Comments 10

#fdbloggersBTL Day 2: Am I finding this too easy?

Live Below The Line Fried Egg and Fried Bread

Edit since posting: I just want to make it clear that I’m not trying to belittle or downplay the experiences of those living in actual food poverty. That’s something I can only just imagine, it’s shitty, and horrible, and completely incomparable to the experiences of an employed twenty something taking part in a blog challenge. I cannot and will not use my experience this week to demonstrate what it’s like to actually live off £1 a day, because it’s not the same thing. So when I’m saying I’m finding this easy, I’m not saying it’s easy for everyone long term. Just wanted to make that crystal.

I don’t want to sound like a total dickhead here, but I’m finding this challenge remarkably easy. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t expect anything particularly exciting to come out of my kitchen this week, and accepted my fate of samey meals every day. I’m eating enough food so I’m not actually hungry. There just isn’t a problem yet. It’s only day two, so perhaps I’ll suddenly be eating my words (out of desperation for variety) in 48 hours or so, but I don’t see why I would be.

I really fancied a snack at 4 o clock yesterday afternoon, but I didn’t have one because I’m not supposed to, that was really the only shadow on my day and it wasn’t a big deal. Actually I’m lying, I really fancied a coffee too – but again, didn’t have one, not a big deal.

Weirdly, my caffeine headaches were non-existent yesterday, apparently it only takes me 24 hours to come off the coffee – worth remembering.

I suppose one thing I’d note at this point is that if I ate like this all the time, I probably wouldn’t be doing my body any favours. 2-4 slices of white bread and 100g white pasta is a first class seat on the train to fatsville, and I’ve been trying to escape that town for like three years. I’d also get fatally bored. A lot of people have criticised my opting for the bread and pasta route, but I firmly believe that I’d be way hungrier, crankier and less able to work if I were trying to survive on a small portion of stir fried kale as opposed to beans on toast. Just throwing that out there.

I’m not looking forward to today’s repeat of yesterday’s meals, but I’m not dreading it either and I don’t have plummeting energy levels or crappy skin or a rumbling stomach. I’m kinda coasting at the moment.

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  1. Is this challenge about depravity and boredom of food though? Think about those who don’t have the choice in this way of life, who live off £1-2 a day with not much choice. You know I just find these challenges hard to swallow, because they’re not a challenge, maybe for you, but for others they aren’t and this is how they have to live. Raise awareness, donate your ‘challenge’ food shop to a food bank for those that don’t have the choice. I know I seem grumpy here, but that’s only because I work with many patients in my job who don’t have the freedom with their food choices and I work with a food bank as a volunteer too and have to see people relying on this as a means of support. I feel there are better ways of support than a challenge, which almost mocks how some people have to live.
    P.S. I do still love you, but I get grumpy about these things. I look forward to normal blog service continuing when this is over.

    • Fair play girl, perhaps I am missing the point here and making it too much about my own experience and not about the experiences of those who have to deal with this shit on the daily. The only reason I shy away from talking about that is because I’ve got NO idea what that’s like, I’m fortunate enough to never have had to experience it, so I don’t feel it’s my right to compare this situation to that. Does that make sense? Glad you still love me.

      • Paul says

        Hey, Troll here. As the poster above I think you’re awesome but I do understand what she’s trying to say. I think the challenge would have more value if it was about trying to eat healthy on a really tight budget. Before trolls, I spent a year living on dole money. As someone who’s always cared about what I put in my body, I was faced with a very real challenge of continuing to do that on virtually no money. I mostly managed it though. I got friendly with local butchers who’d give me bags of bones with scraps of meat on, or bacon off cuts. I’d ask greengrocers if they had surplus of anything they could do me cheap, I’d hang around waitrose just before closing and haggle at the meat and fish counters, they’d often reduce stuff down 75% for me. I’d make huge batch meals of root veg, bones and barley and freeze them. Just a suggestion but why not try extending this challenge to a month and see what useful tricks you learn along the way. Maybe you’ll figure some things out that will be helpful to others.

    • claire says

      Can I chip in, please? ☺ Whilst I actually agree with what you’re saying, Cate’s posts have made me think about the issue again (I’ve given thought to it a few times, but doubt I would have done so this week unprompted). Looking at what Cate bought really reminded me of the nutritional graveyard that is cheap food. There seems to be something seriously wrong about that to me. I spend pretty much all of my money on food and yes, I eat well, but it bloody costs. Is that right? If such “pointless” challenges are perhaps in part a vanity project for the more affluent, (isn’t much of charity/ philanthropy?) they do at least also remind us of serious, ongoing issues.
      Oh, and Cate? I’d’ve spent the lager money on lemons.
      To perk up the pasta, smashed peas, play Let’s Pretend with ice, a slice and wishful thinking…

  2. I think you’re just doing you, and it’s interesting to see, when faced with a fiver, what food you’d live on for a week. It proves a very valid point that, when faced with only spending £1 on food each day, it’s FAR easier to choose the unhealthier food that will keep you full but not necessarily benefit you as well nutritionally. It just goes to show how difficult it must be to have to live on that little money and still strive to eat healthily, as Paul above rightly pointed out! From what you’re eating, I think the repetition would be the hardest thing for me, rather than the hunger. But then there aren’t rules that come with this challenge that state you have to do anything, so keep being honest and see how you feel on day 5! It just goes to show that on as little money as that, getting your 5-a-day would be so difficult, hence one of the reasons impoverished children are often malnourished and vitamin deficient. Alice xx


  3. Hmm I don’t think it comes across as belittling those in actual food poverty, I think it shows that with the right education/knowledge and willpower, it is ‘easy’ to live off £1 a day. But of course for many, those in food poverty don’t have the level of food knowlede we have as food bloggers. It’s all about being smart with your shopping and diet; it is hard to eat healthily with such a restricted budget and that’s clear. The whole point of the challenge is to raise awareness; it’s like that homelessness documentary on BBC1 recently, what the celebrities went through is most definitely not the same. Living homeless for 1 day is much easier than it is for 4 years. I think over a longer period of time, your thoughts would change, you’d get bored of eating the same pasta every lunchtime! Don’t be disheartened by the reaction, I think you’re doing brilliantly Cate! 👍

  4. claire says

    The lager may have been a joke, but I’d warrant many people in these circumstances for real actually WOULD do the same or similar. Because when life’s hard, you want comfort more than ever, be it lager, chips or chocolate. Eating well on a low budget is bloody hard work, and when life already is then the quick fixes and cheap treats are even more appealing.

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