A woman lost seven stone and saved thousands of pounds, after putting herself on a 1940s-inspired ration diet for an entire year.
Single mother-of-three, Carolyn Ekins, came up with the experiment after struggling to pay her bills and lose weight.
A self-confessed World War Two enthusiast, the 48-year-old read wartime pamphlets and ration recipes produced by the wartime Ministry of Food.
She replaced her modern junk food diet with old classics like mock turkey, Spam fritters and Lord Woolton pie – preparing a nutritious meal three times a day.
The thrifty dishes saw Carolyn’s weekly £70 food bill drop to just £14 – saving her almost £3000 over the 12 months.
And she even noticed a difference in her weight - after her daily 5,000 calorie diet decreased to a healthy 2,00.0
Carolyn, a social media administrator from Nottingham, said: “I struggling financially as a single mum I also had a weight problem that was severely impacting on my life.
I’ve always been interested wartime austerity. I am fascinated with the Home Front and the old fashioned recipes in particular.
“I had been cooking ration recipes for fun and it struck me that it might be an interesting way to get healthy and save money.”
A weekly adult ration during the war allowed for 100g of Bacon and Ham, up to 226 grams of minced meat, 50g of butter, 50g of cheese, 100g of margarine, 100g of cooking fat and three pints of milk.
It also included 225 grams of sugar, 50 grams of tea and one shell egg or one packet of dried eggs every four weeks.
Every two months, 450 grams of Preserves were added and 350 grams of sweets were a treat every four weeks.
Families would also have bread, oats, fruits and vegetables.
And a monthly points allowance allowed Brits to buy foods that were in short supply. The maximum 16 points would buy one can of fish, 2 lbs of dried fruit or 8 lbs of split peas.
Carolyn said: “At first it was strange adjusting to this from a modern diet full of additives, perservatives and flavour enhancers.
“I was so used to that that it was a bit of a shock to the system at first. All of a sudden I was transported back 60 years to a rations diet that was very meagre and not very flavourful.
“To begin with I felt it was really bland but after a week or two I really began to appreciate it because my palette had changed.”
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1940s-Inspired Ration Diet
Carolyn searched the internet for recipes as well as searching out old pamphlets, and recipes from Marguerite Patten, who was employed by the Ministry of Food to suggest inventive ideas for rationed food.
Every recipe was followed to the letter to ensure sure they were historically accurate - Carolyn even shunned modern kitchen appliances, like the electric whisk, for added authenticity.
She said: “It takes more time to cook from scratch but it is possible to put aside an hour in the evening to cook instead of watching the television.
“Most of my cooking was done exactly as it would have been done then, which gave me an insight in to how time consuming food preparation was - but it was totally worth it.”
Despite the meagre resources, she was able to combine the ingredients to create 130 different dishes - from Anzac biscuits to vinegar cake and carrot rolls.
Some even went down well with her children Jess, 25, Josh, 21 and Emily, 16 - although they couldn’t be convinced to try the experiment full time.
She said: “It was a really interesting experience. A lot of the ingredients didn’t look particularly appetising.
“There’s a lot of green and a lot of brown. Without a variety of brightly coloured vegetables - like peppers - everything looked a bit beige.
“But, I was often quite pleasantly surprised by how delicious they were.
“A lot of the recipes included vegetables like leafy greens, suede, parsnip and potato. There was also a lot of cabbage - which isn’t everyone’s favourite but I adore it so it was really good for me.
“One of my favourites was Lord Woolton pie - named after the Minister of Food. It had a lot of root vegetables, seasoning, margarine and either a potato or pastry top.
“It was created by a chef at The Savoy Hotel in a bid to get people excited by their bland rations food.”
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