Day 5 Live Below The Line for UNICEF £1 a day

The last day arrived.

Woke early. There is something about this way of living that makes me need less sleep than normal.

Breakfast was porridge with salt and water. It was pretty bland without a sweetener of some kind but filling and warming.

Then I performed my usual yoga, meditation and morning prayers. My legs were STILL aching from the caffeine withdrawal. I began to despair they would ever stop hurting.

I read, researched on the internet, checked my social media and attempted to go for a walk which I abandoned due to heavy rain.

Lunch was rice with a bean burger made with the leftover mix from yesterday. I had now run out of all fresh produce with just oatmeal, rice and pasta left.

I felt a complete lack of energy so decadently watched a film all afternoon: Mulholland Drive. I very much enjoyed it, trying to tease out the meanings.

Dinner was pasta with some parsley from the garden and a little oil. It tasted much better than I expected. I have really come to enjoy the tastes of these simple foods.

So that was my five days complete. I spent the evening watching another film: Byzantium. This was a Gothic vampire tale and good fun. My legs were still aching.

Reflections

I started this campaign really with the idea of raising money for the third world. I had images of starving African children in my head.
As the week progressed I also started thinking about poverty in Britain and how people are affected by it.

I was never really hungry during the week as my five pounds spent at Aldi could buy me a lot of carbohydrate. I had a huge bag of oatmeal, white rice and pasta. These simple carbohydrates were my staples. Normally, I would buy wholegrain versions but these were too expensive. The only fresh produce I could afford was three bananas and a big bag of carrots. When I punched my meals into the app My Fitness Pal I found I was short on vitamins most days.
I was usually too high on carbohydrate but very low in fat and way too low on protein. Poor people cannot afford a balanced diet. Filling up on simple carbs is surely going to lead to obesity and health problems which will put a strain on the NHS further down the line. It is impossible to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day on this kind of income.

The second thought about poverty that struck me was social isolation. It is impossible to join in with the rest of the community to do anything when you have no money. I felt increasingly alienated throughout the week. In the long term I feel this would lead to depression.

My biggest problem was the caffeine withdrawal. It gave me headaches and leg pains. If anyone is thinking of doing this challenge I would strongly suggest factoring in some money for cheap coffee or tea bags.

I felt humbled and I felt more gratitude for what I have. I would never judge the food choices of the poor. I felt incensed at the obscene inequality of income in the world and I now wish to do more to try to alleviate this in whatever small way I can.

I raised £130 for UNICEF and I am grateful to the people who donated. I was a little saddened by those who didn’t.

It was a worth while experience in that I hoped I raised some awareness and I learned things about myself and others.

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