Live Below the Line: Days 2-4 AKA I’m too cranky to blog consistently

Obviously I’m AWESOME at blogging daily during my Live Below the Line challenge. I’ve been so tired and cranky and hungry and distracted that I haven’t been checking in. Rest assured, I’ve been keeping super track of everything I eat and how much it costs. I’ve been doing really well and eating well below $1.50 every day. It kind of sucks. It’s hard to motivate myself to eat another serving of the same lentil stew or another egg.

However, I feel bad complaining because 1.4 billion people do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. Thinking about children like these just reaffirms my reason for doing this.

Children from the Sahel Region of Africa, one of the poorest areas in the world
I am fundraising for UNICEF who will use the funds to empower people in the Sahel Region to overcome hunger & extreme poverty
Even a $1.50 donation could help save a child’s life.

I really hope you’ll consider donating to this amazing organization. This challenge has been a personal journey for me, but I would love to touch other people in the process.

Some quick updates on the past few days:

I’ve been eating a lot of the lentil stew I made. I am so sick of it, but at least it’s filling and tastes good.

Lentil stew… again.

For breakfast I’ve been having scrambled eggs with a tiny bit of salt and pepper.

I’ve gotten two meals out of each baked potato by eating the insides mashed for one meal and then baking the skins for another meal.

Mashed potatoes (potato insides, water, and salt & pepper)
Potato skins from previous potato

I’m so glad tomorrow is the last day. This has been an extremely eye-opening experience and will make me much more conscientious going forward. Once I match my donations, I’ll have raised $100 which is a small amount, but hopefully will help UNICEF do great work. I’d like to raise more and also continue working with organizations that fight global hunger.

If you’d like to donate even $1.50 to UNICEF to aid people suffering from poverty and hunger in the Sahel Region of Africa, please visit my page.

Sahel region, one of the poorest areas in the entire world largely affected by extreme hunger.

If you’d like to donate words of encouragement to get me through the next 24 hours, please leave a humorous haiku in the comments.


Live Below the Line: Day One

Day one is done and I’m so happy with my success.

I’ll go through my day and then do a price breakdown at the end for those of you who want to skip all the ridiculous things I say.

I woke up on the later side this morning since I was up til about 3am reading Pride & Prejudice in attempts to finish my crazy classics reading list. I scrambled two eggs for breakfast and didn’t use any spices or oil since I have a non-stick pan.

I had a small lunch around 1pm – just a half of a baked potato with a dash of salt and pepper. I wasn’t feeling too well and didn’t have a big appetite, plus I was able to keep busy finishing up homework for my last accounting class. I wasn’t drinking enough water, so I got a pretty bad headache.

I went almost 7 hours without eating again which was a big mistake. My professor ordered pizza for our class to have after the final. Luckily I finish pretty early and wasn’t too tempted. However, when I was driving back, all I wanted was a giant plate of chicken tacos stuffed with guacamole.

I resisted and continued home. I was surprised to see my brother’s car in the driveway since he wasn’t supposed to be home tonight. I walked in my house, and was greeted by this:

Thanks, family. You know I can’t eat anything delicious, so of course you fry up some amazing pierogies.

I was frustrated and starving and just wanted to eat all the pierogies. I found the strength again to resist and went online to find a recipe for some sort of stew using lentils.

I was able to find a simple one requiring only lentils, tomato paste (both I had bought yesterday), water, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion.

I decided to not count the cost of salt and pepper since it’s literally less than a penny per teaspoon.

I used an onion and a clove of garlic from my pantry, so I’ll add in the cost to the recipe.

Lentil Stew

It took 30 minutes to cook the stew and almost an hour for the rice. It felt like an incredibly long time to wait, but I tried to drink a lot of water and be patient.

The stew made 8 servings and I used half a bag of my rice which yielded 6 cups.

So much stew!

For dinner, I had 1 serving of the stew and 1 cup of the rice, which was a very generous portion of food.

The stew was pretty good, I’m just hoping I won’t get sick of having it at least once a day for the next four days.

I’ve already gotten $25 in donations from two WONDERFUL anonymous donors. I’d love to get $50 donated from others and I’m going to match whatever I get. Please, please consider donating even just $1.50 to the cause (that’s less than a cup of coffee!). It goes right to UNICEF to help the terrible global poverty and hunger crisis. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.50 per day, please help!

Lentil Stew

2 cups of dry lentils = $1.27

1 onion = 60 cents

1/2 small can of tomato paste = 25 cents

1 clove of garlic = 16 cents

Stew = $2.28

Per serving = 28.5 cents

Monday’s Meals

2 eggs @ 12.5 cents each = 25 cents

1/2 baked potato = 23 cents

Lentil stew = 29 cents

1 cup of brown rice = 14 cents

1 gallon of water (for drinking and cooking) = 11 cents

Total = $1.02

Live Below the Line 2012

This week I’m participating in a great awareness campaign for global poverty and hunger called Live Below the Line.

Live Below the Line is challenging individuals and communities to see how much change we can make out of $1.50. By living off just $1.50 per day for food for 5 days, we will be bringing to life the direct experiences of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty and helping to make real change.

Think about that figure – 1.4 BILLION – that’s over 4 times the population of the United States – living every day in extreme poverty.

The rules of the challenge are:

  • From May 7th – 11th, you can spend no more than $1.50 a day on food and drink.
  • This means you have a total of $7.50 with which to buy all ingredients for your meals.
  • The full cost of all the items you consume must be included in your budget. This means budgeting for whole packages of food such as rice, pasta, noodles and eggs etc.
  • For items such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices, simply work out the cost of each item per ounce and budget your shopping proportionally. Separate your items before the challenge so there’s no need to be digging around in your pantry.
  • One of the easiest ways to partake in the challenge is to share the cost of ingredients amongst a team, as long as no participant spends more than $1.50 a day or their total $7.50 budget. Working as a team will allow you to pool together funds and do more with your cooking.
  • You can’t grab a snack from the pantry unless you include the cost of buying the item new in your budget.
  • You can use food sourced from your garden as long as you can account for the price of production!
  • No combination of meals on any given day can exceed the $1.50 spending limit. Remember this is a challenge to eat creatively – don’t at any point deprive yourself of three meals a day.
  • You cannot accept ‘donated’ food from family or friends, but monetary donations towards your fundraising goals are acceptable, and encouraged!
  • You are allowed to drink tap water – remember you should try and drink at least 6-8 glasses of water each day.

I came across this challenge after praying for something that would both cleanse me and help others. I love the idea of an awareness campaign I can blog about and raise money for. In the past, I’ve concentrated most of my philanthropy to animals and cancer research, so I’m happy to be expanding.

The challenge doesn’t start until tomorrow, so I went grocery shopping today. Buying everything I needed with only $7.50 is almost impossible. Luckily, a lot of items were on sale and I got things I can stretch. I bought:

  • 2lb bag of brown rice
  • 1lb bag of lentils
  • 2 cans of beans (1 black, 1 red)
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 baked potatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste

Total: $7.42

So, the bad news is I was supposed to leave some room to account for spices and oil. I may try going without, but we’ll see.

I’m planning on having eggs every morning for breakfast, maybe with sweet potato some mornings. I’ll do beans and rice for lunch and then I may try making a lentil-potato-veggie stew of some sort to serve over rice for dinners.

This is probably going to suck a bit since I usually snack all day and will be craving chocolate and wine all week, but it’s definitely worth it.

If you’d like to support UNICEF, please visit my page and donate. Every little bit helps, even if it’s just the $2 you’d spend on coffee one day this week.