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 Post subject: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:49 pm 
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Is anyone taking part in any activities this year for Live Below the Line? The core 5 days this year are between April 27th - May 1st, but people seem to vary the way they take part, so some people who initially tried the 5 days on £1/$1.50 a year or two ago are now attempting a month or longer.

I'm finding it fascinating and yet daunting looking at the supermarket websites and trying to plan 15 meals worth of food + snacks for £5. The UK website meal plans imply you can "buy" portions of staples you already own from your cupboard stores, so they list e.g. 10p worth of oil, whereas in reality you can't buy vegetable oil in amounts that small - the cheapest vegan cooking fat I can think of costs about 70p a block. I'd like to see how inventive I get when I only have £5 to last 5 days, supposing that is all I had and was starting with bare cupboards (if you wanted to get really hair-shirt about it, starting on day one with only £1 and having to build it up over the 5 days would be even more of an interesting challenge).

I thought if anyone else were attempting this we could list our prospective shopping lists and what meals we actually come up with during the challenge at what cost. I'm also open to suggestions of possible charities to link to (or donate to myself. I'm not sure whether to try getting cash out of my friends and relatives yet).

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:49 am 
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That's a tough challenge. Amazing that so many people live like that. I'm glad this is out there raising awareness, but it never seems to reach the people who need that awareness most (politicians, rich people in general, etc.).

I think I eat about as cheaply as possible already. At least when I don't go out, which I try to avoid. I eat mostly PB&J at work and homemade tacos at home. I feel like I make okay money, but it all goes to rent and healthcare so I'm still eating PB&J and riding the bus to work.

The biggest misconception out there is that poor people are irresponsible. Like anyone ever got rich by being frugal. You can't become a millionaire by being cheap. It's all about income, not spending. This challenge helps show just how impossible it is to live on limited incomes.


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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:37 am 
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I think idji did this for her dietician program but if I remember right, it was $20/week and 5 pounds is 7.32 dollars. That sounds rough to do.

As far as cooking oils, canola will probably be your cheapest.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:41 am 
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So I decided to take a shot and see if I could figure out how to do this. There is a grocery store here that does deliveries so all their products are online.

I figured grits for breakfast (slightly cheaper than oatmeal), split pea soup for lunch and lentils, brown rice (same price as white at this store) and cabbage for dinner. I added 1 tbsp of sugar per day for the grits, and 3 tbsp of oil per day for breakfast/lunch/dinner. The cost came out to $7.87 per day but the problem is the calories only came out to 1300 calories. So I'd have to increase the portions size to actually get to a decent amount of calories which would obviously increase the cost.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:04 pm 
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linanil wrote:
...The cost came out to $7.87 per day...


Did it really come out at that much? The Live Below the Line challenge would actually be $7.50 to cover one person for five days ($1.50 a day). I think it is doable, you would just have to be prepared to either eat quite blandly or not quite meet the calorie requirements. This is roughly how I was thinking of doing it if I spent the whole £5 in one go at a supermarket (the chilli con carne sauce is actually vegan):
Image

I figure I would make a split pea stew with about half the split peas, half the sauce, half the onion, a couple of carrots, that'd probably last for a few meals. I'd make a dip with the other half of the split peas and a quarter of the onion raw, salt, maybe a dab of the sauce. Could make a potato bake with some of the sauce and potatoes. Make a coleslaw with the cabbage, a carrot, a quarter of the onion and some mustard. I'd grind up half the peanuts and grate a carrot and make a kind of quickbread out of that with the self-raising flour (could be used for both sweet and savoury). I'd make some water biscuits with flour, salt and water, and I could eat those with the jam for snacks, and I could portion out the other half of the peanuts for snacks too (about 1/2oz at a time).

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:11 pm 
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I have done it last year and blogged about it in German (theres some pictures, too): http://www.veganinberlin.com/tag/live-below-the-line/

My boyfriend will join me this year but we'll do it a week later because that week we are visiting his family.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:17 pm 
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I can just list what I bought last year:

2 kg potatoes
500 g dried chickpeas
500 g rice
500 g oats
710 g Apple sauce
1 kg flour
2 onions
1 small can of kidney beans
1 small can of tomato paste
radishes

+ salt, oil, pepper that you can
I had some cents left at the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Thanks VeganinBerlin. I'll check your blog out but can you tell me if you had much leftover of any of those? Did you wish you'd bought more of one thing and less of another?

