‘I was just saying at work earlier today.’ I stop midsentence. ‘Um. Actually I can’t remember what I was about to say. What was I talking about again?’
My friends looked at me like I’d gone utterly mad. ‘I’m sorry, my concentration levels haven’t been great the past few days.’
Food is fuel. Without enough of it, you can’t function properly. I knew this and just presumed it would only affect biological processes, not my thinking – that maybe I wouldn’t have the energy to run for the bus, or that I’d feel tired all the time.
Those things happened and plenty of others too – in spite of the mild weather I’ve felt underlyingly cold, and at one point I was decidedly woozy.
And I really can’t concentrate.
RH tweeted me this week to say he’d roughly worked out my daily calorie intake. I had done the same thing before I began and it filled me with trepidation about what I was about to do.
Here’s how it breaks down:
70g uncooked rice 200cal
1 carrot 66cal
1 sardine 51cal
48g kidney beans 45cal
11 green beans 13cal
1 egg 97cal
1/5 onion 16cal
50g porridge oats 186cal
A grand total of 674cal a day. The recommended daily intake for a woman is between 1500 and 2000.
No wonder I’m tired, cold, hungry and in a daze. As RH pointed out, in buying food there was a real trade off between energy and nutrition. I could have bought more, or lived solely on rice, but that would have been damaging to my body. The green beans and eggs were my treat for decent health.
Yet, the 1 billion people who live at this level all the time also have to get transport, heating, healthcare and shelter out of their £1 a day.
KM wrote on my sponsorship page that in the UK we spend on average £53.20 on food. I’ve not had to walk in and out of work – a total of 14 miles, which would have removed any of the value of eating entirely. I can boil the kettle to drink hot water instead of tea without cost. I can get into my warm bed early every night and sleep soundly.
But for those who don’t share my luxury, to get all that for £1 a day means rice it is, I guess. That’s why so many suffer the malnutrition that stunts the growth of children and often proves fatal. Man cannot live on rice alone.
“Live Below the Line” for UNICEF by surviving on £1 of food a day for 5 days and help save and transform a child’s life.
Join the Live Below the Line challenge and raise money for UNICEF’s work with children 7th – 11th May http://www.livebelowtheline.co.uk/unicef
And now you can sponsor me too!