Tag Archives: health

Day 5 – £15 a week

Breakfast

Porridge with half a mashed banana and prunes
A fried egg on toast with black pudding (I’ll explain below)

Lunch

Vegetable soup
2 slices of bread
Small portion of sweetcorn

Snacks

An apple
3 dried abricots
A few nuts

Dinner

Sourdough pizza with beetroot and goat’s cheese
1 Slice of bread rubbed with garlic and loaded with goat’s cheese

Day 5 was a good yet guilt ridden day. My lovely flat mate leaves on Sunday for 2 months to head off on tour so we decided to have a farewell breakfast. Essentially it was like she invited me around for breakfast except I brought my own eggs and toast and she supplied Ireland’s best black pudding. It was truly delicious but I felt like a fraud as it was not within my budget and I shouldn’t have really been eating things I had not bought. But isn’t it better to be sociable and be with friends? 

Then in work my energy levels and mood dropped so drastically after an intense sharing of our work that colleagues encouraged me to eat a rehearsal apple, some abricots and nuts. This should not be allowed as not everyone would be able to benefit from this luxury. 

In the evening I shared my pizza with my flatmate, I felt a little of the guilt eleviate from the morning as it was the first time I’d shared any of my food with people. I mean I’ve been very territorial about my food to the point of labelling absolutely everything. 

Labelling mad

Don’t touch my food

My thoughts have currently turned to – how can we encourage people to care about nutrition more? I’ve attached links below which describe how detrimental an excess of ‘bad’ food can be on the human body and mentality. How can people not be aware of this? Why are we not taught this at school? And how can we teach people to eat healthily within their means? I believe it can be possible but, on £15 a week, not likely.

Why I gave up sugar
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/20/sugar-deadly-obesity-epidemic

Can food make you angry?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/apr/24/can-food-make-you-angry

If we could encourage a better sense of community then maybe neighbours could share bulk buying items and not feel trapped in their little boxes of the single lifestyle. But this seems almost utopian, even though in reality it’s a tiny gesture. I could in fact do this with my current neighbours, even when not on a £15 budget, and we’d both make great savings. You could swop recipes, ideas and tips. I started thinking back to WWII and the rations and thought of how people coped. The idea of growing something in my tenement seems bizarre but I’m sure communities banded together to have communal vegetable patches back when rationing hit them. Even space to have a tomato grow bag would see my weekly bill drop dramatically (in the summer). I’ll be looking more into this and whether nutrition was a priority. 

I’ve isolated myself somewhat with this diet. It’s effecting my personal relationships and it’s turning me into more of a self centered egotist than I already am. All I talk about is this diet, I say talk it’s more preaching and I’m sick of the sound of my own voice sometimes but there’s just something about it that’s compelling. Then I’m left with the question of what do I do with all my information, all the ideas, the thoughts and feelings. In all honesty probably nothing. Sad story of my life really.

Day 2 – £15 a week

Today has been a lot more positive. I enjoyed my breakfast, lunch wasn’t attrocious and I even made a lovely soup tonight from some of the veggies in my stew pack. Here’s a run down of the day:

Breakfast:

1 bowl of porridge made with a little milk and water
1/2 banana
1 mandarin
4 prunes

Lunch:

Pasta with passata, garlic, dried basil
1/3 tin of sweetcorn
5 cherry tomatoes
5 prunes
2 slices of sourdough

Dinner:

2 slices of sourdough
1 bowl of vegetable soup

Misc:

A few nuts

Today I changed the way I ate and grazed on all of this throughout the day. I also blew out and drank 2 cups of tea at work (I took my own milk in out of my allowance) as they provide it and I’d be silly not to make use of free tea. I should also point out that I’m drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

I’m interested in people’s advice when I tell them about this diet. Today it was suggested I take tea from work home, I’d like to stress that my house is fully stocked with more kinds of tea than you can ever dream of, but I could not afford that in my budget and I struggle to see how a single person living alone would be able to. This is why I’ve cut it out.
Today was also great as my colleague brought in some nuts and offered me a handful, I feel this was also okay as I wouldn’t refuse something that was being offered in good will to everyone in the room.