I'm now trying to work out what I'd buy if I just had £1 for the first day and had to build it up...

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:42 pm 
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Oats as a breakfast were a very good idea. I had 100 g of oats every morning and I was full until lunch. I mean, it's not incredibly tasty but it gets the job done. I had it with some apple sauce so that was nice but my boyfriend doesn't eat apple sauce (he also doesn't eat potatoes or radishes, so these will be out this time, too) so I think we will just eat oats with a bit of sugar. I think we can count the sugar as "spices" and not have to buy a whole 1kg package. At least that's how we'll handle it. Else we'll just eat oats without anything else for breakfast. It's 4 cents for breakfast, so it's great to have a cheap and nourishing (and healthy!) breakfast.

I did finish the potatoes and the oats. I had some rice left. I don't actually like rice I mostly bought it because it's so cheap, so this really depends on your preferences. I'd definitely try to find staples that you like as they are.

Maybe we'll buy a few packages of 25 cent ramen noodles for the ease, if it fits out budget. I'm thinking maybe this time I'll try to eat more vegetables, if we can manage that.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:17 pm 
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dropscone wrote:
linanil wrote:
...The cost came out to $7.87 per day...


Did it really come out at that much? The Live Below the Line challenge would actually be $7.50 to cover one person for five days ($1.50 a day). I think it is doable, you would just have to be prepared to either eat quite blandly or not quite meet the calorie requirements. This is roughly how I was thinking of doing it if I spent the whole £5 in one go at a supermarket (the chilli con carne sauce is actually vegan):
Image

I figure I would make a split pea stew with about half the split peas, half the sauce, half the onion, a couple of carrots, that'd probably last for a few meals. I'd make a dip with the other half of the split peas and a quarter of the onion raw, salt, maybe a dab of the sauce. Could make a potato bake with some of the sauce and potatoes. Make a coleslaw with the cabbage, a carrot, a quarter of the onion and some mustard. I'd grind up half the peanuts and grate a carrot and make a kind of quickbread out of that with the self-raising flour (could be used for both sweet and savoury). I'd make some water biscuits with flour, salt and water, and I could eat those with the jam for snacks, and I could portion out the other half of the peanuts for snacks too (about 1/2oz at a time).


Those prices are incredibly cheap. Like the grocery store I used had a head of cabbage for $1.99. 5 lbs of potatoes for $3.99. It isn't the cheapest store but it also isn't the most expensive, I think 3 lbs of onions was $1.99. 1 pound of carrots for .99 cents. I didn't even include salt but it'd be something I needed to add.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:05 pm 
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The 1,50 us dollar per day are calculated for the US. I don't think it's meant to show how easy it is to eat like that but just how hard the reality is.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:12 pm 
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I agree, it isn't easy, I'd just say it seems impossible for a decent amount of calories.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:21 pm 
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There is no way I could do this willingly. I ate nothing but lentils, rice, pbj on Walmart brand white bread, and protein shake mix for a while in college when I was lucky to have $20-30 leftover after expenses for the month.

I have no idea how families do it. Those memories are why my classroom always has food.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:23 pm 
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linanil wrote:
I think idji did this for her dietician program but if I remember right, it was $20/week and 5 pounds is 7.32 dollars. That sounds rough to do.

As far as cooking oils, canola will probably be your cheapest.


I did. It wasn't this exact challenge. It was a SNAP (food stamp) based thing. I ended up buying $20 of food and eating $15 of food in the week. It was very bare bones, too. It's really difficult to figure out exactly how to do it because if you buy a bag of rice for $1.50, you won't eat that whole bag in a week. Funny thing is, no one I knew who ate meat actually completed the whole week. They couldn't make it work. I think it also had to do with the fact that they were more discerning about the type of meat they would buy where as for me, lentils are lentils. I had a super elaborate spread sheet going. The thing I did was meant for politicians to do to see just how their decisions about budget allocations and things affect actual people. Of course, the only politicians who would really participate were the ones who already wanted to help people.

