Live Below the Line Day 3 – I give up

Enough.  It can be done but only if you are prepared to forage for free veg, are happy eating someones leftover apples and don’t mind being constantly hungry.

I mind all of that.

What have I gained? I’m proud that I managed to eat reasonably good food for 2 and a half days on £1 a day.  Apart from feeling so hungry I can’t think straight I feel healthy, not bloated or strung out on additives from cheap supermarket food. My skin is fantastic from drinking pints of lemon balm tea. I’ve learnt that you need a whole carrier bag of nettles to make a small portion as they boil down to nothing. I’ve missed avocado and spinach. I’ve not missed sugar or tea.

I’ve proved to myself what I already know;  people with money don’t have to spend so much to live.  People with money can buy bigger boxes and 3 for the price of 2 bargains to fill their cupboards with and eat next week or the week after. People with more money have big freezers they can pack with yellow ticketed bargains they get when they see them, because they have spare change on them.

I didn’t go into this to raise money so a charity can set up another retro shop selling overpriced Primark. And, as we have plenty of poverty in the UK it didn’t seem right to me to raise money for overseas. Also, £1 a day in the Republic of Congo can buy you a whole lot more than £1 here, it’s not a fair comparison. I just wanted to see if it was possible to live below the line and not eat supermarket crap, not bulk out on carbs and chemicals.

I live on an insanely low income but we eat well, purely because I have a buffer of savings so I don’t have to only spend £5 a week. I’ve spent most of yesterday and all of today fantasizing over what I will eat on Saturday (I’ve been dreaming of decent portion sizes), which makes a mockery of the whole thing. I’ve no sense of what it is to be actually so poor I’d have to eat on £1 a day on Saturday too.  I can only imagine the lack of light at the end of the tunnel, with good luck I hope I’ll never experience it.

I’m worried that the government will see the Live Below the Line site and think it’s actually possible, and reasonable to expect people to live like this, then cut benefits to the poorest of us who are the least able to fight back even more.

On the whole I just feel angry about this, it feels like I’ve just played a little rich kid game of being poor. I’m Marie Antoinette playing in her mock farm. It feels patronising and somewhat insulting to those that have to live below the line in real life, in this country, right this minute.

An avocado is calling to me, must go.

Living Below the Line Paleo style – Day 3 – I cheat

Weight 10st 7.4lb, no change from yesterday.

Yesterday I was hungry, more I think because the cats and my son had kept me up a lot of the night and when I’m tired I get really snacky.

This is what I have left for the next 3 days.


From the left, clockwise:

  • A tub of chicken and herb stock
  • almost half a buttenut squash
  • most of a leek
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 small red peppers, 1 small yellow, 1 large green
  • 7 coconut and herb meatballs
  • 8 meatballs with apple
  • wild garlic
  • tiny bits of celery
  • half a block of coconut cream
  • small portion of samphire
  • one asparagus spear
  • wild garlic
  • chard
  • spinach (boiled up and chopped)
  • also I have one and a half sweet potatos.

I’m too hungry to meal plan.

Breakfast, spinach, red pepper, wild garlic scrambled egg.

Lunch; 3 meatballs, wild garlic and butternut squash soup made from chicken stock

Chicken stock soup with butternut squash and wild garlic
Chicken stock soup with butternut squash and wild garlic

The soup was actually nice and it’s probably what I’ll have for most of tomorrow but meanwhile. I cracked and ate this. Non paleo, well out of budget but I’m too hungry to think straight, I’ve got a meeting to go to in half an hour and I need to be sentient. Fuck it.

This isn’t the end of the week for me though, I’ll stick to what I have for the rest of the week. Maybe.


Living below the (poverty) Line – Whole 30 Paleo Style

On Monday I’ll be living on £1 a day for food for 5 days,

The idea came from the Live below the line challenge which is encouraging people to try to live on very little and be sponsored for it. I’m not doing that, firstly because I find it really embarrasing when friends ask me to sponsor them, and secondly because over my dead body is any money I raise going to a religious organisation. Not all the organisations you can raise money for are religious but I also wonder how much actually gets to the charity. Anyway, I digress. I’m doing this as a personal challenge.

The meal plans they suggest are pretty much junk food; cheap spagetti, value white bread, budget jam… and I’m sure this can be done with good food, and in a Whole 30 style, where meals are a palm sized bit of protein and the rest of the plate vegetables. No wheat, rice, grains, legumes, cheese or sugar. I am not a strict whole 30 er, my family are vegans and I just can’t eat meat 3 times a day so I do a sort of mixed vegi and normal whole 30 regime. I also slip into the occasional pizza and drink beer. Not ideal I know but better than I was eating before.

I can forage for wild garlic, nettles and dandylion leaves so greens are free, herbs are also free because there is a free herb garden in a local park. Mint and Lemon Balm are just popping up in the garden so there will be some form of tea.

I’ve bought 3 sweet potatos for 50p, a butternut squash for £1, 200g minced pork and beef for £1.48, sardines in tomato sauce for 24p and some free range eggs (2p more than sad battery eggs) for £1. I drink soya milk  because it regulates my hormones and a litre of that is 69p. I’m might go halves on a block of butter with a friend for 50p, I’m going to get veg from the 50p bags outside the veg shop and hope there are carrots and tomatos and maybe even a big bag of sorry looking avocados. It’s a tight budget.

From my £5 I need to make 15 meals, each with a reasonable bit of protein and greenery. There are 6 meals in the eggs, possibly 6 meals in the mince. So I’m short of protein. I’m going to ask the butcher if he has bones he would normally throw away and I can make soup and maybe get enough fat from the bones to be able to ditch the butter and get coconut oil instead.

Here are the guidelines from the site.

  • From the 29th April – 3rd May you can spend no more than £1 a day on food and drink.
  • This means you have a total of £5 with which to buy all ingredients for your meals.
  • The full cost of all the items you consume must be included in your budget. This means budgeting for whole packets of food items such as rice, pasta, noodles and eggs etc.
  • For items such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices, simply work out the cost of each item per gram and budget your shopping proportionally. Separate your items before the challenge so there’s no need to be digging around in your cupboards.
  • You can share the cost of ingredients amongst a team, as long as no participant spends more than £1 a day or their total £5 budget. Working as a team will allow you to pool together funds and do more with your cooking.
  • You can’t grab a cheeky snack from the cupboard unless you include the cost of buying the item new in your budget.
  • You can use food sourced from your garden as long as you can account for the price of production!
  • No combination of meals on any given day can exceed the £1 spending limit. Remember this is a challenge to eat creatively and be enjoyed – don’t at any point deprive yourself of three meals a day.
  • You cannot accept ‘donated’ food from family or friends, but monetary donations towards your fundraising goals are acceptable, and encouraged!
  • You are allowed to drink tap water – remember you should try and drink at least 6-8 glasses of water each day.

A week on WW2 rations

For a week me and my 8 year old are on WW2 rations.

We have (between us)

Butter 100g

Marj 200g

Sugar 450g

Milk 4l

Smoked Salmon (instead of bacon) 200g

Cheese 100g

2 eggs

Tea 100g

Jam 100g

Sweets 120g

T is a bit disgruntled that there will be no pasta. We are hoping for some black market goodies.

This is our Morrison shelter, underneath the table, in case the siren goes off –