Slovenian promotes the simple life on a euro a day

Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:56am EST
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By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA (Reuters Life!) - Is it possible to live in central Europe and eat healthy food on a budget of only 1 euro ($1.37) a day? A Slovenian pharmacologist has done it and now urges the world to learn from his example.

Ales Cerin, a father of four who wants to promote a simple and modest lifestyle, raise awareness of global poverty and over-consumption in the West, discovered he could do it but only if he grew his own vegetables and fruit.

"I have been spending 1.01 euro a day on average for food over the past two months. But I eat apples that grow in my garden, while we also have leek, chicory, beans, salad and pepper in the garden," Cerin, 48, told Reuters in an interview.

The main lesson he learned during his experiment, which ends this week, was that it was possible to reduce food costs several times and at the same time eat healthier if he made use of his garden on the outskirts of Ljubljana.

"Consumerism in Western society is exaggerated, particularly if we compare it to the undeveloped world... I want to change that consumer orientation and show how much is enough," Cerin said.

"It is perverse that the whole Western world is counting calories so as to reduce them while the rest of the world is counting calories so as to increase them!"

He drinks water, herbal tea and milk he buys at a nearby farm, while green tea is too expensive for the tight budget, as is cheese -- one of the rare foods he really misses.

He has lost four 4 kg (9 lb) in the last two months, mainly because he continued an active lifestyle of cycling daily and running three times a week.   Continued...