£1 a day

We're taking the challenge of living below the extreme poverty line, spending just £1 a day, to raise money for charity, but also to experience it and enhance our compassion. People all over the world have less than £1 a day to live on, which has to provide food, shelter and utilities. We have so much provided for us, but we are going to eat for just £1 a day. The challenge doesn't begin until May 2012, but you can read about last years experience here.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

As I mentioned, I made myself a massive amount of juice this morning, and it was so so good!

The hardest thing about live below the line is how uniform everything tastes. We actually finished with about 1/2 a chicken left over (we were both being so cautious at the beginning of the week) and three eggs. The things is, you can't buy 1/2 a box of eggs, and we got the chicken at a really low price, so less wouldn't have been cheaper.

There really was just no way we could budget in fruit. We barely had any vegetables as it was.

I think it's the lack of carbohydrates that was making me feel a little light headed because with in a few minutes of drinking my juice my mood was visibly brighter and I was convinced I was having a mild 'caffeine buzz' (despite no caffeine) and my head was clearing.

It's horrible to think that for some people this isn't just an unpleasant week, but a lifestyle.

How long can the body cope on that kind of diet, without long term damaging effects? Sure, I felt a little foggy and light headed, but if this was my long term diet, would I be causing serious damage?
Is there a link between poverty and learning disabilities?
Is that why children from poorer areas achieve less?

Live below the line has once again made me so thankful for things like breakfast cake, but more importantly for the privilege of being able to feed my children, good nourishing foods, make the best choices for their educations and give them opportunities that millions of people around the globe will never have.

It makes me thank God for where I was born, and when I was born.


Saturday, 12 May 2012

I literally can't be bothered to eat today.

 I guess it's because the kids are ill, so we haven't been out much this week, and I've been a bit run down too. I'm not expending many calories, and because I know the food I can have isn't very interesting I'm not even hungry anymore. Just goes to show how much excess I eat normally under the pretense of hunger, when it's really just boredom - wanting a new flavour in my mouth.

 Sometimes I think I'm hungry, when I'm cutting up an orange for the children or slicing pineapple for their juice, but when faced with eating more chicken I quickly decide I'm not. All I want is fresh fruit, and if I can't have it, then I'm not hungry. I'm behaving like a toddler.

 Seriously, the first thing I'm having tomorrow morning is about a litre of fresh juice. I'm not kidding either. I have a pineapple, 6 oranges, a bunch of carrots and some beetroot all waiting on my kitchen side.

Saving Seeds

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Waste has become much more important to me in the last 48 hours (much as it did last year during our live below the line experience).

It's so difficult to watch your children leave food on a plate and know that, although it would easily double me and Matts dinner tonight, realistically it's going in the bin. I guess that's one thing the poor don't have to deal with, because their children would be starving too.

Not that I'm saying I'd rather my children were starving, just that it's hard to let that food go to waste.

My mum used to say 'there's children starving in Africa' when I didn't eat my dinner as a kid. I knew full well the food wouldn't magically get to them whether or not I ate it, but being on the hungry end of that equation really does make me resent the waste a whole lot more.

In the interest of not wasting this weeks vegetable box (I forgot to cancel my standing order) I've been preserving it, when it suddenly hit me, that I could also save the seeds.

Matt and I had a conversation earlier about how much easier live below the line would be if our garden was a bit more established (is that cheating?) and whether we should include costs like seeds. That's when I realised I have a steady supply of healthy, organic, seeds - regularly going into my compost bin!

It probably wouldn't have occurred to me if I hadn't seen Food Inc and been so shocked by the farmers loss of rights to save seeds for next years planting. It's such a normal part of traditional food production, to save your best seeds and replant.

It's horrifying to think that so many farmers are being kept in debt, and that poverty and food 'shortages' continue because large companies can find legal ways to wipe out traditional farming.

You can do something about it. Educate yourself and get involved in the campaign against Monsanto

The Will to Cook

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Is it terrible that I've lost the will to cook and it's only day one?

The children aren't doing live below the line (it is something we'd like to do with them in the future, but when they are older and can understand why) and already I realised I've become lazy about cooking for them.

Breakfast went well, but then their lunch had turned out to be just cheese, dates, pears and cashew nuts; not that they are complaining. This kind of snack food is Will's favourite meal.

I don't want to start a trend though. Just because I'm not eating it myself doesn't mean I can't still create delicious and nutritious meals for my children.

The curse of live below the line

Monday, 7 May 2012

I'm sick again.

What is it about live below the line that does this to me? Fortunately it seems to be a nasty cold virus, rather than chicken pox this time so we are going to go ahead with the challenge.

I spent most of our budget on a chicken this year, so we'll be drinking plenty of chicken broth which should help aid recovery.

On the plus side, both kids appear to be coming down with said virus as well, so we should get a nice cuddly day on the sofa, which won't be too strenuous.

Second Attempt

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Thanks for all who sponsored us for our Live below the Line attempt back in March. Obviously we can't really count living below the line because of illness, so to honour your sponsorship we are going to have another attempt... starting monday!

