Ok so I haven't just got back from the summit of Everest, or bicycled the length of the country dressed as Big Bird, but you know what - it still was REALLY HARD. Last week, to raise money for Food Cycle, I took part in their "Breadline Challenge" and lived on £2.10 a day for a week. I also tried to eat as healthily as possible - I wanted to see if it was possible to have a nutritious diet on so little. It's not.
The first thing that struck me was the lack of salt and sugar - I can't believe how accustomed we are to it. Day one, I rendered the fat off two chicken legs to use for cooking for the rest of week. I then made the chicken into broth and the bones into stock for soup. Chicken broth and beetroot soup without salt are not worth talking about here. I'm sadly a tea-with -sugar girl too, so desperation set in on Wednesday and I had to steal sachets from Sainsburys cafe. Things looked up a bit after that (I nicked some mayo too). Supplies were very low by the weekend and by Sunday lunch I had a sad carrot, a floppy parsnip and a courgette left. Thank God I had foraged for nettles! But the less said about my Courgetti with parsnip and nettle pesto the better.
It really made me realise how much of a serious snacker I am. Of course at work I'm always tasting, but how long do we really go without a coffee, a juice, an apple, a chocolate bar ... ? A flavourless bowl of soup at lunchtime followed by a long, hungry void until 8pm frugally arrives - frankly I was just bloody hungry. And soooo bored of no condiments, seasoning, herbs and flavours.
It's easy to blame poor health and obesity on ignorance and greediness, but it's not easy to eat well when you're living on so little. I feel ashamed how much access I have to good food. Food Cycle raised £7000 last week which is enough to fund a hub for a year (a hub invites 50 people in need for a big hot meal, made from surplus food, once a week).
Not too late to increase that!