From 12th-16th April I will 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.
I am taking my challenge to the next level and want to do it as healthily and balanced as possible, by consuming a diet based only of made-from-scratch meals from whole, single ingredient, foods – the way I usually strive to eat. No tins of baked beans, tins of rice pudding, ready made pasta sauce and definitely no loaves of bread. As a Natural Chef and health enthusiast, a few weeks ago I keenly took on the planning for this challenge, thinking it would be easy. I was definitely wrong.
Along the way I have faced many moral dilemmas on food quality and spent hours on shopping comparison websites, working out where exactly I’ll find the cheapest ingredients. Just as well I’m a dab hand with an excel spreadsheet. Sometimes making £5 pounds last over 5 days feels like it requires the work of a magician, not a mathematician. I wonder if anyone living in poverty would actually have time, energy or patience to do this if this in real life? I am humbled.
Other than extras such as oils, spices, salt, herbs and tea which can be calculated by use, all other ingredients have to be calculated from entire bags bought. This means I’ll be eating the same dishes for most of the week – bulking up with rice and oats, and just 1 bag of the same cheap frozen vegetables.
So, after all that research and though what will be in my healthy shopping basket?
Since I am cooking for 1 – definitely the hardest part of this challenge – I have opted to split the a bulk bag of rice with a friend also taking part in this challenge. I certainly won’t need to consume 1kg of rice in a week, and am desperate for the extra 20p. Crazy, that this extra 20p is all that is needed to get in some spice or cooking oil. The 43 pence for herbs, spices, oil and green tea are all costed according to proportions. I have calculated this based on my recipes as follows (rounded up and down as appropriate) and will measure out the entire amounts at the beginning of the week so there is no temptation to steal extra oil or spice. (This is based on approximately – tsp of salt weighs 6g / tsp of oil is 5mls / tsp of herbs weighs 2.5g / tsp of spice weighs 5g / there are 3 tsp in a Tbs!)
- 9p of Coconut oil (£2.39 for 500mls / 1tsp = 2p / 1 Tbs = 7p)
- 4p of Olive oil (£1.25 for 500mls / 1tsp = 2p / 1 Tbs = 6p)
- 3p of Dried herbs (£0.25 for 18g / 1tsp = 3p)
- 2p of Cinnamon (£0.49 for 100g / 1tsp = 2p)
- 4p of Cumin (£0.68 for 100g / 1tsp = 3p)
- 3p of Curry Powder (£0.58 for 100g / 1tsp = 3p)
- 2p of Turmeric (£1.99 for 400g / 1tsp = 2p)
- 6p of Sea Salt (£0.60 for 350g / 2 Tbs allowance for week)
- 10p of Green Tea ( £1.00 for 50 bags / 2p a bag)
Most of my shopping above will be bought from my local Asda on Old Kent Road. Oh how I laugh about the comparison with the brown stop on the Monopoly game board. I’ve also selected a few items from elsewhere due to good deals. The eggs will come from Iceland, the garlic from a veggie stall in Peckham (if its good enough for Delboy?) and the chicken carcass free from my butcher. The coconut oil came from my nearest ethnic shop.
None of these food sources are what I’d recommend for optimum health or a culinary sensation, but I think this is part of this challenge. Having tested all my recipes ready for the week – and also to share with the people at Living Below the Line, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve come out with. Though in all honesty having already tried all the dishes the usual sense of adventure I approach with each meal in the kitchen may be diminished, by the time I get around to the challenge.
I’ll be taking part in the challenge from this Saturday April 12th to Wednesday April 16th, and I’ll be blogging my recipes and a diary each day – as well as sharing photos on instagram. 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. 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 meal plans and recipes to help you through.
Check back tomorrow as I’ll be guiding you through why I’ve put certain things in my shopping basket, my meal plan and some enticing photos of the recipes I’ve been testing for this purpose!0