To highlight poverty in the UK and around the globe, reporter Charlotte Dobson is taking on a challenge — to spend just £1 a day on food for a week
FORGIVE me reader, for I have sinned.
Last night, after a wilful protest, I was dragged kicking and screaming to the pub. And at the pub . . . I don’t know whether I can even admit it . . . I had a beer.
A delicious wheaty, pale beer. Full of sugar and alcohol and definitely out of my £1-a-day budget.
It was donated to me so it’s not really cheating, but it was good.
Aside from a sneaky trip to the boozer, I did really well food-wise. I stuck to my usual breakfast of porridge oats and water (boring) and my spaghetti-chickpea combo for lunch.
But to avoid going to bed hungry, I decided to have a little early evening starter before a spaghetti top-up.
For my starter I had a 25p pack of curried noodles with extra hot water and, you know what, it wasn’t that bad.
In fact, for 10 minutes noodles seemed like my new best friend. Of course, they’re full of salt and refined carbs, but after two days of very bland food, I lapped up the spicey wateryness.
As the week goes on, I’m realising how impossible it is to maintain a balanced diet on £1. Sure my noodles are all right when I’m ravenous but, really, there can’t be anything good for me in those.
The only source of protein I’m getting is from the chickpeas, while my tinned tomatoes have some vitamin C and A. But what about my omega 3, vitamin D or calcium?
It might be psychosomatic, but this challenge has made me feel zapped of my usual energy. I’ve found myself making more silly mistakes than usual and getting my words mixed up when asked a simple question.
If nothing else, it has been a wonderful time-saving exercise. I wait until I get to work to have my porridge oats, which is just pouring water from the kettle into a bowl. Cooking now requires minimum preparation, I just whip open a couple of tins and boil some spaghetti — and that’s every other night.
But when you’ve got no energy to do exercise or money to socialise with your friends, it’s just a bit miserable.
I would buy myself a chocolate bar to cheer me up, but I can’t even afford that.
Midnight on Friday cannot come soon enough . . .