Tag Archives: nutrition

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 3 – £15 a week (Part II)

You may not be surprised to hear that I did go out to my weekly pub quiz last night and I was not sober by the end of it. If I am being honest – which let’s face it, what’s the point of this blog if I’m not – I was hoping people would buy me a drink. Although I’ve sat in pubs before and drank only water it was a choice because I didn’t want to drink not because I couldn’t financially.

I was bought 4 or 5 drinks in total and was extremely grateful for each one and generously thanked my beverage benefactor. I did not promise my benefactors to pay them back in another week when I wasn’t on this diet, or promise them anything in return. This was a conscious decision because I wouldn’t be able to pay them back or offer them anything if I was receiving benefits. In time to come I will pay these extremely generous people back the £3.30 a bottle I have consumed but it might not be in monetary value as such. I could return the favour to them in other ways, offering to do a job for them, babysitting, anything that isn’t a direct reimbursement and has some sentimental meaning to it. This is purely for me, in times to come I will have my bank card and I will buy my round in turn and pay them back in that sense but I really felt loved last night and surrounding by good people who weren’t looking for reimbursement and I would like to express that in another way.

My food intake looked a little something like this yesterday:

Breakfast:

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

Lunch:

Vegetable soup from the evening before
Half a portion of rice with beetroot, sweet corn, carrot and a little goat’s cheese.
1 mandarin
2 slices of bread
5 prunes

Dinner:

Pasta with 5 plum tomatoes, garlic, 1 mushroom and goat’s cheese rinds (This was tasty)

Post beer:

The other half of my rice salad and a slice of bread

In my drunken ramblings last night my loose tongue revealed a few things. I’ve had a really strong urge to smoke of late. Luckily I don’t carry anything on me but I know I used to smoke to surpress my appetite (not that it ever really worked I was still plump) and to relieve boredom. I’ve been making a very strong effort not to explore this. But I can understand why you’d want to fill your time with extra curricular activities if food isn’t one of them.

I’ve also started to consider that maybe my experiment needs to continue for another week so I can have a better understanding of what it’s like to plan when you know you’ve already got some food in reserve. I’m also keen to find out if my body will crave what I’ve not given it this week. If anyone has any useful suggestions on how I could develop this little experiment to discover more I would be very interested to hear form you.

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.