Days 1, 2, Living Below the Line

July 25, 2017 at 12:45 PM | categories: livebelowtheline, justgiving, lbtlfooddiary | View Comments

Day 3 of Living below the line for manchester foodbanks...

    Living below the line - £6 for 6 days food (total) in order to raise awareness of food poverty in the UK, and more specifically, I'm aiming to try and raise as large a proportion of £2500 as possible. (That would help 100 families in need in manchester).

    For more info, and/or to sponsor me, please visit/share this justgiving link.

    If you can't sponsor, please share the justgiving link!

As I start, I note I haven't put my food diary online anywhere. I've said what I've bought, and I've said what I intended to eat, but not actually posted what I have eaten. As a result, I've created a new category on this site, which means you can jump straight here:

Regarding brands, etc, please see the first day's entry

For each day/part of day, I list the calories I get those days. For reference, my RDA calories for age, weight, height, gender are 2327 at the moment. (Based on the Mifflin St Jeor equation, and sedentary activity factor )

Day 1: Sunday 23 July 2017 - 1413 Kcal

You'll note I use the microwave to make the tea stronger. I normally drink a fair amount of black coffee. Judicious use of a tea pot and microwave results in stronger tea. Not coffee strength, but coffee colour.

Morning - 0Kcal

No breakfast in the morning because I hadn't been shopping. No tea, no coffee, no juice. Water though

That said, while doing the shopping, there was a very welcome bite/free sample of flan, so since that's free and open to everyone, I take and enjoy :-) (Since I was really hungry at that point it was welcome)

Can't afford eggs this week. Or milk. Or flour. Or pre-made flan...

Afternoon - 495Kcal

Got back with the shopping. Starving. Ate 2 giner nuts & some squash while brewing tea, and making porridge as a late breakfast. Later had toast as a late "lunch"

  • Blackcurrent squash, 1 glass
  • 2 Ginger Nuts

  • Cup of tea - Made in cup in microwave. Tea bag added to tea pot. Second tea bag added to pot, topped up with hot water, left to stew.

  • Porridge - Asda Oats, 41g (+water)

  • Tea - Made by microwaving a cup of tea from the tea pot, and adding hot water to pot (and a tea bag)

  • Toast - 2 slices bread, 9g marg, 20g Jam

Evening - 642 Kcal

Evening meal. Had earlier than I would otherwise, since hungry. Since I'm cooking for one, but have things like mash - which serves several, I cook a fair amount this evening, most of which will go in the fridge. Mash lasts 3 days. I'm planning on 3 "sausages"/meal (asda value sausages are OK if you like chip shop sausages. If you don't like those, you wouldn't like these ones). That would leave 2 "spare" sausages which I plan to use as lunch during the week, which I cooked that evening...

So I cook:

  • I pack of value mash (using more water, but no milk). Add 13g of marg to improve flavour/season
  • 17g of gravy (140ml)
  • 98g of peas (aimed for 100, being a bit under was fine)
  • 11 sausages.

And I eat:

  • 3 sausages
  • 1/3 pack of value mash
  • 17g/140ml of gravy
  • 98g gravy
  • 10g mustard

With that I have more squash

Night - 138 Kcal

Peckish in late evening

  • 3 ginger nuts
  • Cup of tea. (Again, pour from pot, microwave, add boiling water to pot)


That evening I also prepared:

  • My lunches for the week. Cooked 5, froze 3. (left 2 in fridge)
  • Some "budget flapjacks" to have as "snacks". (You'll note the low number of calories above...)

I'll cover those two in separate blog posts, as individual recipes, since they're probably quite useful to have in a separately viewable category (as well as this one - I'll update this post with links when they're added).

As summary the lunches are spaghetti, curry sauce, peas + those 2 spare sausages - which I call a "not noodle" below. The budget jacks are oats, water, margarine (less than normal) and strawberry jam.


