Its day three of the breadline challenge, I am definitely experiencing lower energy levels than normal. My porridge breakfast didn’t seem quite so satisfying today and I am very much looking forward to Lunch!
I live in a house with two other girls and generally we share our meals when we can, treating meal times as a chance to relax and catch up with each other. We also share a ‘food necessities’ monthly shop which provides the cupboards with basic items such as tinned tomatoes, rice, flour and dried beans, salt and pepper etc… Daily meals use a combination of fresh produce bought from the local shops in St Pauls, or further afield (depending on our schedules), and food that we already have in the kitchen. We eat on a budget, with a few treats here and there.
I hoped The Breadline challenge wouldn’t be too tricky, I would just have to sacrifice things like butter, fish, meat, nuts and eating out. With this in mind I did a personal food shop on the way to work on Monday, including items such as pasta, eggs & potatoes. It came to around 10 pounds; hopefully I would only eat part of some of the items during the week. The rest of the week’s quota would be covered by items already in the cupboards and used to contribute to meals with the girls. This in theory seemed like the best way for me to complete the challenge.
So far I have eaten well on Monday and Tuesday, and when I totted up the costing’s for each meal I was slightly under budget for my daily quota.
However, I have noticed that the carefree attitude I normally have with eating and cooking has somewhat decapitated. One of my house mates cooked a delicious potato curry last night, with ingredients from the local shops; normally I would reciprocate with a meal later in the week. Yet I had to painstakingly analyse the cost of the ingredients and then work out how much of it I had eaten in order to meet the requirements of the challenge. I really hated doing this as it somewhat takes away the generosity of the meal, reducing it to figures and calorie intake.
Another problem I can foresee will be social frustration over the weekend. I would ideally like to go out to a ticketed night on Friday after work where I would also like to buy drinks, however with minimal money left from my food quota; this will probably not be possible. Again on Saturday I would like to meet a friend for lunch, this will probably not be possible. I enjoy exercising also, ideally I would have gone swimming this week or over the weekend, but the Easton Swimming pool packs a punch at around £3.90 per swim… not really possible.
My lunch was really yummy in the end; it beat the savoury cravings for now! I really enjoy scrambled eggs on rye bread it is something I eat quite often, today is no exception. A slightly expensive option, at 55p per portion, but it keeps you full for hours, the vegetarian meal has a high fibre and protein content and with the added spinach my iron levels should be looking not too shabby.
Tonight I will be at work; I will have to take a packed dinner with me, I am lucky enough to be able to take some leftovers from last night’s meal.
I am looking forward to cooking later in the week, perhaps a vegetable & pearl barley stew with home-made dumplings is on the horizon, I will be sure to keep you posted!
- Please read this informative article, it explains the difficulties and the painful reality of eating on an almost non-existent budget.
- A great program ‘James Martin, Angela Hartnett and Richard Corrigan live with three households where people are finding it hard to make ends meet. Recent research estimates that nearly five million people in the UK are struggling to feed themselves properly and eat nutritiously.’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b036x3pv
- Below is a link to how the £18 breadline figure was worked out
By Kelvin Cheung, founder & CEO of FoodCycle
*This figure is from Helen Goodman MP: “£18 is based on the experiences of my constituents, in particular women on employment and support allowance who have had to stop working owing to chronic health conditions, perhaps after 20 years of working life. Out of their £71.70, they have to find £10 for electricity, £20 for heating — gas or coal —£6 for water rates, £4 for bus fares and £10 for the bedroom tax, which left them with £23 for weekly living expenses.
That £23 has to cover more than food, of course. We did a calculation, and set aside £5 for all the non-food items everyone has to buy—soap, washing powder, washing-up liquid, toothpaste, loo paper—plus a small amount in order to save £50 a year for clothes or a pair of trainers, or in case the iron breaks. That leaves £18.” You can read Helen’s full article here.