Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Living below the line - Day 2

Bounced up this morning and had my porridge and yoghurt, washed down with two mugs of hot water.  I did find my bowels working a bit of overtime.  More than that I shall not share.  I decided to go to yoga this morning instead of to my usual Tuesday evening class, both as a distraction and in order to compare notes with Patty, my yoga teacher, who is also living on £1 a day for the week.  The class was good.  Patty and I established that we were probably overdoing the lentils.  I nearly fell asleep in savasana, the relaxation pose, but that is nothing new and I don't think I can fairly blame the porridge.

Afterwards I went cheerily into town to go to the chemist's.  I was crossing the road from the carpark when I  was blindsided by an overwhelming desire for a cup of coffee and something to eat.  I don't know if that was a response to the fact that I don't go into town very often but when I go on my own I often buy a newspaper and sit in a coffee shop with a coffee and a piece of chocolate brownie to have a bit of time to myself.  That was certainly what my body and my mind seemed to be expecting!  There are so many coffee shops in Mold that there was temptation at every turn so I rushed in and out of the chemist and scuttled off before I found myself sitting with a cup of coffee in front of me.  It was a hefty reminder of how easy it is to spend.  The money I would have paid for a single cup of coffee would have taken more than half of the £5 which is to feed me for the week.

Lunch was easy and early.  I had two bowls of the lentil soup and was definitely not hungry.  I did though long for a piece of fruit, an orange or a banana, or a tiny taste of something sweet.  I don't have a sweet tooth and I would not have expected the absence of anything sweet to be so noticeable.  I think if you did have a sweet tooth you would need to provide for it, even if only through buying a few raisins or a packet of cheap biscuits.  Otherwise the absence of any sweetness might totally sabotage your resolve.

Straight from lunch to the hairdresser's.  Yesterday I tried to tell Ian that is was perfectly possible to have a treat which was not foodbased, although I would admit that, as a family of cooks and food lovers, a meal out, a piece of cake, a slice of homemade bread are the things that spring to mind when thinking about treats.  With all foodie treats off limits, I decided that I would divert myself with a change of hair colour.  My lovely hairdresser was slightly bemused at first but soon became very engaged with the idea.  So here I am with much blonder hair than usual illuminated here and there by pinky purple streaks in the lower layer.  I really like it.


I arrived home famished (in the spoilt Western sense of the word I know).  Evening meal was the remains of yesterday's vegetable curry and rice.  It was fine although once again I feel as if I have not eaten quite enough.  That is odd because I think my hunger is satieted.  It is the absence of variety which is making feel like I need or want something else.

I am planning to make up some very thick salted porridge tomorrow and have a go at frying small slices of it to produce something a bit like a rice cake.  Well that is the outcome in my imagination!  It may simply produce fried porridge which is a totally disgusting idea.  I am finding that the texture of all the meals I have eaten so far is very soft and similar and would love to find a way of having something with more crunch without consuming the only carrot I have left!

Once again I will need to get through the evening without a glass of wine and some cheese.  Well I did it last night so I must be able to do it again and Ian is abandoning wine and cheese for the week (although otherwise he is eating normally) as a gesture of support.  That is a real help.  I am not sure I could resist the urge to join in if I saw him with a glass of red and some crackers and Stilton.

I will add a bit to this at the end of the evening but so far, so good.  Well the end of the day was harder today.  I really fancied a glass of wine and had to go and have a bath to distract myself.  Followed this up with two sticks of celery and a glass of water.  And so to bed...

36 comments:

  1. Did you see one guy did this for Lent i.e. 46 days?

    In some ways I think doing it for longer could be more 'doable' because you could bulk buy lots of things, perhaps even get some Basics apples and a packet of biscuits for a sweet treat.

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    1. Funnily enough I was just talking to my mother about the ways in which doing it for longer would be easier and the ways it would be harder. I do think you would be able to introduce more variety. The same holds true if two people pooled their £1 a day. I certainly have more oats, lentils and rice than I will eat in a week even having bought the smallest and cheapest packs I could.

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  2. I probably won't take the challenge, but I am thinking about putting together a list of things I might buy. I think I can do it. I went back to look at the items you bought. The celery package would probably not be on my list..too expensive in my grocery store. If frozen is OK, I might buy a package of mixed vegetables. There are so many bargain priced fruits where I live, that I would probably buy at least two oranges. They are easy to separate and spread out over the five days. You have really got my brain to thinking....in American dollars I would have $7.77 to spend.

