After living below the line…

Bread

Bread (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)

…grocery shopping.  Okay, not that I really needed to go to the grocery store.  I have plenty of food in my house, plenty.  But I was hungry when I got off work today and found myself wandering the aisles at Kroger.

I was pleased with most of what I brought home..watermelon, sugar snap peas, pico de gallo, chicken, artisan multigrain bread, sweet potato crackers…and then there was the diet Pepsi…oh yeah, and the ice cream sandwiches…ha!!  I told you I had a hankering for something with chocolate…not that the chocolate in those things is particularly high quality.

It sure tasted good to have a slice of that artisan bread rather than the store brand stuff I’d been eating all week.  Granted, we can all make our own bread and it most definitely tastes tons better than the cheap stuff you can find in the stores…but we usually don’t take the time to bake our own bread.  And I really don’t know why.  It doesn’t really take that long…it’s not like you have to stand over it the entire time it’s rising.  Surely it would be less expensive to bake our own bread rather than buy even the cheap stuff, wouldn’t you think?  Maybe I’ll have to do a study on that one…

Anyhow, I’m glad I took part in the challenge…and oh so thankful that I don’t have to live like that every day.

Live below the line, day 5

Easter egg radishes, just harvested

Easter egg radishes, just harvested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank goodness, this is the last day of this challenge.  I had a rough time today…had a rough day at work…so busy that I didn’t have time to take breaks or lunch…headache from not eating…really, really wanted to stop and get a pizza after work, but talked myself out of it…if I were truly living in extreme poverty, stopping for a pizza wouldn’t even be a possibility…so I did make it thru the final day.

Let’s see, how did I do?

Breakfast:

(Once again)…2 slices of toast  10¢,  1 T peanut butter  6¢,  6 oz oj  14¢,  8 oz skim milk 15¢

Total for breakfast…45¢

Lunch:

no lunch…no time…did drink a diet Pepsi tho…so the cost of that was  46¢, so I’ll count that as my lunch

Total for lunch  46¢

Dinner:

grilled cheese sandwich   20¢, radishes (free-someone asked about the radishes really being free, cost of the seeds and all…yes, I did buy seeds a couple of years ago, but let one of the radish plants go to seed last year and saved the seeds…so surely we can consider that to be free now, right?), celery  8¢, pickle chips  14¢, hot tea 4¢

Total for dinner…46¢

Total for the day  $1.37

So…not the healthiest of days today…but I did it.

What did I take away from this challenge?  Well, obviously how difficult it is to eat a healthy, nutritious diet when you have to scrounge for pennies to buy your food.  Also how much planning and preparation would go into being able to eat even semi-well for such a miniscule amount of money.  I definitely have a greater appreciation for my mom and grandmother and all of the time they put into gardening, preserving what they grew or gathered, and cooking.   That’s a lot of work…and they did it year in and year out.  But we always had enough to eat and a much better variety of food than what I spent the past week eating.

I have always thought we need to teach people to be self-sufficient…after this week, I believe that even more.  Now to figure out how to go about doing that…what organizations are already doing this?  And what can I do to help?

 

Live below the line, day 4

These children live in a garbage dump

These children live in a garbage dump (Photo credit: GlacierTim)

I’m not sure if today was easier or harder…I had the day off work, so was actually surrounded by food and all of the possibilities that presents…I thought I’d go in the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies (hmm…with chocolate, anyone?).  And maybe prepare a pizza for dinner.  I actually have all of the ingredients for both in my kitchen right now, so I wouldn’t have to buy anything.  But I think that kind of goes against what this challenge is all about.  Yes, I have the food in my kitchen, but if I had to live on only $1.50 a day long-term, chances are I wouldn’t have what I need to make those yummy cookies. So I resisted, telling myself it’s just today and tomorrow.

And that’s where I think we can learn a lesson.  For us, it’s just today and tomorrow.  For the chronically impoverished, there is no end in sight.  They can’t say “I’ll make it through today and tomorrow on only $1.50 a day, then I can spend whatever I want on food and drink.”  For them, it’s a matter of how can I possibly stretch this money?  How can I buy the basics?  What do I have to give up in order to buy food today?  Where can I come up with a few cents extra today?

