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Ben Affleck tries to live on $1.50 a day

Think you could live on a $1.50 daily food budget?
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Josephine Lim, April 25, 2013 12:17:52 PM

Here’s some food for thought. Oscar winning director and actor Ben Affleck, along with celebrities Josh Groban, Sophia Bush, Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, will attempt to live on a $1.50-a-day food budget from April 29 to May 3.

This isn’t a new fad diet these stars are embarking on, rather they’re hoping to raise awareness for the Live Below the Line poverty charity. The charity aims to get participants to better understand what people living in extreme poverty experience. The money raised will also go towards partner charities in regions facing extreme poverty. Last year, the campaign made $3 million with more than 15,000 people taking part.

It’s a mind boggling low food budget, but unfortunately there are 1.2 billion people – that’s equal to about 35 times Canada’s entire population – who live on this amount or less, according to the World Bank.

And it’s not like participants can raid their pantries for a week. Any food they eat should be less than the total cost of $7.50 a week and less than $1.50 each day, according to the challenge’s guidelines. It gets even harder. The campaign wants participants to include the cost per ounce for items like spices and even if you’re eating food from your garden, they want you to calculate the cost per production.

It sounds like there’s no way to win, but at least you can drink as much water as you want without having to include its cost. Also, you can lower costs by sharing the expense of what you eat among a group of people. Even though you can’t accept food donations, you can accept cash donations that go towards your fundraising. Sorry folks, it’s not meant to go towards increasing your food budget.

This isn’t the first time Groban is taking part in the challenge. It inspired him to write the single Below the Line on his latest album (ok, so the title isn’t very original, but he has good intentions).

“It’s amazing how much we take for granted not having to live in hunger, and I am honored to have been asked to help spread the word about this eye-opening campaign again this year,” he said in a statement.

If you’re a Canadian looking to get involved, they’ve accounted for our exchange rate and you can try living on $1.75 week. Any money you raise will go towards partner charities, such as Cuso International, Raising the Village, Results Canada and Spread the Net. You might want to stuff your face with as much food as possible the day before – it’ll help take care of you for one day at least.

But you have to wonder, can you eat a healthy diet without spending massive bucks? With obesity being a global issue, it makes us think not.

But surprisingly a recent study by the U.S. agriculture department says eating healthy might be less expensive than we think. It really depends on how you compare the prices. If you look at the price per calorie, then eating processed food would be cheaper than fresh fruits and veggies. But, if you look at the food according to its weight, then veggies and fruit are cheaper than food with added substances.

Regardless, it’s unlikely that you’ll be getting all your necessary nutrition with this challenge. You might be able to get your recommended servings of fruits and veggies, but it’s doubtful you’ll have enough money for your protein, grain and dairy intake.

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Josephine Lim

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