For five days this week, I am eating on only £1 per day as part of the “Live Below the Line” campaign.
The campaign challenges those of us living in the developed world to buy, source, cook and eat food as if we were living at the poverty line – in order to help us understand poverty better and (perhaps) motivate us to do something about it.
Preparing for the week:
Over the weekend, I met up with a friend of mine also doing the challenge to do our shopping. We figured that we would have a better chance of getting good bulk deals if we shopped together. At the store, we immediately realised how scant our options were: no meat, no dairy, no juices, no alcohol, no cooking oils, few fruits and vegetables, no brand names. We mainly bought simple sources of carbohydrates and protein (rice, lentils, beans, oats, potatoes) and some fruit and vegetables to mix in with them.
Getting our purchases home, we then realised that even the amount of food we had purchased would take us over our £1-per-day limit so we allocated out the food and calculated the costs:
- 3 bananas @ 14p = 42p
- 5 apples @10p = 50p
- 2 tins of beans @37p = 74p
- 3 eggs @ 10p = 30p
- 1kg potatoes = 64p
- 500g red lentils = 50p
- 500g rice = 50p
- 500g oats = 50p
- 450g frozen mixed vegetables = 50p
- Salt/pepper = 5p
- Home-grown vegetables and herbs (cost of seeds) = 35p
So far today, the cultural aspects of food are already looking to be the most difficult for me to deal with. For instance, last night, my flatmate baked a large chocolate cake, which I know I won’t be able to sample this week. Also, this morning, my colleague made me a cup of coffee that I do not have budget to drink. And later this afternoon, I am going to a drinks reception where I won’t be able to hold a glass of wine in my hand as I meet the others who have attended. Not an insurmountable hurdle by any means, but it does go to show how much of our social interaction revolves around sharing food and drinks with each other.
My lunch consisted of five small boiled potatoes which I supplemented with fresh chives and rosemary from my herb garden. It wasn’t actually half bad — a bit dry and plain but the herbs really helped.
I’ll need to get cooking tonight. I plan to make red lentil soup with rice and some mixed vegetables — should be delicious.