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    1. I think it is quite interesting and important just to do the thinking about it in a world where we take plenty and choice for granted. As I understand it, frozen is fine. I couldn't find any oranges cheap enough to fit into my plan but I am missing fruit so really wish I had some!

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  3. I've just spent £400 on a pair of shoes. You should try it someday.

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    1. Now you are just being provacative. I have spent that on a suit. Does that count?

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  4. I don't know who this Tom is but I think I should like to make him eat his £400 shoes!

    Well done for day 2.

    You might like to look at this site if you haven't already done so - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22263706 'How to eat healthily on £1.00 per day.

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    1. Tom has a serious point behind the downright provocative I think. I imagine it is something on the lines of such individual effort being pointless, changing nothing, maybe even being in its own way a kind of self indulgence which leaves the individual with a glow of self righteousness and the world no different. I get all that. I am simply satisfying my own curiosity as to whether I can do it and what it feels like to be outside my own comfortable little bubble of plenty just for an instant. Thanks for the link!

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  5. You are showing enormous strength of will each day, and surely you must loose quite a bit of weight - lets have a guess at 4 pounds.
    Loving your hair, you have made me think of being a bit more daring myself next time I visit the hairdressers.

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    1. The strength of will slides about a bit Rosemary. Sometimes it seems easy enough and then all of a sudden it really really isn't!

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  6. Last summer I decided we would only eat the fruit and veg we could grow, or barter for eggs our hens produce. I didn't quite get the balance right. Had gluts of broad beans, followed by gluts of French beans, etc. I had to be inventive and try to cook them in a different way each day. It was a challenge, and I really wanted to cheat and go to the co-op! But I didn't, and we survived. Got quite excited when someone from the village brought us a fresh pineapple in exchange for a dozen eggs. All the best, Elizabeth.

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    1. What a great thing to do Karen! We sort of do that in the summer because we have a lot of garden produce but I have never done it as a commitment not to buy to fill in the gaps. And yes to the gluts! Last year we ate a lot of runner beans and a lot of courgettes. Funny, I would get ridiculously excited if you showed me a runner bean now.

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    1. Thanks! I like it too. Just wondering how it will last!

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  8. I hope Ian is cooking his own meals... I couldn't knock up something wonderful for someone else and then go and eat lentils.

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    1. He is cooking for himself and his dad. That makes a huge difference. I am not sure I could manage to make something I really fancied, dish up and go away and eat lentils!

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  9. Whew - another day done and you are still on track. I love your hair - makes me wish to brighten up my salt and pepper, which on a good day I imagine halos me in silver and on a bad day makes me feel drab.
    I agree with an earlier comment- I'd boil up Tom's shoes for him.
    Good luck with the fried porridge. When we lived in the southern US we were treated to fried scrapple, which is a mixture of pork scraps, cornmeal and flour. It was truly awful (perhaps it was the offal?....sorry) Somehow I think that fried porridge would be better!

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    1. I have just looked at the extra porridge I cooked up this morning for later frying and I have to tell you that it doesn't look promising. Go for it with the hair. Your silver gives you all sorts of possibilities.

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  10. Wishing you so well, Elizabeth. I did a "cleanse" in January...no coffee, alcohol, sugar, dairy, wheat, I could go on. Ten days, but I ended up doing it much longer. We could have fruit, tho'. I, too, noticed that I was missing texture and crunch and made some "pancakes" out of some fried quinoa porridge one morning looking for some variety. And they were quite good, in the end.

    Wine was the first thing to be added back in. : )

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    1. That is interesting because I had not thought about this as a "cleanse", simply as a response to tight financial constraints but it has meant that I have not had any of the foods you dropped apart from a little natural yoghurt. Today I am going to have a go at making some sort of onion bhaji for a change in texture.

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  11. Thinking the same as Rusty Duck!
    Could you make a sort of oatcake biscuit?

    btw a year ago for Lent I gave up all commercial hair products and used only baking soda followed by a cider vinegar rinse. I did go back to using shampoo and conditioner but no longer die my hair. With a new shorter cut which emphasises the lighter flash in the long fringe, I love my new 'pewter' look; but it really shocked others! It seems natural hair colour for women in their 50s really is a taboo.

