Posted by: kathandroger | April 26, 2015

Living below the line…

It is a bit of a while since I last blogged – the ol’ fella has being doing a sterling job while I took a bit of a break! But I’m feeling inspired to return to the keyboard and document my week ahead. I’m joining around 30,000 people around the world who have taken up the ‘live below the line’ challenge. About 1.2 billion people live below the line, which means that they live on £1 a day or less. The idea of the challenge is to raise awareness of this fact and of course to raise funds. 30+ charities join forces to back the event and I support ActionAid, a charity which works above all to provide immediate hands-on support to women and children on the margins of survival.

When I signed up I have to say that I didn’t think too much about the challenge; then I started thinking about actually what I could get for my £1 a day…and panicked! Obviously coffee and tea is out, as is juice and alcohol. So is meat. And fish. And most vegetables. And pretty much everything else!! We were talking to some friends about it in the cafe this morning. They were explaining to their little granddaughter what I was doing and she seemed pretty unimpressed. Then I asked her how much the coke cost that she was drinking… at 1.50 Euros it was more than a day’s allocation!

I have decided to go with one of the ActionAid suggested menus for the week, but that immediately threw up a challenge as food is more expensive here than in the UK. The thing that attracted me to this particular menu was the sweet potato and chickpea curry (2 days), but at 1,89 euros for 2 sweet potatoes I’m afraid it was a non-starter. As was the cabbage that was supposed to go in the egg fried veg rice. I did manage to find some broccoli that was slightly past its best, but at 0,99 affordable and will use a couple of leeks from the garden.

I have to say, I am a little apprehensive. I’m also building up my training for a triathlon and plan to run twice, swim twice and cycle in the course of the week. I usually eat quite a lot and am pretty sure I’m going to be hungry… I plan to report in each day and report on what I’ve had to eat and what effect it is having. So if you are interested, watch this space…!


  1. Kath, have you “costed in” your other overwintered veg…
    kales, swedes, carrots… and the dried beans from last year’s harvest…
    and, to extend the menu, do what many people who live below the line have always done… forage!
    You must have nettles aplenty… they are rich in iron and minerals… and if you blanch them to remove the “sting” they are far more nutritious…
    I have lived below the line for food…
    it is part of the reason that I am so keen on growing my own…
    a staple for bulk was pasta with “hedgerow” pesto!!
    The pesto was nettles, wild garlic, lime leaves and hazelnuts or beans… and a little cooking oil [couldn’t afford olive oil!]
    And then there is roadkill… pheasant is usually able to be found… and I trapped rabbits… and once found a roe deer… it hadn’t been hung but was quite recent….
    so I fed the underside and offal to my two dogs…
    the upperside and the liver fed me… I ate the hindquarter and bartered the front!
    The things that I had most difficulty affording were spices and other “staple” cooking ingredients…
    you will manage!!

    • Thanks Tim. Yes, foraging is interesting, but I’ve got a bit of a hectic week so time as well as money is at a premium! I also need calories…so yes, the pasta is in there later in the week. Have indeed included some garden produce – costed of course – as well as eggs. Road kill might be a bit tricky to rely on!!

      • Think of the roadkill as a condiment!!

  2. Substitute pumpkin for the sweet potato and prepare your chickpeas from dry. I haven’t priced it, but I’m sure it will bring the price down.

  3. Thanks for your ideas and the links -some interesting thoughts! Yes, did use dried chickpeas and used my past its best broccoli. We’ve used all our squash and too expensive to buy I’m afraid. Anyway, half my chickpea and broccoli curry has now been consumed and it was fairly tasty and I am fairly full…but would love some fruit…tant pis!

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