Day 3 - Living Below the Line has been an eye-opening experience | ActionAid UK

Jane Moyo

Head of Media Relations

As advised by the organisers I planned my ‘£1 a day for five days’ meals in advance.

Jane Moyo takes on Living Below the Line to combat global poverty
Jane Moyo takes on Living Below the Line to combat global poverty

My diet is mainly revolving around carbs this week — so until Wednesday afternoon I didn’t feel that hungry. Although then it hit me.

However, this restricted diet has brought home to me the difficulty of surviving on limited amounts of money.

International poverty diet

Meat is out of the question and my protein intake has been limited to pulses and a small can of tinned pilchards in rich tomato sauce – mmmm yummy.

And as for having ‘five a day’ – hah….I had to forget fruit. I’ve only been able to afford one banana.

Interestingly, that restriction chimes with my experience of visiting poor communities in Africa and Asia. There, small portions, and a very limited selection of food, particularly of protein and of fruit is often the norm.

Meanwhile in London

Back in London, here’s what I’m living on this week:

1 pint of milk — 47p
500 grams of split peas — 52p
1 tin of pilchards on rich tomato sauce — 60p
‘Value’ porridge x 5 potions — 40p
Onions (5 small) — 37p
Carrots (5) — 38p
Broccoli (1 head) — 49p
Tea bags -7p
1 tin of red kidney beans -39p
1 tin of ‘value’ tomatoes — 34p
Nominal amount allowed for condiments -25p
250 grams of ‘value’ flour to make seven flatbreads — 8p
1 banana — 20p
1 packet of ‘value’ spaghetti — 20p
250 grams of ‘value’ rice -13p

Meals since Monday:

Breakfast: porridge every day (made with water and salt – not my normal milk and sugar – ahhhhh), although I did add a banana on Wednesday as a special treat.

Lunch: carrot and red kidney bean savoury rice | spaghetti with pilchards and carrots in tomato sauce | split pea dahl and homemade flat breads | spaghetti with kidney beans, broccoli and carrots in tomato sauce | split pea dahl and homemade flat breads

Dinner: spaghetti with pilchards and carrots in tomato sauce | split pea dahl and homemade flat breads | spaghetti with kidney beans, broccoli and carrots in tomato sauce | split pea dahl and homemade flat breads | Anything that’s left over – just a great big splurge!

And a question to my sponsors…

Am I allowed one (very slight) fall from grace? When I was making my flat breads yesterday, I dipped a piece in golden syrup (ooh er). I’m sorry but I just couldn’t resist it. The tin was sitting there in my pantry begging me to indulge and I did allow myself a few pence as a cushion!

 

Photo: ActionAid