We will once more be living below the line and will keep you up to date here. In the meantime here's the trailer:

Why Live Below the Line

Monday, 26 March 2012

Live below the line is close to my heart because we plan to adopt, not just any orphan, but one of the world's poorest.

Actually, that's not strictly true. We plan to adopt from the 75% of the worlds population who we consider to be the world's poorest, but who are statistically much more average than we have ever been.

Maybe this video will explain it better than I can, but live below the line reminds me that somewhere, out in the vast world that I have no comprehension of, one or more of our children is currently living on less than this.

The end of the week

Friday, 16 March 2012

There has been little to no posting from us, mainly because I got really sick and ended up in hospital.

Although I have easily lived on less than a £1 a day for about eight days (so no need to withdraw your sponsorship ;0) ) we do feel like it was kind of a cheat and not really the experience we'd hoped for.

With that in mind, we are going to be doing our live below the line week again later in the year.

Hope you'll keep up with us then.



Saturday, 10 March 2012

I'd planned our meals down to a perfect budget for the week, still GAPS friendly, with a £1.02 contingency fund - then Matt announces that he is going to eat lunch and probably breakfasts at school.

This is a problem, because it reduces our joint grocery budget from £10 for the week to £6.66 for the week.

Goodbye salad leaves, goodbye eggs, and probably goodbye home made yoghurt.

I need to rebudget, but right now I have the chicken pox and I can't think clearly.

One thing is for sure though, I am not sending Matt to the shops without a list of exactly what to buy.

He'll come home with peanut butter.

One Week to go...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

So there's only one week left until we start the 'Live Below The Line' challenge, and this year it's going to be harder than ever. This is on the most part because although I said I wasn't going to start the GAPS diet until after live below the line, we actually already started and seeing the improvement in our health, I don't want to go back.

I recently watched a documentary called 'Food Inc' too.

Now it's not just about health, but an ethical decision to want to stick to the diet. How can I justify getting sponsorship to raise awareness of extreme poverty, whilst buying products which exploit the worlds poorest and most vulnerable people?

That's right, people.

It's not just the animals that are abused in battery farming. Illegal immigrant workers are used for cheap labour in slaughter houses throughout the industry, whilst the subsidised corn prices in the US put third world farmers out of business and create famine, and genetic copyright laws are putting farmers under crippling debt or out of business.

If you haven't seen Food inc, you really should. You can watch it on netflix, who will give you a one month trial for free if you sign up with your facebook details, no obligation and you can cancel right after you watch it.

The most heart breaking section of the documentary is when they follow a family who have just $1 a day to buy food, so they buy fast food burgers from a 99c menu. The parents want to feed their children better, but they take a trip round a supermarket and show you that they can't afford broccoli ($1.29) or pears ($1 would only buy two, which wouldn't fill them up for the day). One of the reasons they can't afford any more is because the father is on medication for severe diabetes - caused by their diet. They can't afford the medication and a change of diet, and don't want to risk losing the father by coming off the meds.

These are the decisions faced by families in extreme poverty every day.

I'm going to be making some really difficult decisions about what I eat for the next week. I think that homemade yoghurt is going to be key once again as it only costs me 55p to make just over a pint, but I'm honestly not sure where else I can save. Some very careful budgetting is going to need to happen if we are going to eat real food in an ethical way and stay below budget.

Unfortunate events

An unfortunate twist to live below the line this year, not only will I be attempting to do it on GAPS, but I have been up since four am today vomiting.

Please pray that I get better quickly.

I was hoping to use my fat reserves to get through a rather lean weak, but if I'm already depleted its going to be really tough.


Friday, 10 February 2012

It's almost time for Live Below the Line 2012 - Well, I say it's almost time, actually there's still about 3 months to go, but we've already signed up and are ready to go.
For those who didn't follow us last year the basic idea is that from the 7th-11th of may we are going to live on less than £1 a day. This is supposed to simulate the extreme poverty that 1.4 billion people around the world live in.

Our experience last year told us that it is achievable, but not at all pleasurable. There's absolutely no wiggle room, and you can't afford to get sick as there's not budget for any medicines.

So what can you buy with £1 a day?

Not a bus ticket, not formula milk for a baby and certainly not a magnum ice cream.

But the reality is, as hard as we found this, we still aren't even close to experiencing poverty like many others do. We are only budgeting £1 a day for food and drink. We haven't included living costs like heating, rent and travel (luckily we live where we work, but this isn't true for many).

We also aren't going to be including the children until they are much older and able to understand what's happening. This means that we get to spend the whole £1 on ourselves each day, where plenty of mothers around the world have to go hungry to be able to feed their starving children.

There are a few things we'd like you to consider doing this year.
  1. Taking part in Live Below the Line yourself. You can read the rules and sign up here.
  2. Consider sponsoring one or both of us (we're raising money for the same charity, but can't help getting competitive about it!)
  3. Just follow our blog. Raising awareness of extreme poverty is one of the reasons we are taking on this challenge, so we'd love for you to keep reading and share with us in this experience.
Blog posts might be sporadic over the next three months, but we promise to update at least daily during the challenge.

If you do decide to get involved and want to blog your experiences too, let us know so we can link up.