Five Days Below the Poverty Line

This week, I’m taking part in the Global Poverty Project ‘Live Below the Line’ campaign.

There are currently 1.2 billion people around the world who are living on the equivalent of £1 per day, or less – that’s not just for food and drink but for all of their daily needs.

From Monday 28th April to Friday 2nd May, my boyfriend and I will be buying all our food and drink with a limit of £1 each, per day and raising money through sponsorship

You can read the background post here

Live Below the Line by Sara Hardman

Ingredients for Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry

Global Poverty Project suggests that you team-up to get more for your money, so together we need to provide food and drink for a total of 30 meals for £10 or under. We visited Aldi armed with the suggested shopping list and came home with porridge oats, potatoes, onions, curry powder, eggs, milk, carrots, pasta and sauce, sausages, cabbage and stock cubes. You can also use cooking oil, salt, sugar and tea bags as long as you work out the cost of the portion you use and factor it in to your £1 limit per day.

My main concerns are having to eat cold left-overs every day for lunch and cooking two meals every evening as we have to prepare dinner plus the following day’s lunch. The other thing on my mind is how quickly we will start to struggle and how we will manage at work when the hunger affects our concentration and everyone around us is enjoying hot, delicious treats.

Day 1: Monday
Breakfast: Porridge oats and milk – around half the size of my usual portion of cereal topped with blueberries and I was ready to eat my desk by 1pm!
Lunch: Chickpea curry and rice – made the night before and served cold. The recipe was suggested in the resource pack and consists of sweet potato, chickpea, curry powder and onions, served with rice. Very bland but pretty filling as the rice serving was 100g each.
Dinner: Spanish frittata (potato, eggs, onion and oil)

Live Below the LIne by Sara Hardman

Here’s the frittata – we had half each.

The main drama of the day was that I left my curry in the fridge at home and so was left eating dry rice at lunch time until I could race home to grab the second half. The second issue was how tired I became and just how quickly. By 4pm I was really flagging – that’s around the time when I’m usually tucking into a pack a chocolate hobnobs with indecent haste and starting on my fifth cup of milky tea.

Today I had to wait until 7pm to get started on the vegetarian frittata, it was made all the worse by the fact that we’re simultaneously taking the Couch to 5K challenge. The 30 minute exercise session had me tired before I reached the halfway mark and I was much slower than my usual time. Just one day of Living Below the Line and it’s having an effect on my stamina and concentration already.

Day 2: Tuesday
Breakfast: Porridge oats and milk – enjoyed a lot less today in the knowledge that by 10.30am my stomach will be rumbling loudly.
Lunch: Sadly it’s the return of the Spanish frittata from last night. The resource menu advises cooking a double amount for dinner and having the left-overs cold for the following day’s lunch. It’s very dry and even less appealing when it’s stone cold.
Dinner: Pasta and sauce.

Today’s big struggle? I’m getting some fresh air at lunchtime with a wander around the city when a man strolls past me leaving a trail in his wake that fills the air with the smell of hot chips and vinegar! It couldn’t possibly be worse, it’s the smell of my dreams and makes me want to wrestle him to the ground for a taste of salty, potato goodness. I decide it’s best to leave the market before someone starts baking fresh bread or barbecuing pulled pork!

Daydreaming about hot chips!

Daydreaming about hot chips!

The evenings aren’t too bad as we’re exhausted so it’s not long to wait until we can sleep and stop daydreaming about roast dinners and apple pie. Usually we enjoy a glass of wine and a few chocolates or a dessert and it takes some getting used to when you’re so programmed to wandering over to the fridge on auto-pilot, whenever you feel like it.

Day 3: Wednesday
We’re half way through and I’ve lost some weight and feel hungry all the time. I step out of the shower to hear Geoff making porridge again and my heart sinks. Just three days to go but it’s hard living on such limited ingredients with the same meals on rotation.

There’s no way we’re giving up though. We’ve raised £90 so far and that money will help to make a change. Just £50 could feed a child for 6 months, pay a months school fees or buy hundreds of vital vaccinations that will save lives. So, porridge it is.

Live Below the Line by Sara Hardman

Very small bowl of bland, grainy porridge

Breakfast: Porridge and milk
Lunch: Pasta and sauce left-overs from last night
Dinner: Omlette (made with eggs and milk, no fillings and no side-dish – I’m expecting this to be very dry and horribly bland)

There’s no budget for fruit and our vegetables are limited to a carrot and half a cabbage each. I’m not usually a fan of healthy foods but I’m craving colourful salads and fruit juice. I miss the heap of fresh berries that I usually tumble over my cereal. I miss a glass of chilled wine and being able to snack frequently and often. I’m lucky though, in just two days I can eat until my heart’s content. I can regain the weight I lost by choosing anything I like from a restaurant menu and making sure to have pudding.
For 1.2 billion people around the world, this doesn’t end in two days. It doesn’t end in the foreseeable future.

Live Below the Line by Sara Hardman

The only way to make a difference is to join the Global Poverty Campaign to end world poverty by 2030. Please make a donation to support the cause if you can possibly spare a pound or two, every donation helps.

Here’s the link and thank you, we’re extremely grateful for all the donations and support we’ve received.

Sara & Geoff

#BelowTheLine   Live Below the Line - Sara Hardman



10 thoughts on “Five Days Below the Poverty Line

  1. Great to see the update and really get a feel for the sacrifices you’ve been making. It sounds as though the food can be quite bland and cold leftovers as you demonstrate are not all that appetising.

    I remember reading/hearing somewhere a few years ago that in the West we eat maybe 3-4 times more food per day than our bodies actually need. Mix that with all the shocking additives it is little wonder that obesity is a growing issue (no pun intended).

    It is also quite a shocking statistic that £50 would feed a child for 6 months!!!

    1. Thank you, it’s been rather hard going to be honest. The main problem is the nutrition, you just can’t buy fruit and vegetables for this budget, all the food is beige and bland. An omlette made with four eggs and a splash of milk, to serve two people, only keeps you full for about an hour.
      I understand what you’re saying about eating more than we need, we’ve really realised how big our usual portions are. I’m glad to be taking part though, going to bed hungry but feeling lucky that at least you have a bed and heating is really worth thinking about.
      Two and a half days to go 🙂

  2. What a amazing challenge – well done you guys for doing it. Astonishing the way so many people are surviving and so scary to think all you need is £50 to feed a child for six months, some people pay that for Sky!

    1. Thanks Lucy, it really was hard going.
      It’s such a relief this week, being able to eat any time I’m hungry. I’m glad we took part, it really makes you think about how much we spend and waste. It’s lovely to know that we raised some money that will help an amazing cause.

      1. I bet – must be so strange to go from a diet full of flavour and with “normal” portions to meagre quantities of bland, grey meals.. Food is such a big part of my life that I couldn’t imagine living like that. Such a great thing to do and it’s great that it has made you look closer at waste, while doing something for a good cause!

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