There's not much you can buy for two dollars -- it's barely a cup of coffee or a can of coke -- yet Richard Fleming is surviving on just that and the result is a much fatter wallet and a thinner waistline.
“ I've dropped about 11 kilos since I started spending $14 dollars a week on food”, Richard said.
53 days into the 90 day diet, Richard's constantly being tempted but the key message behind his campaign is keeping him focussed. “1.4 billion people are living on less than U.S. $1.25 dollar a day. I couldn’t get my head around that, so I did a research to find what did it truly means. If I can bring some perspective to the everyday Australians about the challenges faced by extreme poverty, that’s what I want to do”, Richard said.
After throwing in a promising corporate career to work in the slums of Bangladesh, the 26 year returned to set himself this challenge. “A typical breakfast -- two standard servings of porridge and I cut some fruit in there. On the weeks I'll have eggs to mix it up. Lunch is Dahl today with split pea -- everyday is a rice dish with some form of lentil mix. Dinner sweet potato and broccoli soup”, Richard said.
He's now on a recruitment drive and already 500 people have agreed to take up his five day challenge in August. Its not just a one off campaign but a way of helping struggling families and pensioners stretch their dollar further.
According to a new study by University of Western Sydney, many families suffering mortgage stress are living on rice to avoid losing the family home. “The main tips is buy savings type brands -- home brands in supermarkets. You can get flour for a dollar a kilogram, oats for a dollar kilo, you can get sugar for a dollar a kilogram -- basic necessities you can make a lot out of. I got bananas the other day for 50 cents a kilo, I got pears and apples for a dollar a kilo. You can find really cheap options from your local market which you wouldn’t necessarily find in your supermarket”, Richard said.
And look out for bargains. “Kangaroo meat I found the other day, still within date, cost me a $1.33 and there was two roast of kangaroo so 66 cents each roast”, Richard said.
Its no surprise Coles has sought the help of celebrity chef Curtis Stone to create family dinners for under ten dollars. “Ten dollars is not a whole lot of food -- its probably half the amount some of these fast food joints charge you for a feast, but you can hands on good quality ingredients that are natural and simple”, Curtis said.
While Richard continues to ride 20 kilometres to work each day and claims he's not feeling lethargic, he is consulting a nutritionist each week. If you decide to take part in his challenge, so you should you.
“It doesn't meet the recommended dietary intakes for most of the vitamins and minerals”, said dietician Karen Inge.
“In the short term, a lack of energy and you'll lose weight -- most probably muscle mass as well as fat”, Karen added.
So far Richard's "Below the line campaign” has raised almost $30,000 which will be invested into schools.
For details on how to take part in the $2 dollar diet for the Live below the poverty line challenge, visit the website at: www.globalpovertyproject.com/pages/host_event