Everyone who knows me knows I love my food. Maybe a bit too much. I only heard about Live Below The Line recently. It's a campaign that's challenging the way people in the UK think about poverty.
I decided immediately I wanted to get involved.
Five days on a £1 per day allowance for food & drink. No meal gifts, no using what's already in the cupboards, just budgeting a fiver. This was not going to be easy. It would mean willpower, possible hunger, monotony and sacrifice of both luxury and well, a social life not to mention my beloved wine.
On my way home the night before I started the challenge, I realized I hadn't taken full advantage of food so went to McDonalds for a midnight snack.
The week started with oats, water and half a banana. A 10 pence breakfast. With jam it would have been 5p.
A cup a soup and two soft cheese crackers made a 9.5p lunch.
It's amazing what we take for granted. When we are hungry, we eat. Problem to solution in one easy step.
Not everyone is as fortunate.
Banana on toast = 11.5p. Super noodles = 18p
One thing I noticed is how much I thought about food while depriving myself.
Beans on toast = 17p. Half a tin of chilli with rice = 32.5p.
I might not have consumed very much but I was all consumed by this challenge. I might not have been spending money but I spent a lot of time thinking about how I felt, what I was doing and why.
Half a 19p tin of mandarins blitzed in a blender to make a juice (9.5p) was such a treat after four days of water.
Poached egg on toast for breakfast =18p
I opted to raise money for The Hunger Project UK as well as awareness. Seeing people donate was boosting & when I think about it, £10 would feed this challenge for ten days. TEN days! Incredible really isn't it?
I worked out my daily costs & calorie intake over the five days:
Day 1 - 71p - 1146 cals
Day 2 - 96.5p - 1172 cals
Day 3 - 72p - 1315 cals
Day 4 - 87p - 1143 cals
Day 5 - 98.5p - 1243 cals
That's less than 1200 calories a day. The recommended daily intake for women is 2000.
I didn't have much energy to burn any calories so while I may not have lost pounds I have saved several pounds.
Last week in five days I spent around £70 on food & drink.
This week I spent £5. The equivalent of a bottle of Tesco's Cava.
I have learned a lot about how lucky I am. I already knew I was greedy but now I feel like a spoilt brat to overindulge.
I can't promise I won't splurge again but hopefully I will change the way I spend ludicrous amounts on food & drink unnecessarily.
I'd like to hope that this time next year, a few friends will join me in taking up the challenge again.
Five days isn't that bad when there are people facing this struggle every single day.
Live Below the Line ends on 30th June.