My second day of living below the line and my first one where I was also at work. Breakfast was my 4p bargain porridge routine again. I’ve learnt not to cook it for so long – less fuel and less like gruel. For lunch I had salad of lettuce from the garden, radish and mushroom, with polenta (which I had bought reduced as past sell by date), I added fennel from the garden to the polenta to give it flavour – total 13p! I had boiled up some Morrisons country soup mix before I left for work and then cooked it in the slow cooker with vecon and water. My original plan had been to add mushrooms and curry powder to make a dahl but I was so hungry when I got home I just ate it as it was, tasty and filling 28p so just 45p spent. It meant I could go mad on a banana, kiwi and a cup of tea and still come in under the £1.
But what of the reflective side of all of this…… I had to look at a box of chocolates that someone had brought back from a trip abroad and not dip in, refused cups of tea that were kindly offered. I am looking at a few things in the fridge which really need using up or will be thrown away, which is counter-intuitive to the process and probably says more about my waist and waste than anything else. I am missing the chunks of cheese I normally pinch from the fridge as I go past too. So I am aware that the exercise of Living Below the Line is hugely artificial, but it does make me stop and think.
Mostly though I am conscious that it is very difficult to have a balanced diet including 5-a-day, omega oils, all the other essentials that the dietitians would approve of on £1 a day. The £1 figure used in the Living Below The Line challenge is meant to be representative of poverty figures globally. Then we start getting into the difficult business of defining poverty in absolute and relative terms. In the UK children growing up in households who are unable (through lack of income or because of their lifestyle choices) to spend a reasonable amount on food are likely to be disadvantaged in so many ways; obesity, greater risk of cancers and heart disease, inability to focus and poor co-ordination. I could spend hours pouring over the data behind the news headlines, goodness knows enough pages of public health data have been written on the topic. One thing is clear though, for those living in poverty here in the UK or elsewhere in the world maintaining true health and vitality on less than £1 a day will always be a struggle.
I am very grateful to those who have already donated to my Unicef page; if you feel able to join them you can do so here