I googled SNAP challenge and found a bunch of crepe about gwyneth paltrow following it for a week. I didn't even click on any of the articles, but I totally don't buy it.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:25 pm 
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oh, nevermind, she totally gwyneth-ed up the whole thing as expected http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/sty ... hing-ever/


that's a lot of vegetables on there. Is she really going to need 7 limes for the week and a dozen eggs? You know how much more corn you'd get from a bag of frozen corn? Romaine lettuce is not cheap. aaaanyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:28 pm 
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VeganinBerlin wrote:
...
I did finish the potatoes and the oats. I had some rice left. I don't actually like rice I mostly bought it because it's so cheap, so this really depends on your preferences. I'd definitely try to find staples that you like as they are.

...I'm thinking maybe this time I'll try to eat more vegetables, if we can manage that.


Did your flour last out? I've found flour is by far the most economical starch/protein combination looking at the price per gram, it's less than half the price of the cheapest oats I can get here and it's fortified with some minerals and vitamins by law. I can get self-raising flour for 30p a kilo, whereas the rice is 45p a kilo, and has less protein than flour. Oats are 75p a kilo (they're a fraction higher in protein than the flour, but not fortified).

In terms of veg, the most economical choice for the highest vitamin pay-off is green or red cabbage, as far as I can tell. White cabbage used to be a lot cheaper but it doesn't seem that much less at the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:33 pm 
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linanil wrote:
I agree, it isn't easy, I'd just say it seems impossible for a decent amount of calories.

It's only for 5 days so it was okay. I had 1500-1700 calories a day but could have added more oil/fat to my food on the budget, easily. I just can't digest fatty food very well.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:36 pm 
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Hmm, the Facebook group for the US version says $2 a day 4-8 May! If food is more expensive in the USA in real terms than it is here that may be a more reasonable challenge?

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:53 pm 
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dropscone wrote:
VeganinBerlin wrote:
...
I did finish the potatoes and the oats. I had some rice left. I don't actually like rice I mostly bought it because it's so cheap, so this really depends on your preferences. I'd definitely try to find staples that you like as they are.

...I'm thinking maybe this time I'll try to eat more vegetables, if we can manage that.


Did your flour last out? I've found flour is by far the most economical starch/protein combination looking at the price per gram, it's less than half the price of the cheapest oats I can get here and it's fortified with some minerals and vitamins by law. I can get self-raising flour for 30p a kilo, whereas the rice is 45p a kilo, and has less protein than flour. Oats are 75p a kilo (they're a fraction higher in protein than the flour, but not fortified).

In terms of veg, the most economical choice for the highest vitamin pay-off is green or red cabbage, as far as I can tell. White cabbage used to be a lot cheaper but it doesn't seem that much less at the moment.


Yes, my flour lasted. I only made flat bread out of it and ate it with the chickpeas or potatos, or the chickpea-rice-apple sauce combination. Im not sure if apple sauce was smart because it was difficult not getting more than I had plant to eat from it and it was more expensive. And don't underestimate how your blood sugar reacts to stuff. Oatmeal is really filling and lasts for a few hours, whereas plain flour doesn't keep you full as long. Oats are 78 cents a kg, flour is 45 cents here..

Flour is not fortified here, I think. So nutrionally it's not a great choice, I think. We also dont have self rising flour. I think I might try to bake bagels this time. Maybe I can make a poor man's hummus.

Carrots are a good choice, I think. You get a kg for under 1 euro. And my mother bought apples and bananas, too (she also did the challenge).

100g oats is 372 calories, 13,5 g protein, 58,7 carbs, 7 g fat and vitamins & minerals. I think that's pretty good for a breakfast.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:56 pm 
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dropscone wrote:
Hmm, the Facebook group for the US version says $2 a day 4-8 May! If food is more expensive in the USA in real terms than it is here that may be a more reasonable challenge?

https://www.facebook.com/LiveBelowTheLineUSA This one? I can only see 1,50.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:59 pm 
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VeganinBerlin wrote:
dropscone wrote:
Hmm, the Facebook group for the US version says $2 a day 4-8 May! If food is more expensive in the USA in real terms than it is here that may be a more reasonable challenge?

https://www.facebook.com/LiveBelowTheLineUSA This one? I can only see 1,50.


