evening meal

. . 2.5 Weetbix
. . 1/5 cup rolled oats (organic)
. . 1:1 milk & hot water
. . mug of tea ("chai").

. . 4 "toast"slices bread (organic*)
. . butter on 4 slices,
. .Marmite on 3 slices, made into:
  a 3-decker sandwich, made with
  two 7mm segments cabbage
. . 1/2 carrot, in fingers
. . honey sandwich, eaten with:
  1 handful peanuts
. . cup of full-cream organic milk.

. . 5 "toast"slices bread (organic*)
. . butter on 4 slices,
. .Marmite on 3 slices, made into:
  a 3-decker sandwich, made with
  two 7mm segments cabbage
. . 1 carrot, in fingers
. . plum jam sandwich made with
  peanut butter
. . cup of full-cream organic milk.

(* Yes! Organic bread, after waiting years.) Same every day for over 15 years!

© David MacClement

I've just compared it with what I've eaten in the last 3 years (it's June 2000); the items are the same, but most of the time I've had
only a standard cabbage 2-sandwich, and a single slice of bread and jam for dessert (with peanuts at lunch, peanut butter @ tea)
>Later< :- now, in July 2001, I've been keeping my weight constant by a total of
only 2 slices of bread per meal: one cabbage & Marmite, the other jam & peanuts, peanut butter @ tea.

Here's my letter published by the N.Z. National Conference on Universal Basic Income (Aug. 1996).

I wonder whether the National UBI movement would have any sympathy with my views and experience, both leading to a (very) low, and therefore affordable, UBI figure.

By choice, I have lived for the last three and a half years on less than $1,250 p.a. (subsistence existence, just enough to keep body and soul together), if I don't count a several thousand dollar investment in gold caps for my teeth, (which came out of savings: I retired in 1989). Half of this goes to pay for my very restricted diet (based on bread, milk, cabbage and carrots [no cooking]) while the remaining approximately $600 pays my half of the rates and repairs to keep a roof over my head, and some public transport -Thames to Auckland- I walk anywhere else, and spend nothing on clothing and pleasures.

There are a number of reasons for this choice, one of which is that I have opted out of the current, hateful, economic system (where "money decides everything").

However a NZ$2000 UBI (per person) should allow anyone to quit or not start an unacceptable job without facing starvation , though it does entail a large amount of self-sacrifice, and one feels alienated from society to some degree (eg. virtually everything on supermarket shelves is inaccessible).

P.S. There should be a degree-days-dependent addition to the above, for winter heating.

See the original, in the UBINZ newsletter (Aug.'96) [56k]

For comments and suggestions contact : David MacClement
Poplar Bay Kawau Island
Private Bag 902
Victoria St West
Auckland 1142
New Zealand

Date: Sat Aug 02 14:50 1997
From: David MacClement <davd @>
Subject: Re: Basic Diet

At 06:26 AM 8/1/97 -0700, Helen wrote:
>Hi, David,
>How did you determine that your diet has adequate nutrition?
>Silicon Valley
** Thanks for asking: you're the first!

  My main method is (i) to treat myself as a guinea-pig: see how I feel & watch my weight, and keep track of my blood haem level (I give blood 3 - 4 times a year); also: (ii) after I'd been on the diet for about 6 months, I sent a complete list of what I ate (in grams/day)|* to the director of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation (who is a reference for our NPR - National Radio). Dr Birkbeck replied saying that, with two exceptions it was:

a just-sufficient diet for a sedentary older male. (I'm over 61)

The 2 exceptions were: (a) I needed more calcium, so my present diet (which is the one on my Website) has nearly double the milk, and (b) I should have more and a wider variety of fruit & veg., mainly to ensure I get enough Vitamin C (though I used to take VitC pills [250 mg] if I got sniffles or a sore throat), so I now take a minimum of 250 mg VitC every day and eat any damaged fruit [mainly apples] the rest of the household doesn't want. He added that he wasn't sure I'd be getting enough Vitamin B12.
(c) The other thing I do which isn't on the dsmenu.html is to eat one or two extra slices of bread a day if I'm doing hard work, like planting trees on steep slopes (as I was this last week).

In four months I'll have been on this diet for 5 years, and as I've said: I'm much healthier now than at any time in my life. The diet is only half the story: I _ensure_ that I walk at least 15 - 20 km (10 - 13 miles) a week; this could be in one go, like this morning: Bera and I walked to the nearest supermarket, then after getting the groceries I caught the Greenhithe bus home (with the shopping in my backpack - 29 kg [65 lb.]).

The worry for females is the potential lack of iron: ingesting a good daily supply of anti-oxidant like VitC helps ensure that the iron in whole grains and fibrous veg. is kept available (also not more than two teabags a day), otherwise it stays bound up, but it'd be good to keep track of it with something equivalent to my blood haem-level check. I was told of a blood test for the amount of iron in the body's back-up store - if that goes, there will probably be a major collapse. I didn't do that check: the blood-donation haem test never showed a too-low level.

I'd be interested in hearing what you do with the diet and this information, in particular who (M/F, age, working hard?, etc.) might possibly be trying it. For the first month or two I felt I was severely depriving myself, but as I would at the end of a 5-day starve, I started appreciating the flavours and textures of what I _was_ eating, so got used to it.

As I said, please keep me informed.

_|*: My diet in grams:

Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 14:10 +1200
From: David MacClement <davd @>
Subject: Re: David's Diet
At 15:33 22/03/98 -0800, Valorie Ryan wrote:
>Looked at your diet at
>                                                                               and just had a few                         
>questions. Since I am a "yank", I don't know what "marmite" is and was
>wondering if you could enlighten me.

