Charity

Live Below the Line

Working in a food business we’re overwhelmed with food and extremely fortunate. We know this, but sometimes it’s easy to take it for granted. But we discovered what it was like to remove these options and choices when we took on the Live #BelowtheLine challenge in aid of Action Against Hunger. Our mission was to live on £1 for one day, so with a team of 6 we had the grand total of £6 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When you lack cash, you lack choice. And with lack of choice come increased planning, compromise and restriction.

Poring over the bean recipes on the live below the line site we carefully chose what we thought would sustain us for the day. We searched mySupermarket for our best options, calculated the cost of our exact quantities and used our excel skills to ensure compliance with the budget.

The shop presented new challenges too. Blinkers on we walked up and down the aisles, sticking to our list and heading only for the budget lines or the most cost effective options. Tins and weighed fresh produce were the most favourable options and snacks a definite no-no. With choices removed a casual wandering was out of the question and suddenly shopping became a much more sobering and less fun (discovery) session.

The team challenge
The corporate Live #BelowTheLine
Breakfast
Chopped banana with yogurt
Bean patties
Sarah forms our kidney bean patties for lunch
Our lunch
Kidney bean burgers and potato wedges
Mixed bean symmetry
The Spicy Mixed Beans and Rice are all lined up and prepared for dinner

What we ate

We all really enjoyed the food. Breakfast was easy – chopped banana and natural yogurt. A late lunch of bean burgers and potato wedges tasted sumptuous and our mixed beans and rice for dinner were pretty amazing too – eaten late, slowly and savoured. Spending time to consciously eat food, when you have less is really important – allowing your body to register that you are eating and feel satiated.

What we missed was our tea – mugs of hot water just weren’t the same – but our budget didn’t allow for the nation’s favourite tipple. There was a distinctly subdued atmosphere round our desks and we all quietly got on with our work. And I hate to admit it but I was slightly grumpy and lacking in concentration.

Spending time to consciously eat food, when you have less is really important. Taking part in the live #BelowTheLine challenge certainly shaped our day and gave us pause to think and appreciate how fortunate we are

We felt for Simon who had to review a mouth-watering spread of NPD dishes and not eat a crumb. And we had to explain, to well-meaning colleagues, that kitchen freebies kind of defeated the object of our challenge.

Post-work our evening habits were curtailed somewhat; staying late to postpone dinner, abandoning exercise due to hunger and struggling to sleep. We can only imagine that these are choices which people living below the line have to make every day.

Taking part in the live #BelowTheLine challenge certainly shaped our day and gave us pause to think and appreciate how fortunate we are. It generated discussion around the office and gave us an insight into how life can be very different with food (choices) seriously reduced.

For more details about the week-long challenge, check out more here.

 

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