Live below the line is a sponsored challenge to live on just £5 for 5 days to raise awareness and funds for world poverty. For participants this is just a 5-day make-believe, but for for 20% of the worlds population who live in poverty this is a reality.
In 2014 I lived below the line for the first time. I wanted to do the challenge in the healthiest way possible, doing the best that I could with the tiny budget. Not just because I didn’t want to get off my healthy high horse for a few days, but because I wanted to show that eating from scratch does taste better than cheap processed food, and for those who do have a choice to do this (I am all too aware many don’t even have that luxury), it can have a positive impact on your health. Not the best, just better. In advance of the challenge I created a Whole Foods Recipe Pack designed by the talented illustrator Zoe Kelland from Live Below the Line, the pack is still available to download.
This challenge sparked something in me I didn’t know existed; a drive for being creative with 33p meals, and ultimatley working on a project for something so much greater and widespread than a photo of a pretty cake on my blog.
This year I wanted to get more involved and offered my Natural Chef skills to act as one of many chef ambassadors with Action Against Hunger. Together with actors Nikesh Patel and Amber Rose Revah we produced some cookalong videos to encourage you all to get cooking from scratch with your limited budget.
Grab 2 chicken carcasses to make burgers (and stock)
Utilise stock to make a filling curry to cover 3 meals
Soak oats in yoghurt, add an egg and make pancakes. No more porridge!
Plus if you sign up with Action Against Hunger to live below the line they will send you some additional exclusive cookalong videos with Nikesh, Amber Rose and myself. The official week of the challenge is this week, but you can take part for another few weeks.
Whilst I spent time and care planning content for the above videos, due to a busy schedule these last few weeks planning for my own challenge this year has been somewhat sporadic. I could have just followed last years plan, but why do that when I can do lots of new things? Perhaps I am addicted to challenges. Happily my brother & his housemate have decided to join me on the challenge this year so we managed a group shop at the weekend and split some packets of rice and porridge. Phew, a luxury to not have to waste most of my budget on rice and porridge which I wouldn’t get through! Budgeting has still been tough this year, and I’m alarmed that so many things have gone up in price in such as short space of time. True, if you shop around best bargains can be found, but who in reality has time to do this? Don’t get me started that free chicken carcasses are now a thing of the past in London, one butcher wanted to charge me a £1 for just 1 carcass. Perhaps this due to the recent surge in the #boilyourbones trend (hashtag courtesy of Hemsley + Hemsley), a positive trend nutritionally I am certain, but why is always someone ready to make money on a new trend? Luckily I was able to get mine for 10p each as well as some free beef bones.
My challenge starts today and I’m raring to go, but only partially ready. My shopping is only half done, my meal plan is yet to be sketched, but on the plus side I’ve succeeded in my pre-challenge 3 day detox from coffee, my chicken carcasses are stripped of meat and my bones are in the slow cooker brewing a nutritious stock as I write. But what am I eating today after porridge?? All to be unveiled as the week continues.
My half bought shopping includes;
- 330g Porridge oats – 25p (split from a 1kg 75p pack with bro)
- 330g white rice – 13p (split from a 1kg 40p pack with bro)
- 1 x tinned potatoes – 15p
- 500g low fat yoghurt – 45p
- 1 x tin sardines in chilli oil – 35p
- 2 x chicken carcasses – 20p
- beef bones – 0p
- 1 x tin chickpeas
- 1 x tin butter beans
- 1 x tin of chopped tomatoes – 3 tins for £1
- 2 bananas – 22p
- 1 small purple cabbage – 38p
- 4 small carrots – 20p
- 1 small onion – 7p
Which comes neatly to £3.50, and leaves me £1.50 to get some eggs, more veg, chilli or garlic, some spices, salt and oil, and no room for green tea. I’ve also big plans for nettle foraging. Send a magician please!
I’ll be back at the weekend for a summary, but in the meantime I’ll be sharing my creations on Instagram and Facebook and nattering on twitter too. I’m raising money for Action Against Hunger and will be donating my usual food (& cafe coffee) bill for the week. If you’d like to donate to my challenge Action Against Hunger and myself would be thrilled. You can sponsor me here.
Are you living below the line this year? I’d love to hear from you so do share your story in the comments below!1