Below the Line 2015: Day 5

Ah, the finish line. It’s so close I can practically taste it. It tastes like apples and protein bars and overnight oats… and squash. And coffee.

My God I’m spoilt. To the point where I’ve got 13p left and I’ve decided to spend 10p tonight on a Flump. Sort of sorry, sort of not. An in-budget reward for making it five days?

Getting Reflective

I’ve gotten a bit reflective, which seems to be a trend for people doing this challenge so I don’t feel too stupid for these thoughts and odd feelings. I tried to explain it to a colleague at work but I don’t think he was a) that interested or b) really understood my angle.

I’m happy that come tomorrow morning (when I have to dash for a train, actually) I can just grab whatever I want from our cupboards and probably by a coffee on the way. Simples. No planning, just a bit of cash for the coffee and my breakfast is sorted. I’ll savour that coffee as well. But that’s sort of the point in itself. I get to look forward to this ending. For the 1.2 billion people out there that this is real life for, where £5 doesn’t even just have to cover food and drink, but everything – this doesn’t end. They can’t look forward to the next morning knowing their hardship has passed.

And really, five days? Not a hardship. Sure I’m grumpy, I’m tired, I’m a bit peckish. But I am not starving. I’m grumpy because I’m used to little luxuries that I’ve taken for granted. Come tomorrow, they’ll all be accessible to me again.

Lessons learnt?

Food wise, I actually did pretty well in that I never had ‘nothing’. I got ‘lucky’ at the supermarket with first, a reduced stew pack and then on Wednesday a reduced half cucumber. I planned well and bulked my meals with breads and rice – not the healthiest method, but all I could afford. Nutrition wise, I’m not so sure. Fats and protein have definitely been lacking. My diet has been nearly all carb and my body is not happy about that, if the constant lethargy is anything to go by. I miss protein. I see a Quest Bar in my very near future.

If I were to do this again (and I think I would, next year… not only to raise money again, but to remind myself of how fortunate I am and perhaps re-ground myself with that), protein sources would be a bigger worry. I think I’d skip the rice, although it was helpful, for something else. The flour and free yeast were a definite yes, I think. Same with the chunky items – butternut quash and pineapple were my saviours this week.

In terms of boredom or frustration at repeated meals… I’m a bit sick of bread for breakfast, and rice nearly every day, but the meals themselves didn’t bother me. I usually the the same thing for lunch at least 3 times a week, and eating the same thing several times in the evening harps back to my student days when I used to play “how far will this beef mince stretch” quite often. I think I’m quite lucky to be pretty confident in the kitchen too. I know what I like, and I knew how to use what I bought to make foods that would at least kind of be similar to what I’d eat normally: soup and vegetable curries are pretty much a staple of my diet!

But a strange positive: my skin has improved! I suffer from eczema and know I shouldn’t really have as much dairy as I do, but I love yogurt and cheese too much. This week, with no yogurts and no cheese, I’ve noticed an improvement. Could be completely unrelated, or some other factor, but I’ve noticed before that no dairy = better eczema during a flare up. I know it seems odd to point out a positive from a week of living on just £5, but still. Silver linings, I’m all about silver linings.

Day Five, the Meals

Day 5 Meals

I also forgot to take a picture of my lunch – kind of on purpose. It was soup and bread, again. In the same plastic container… you can only see a purple tuppaware with the same soup in so often!

  • Breakfast: 2 slice of homemade bread, 1 hardboiled egg, about 1cm of cucumber (from my 1/4 snack)
  • Lunch: Roasted Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup, 1 slice of homemade bread
  • Dinner: Squash & Pineapple Curry with homemade flatbreads, rice, broccoli and a soft boiled egg

How much did it cost?

  • Breakfast: 2.6p (Bread) + 10p (egg)
  • Lunch:  9.9p (Soup) + 1.3p (Bread)
  • Dinner:  29.58p (Curry) + 2p (2 flatbread) + broccoli (3p) + 1.2p (rice) + 10p (1 egg)
  • Snack: 1 banana (9.3p), 1/4 cucumber (1.5p), 1 flump (10p)
  • Total: 87.38p

Stay tuned for a final count up of what I raised with everyone’s generous donations and my thoughts on the meals themselves, and any affect on my weight.

I’m hoping to do a mini bake-sale at work on Tuesday to raise a little more and thank everyone there who donated (I wish I could bring cake to some others who I don’t work with! Thank you if you’re reading this, you know who you are!)

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