Deficit of ~900Kcal below RDA

Calories are well below RDA for the day. I kinda expected that, but that's due to poor lunch really, and small breakfast. No milk in tea/porridge saves a lot during the week. But might look odd. I've had enough black tea in the past though...

Day 2: Monday 24 July 2017 - 1910 Kcal

First day at work while living below the line. While there is tea and coffee freely available at work, I work on the assumption that I can't have that this week, so I'm using flasks.

At home I have a number of flasks. 3 food flasks, and a couple of hot water flasks. (accumulated over years) They're important this week.

First thing I do in the morning is prepare 3 flasks:

  • One with 2 tea bags, and hot water. (To use as a tea pot) (I take two more tea bags with me to work, but don't use them)
  • One with hot water + 58g oats
  • One with the "not-noodle" lunch which I'm having, after microwaving it.

Also a water bottle filled with water with 75g of squash added.

When using a food flask, you need to fill with boiling water before using, leave for 10 minutes (helps overcome thermal inertia), and then immediately fill with overly hot food. In this case I simply pour the hot water from the flask back in the tea pot that morning...

(I then promptly forget to bring the antibiotics I'm taking for the leg infection I gained last week)

Morning - 327 Kcal


  • Tea - from teapot, microwaved
  • Breakfast - Toast (while making everything else) 1 slice, marg, jam


  • Tea - from flask. Hot water added/topped up
  • Mid Morning - Porridge fro flask. (Porridge made in a flask over a period of 2 hours is much nicer than on a hob if using just water/oats)
  • Tea - from flask. Hot water added/topped up

Afternoon - 400 Kcal

  • Drink squash
  • The "not noodle" lunch - from food flask
  • Tea - remainder of tea from flask

Evening - 1045 Kcal

Get home, have to have antibiotics first. So have tea, and a single biscuit.

Wait an hour, cook dinner...

  • 1/3 pack of value mash (1/2 of what's left over from night before) heated up in microwave
  • 3 sausages, cooked last night, heated up with mash in microwave
  • 98g frozen peas (+4g marg to improve)
  • 17g Gravy (+140ml water)
  • 11g Mustard

A bit later as "dessert":

  • 2 jam sandwiches, and one of the budget flapjacks.

Night - 138 Kcal

Late evening, watching TV....

  • Tea (from pot, microwaved)
  • 3 ginger nuts


Deficit of ~500Kcal below RDA

More calories than yesterday, didn't feel massively hungry at the end of the day, but definitely felt hungry during the day/evening - more so than normal. This is a bit odd - while 1876 calories looks low relative to RDA, relative to what I've been having for the past 6 months (I've been dieting) it's actually higher than normal.

The difference I think is the fact this is unbalanced towards carbs, away from veg and away from protein. (That said, I've been quite careful to manage the foods I've had over the previous 6 months to balance/prevent hunger, none of which tricks I can do this week)

If I wanted to not feel hungry I'd've need to have more food in the early and later evening. The food I'm having tastes either OK or nice, but isn't really satisfying.

I've got photos of most of the food I've eaten which I'll add later. In part so people can see what some of this really looks like.

Please do donate

Overall though, this is worth it. At the end of Day 2, the amount raised so far is £885. That's a really amazing amount from very generous sponsors. We could go higher though. It's 35% of where I'm aiming for...

I've also heard several people wonder how it's even possible to live on £6 for 6 days, and hopefully this is of interest to them. Bear in mind though that almost any deviation from this requires more funds. Raising it to £1.50/day would make a huge difference in practice. £2/day brings it to the level which foodbanks effectively budget for (based on looking at the numbers they publish).

That's a shockingly low figure, and without donations people in need - people who aren't supported by the the safety nets we're supposed to have - including people from all walks of life.

So please donate. Or share. Or donate at your local foodbank/supermarket.

If you'd like to help push me towards the goal of helping 100 families, in Manchester please sponsor me on justgiving.

Either way, thanks for your interest, and please share this, or the justgiving page.

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