, I can do it, but I need to get on with my life.  The thrill of the challenge is gone.

Over the next few days, I need to think about how to manage this in the future.  I am counting the days to the end now.  Time is slowing down.  I'm starting to think about the things I'll be able to eat.  And now, I'm pretty sure I won't be able to continue status quo into next month.

This is scary.  The floodgates will fall on July 1 and bad things can happen...

Day 26

Egg Overeasy
2 corn tortillas
Peach (from friend's tree)


Oatmeal with soy milk and mulberries

2 chocolate peanut bars
Roasted green beans

Pinto Beans with pico de gallo
4 free hard candies

Calories:  838
Cost:  69 cents

Weight:  XXX - 7 pounds