Generally I find there’s little temptation, food wise, in work as everything seems to be cake, biscuits or sugar sugar sugar! At home it’s hardest as everyone in my flat eats a similar diet so resisting a wedge of cheese or some butter is very hard. (Especially as it’s things I’ve already bought teasing me in the fridge)

As I say though I’m feeling much more energised today. Yesterday I couldn’t function properly and I was in bed by 10pm and fast asleep. My poor flat mate saw me in such a sorry state when I got home from work, I felt physically and mentally deflated and was delusional.
The diet that was budgeted for on the BBC was for a woman consuming 2000 calories a day but I require more as my job can be quite physical and I do cycle to and from work so I’m exercising everyday. How then can a more active single person physically have the energy on such a small budget? We’re encouraged to exercise and keep fit and healthy but how could someone do this on such a deficient diet? Or a male in fact who require a whole 500 cals more?

I’m lucky I’m surrounded with such support and love in my life but yesterday was a taster at how throughly draining, mentally, a bad diet can be. I have a week of this but there is an end in sight for me. I would be a very dour faced stage manager if I didn’t know when I could next buy an avocado. I don’t even want extravagant things in my life but I would like to be able to afford the £2 it would cost for me to make yogurt for a couple of weeks and I mean a lot of yoghurt. This would be an excellent source of dairy providing me with calcium and protein. I am worried about the lack of protein in my diet and lack of fibre. Some beans or lentils wouldn’t go a miss right now.

I did make a really great soup tonight and I made a lovely egg friend rice last night so tasty dishes can be created but it’s so hard vary the dishes you can make with just potato and carrots. Hopefully I will invent a really tasty recipe and post it soon but for now food only serves a purpose and isn’t bringing me it’s usual joy.

Link

Could you live on £12 a week?

The link above will take you to a BBC article discussing how little people on benefits may have to live on after all the cuts and caps which are being brought in by our current government.

With careful planning, an adult could spend as little as £12 per week on a healthy, balanced diet, says Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition at Kings College London.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22065978

I’m am skeptical that anyone can have a healthy balance diet on so little. So I’m going to plan a little experiment where next week I will be living on a diet of £15. Now I don’t want to just buy £15 worth of super noodles and a loaf of bread. I genuinely want to see if I can have plenty of fresh, tasty, healthy nutritious ingredients and eat well.

I’m lucky enough to be able to afford a well balance diet. I live with intolerances and so do have to buy premium products such as Goat’s milk and cheese. I say ‘have to’ but of course I could just not have them in my diet.

Sad times.

Food is such a huge part of who I am. I realise I do take for granted how lucky I am to be able to choose what I buy without really thinking about the cost. I’m not extravagant by any means but I enjoy what I eat.

I don’t eat processed sugar, I only get my sweet fixes from fruit and occasionally honey. I don’t use sweeteners and I don’t eat a lot of meat. I don’t eat out often and think of it as a special treat or save it for socialising. I make my own sourdough bread and now I make my own yogurt. (Yes I am practically a sprout growing, home-brewing hippie)

The above factors I think will help me but, I am a food snob. I don’t like to eat processed food, I like to recognise the list of ingredients on a packet. I never purchase smart price/super value/basics labels for this reason as very rarely do you get much nutritional value from this stuff. This is of course my opinion and it applies to most processed food.

The BBC article tries to promote starches as the bulk of meals, I think after this little experiment I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d added a few pounds. I do cycle every day to work and build up quite a sweat but I’m in rehearsals, so pretty sedentary most of the day, and carb loading at lunch means I will be asleep by 2pm so I need to look at how to factor in more protein. If I can afford it.

So goodbye avocados, adios chorizo, see you later brazil nuts, get tae flaxseed and a bientot coffee. These are a luxury.

Hello pasta salad, lentils, pasta bakes, soups and more pasta.