And this interview http://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity/ne ... am-claire/ also mentions 1,50.

"Let's talk about Live Below the Line—this is your second year participating in the anti-poverty campaign, and living on $1.50 a day must be a crazy experience. What was it like?
"The options were extremely limited and there was almost nothing remotely healthy available to me. A pepper costs up to $1.50 depending on where you go, and that's your whole day's rations. I had a lot of ramen noodles and a lot of rice and potatoes and broth. It was very challenging, but I think the more profound part of it came from really realizing what this means for those people. No one should ever be forced to choose between food and education, or medicine and shelter when they don't have the resources. It's very unfair."

What does the campaign mean to you?
"I was profoundly affected by my experience. It's not meant to replicate the experience of the one billion people who live on $1.50 a day globally, but it's meant to stand in solidarity with them. It's very difficult when you have $1.50 per day to spend on food and drink, but for people who live this reality, that money also has to cover medical expenses and education, fuel and shelter––sometimes for an entire family. It was incredibly eye-opening for me about the realities for some families both globally and also here in the United States. I'm thrilled to be supporting this cause.""

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:07 pm 
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VeganinBerlin wrote:
dropscone wrote:
Hmm, the Facebook group for the US version says $2 a day 4-8 May! If food is more expensive in the USA in real terms than it is here that may be a more reasonable challenge?

https://www.facebook.com/LiveBelowTheLineUSA This one? I can only see 1,50.


D'oh, I was looking at the Australian one! That'd explain the money difference, although it's weird it's the week after the rest of us.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:39 am 
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I could get closer to 1.50/day by going to our local asian market where vegetables are much cheaper. In my area, veggies are extremely expensive and other stuff isn't far behind.

I grew up poor but luckily we lived in an area where people grew tons of food in their backyards, so we got free fruit and vegetables from our neighbors. We stood in long lines to get government cheese/butter and day old bread was easy to get somehow. My mom also worked at a school and was able to get stuff that they were about to throw away so we often got food that way as well. Groceries in the area are the cheapest in the country too as far as I can tell. I remember moving from Southern California to Denver and walking into a grocery store. I actually walked out the first time because I swore the prices had to be wrong and I was in the wrong grocery store. I wasn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:20 am 
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yeah, linalil, he way i grew up, very much the way you describe, same thing. that ol' block of cheese, man, it is horrible shiitake but sometimes i dream about it, believe it or not. and day old bread at the outlet store. mm mm mm.

i have been looking at this and thinking that our local reality is just nothing near it and I'm not sure how i would even approach it. the cheapie staples we don't have (ramen noodles are expensive, for example) and even beans are quite pricey now- the majority of our expenditures are on seasonal veg, though, which is cheap, and the rest I grow in the garden. The really poor people I know make government and charity supplements (milk, beans, rice) the staples of their diet, and many people still forage (even in the city. my mother in law can make a meal out of weeds growing in her neighborhood).

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 Post subject: Re: Live Below the Line April 27 - May 1 2015
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:46 pm 
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I've been trying to come up with possible shopping lists to feed myself for $1.50 a day for 5 days. It doesn't look like I could afford to do this with much variety to my diet at all. If I buy 2 lbs of flour, 2 lbs of pinto beans, 2 lbs of cabbage, and 1 lb of the cheapest margarine, I have a bit of money left over for salt and spices. Cabbage as my only fruit or veggie would get a bit sad, but things like carrots and potatoes don't get cheap until you buy quite large packages here, and the big packages would eat up too much of the budget for only 5 days worth of food. I might be able to buy a banana or two, but I'm not sure there would be money for that after factoring in the cost of spices and salt. I could get brown rice instead of white flour, but while I like rice, I think I'd rather live off a lot of homemade bread-type foods instead of just rice.


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