Friday, 31 May 2013

Day 3, or how I made the correct choice for once!

This is now starting to feel like normal, and I am no longer waking up in the mornings and remembering with a lurch of the stomach that I am restricted to £1's worth of food today!  Of course, I realise that I am not eating healthily and this is no way to live.  Were it permanent I would have to start scouring the reduced section of the produce aisle, but in my local supermarkets they do not mark down by much, preferring to throw stuff away rather than compromise sales of their in-date expensive, perfectly-formed vegetables.  I would need either to buy frozen, or to hope that some of their "everyday" (ie not perfectly-formed, but just as nutritious) veg went out of date so that I could afford it.  And I think that fruit would be totally out of the question unless I could grow some myself.  I would seriously struggle and 5 a day would be but a dream.  Even fresh potatoes are a luxury item on £1 a day, and they don't even count as one of the 5!

But it isn't permanent, I am lucky.  

Oats again for breakfast, but I'm not putting a banana (or part thereof) into them this time, oh no!  I remembered from a book I read years ago that fruit is better eaten alone, on an empty stomach, because it is so quickly digested that it can ferment and cause digestive problems if it hangs around too long in the stomach, waiting for other foods to be digested.  But I had three-fifths of a banana in my cupboard that was not getting any younger or more attractive (I can relate!) as time passed. I decided to eat it for elevenses, long after my porridge, and turned my thoughts to the problem of flavouring said porridge. 

I prefer it made with water, which is handy as I have no choice, but it is a little bland with nothing at all added.  Then I remembered my trusty jar of peanut butter, which is proving really useful!  Ok, so peanut-flavoured porridge might be a tad eccentric, but when that's what you've got you say a quick thank-you to the fates that you have it at all, and dig in. 

I liked it!  I'd have liked it more with a more generous serving of peanut butter, but overall not at all bad, and I think I'll have it again tomorrow.  What do I mean "think"?  Of course I'll have it tomorrow.  The price of the oats makes it the obvious choice, almost compulsory.  And relatively healthy.  Certainly oats are great for you, loads of minerals and fibre, some of it cholesterol-reducing.  And peanuts are not bad, being a legume and a rich source of various nutrients.  Bit of a shame about the refined sugar, oil and salt that is added in the manufacturing process, but I am eating it in small quantities and frankly apart from being vegan, I don't eat all that healthily normally, being inordinately fond of starch and a bit sniffy about veg.

I didn't take a photo of it, you all know what porridge looks like - beige - so here's a picture of a pretty blanket that I crocheted instead.
See, I do have colour in my life, just not in my food!
After yesterday's success with the mushy peas on toast, I decided to have it again for lunch.  I really do feel full for a long time after this "recipe" but was feeling more than usually peckish and decided to treat myself to an extra slice of toast.  Three slices, woohoo.  Then I counted the slices in the bag, and put one back. I must not rob tomorrow to gorge today, and in the event two was enough.  I didn't even feel desperately anxious about having to make this choice, which surprised me.  I think that I now trust this process enough to know that so long as I choose my foods carefully I will not at any point be ravenous and desperate.  So that was lunch.  I didn't photograph that, either, I have to leave something to your imagination!

Dinner, ah dinner.  I ummed and aahed about this for a long time.  I was trying to choose between "shepherd's pie" made with a sachet of soya mince mixture from Asda (79p) and Tescos value instant mash (20p), or (be still my heart) burgers and something, made with Asda chargrilled veggie burger mix (£1).  We had a sachet of the burger mix at the weekend (before the challenge, ah yes, I remember that!) and it was good.  The instructions tell you to make 8 burgers, but portion sizes on manufactured foods are always written for anorexic gnats, and I found that the packet actually made 5 decent-sized burgers.  20p a burger, 40p for two.  Could it be done?

I was worried by the shepherd's pie.  Sure, I still had 73.4p left to splurge, and even with carrots and onions and a stock cube, I could bring that in cheaply enough to afford half tonight, but would I have that much money left to spend on dinner tomorrow night?  No way to tell.  Tooooo risky!

So for dinner I had 2 Asda veggie burgers (40p), 170g(raw weight) jacket potato (10.2p), half a tin of mushy peas (8p), 45g grated carrot (3.6p) and 2 slices of wholemeal bread (4.2p).  Wonderful!  Best meal I've had all week and I felt so energetic and well all evening.  I oven-baked the burgers to save having to use oil (no idea how to cost it) and made a sandwich with the bread and one burger and some of the carrot and saved that to eat last, so it was bit like having a 2-course meal.  This is what it looked like:
I know, still a bit beigy, but getting better!
And now, the next morning as I type this, it is gone 9am and I am still not hungry.  Also, I slept deeply and still feel energetic and very well today. 

To be truthful I felt a little bleary the first couple of days of this challenge.  Nothing I'd worry about, just a tad under par, maybe only firing on three and a half cylinders.  I wonder whether the difference is to do with the fat content of the burgers, because I have not added fat to my food all week.  Or maybe it's something to do with having orange and green on my plate, even if the green is mainly tartrazine and turns my pee lime coloured!  Whatever, I think I've found my ideal below the line meal.  I may well have the same again tonight and possibly the shepherd's pie tomorrow, because the day after I can eat exactly as I choose and can scarf the rest of the pie for breakfast with a pint of liquid chocolate if I want!

I am very lucky.

Right, the boring bit:

Breakfast - 50g oats (3.9p) & 20g value peanut butter (3.6p)
Snack - 3/5 of a banana, yucky black end bit cut off (6.9p, not worth it)
Lunch - 2 slices bread (4.2p) and half a tin ofm ushy peas (8p)
Dinner - Asda sachet burgers (40p), jacket potato (10.2p), mushy peas (8p), bread (4.2p) carrot (3.6p) & rich tea biscuits for pudding (4.6p)

Grand total  97.2p.  I'm doing well!

Fargo, rescued from certain inhumane slaughter in the Pozega public "shelter" in Serbia.  He is now doing well too, thanks to the good people who bought (28 euros) him out of there to safety. 
He is one of the millions of reasons I am doing this, and he is looking for his forever home.  Please "comment" if you think you might be able to offer him that home.


  1. I am soooo impressed with this challenge. Sorta makes my $21 challenge pale by comparison!

    A few years back I was suffering from a case of hives that just wouldn't stop. After several months of hives every day my doctor and I decided to do a strict diet of nothing but brown rice and split peas for about 10 days. It didn't help the hives (turned out I was allergic to my shampoo) but it did give me a whole new perspective on food and privilege!

  2. p.s. Not sure how interested you are in issues of international poverty, but if you are, you might enjoy reading Out of Poverty by Paul Polak:

    Paul is one of CatMan's oldest and dearest friends/mentors, and I think he's just an amazing human being!