**  "Marmite" is a Sanitarium Health Foods*  spread: "100% vegetarian"; designed to be "a tasty source of vitamin B complex".   {* 124 Pah Rd., Royal Oak, Auckland NZSanitarium logo (gif)}

Ingredients: yeast, sugar, salt, wheatgerm extract, mineral salt (508), maltodextrin, colour (caramel), herbs, spices, mineral (iron), vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B12). Nutrition information: 5 g of this food contains: Thiamin          0.55 mg (50%*)   (* percent of RDI)
Riboflavin       0.43 mg (25%)
Niacin            2.50 mg (25%)
Vitamin B12   0.50 microgram (25%)
Folate             0.10 mg (50%)
Iron                1.80 mg (15%)

> Also, is "chai" some special tea?

**  Chai is what most people walking in the streets of India, Afghanistan and Iran drink when they're thirsty; it's plain India tea, sometimes made as a concentrate with the sugar and powdered milk already mixed and boiling water added just before drinking, or (to quote the Lonely Planet 'India travel survival kit' we used when our family was in India:) "Usually tea is 'mixed tea' or 'milk tea', which means it has been made by putting cold water, milk, sugar and tea into one pot and bringing the whole concoction to the boil, then letting it stew for a long time."
    I don't actually make mine that way: I haven't had sugar for years - I call it that as a reminder of the hundreds of millions of people who have nothing except chai in the morning. (See Dena Marchant's 23 Aug 1999 post below.)

>And lastly, is the bread whole grain or does it matter?

**  I've lived for some months on totally whole wheat bread but believe it was going through me so quickly that I wasn't getting all the nutrition I could out of it. So for a couple of years I've been on
a ratio (white : whole grain) of  1 : 2  (now, in the summer), or  2 : 3  in the winter when I use my food to keep me warm. That's 3 toast slices per meal now, 5 in winter.
    All the way through, I've known I had to have extra vitamin C (or E) to act as the agent that stops the iron in the whole wheat from being bound (made unavailable) by something in the whole wheat - the fibre I think. So I take one or more 250 mg vitamin C pills daily.     I may not in fact, need much if any of the Marmite, since I believe the whole wheat bread and the milk could give me enough B vitamins, but I use the spread largely for the flavour: it makes the chopped-cabbage sandwich quite appetising.

>Thanks in advance for your response. I appreciate it.

**  I'd very much like to know if someone else is on this "diet": I'm quite willing to put myself at risk (e.g. of running out of iron), but I am not recommending such a restricted diet to anyone. No-one else living under the same roof with me restricts themselves like this, and they can believe the evidence of their own eyes (that I'm healthier than I was, more than 6 years ago).
I guess I've been extraordinarily stubborn, to continue.

>P.S. I am on the Positive-Futures list, so if you want to reply there to
>benefit others, that would be fine.


David MacClement <davd @>

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Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 10:31:14 -0700
From: Dena Marchant 
To: Positive Futures

Bread for the World.

Nan, and all, The thing that most clearly demonstrated to me that I was in the "king class" was an event put on by an organization called Bread for the World. It took place around Thanksgiving. The organizers started by asking us to fast and pay for our tickets to this event with the money saved by not eating a couple of meals. The event itself was a meal. Different people got different meals. It was all set up so that we represented the calories of an average meal throughout the world. Some in attendance got nothing at all to eat. My friend and I were in the relatively large group that got tea and rice. Three people had a banquet. We ate our rice while those who got nothing watched. And for the bulk of the hour, the rest of us watched the three who had the banquet. We finished our rice before they'd gotten past their first course. It was very, very dramatic and memorable. Dena

--- (blue rule) ---

(at that time Medical and Scientific Director, New Zealand Nutrition Foundation)
(now: Professor John Birkbeck, Massey University

Mr D MacClement
P O Box 108 Greenhithe
New Zealand
6 February 1996.  

Dear Mr MacClement,
Thank you for your letter. I assume the point that you are making is that a nutritionally adequate diet does not need to be expensive. A few points about your selection.

A few calculations, inevitably pretty rough, give the following points: Overall, then, it appears to be a monotonous and marginally adequate diet for an older adult man. However, your basic premise, which is that eating adequately does not need to be expensive, is accepted. Even with more variety [leading to] a figure of NZ$20 [per week] could well prove adequate, but the diet would have to be very carefully devised. Most people have neither the knowledge, nor the interest, to do so.

All this however supposes that one lives on essential nutrients alone. We now accept that foods, especially plant foods, contain a large number of protective factors which, while not strictly essential nutrients, are important for optimum health and avoidance of disease. Apart from the beta-carotene in the carrots, and the indoles in the cabbage, your diet is singularly lacking in these substances due to an absence of other fruit, vegetables or legumes. Your plum jam might provide a tiny amount. Hence to sustain optimum health, a more varied intake of fruit and vegetables would be considered important. These can often be expensive at supermarkets, but not at fruit stalls like the ones at Hobsonville [45-min walk away; D.] for instance. Block has shown a close correlation between health and the number of different foods in the diet.

Nevertheless, an interesting experiment.


John Birkbeck, MB, ChB, FRCPC, MNZIFST
Medical and Scientific Director
New Zealand Nutrition Foundation

--- (blue rule) ---

I recently cooked food for myself, for the first time in ~8 years! (because there were grubs in it!)

Also, go to: Third Age's health hints. (mine is under: "EcoRadical")

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Updated: 30 January 2017.