Monday, 23 April 2012

Day 1 - Live Below The Line

So. End of day one. It's been a long day and I'm kind of exhausted. Here's what I ate:

Breakfast: Plain porridge. Hot water with lemon.

Lunch: Vegetable fried rice.

Dinner: Lentils and Cabbage over Vegetable Fried Rice.

Dessert: Orange.

The rice I had for lunch will be making several more appearances this week because I made a huge vat of the stuff on sunday night. 

I just finely chopped 2 carrots, an onion, a few large cabbage leaves and 3 garlic cloves and then sauteed them in a large pan until soft. Added a big pot of cooked rice. Stirred in half a cup of hot water with a stock cube diluted in it - to give it a bit of flavour - and added a pinch of salt and some chilli flakes. Even with the stock cube, this is pretty bland food. Without any herbs or soy sauce or something it's just rice and vegetables in a pot - hard to jazz up or get excited about. But I guess that's the point.

Before I head to bed, a few thoughts in no particular order:

1. I cheated. Several times. I used salt, olive oil and a few chilli flakes that had not been paid for with my LBTL budget. Which is pathetic (especially given that it's only Day 1) and I'm sorry. I feel bad about it. I actually really do. But what I had cooked was completely devoid of taste. 

2. I rely on herbs and spices. I have a very healthy spice rack as well as a nice selection of stocks, salts and fresh herbs growing on my window sill. Without these things I feel a like I have one hand tied behind my back. 

3. After just one day I already miss meat. And cheese. And chocolate.

4. I really miss coffee. As well as that wonderful caffeine hit that helps me ease into the day, there's something so comforting about a warm drink on a chilly day. It's a nice, cozy punctuation mark throughout your day. So I drank a lot of hot water with lemon, which is no replacement but the heat is enough to trick my brain into a semi-cozy feeling.

5. I'm not sure why I'm trying to make the photos pretty. The food isn't really pretty. But it's vanity (on behalf of my pretty blog) and habit. 

6. Even on a tiny budget, it's remarkable how much choice we have. If I take nothing away from this exercise, I hope I remember to appreciate the amount choice that I have. 

7. There are so many things I eat and drink without even noticing - slurping coffee, tea and orange squash all day long, munching on biscuits or a cracker, chomping on an apple absent mindedly, taking a spoon of greek yoghurt from the pot, sneaking a slice of cheese or ham without thinking, or a square of dark chocolate after dinner. As soon as these things are off limits, they become suddenly visible. Essential even. I feel edgy this evening - not hungry, but missing something.

9. At about 2.30pm it hit me that I could stop this challenge next week. I could stop it now if I wanted to. That's an incredible luxury. And I felt very stupid and humbled and small and lucky.

Okay. I have to go to bed now.

Thankyou for all the messages of support, advice and suggestions, retweets, and of course thankyou thankyou thankyou to everyone who has sponsored me. I really appreciate it. Tune in tomorrow to see how Day 2 goes.



  1. You need more protien....this is why you still feel unsatisfied. We are used to that feeling here, and if you keep this up you will get used to it too.

    Add some beans to your rice and flavor it with some bacon or bacon greese if you have it. Helps with the plain food and the beans will make the meal a compleate protein (beans and rice are a staple together). Also, instead of bacon, you can add scrambled egg to your rice. You should eat an egg with your porridge too...the protien is what makes you feel satisfied for a while on a limited budget.

    Are you allowed to forage during your expiriemnt? If you can, see if you can find some wild strawberries or mulberries in the woods that you can use to dress up your porridge.

  2. You ARE allowed to forage and you are allowed to use salt, pepper and spices if you have a penny or two over of your budget. As part of the challenge you do NOT have to buy full packs of spices or condiments. ALthough you'can't really use oil, unless you buy it.

    Do not feel too guilty, by trying this challenge and then highlighting when YOU have cheated to bring to peoples attention even more how hard it is for the millions living in true poverty.

    Well done on your first day and on making your photos look as appetising as possible. If you have a feeling of real protein shortage and a few pennies of your budget over, buy a single egg off yourself (if you have any in the fridge) and turn some of your rice into egg fried rice, it will really help.

    The main thing is not to be too hard on yourself, just keep up the good work.

    Well done.

    Sue xx

  3. Well done some of us ( me) couldnt do it!