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    1. A good friend who has died her hair decided to stop a few months ago. Once she had lived through the growing out stage it looked and looks fab. I suspect you are right and that the intolerance of natural hair colour in older women is part of a general drive to denying the fact of ageing. Mind you I have fun with my dye!

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  12. Elizabeth, it is very interesting to follow your progress during this week's dietary restrictions. It seems to me that that you are doing very well in keeping true to the plan and resisting temptation. Keeping this sort of diary via the blog posts is also a good way to measure your reactions to the experience.

    Polenta is an Italian grain (similar to our southern American grits.) Leftover polenta is traditionally fried in olive oil. Something you could try...next time?

    You new hair color looks so lovely in that sunlight!

    xo

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    1. I had a go with the porridge oats and that worked out ok Frances. Polenta is such a good idea. Wish I had thought of it.

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  13. I admire your dedication! Having shifted my diet to one similar to yours while backpacking, it does take a few days for your guts to digest but they will. Magenta hair! Now that is an unusual symptom of hunger.

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    1. Guts seem to be settling down now. Hair however remains the same!

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  14. Are potatoes too expensive, then? A very simple preparation is to slice through a big potato in thin almost-through slices so that it opens just enough that you can drizzle olive oil, and bake at 450 -- might be a nice change. I also like a simple baked yam, but again, is that way beyond your daily budget? What we take for granted!! As you suggest, though, this could be managed if you were pooling resources AND if you were working on a longer time frame.
    Your hair colour is a fun change -- lifts the spirits, doesn't it?!

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    1. Rice is quite a lot cheaper than potatoes here just at the moment so going with rice (40p) against potatoes (around 80p) seemed sensible. I think I am going to have rice and porridge oats left and perhaps even some veg. I probably should have gone to a traditional greengrocer (veg seller) rather than buying from the supermarket. I might have got a greater variety by buying one of a number of things rather than working with those which came in my stewpack. I am feeling quite strongly that it would have been a lot easier to do this with two or three people working together but I am still going!

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  15. Once I lived on five shillings a day but that was in Spain and a long time ago, but I remember I would buy a can of condensed milk and make a very small hole in it and then suck it all day like a dummy. My five shillings also bought me coffee in the morning and half a baguette and butter, some fat tomatoes in the market and a small beer in the evening. I wonder what that would cost today? More than a pound, clearly.

    Aren't you allowed to hunt eg woodlice fried in hot spicy garlic oil? Plenty of crunch and I daresay indistinguishable from shrimps if you add a bit of salt.

    Love the hair even if it does make you look as though you are on fire!

    Love the potato recipe Materfamilias.

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    1. I think hunting and foraging are fine but I might pass on the woodlice.

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  16. What a challenge! I won't be joining you but I'm doing all sorts of calculations in my head. It's a shame that the hedgerows don,t offer much up at this time of year....I could only think of wild garlic/ransoms which would be a welcome bit of green. And didn't the Romans eat ground elder? No pheasants nests around for 'free' eggs?

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    1. I am thinking of going and foraging for some wild garlic tomorrow to add to my soup. I have loads of ground elder (indeed of all perennial weeds you can think of). That is a great idea. I shall have a search for what to do with it.

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  17. Hi Elizabeth! I might have missed some part so I didn't fully understand why you are spending so little for food, I guess this has nothing to do with a diet but has more to do with some food/money waste awareness. I am under medical control for some metabolic issue since last october and I can't eat freely anything that could be processed as sugar/carbohydrates and I must avoid meat, cheese and fats. At the beginning there was so little I felt left to eat that I was quite depressed and I often had this sweet tooth you talked about. I guess it is some kind of physical response to the change in diet. After a few months I worked out there are far more than beans and plain water left to eat and now I feel a different person and I got used to the new 'régime'. All this just to give a little support to what you are doing.
    By the way, for a moment I thought you wanted to compete with the mannequin, the one you showed on a previous post, with wild blond hair... But I guess it's got a different hairstylist!
    Alberto

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  18. Ooh, yes - wild garlic is very foragable at the moment. This sounds like a really thought-provoking challenge - very best of luck with it.

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  19. Would asking at the coffee shop for a 'suspended coffee' have broken the rules? I think your porridge cake just goes to show how much we take sugar, fat, and flour for granted.
    I don't know what your hair was like before, but it looks such a lovely colour in that photo.

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