Living below the line (Wednesday): The free food conundrum.


So I’m halfway through the challenge now and well into my routine of banana and yoghurt for breakfast, in fact I quite like it. I’m VERY bored of beans though, and craving meat as well as sweet stuff. I’ve taken to not going into the kitchen if others are cooking: one of my housemates made turkey burgers with cheese and spring onions and I had to leave they looked and smelt so good! The biggest temptation today was while attending an Overseas function which provided free food.

It looked delicious: a spread of finger sandwiches, miniature pastries and cakes. The friend I went with kept saying ‘well you aren’t spending anything if you have one so it isn’t cheating’, but somehow it still felt wrong. The point of the challenge isn’t to keep your food budget under £5, it’s to live below the line, like the thousands of people all over the world who wake up hungry every single day. Another said, ‘but isn’t taking free food just like charity?’ I guess it could be, but the thing is not everyone gets that help and giving hungry people food isn’t really sustainable. Good charities give the less fortunate the means to produce food more efficiently themselves. I could have eaten a bunch of cakes and sandwiches, but I would still have woken up tomorrow morning with a very bare cupboard and would have been back to beans once again. It is a difficult one though and I think this is the point where I should tell you that, yes I did cheat just a little. I had one finger sandwich. But it was so, so, so hard to sit there with everyone eating around me. However, I will tell you that I barely even enjoyed it I felt like such a cheater.

When I got home I tried a new dish, the bean, courgette and potato bake – minus the courgettes of course – because as you may recall, I chose not to buy them at the start of the week, as they’d have put me over the £5 budget. I used the chick peas instead as I’m also very low on beans. The outcome wasn’t exactly tasty but it was a nice change from all the rice and bean intensive dishes I’ve had so far. Two more days to go!

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