For the past week I have been doing the ‘Live Below The Line’ challenge which involves living on $2 a day worth of food. The challenge aims to raise funds to provide education to those that live below the poverty line. As the foundation states, “Investing in education is one of the most important tools needed to break the poverty cycle and create a bright future for generations to come.”
This was my first year doing the challenge and I was a bit cautious considering my dietary restrictions but here is the food I ended up buying after much deliberating and price checking:
1 can of lentils 0.70c
1 can of dented tomatoes 0.80c
1 bag of carrots $1
1 ‘dodgy’ tray of bananas (actually nothing wrong with them, they were perfectly ripe) $2
1L of soy milk $1.70
1 small tin of tuna (because my big tin fell on the floor) 0.70c
10 eggs $3
2 serves of gluten free pasta and one serve of rice -$?
So I probably went about a dollar over the budget which is crazy looking back at the week and how hungry and grumpy I became.
On the first day I really yearned for coffee and chocolate but after a couple of days without coffee I began to sleep much better so I may try to keep my coffee intake low from now on.However, my yearning for chocolate only got worse over the days and I can’t say I will be giving that up.
A couple of other crucial things that missing from the diet were: flavour and nutrients. I learned to appreciate the simple things like: oil, salt and pepper, cinnamon and spices. When you look at the nutritional aspect of the diet you see that it’s essentially just carbohydrates. And unfortunately they are fast release carbohydrates (white rice, bread and pasta) rather than slow. This left me feeling sluggish and, to be honest, not that full.
There is also a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet which are a primary source of vitamins and minerals that we need to keep our body healthy.
After day 1 I had to swap my rice for gluten free pasta as it was agitating my IBS symptoms and making me quite ill. Apart from that I was feeling fine.
A typical day of food looked a bit like this:
Breakfast: A banana, soy smoothie with a side of 1 or 2 eggs
Snack– A banana on some days
Dinner– Pasta/rice with tomato sauce and lentils
or pasta/rice with tinned tuna
Snack– A bit of soy milk
However as day 3 approached I found myself becoming very hungry and easily annoyed due to the small lunch and large gap until dinner time. At times I felt faint and decided that It was a good idea not to exercise during the week.
On the 3rd day my big can of tuna fell all over the floor and I drowned in my own tears (ok not quite). At times like this I tried to think of the fact that I am only living 5 days of my life like this while others have to live everyday of their life in poverty.
At the end of the challenge I had raised about $380 for Live Below The Line which is great! This money will go towards helping to train teachers in Cambodia and will also buy a fair amount of school supplies!
I highly suggest you give the challenge a go yourself as you will learn to appreciate the small things in life while raising money for a great cause!