Josh Experiments: Challenging Excess, Eating on $1 a Day

Josh BrownExperiments in living that step us out of our normal life experience can be invaluable tools. I think they are the sorts of things that begin to help us question our current lifestyle. One Josh writes:

It’s a shame that as a culture we are so used to excess that we don’t even recognize it anymore.

And it’s a shame that I’ll probably wrestle with this decision for another month. The entire time talking about ethics and Jesus and taking the moral high road. Feel good about myself. And then break down and buy it.

I’m a hypocrite.

It’s an honest struggle and these words connect with a lot of us, as they are things we rarely even dare to think out loud or acknowledge. For Josh, it’s this sort of pondering that led him to give up this. I am so happy to see Josh make a decision like this because I really believe it will free him up to focus on and be willing to challenge other areas of his life and choices. I am excited about were this new freedom and balance will take him.


Another Josh, contemplated this:

I remember reading somewhere a few years ago about someone who tried to eat off of a dollar a day in order to gain some type of understanding of what (I’ll say a majority again) of the world’s population goes through in regards to that key element of survival, eating. I don’t remember much about the article, but I began wondering if I could do that. Wondering led to doing some calculating and strategic thinking, which led to this post. Day 1 of $1 a day. I have four weeks of training left. My goal right now, is to make it through the next four weeks on $1 a day for food, (Monday through Friday, I go home on the weekends, and will try to keep it up, but won’t make my wife and kids go through it too). That doesn’t mean I won’t eat food that has been provided for me without cost to myself, (for example, we have a snack table everyday at our training session that is free, but more on that in another post), and I still have a few leftover groceries from last week that will help me for a few days.

In his first entry a few days later he chronicles what he’s been eating thus far, including a excessive snack table at his training, and concludes:

I make light of this, mostly because of the ridiculousness of excess. I am grateful for my friends and their willingness to share. (I’d like to add here that I have not yet solicited any food.) I have been truly blown away at how much more we eat than we really need to. I also realize that hanging out with others who are not trying to live off of $1 a day, has benefited me. I am well aware that living amongst others in a similar predicament would have different results. I have other observations and other thoughts that I will continue to process and post later.

I really appreciate both of these guys and the way they are willing to challenge their current lifestyles. I don’t have any notion that by eating on $1 a day Josh knows the experience of those in the rest of the world, but one can appreciate his attempt to try and connect on some level, most of us rarely even go there. As always, I assure you Josh will have some valuable insights from his experience and I do believe his eating habits and lifestyle choices will be better for it.

5 thoughts on “Josh Experiments: Challenging Excess, Eating on $1 a Day”

  1. I did this for three years, out of necessity. That’s after leaving a $60,000/yr. job, burning completely through a 401K and private retirement fund, losing a house, a car, and most of my possessions. It’s not easy.

  2. you’re way to generous of your estimation of my sacrifice. that’s about as shallow of a sacrifice as one can make. i shouldn’t even have had to make the sacrifice. i shouldn’t have been dumb enough to get so caught up in it to begin with.

    but i will be honest . . . there is something quite freeing about letting go of such blatant excess and entertainment. not to mention finally letting go of violent games.

  3. Well… I didn’t try to put a value on what you’re doing, actually. 🙂 And I do not mean to disparage your experiment, in any way; it’s more than most would attempt.

    I hope you never reach those depths other than by absolute and revocable choice, because you might be truly surprised how unsympathetic your fellow man is towards people in such straits. You’d likely be amazed at how ineffective the government is in trying to set these things right, even in the short-term. It’s even worse when you’re asking for WORK (even from most churches!), believe it or not.

    I’m fortunate, in that I secured a $20/hr. job, finally, and normalcy is returning. My position is temporary (although is expected to continue for some time), and has no benefits whatever. But it sure as hell beats what I went through from 2003-2006, and I am most grateful for it.

  4. Thanks for the comments Ariah. There have been some interesting developments this week that I’ll post soon. You are right in saying that this will create awareness in other areas of life too. I am realizing how much I do without thinking, simply just responding to the norms around me.

  5. It is so great to be able to come here and replenish my desire to change my life. I miss the accountability and the constant exposure to radical values that I had three weeks ago. I find that it is much easier to justify buying something that I don’t need when there is no one at home raising an eyebrow when I walk through the door with it. I miss you guys, and I love the dialogue that your blog encourages.

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