Live Below the Line: Day 5 The Final Hurdle

Here we are, the last day of the Live Below the Line challenge – eating and drinking on under £1 a day to raise awareness of global poverty. Three guesses what I started the day with?

Day 5 Breakfast 

Soft cheese with garlic and herbs – 25 calories, 1.7g fat, 1.1g sat fat, 3.5p
Value pitta bread – 130 calories, 1g fat, 0 saturates, 3.3p
Cup of value tea with a value sweetener – Negligible nutrition, 0.3p

Meal cost: 7.1p
Calorie Content – 155
Fat Content – 2.7g
Saturated Fat – 1.1g

I’ve struggled the most today. Cycling in to work against the wind was difficult and an afternoon session at the local community centre showing objects for two hours really took it out of me. Then the cycle home involved a sudden heavy rainshower, freezing to death while I dried out and once again, somehow, cycling against the wind. Luckily, I wasn’t able to fit my whole portion of lunch into a tub so I had some left over to eat when I got home, to try and counteract the headache I was feeling. It makes me wonder, how long do you feel like this if you find yourself on the poverty line? A week, two weeks? Six months? Always? I can’t imagine having the constant nag of a not quite full tummy, suffering headaches, not sleeping properly, spending the whole day thinking about food – planning, scheming, doing whatever you can to get a nice full belly. And I have hardly had the genuine experience. I’ve sacrificed my usual lifestyle, foodwise, but I’ve had a roof over my head, running water, electricity and everything else at my disposal the whole time.

Day 5 Lunch

75g of value pasta – 4.5p, 260 calories, 1.1g fat, 0.2g saturated fat
150g beans and sausages – 12p, 175 calories, 5g fat, 1.5g sat fat
35 ml value passata – 2.4p, 13 calories
courgette, cubed – 4.5p, 8 calories
mushrooms, slice – 2p, 6 calories
Swirl of soft cheese with garlic and herbs 0.5p, 6 calories, 0.3g fat, 0.2g sat fat

Meal cost – 25.9p
Calorie Content – 468
Fat Content – 6.9g
Sat Fat – 1.9g

But it’s not all doom and gloom and headaches and tantrums and general lethargy.

  • So far I’ve raised £65 in online and offline donations for Peace Direct, smashing my £50 target.
  • I genuinely feel that this experience has raised my awareness of global poverty and my empathy for the 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line.
  • I hope I have raised other people’s awareness too and at least made people think twice about the things they take for granted.
  • It has made me feel luckier, and generally more positive about my own life. Things could be a lot worse for me and I hope to be able to remember that every day.
  • Hopefully this will have helped me get over my post-quitting smoking mahoosive appetite!

Day 5 Dinner

Battered white fish – 17.25p, 225 calories, 13g fat, 2g sat fat 
60g rice – 2.4p, 162 calories, 0.5g fat
1/4 courgette, cubed – 5p per portion, 10 calories
2 mushrooms, slice – 2.75p per portion, 8 calories

Last of the soft cheese – 0.5p, 6 calories, 0.3g fat, 0.2g sat fat

Meal cost – 27.9p
Calories – 411 
Fat – 13.8g
Sat Fat – 2.2g


Day 5 Totals

Cost – 60.9p
Calories – 1034
Fat – 23.4g
Sat Fat – 5.2g

Today my calorie intake was 51.7% of my recommended daily allowance.

I’ve managed to come out of this week with some store cupboard ingredients left over also – lots of rice, pasta, passata and also one of my battered white fish portions (a slight lie, The Boy may well have eaten it). Were I to do this challenge again, I think I’d probably see what I could blag from the good market traders of Leicester, rather than using the corporate giants to provide my food. I reckon (if I was lucky) I could do quite well off a courgette here, a 50p bowl of potatoes at the end of the day there… This time I wasn’t willing to take the risk, but perhaps next time I’d be more resourceful and probably do some foraging too!

Total spend on food actually consumed – £3.77
Average daily calorie consumption – 1135 calories

There you have it then. I have completed the Live Below the Line Challenge 2012. Thank you if you have sponsored me, or go on to sponsor me as a result of reading this blog post. I hope it helps you to appreciate what a privileged position many of us find ourselves in.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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