Yesterday I started my challenge – to Live Below The Line. The challenge – to raise awareness and funds for world poverty by living below the line, like 1 in 7 people who live in poverty. I will live on just £5 for 5 days. That’s £1 a day, just 33p per meal.
With my shopping done, my meals planned, and my prep recipes started, I was more than ready to finally start the challenge yesterday. I’ve spent the last few weeks, planning, writing & testing recipes, calculating and re-calculating my shopping budget, so this challenge has been at the forefront of my thoughts for quite some time! A few recurring anxious thoughts keep cropping up – though I have already tasted my recipes, will they actually work as a balanced meal plan? Will the food keep my energy levels up? Will it keep me sustained? Will I be able to sleep if I’m a little hungry? I’m also worried about my ability to keep to a 5 day meal plan (first time ever), because I like too much the luxury of choice. Finally, will I be able to go 5 days without a single cup of coffee??
Luckily enough breakfast on day 1 was one of my favourite recipe creations – cinnamon oat pancakes, which I adapted from Nourishing Days. The finished dish does look rather fabulous, and since I am strong believer that you eat with your eyes I was excited to dig in. I love that the oats soaked in whey have a rather sour tangy taste – so very different from eating the same ingredients as a bowl of porridge. Remember the whey comes from the cheese/yoghurt making process I covered in my prep recipes.
I felt incredibly tired on waking (late-ish night on Friday) and day 1 annoyingly felt like one of those days I could really have done with a coffee to get me going. Refilling my cup of green tea 3 – YES 3 – times had to suffice instead. I spent the morning pottering around the house being lazy, mostly watching cooking programmes – as one does on a Saturday morning, waiting till I could cook lunch. I think being on this challenge is making me think about food more than it would on a normal day – it feels like its my entire life purpose this week!
Around lunch time I had a call from some friends in the area, and an invite to join them at a local cafe. I went to meet them, said hello, returned home to make my soup before I joined them again for an afternoon stroll. Soup tasted fine, it could definitely do with some extra veggies such as leek, mushroom to thicken it up or a touch of cream to make it luxurious and a little more satiating.
Later in the afternoon I ended up in a cafe with my friends and I enjoyed (?) a mug of water whilst going insane smelling the coffee aromas. Ah well off home to tidy my flat (distraction technique) before I could make dinner – ginger egg fried veggie rice. A lovely comforting bowl of starchy rice with creamy eggs cooked in. This actually tastes pretty good, and I’m wondering now why it only features in my meal plan once. Eaten with chopsticks to slow me down, sat on the sofa on a Saturday night. Ooh the glamour.
Day 1 done. Pretty pleased I managed to make it through, with no cheating, not even a touch of nibbling of something I shouldn’t. A Saturday spent mostly at home was a great day to start the challenge. There will be torturous temptations to come over the next days I am sure of it. I’ll continue to blog my recipes and a diary each day of the challenge – and am sharing my progress on instagram throughout. This social media aspect is almost as exhausting as all the cooking!
You may have noticed these rather wonderfully designed recipe images. As I was putting all this work into doing this challenge as healthily as I could I decided to share my recipes with the people at Live Below the Line. Illustrator Zoë Kelland has magically designed a beautiful ‘whole foods’ recipe pack which is now available as resource on their website (Ceri’s whole food recipe pack). I hope this will inspire more people to do this challenge, raise lots more money and also give ideas to live as healthy as can be on a low budget.
If you think all these blog posts and recipes I’ve spent time working hard on in my spare time are worth a bit of sponsorship then my chosen charity Christian Aid will I’m sure put the funds to great use. You can sponsor me here. Or if you can’t sponsor me but want to raise awareness, then do please spread the message of what I’m doing with your peers. If you want to join in with the rest of the county – the official dates for the challenge are April 28th to May 2nd. Feel free to use my resource pack to help you through.1