Inspired by Jewish Community Center’s “Food Stamps Challenge,” Van Hollen subsisted on one trip to the grocery store that set him back $21.
“It hits you in the stomach,” he said. “When you go to the grocery store with a $21 budget … one of the first things that goes is a lot of fresh food. I got three tomatoes and an onion.”
On the Van Hollen menu: instant oatmeal for breakfast every day, a turkey sandwich for lunch (the large package of processed turkey being his biggest single expenditure), a banana for a snack, and dinner of lentils, noodles, split-pea soup and a piece of toast.
Meanwhile, he had to watch his family go on with dinner as usual. “Everyone at work tried to tempt me with cupcakes and such, but I resisted,” he said.
There was a silver lining, however. “I don’t recommend this approach to dieting, but I lost six pounds,” he said.
Perhaps Van Hollen’s D.C.-area colleague Jim Moran, D-Va., with all his well-publicized dieting exploits, should try it next.