This really makes me sad.  When I think of how much money our country spends on our elected officials’ pet projects, all of the waste in our government, I get angry.  Angry that the people we elect have turned their backs on the poor and needy among us and are falling all over themselves to give additional breaks to the super wealthy and multi-national corporations.  Children, in our country, or anywhere else, shouldn’t have to go to bed hungry.  I would love to see some of my tax money going to provide additional funds for community gardens, for providing free seeds so people could grow a few vegetable plants on their patio or windowsill.   Helping people help themselves.

I always tell people to get out there and vote.  That voting the lousy politicians out is the only way we can implement the programs with which we agree.  But what if none of the politicians are supporting an agenda with which you agree?

Anyhow, stepping down from my political soap box now…how did I do today?  Fairly well…despite the desire for something sweet and yummy.

Breakfast:

(Surprise, surprise)…2 slices of toast  10¢,  1 T peanut butter  6¢,  6 oz oj  14¢,  hot tea  4¢

Total for breakfast…34¢

Lunch:

1 chicken tender  30¢, 1 slice bread  5¢, radishes (free), celery  8¢, 1/2 banana  9¢, hot tea 4¢

Total for lunch…56¢

Dinner:

bowl of cereal  8¢, 8 oz milk  15¢, 1/2 banana 9¢

Total for dinner…32¢

Snack:

hot air-popped popcorn…16¢, butter  2¢, Parmesan cheese  3¢, hot tea  4¢

Total for snack…25¢

Total for the day  $1.47

The popcorn really tasted good…I may actually eat that as a snack more often rather than microwave (convenient) popcorn.  So I managed to make it through another day…wow…this sure makes me appreciate my grandmother and her struggles a lot more…I bet she could have done this challenge easily…and probably preparing better food than I’ve been eating.

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Live below the line, day 3

Poverty

Poverty (Photo credit: carlaarena)

This is not getting any easier!  I had to work a mid-shift today (10:30-7…blah), ate breakfast before I went in, had a meeting to prepare for and then the actual meeting itself, so didn’t really eat lunch.  Had dinner at 5.  So it was kind of an odd eating day for me.  I haven’t figured up my total cost of food for the day yet, but I can’t imagine that I went over…we’ll see…

Breakfast:

2 slices toast  .10, 1 T peanut butter  .06, 6-oz oj  .14,  milk  .15  (sound familiar?  this is actually what I eat just about every morning)

Total for breakfast was 45 cents

Snack:

crackers  .14, hot tea  .04

Total for snack was 18 cents

Dinner:

1 chicken tender  .30, 1 slice bread .05, radishes  free (from my garden),  celery  .08, hot tea  .04, frozen fruit  .42

Dinner’s total was .89

So that makes the total for the day $1.52

There are a lot of folks participating in this challenge.  I’ve been reading some of their blogs this week.  I think we’re all getting a glimpse into the lives of people who live in extreme poverty.  Enough of a glimpse to feel a lot of compassion, I’m sure.  But I can’t help but  think that there’s an end in sight for us whereas, for many of these people, there isn’t. I feel for people who live their lives without a lot of hope, without the belief that it can ever be different for them.  I hope everyone will donate to their local food banks, donate to worldwide poverty relief organizations, help the neighbor or family member who has fallen on tough times…but what I would really like to see is our politicians join forces to make this better.  Do I have a lot of hope that this will happen?  Not unless enough of us demand it.

Live below the line, day 2

Picture of siblings living in extreme poverty ...

Picture of siblings living in extreme poverty in El Salvador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow…it was much more difficult to do this today…just 2 days in…I kept thinking about getting something from the vending machine…then had to keep telling myself that someone living in extreme poverty probably wouldn’t have the dollar to waste.  So I did manage to resist.  But I did find myself hungry this afternoon while I was working, really hungry by the time I made it home.

