In attempt to allow Brainworth the time and space it needed to become a reality, our CEO Ben Sand had to find a way to live cheaply... very cheaply.
What follows is a bullet point system of how it can be possible to live on merely $2 a day while still retaining all the dietary requirements of a human being - vital information for anyone else out there in the startup scene who may need to scrounge dollars in order to get their valuable idea off the ground.
To begin with, all food should be purchased at ALDI (bulk purchasing supermarket) or its equivalent. An ingredient list is as follows:
GOLDENVALE Oats: 250g/day = 33c
REMANO Spirals/Spaghetti/Penne/Fetuccini: 300g/day = 47c
OCEAN RISE Pink Salmon 130g = 80c
BENIFEX Multivitamin - One a Day x2 = 12c
BENIFEX Fish Oil - 1000mg x7 = 23c
These items can all be purchased in bulk to achieve these prices, so bring a vehicle and stock up for months at a time if you can.
Cook these items as follows:
Cook 1Kg of pasta and put it in the fridge. Eat a bit each day with salmon, or on it's own. You can soak the oats beforehand as some people believe that makes them healthier, or you can just microwave them with water.
This diet was built to be the cheapest nutritionally complete diet possible. You might be wondering if this is actually healthy. According to all the numbers it is fine - actually if you follow this you're probably eating healthier than everyone you know.
As for some of the nutritional concerns one might have about sustaining yourself on such a diet, in Ben's own words, here are the reasons why it shouldn't be an issue:
Absorption of Vitamins from Supplements
I looked into this for a few of them, such as folate. Absorption was about 60% from the supplement vs natural sources, so I accounted for this when entering in the data. If you want to follow up on all the nutrients you can, but as you can see most are about 300-500% of the RDI. If you're really concerned about this, I have developed a $6 a day diet with natural/unrefined sources of nutrients that I can itemise if there's enough interest.
You can have too much selenium. Usually one a day is the recommended maximum for multivitamins for this reason. At the end of the day it's all about adding up the numbers and they seem within the acceptable range.
Mercury from Fish
I researched this very thoroughly. The lowest dose case of mercury poisoning observed would require you to eat 40Kg of salmon or sardines per week, 4Kg of tuna or 800g of shark. Most people need 50% more than this to experience ill effects. The FDA recommended safe limits are 10% of these numbers, so thats 4Kg of salmon. This diet calls for 1Kg so its well within limits.
Canned Wild Alaskan Pacific Salmon
This is the best salmon in the world and fortunately the cheapest as well. Tasmanian salmon is farmed and probably has more pollutants, less omega 3 and more omega 6, like all farmed salmon. Most of us are getting far too little omega 3 and far too much omega 6. Atlantic salmon is typically farmed too. Alaskan pacific salmon comes from commercial hatcheries and fish are kept there for the first year before it travels into the ocean to grow. Alaska has no fish farms. The only healthier salmon would likely be wild hatched pacific. This is available, but is both highly expensive and probably unsustainable. Canned Wild Alaskan Pacific salmon is sustainable, incredibly healthy and also the cheapest source of animal protein on the planet.
The value of Omega 3 comes from keeping it in balance with Omega 6. The balance of the two is where the inflammation factor is calculated from. Many foods that claim to be high in Omega 3, just make this worse (eg. most nuts and vegetable oils contain much more omega 6 than omega 3, and market themselves as sources of omega3 when really they're just making the problem worse). The ideal ratio is supposedly 1:1 (omega 6: omega3) but a modern diet could have 30:1 (due to all the canola oil from processed and fried food). If you're vegetarian or don't want fish for some other reason, the next most viable omega3 source is probably an algae extract (this is where fish get it from), but that gets very expensive.
The fish is included as the cheapest source of balanced protein with the added benefit of some omega 3. Balanced protein from other places (including all vegetarian sources) is more expensive. I investigated all the options, canned pink salmon is the cheapest source of complete protein unless you want to buy whey in 20Kg drums and risk spoilage.
You can eat fancy food once you've built an awesome product.
So there you have it. The amazing wondrous Brainworth $2 a day diet, which has allowed our project to become a reality, and will hopefully allow others to learn the value of frugality in starting your own business.