Today’s food and costs are as follows…

Breakfast:

2 slices toast .10, 1T peanut butter  .06,  6 oz oj  .14, cup of hot tea  .04

Total for breakfast  34 cents

Lunch:

pot pie  .35, 1 celery stalk .08, carrots  .07, water  free

Total for lunch  50 cents

Snack:

1/2 serving crackers  .07, water free

Dinner:

baked potato .20, 1/4 C cottage cheese  .18, hot tea  .04,  banana  .18

Total cost for the day…$1.51

So, I did eat a little healthier today, but it wasn’t the tastiest of diets.  I think it would take some major planning for me to eat like this all of the time…well, that or extreme poverty, I suppose.  This kind of makes me think that we should have cooking, shopping, gardening, food preservation, and nutrition classes for the poorest among us…something to help them eat as healthy a diet as possible given the financial limitations they face. Of course, in our current political climate, people don’t seem to be willing to provide any kind of funding to help the people who are faced with abject poverty.  Do I think this is a political issue?  You bet I do.

Living below the line

World map showing the percent of national popu...

World map showing the percent of national populations living on less than $2.00 per day. UN Estimates 2000-2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As many of you know, I’m a BzzAgent and signed on for a campaign…Live Below the Line…to bring awareness to extreme poverty.  By taking part in this campaign, I agreed to spend $1.50 or less on food and drink every day for 5 days, which, as hard as it is to believe,  is what a lot of people live on all of the time.  You realize that means no eating out, no vending machines, no running into a convenience store and grabbing a Coke…I think we take all of those things for granted in our day-to-day lives.

So, how did I do on day 1?

Breakfast:

2 slices toast  .10, 1 T peanut butter  .06,  oj  6 oz  .14, milk 8 oz .15

So breakfast came in at 45 cents…pretty good.

Lunch:

1 frozen pot pie  .35, 1/2 serving of crackers  .07, diet Pepsi  .46

Lunch came in at 88 cents…my guess is you can see where this is going to end up…

Dinner:

2 slices bread .10, 1 slice cheese .08, 1 cookie .09

Dinner came in at 27 cents.

Total for the day was $1.60…

As I look back over what I consumed today, the cost of what we drink really jumps from the page.  That and the fact that I didn’t eat much in the way of fruit or veggies. So this was not a very healthy diet for day 1…and I still exceeded my monetary goal for the day…wow…had I not bought most of what I ate on sale, and often with coupons, the cost would have been even higher.

So  tomorrow I’m going to see if I can skip the diet Pepsi (won’t be easy) and add some fruits and veggies.  After only 1 day, 1 not even successful day, I’m getting a glimpse into how difficult it would be to live like this all of the time.  Definitely makes you think…

Peaceful gardening day

A scanned red tomato, along with leaves and fl...

A scanned red tomato, along with leaves and flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did manage to get outside and plant a few things today.  I planted the tomato and pepper plants I bought Friday.  So far, I’ve only planted a Patio Tomato and a Rutgers tomato plant, then 1 Cubanelle pepper plant.  I’ve planted the Cubanelles the past few years and had really good luck with them, very productive plants.  So we’ll see how this year goes.

I did pull some nice looking radishes today.  And I’m looking forward to having some lettuce in another couple of weeks.  Salad outside my back door!!  Yes!

I still need to buy either a grape or cherry tomato plant (funny how they named them, isn’t it?).  I usually grow one or two grape tomato plants and they  produce right up until that first heavy frost.  Have you noticed that tomatoes and corn taste best when you grow them yourself?  Or at least when you manage to eat them right after someone has harvested them.  I don’t really have the room to grow my own corn so I buy mine from a local farmer at the farmer’s market…still pretty darn good.

On another note, (but still food related) I’m starting this 5-day Live Below The Line challenge tomorrow.  It’s a project to bring awareness about extreme poverty…we have to spend less than $1.50 a day for food and drink, which is what a lot of people have to do day in and day out.  Wow!  And to think I bought a $1.49 bottle of tea the other day.  I’ve got my meals planned out, but it definitely won’t be easy.  I’ll keep you posted about how it goes…