Saturday, June 25, 2011

what i learnt - the more of less


the photo above: the first meal that kick started my LBL challenge which ended 2 weeks ago. a hard boiled egg and plain porridge mightn't sound like the most satisfying breakfast on a chilly winter morning, but surprisingly - without salt, without any fancy condiments, without much colour - it was satisfying, in an bizarre sort of way. the blandness somewhat made me appreciate every mouthful of the porridge. there was something wholesome about every precious bite i took.

these two weeks since LBL, i've been reflecting a bit on my experience...

LBL was a springboard for conversations; friends and family would ask me about how it was going, wishing me good luck with the challenge, and then mum would be offering me food because she kept thinking i wasn’t getting enough nutrition from my $10 of groceries (and i kept having to convince her that i was ok, and probably was even healthier than I usually ate). during those five days i felt like i was more connected to a bit more of the world, to those who are stuck living below the line everyday and to the community of people campaigning and supporting LBL.

[our world is full of compassionate, kind and loving people, and what really makes life sweet isn't so much the sugar we add to our chocolate, cakes and desserts, but rather: the relationships that we share and the love and care that we give genuinely - not only to those we know, but also to the wider world around us.]

although i did have moments of hunger pangs and odd cravings, i didn't really starve as such - i mean, i even had oats, some frozen vegies, half a carrot, plus an egg leftover. but having a limited range of food supplies, and limited access to food (not being able to buy food on the go, not being able to eat out with friends) did pose some difficulties. even when i was eating at home and talking over dinner as normal with my family, it felt like there was some sort of imaginary line drawn between me (plus my vegie porridge) and the rest of my family at the dinner table because we weren't sharing the same food.

[food is an integral part of our society - it is strongly tied with sharing, with celebration, with tradition and culture. food is often a part of those happy moments we share with one another, and can often bring back happy memories of people together. for the millions who don't have enough to eat, food is survival]

when friends and relatives asked me about what i was eating for the week, many seemed quite suprised with the nutritious range of groceries that i bought for under $10 ( oats, soy and linseed bread, eggs, mixed vegetables, apples and milk ) when you only have a $10 note to spend, it makes you think more and plan more about what to eat, all of a sudden $10 was worth a lot. i feel very lucky to know about what's important in a healthy diet, which low GI foods for longer lasting energy, where to get protein from instead of from meat etc etc. without education, books, the internet ...i wouldn't have had a clue. and without access to a variety of supermarkets and the local market, i wouldn't have been able to buy all those groceries under the budget.

[unfortunately, not only is money a issue for those living in impoverished communities, but access to food and education also play a significant role in their wellbeing. we really are blessed, but what's more, we can share this wealth with many more people so that they too can benefit from it]

i've learnt more from eating less, than i would've if i had been stuffing myself buffet style everyday. if we can take steps to making more out of less, then we can give more to those who have less. less is more. isn't life contradicting is so many odd ways?


Thursday, June 9, 2011

LBL day three, maybe i'm not addicted to chocolate after all...


i was out yesterday, and had work today, so only got around to updating how i'm going with the LBL challenge.

my lil bro tried luring me to eat junk food yesterday - with the smell of original thins and that satisfying crunch from those cripsy chips. then he offered me raspberry drops, knowing i couldn't accept it. was it torture? not really, since the logical part of my brain told me that it's all gonna end by sunday...

then yesterday night, my friend gave me a block of chocolate, dark chocolate - my favourite! it felt a bit odd letting it sit inside my bag, as i waited - hungry, thirsty, and tired - for fifteen minutes for my train.

when i got home last night, there was all this delicious leftover food in the kitchen, and my starving stomach just cried out silently. again today i got home after work, and had to spend an extra quarter of an hour or so preparing my vegetable porridge when there was two perfectly cooked, well-seasoned dishes sitting on the dinner table.

it just emphasised, and brought to light again, the simple luxuries we are so fortunate to have.

ps. here's a pic of my packed LBL lunch - fried egg with diced vegies sandwich + sliced apple + carrot sticks


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

LBL day one, where are my tastebuds going?


day one of the challenge and i'm feeling pretty energised despite the lack of flavour and variety in my carefully portioned meals. i'm quite happy about the groceries i managed to buy with only $10, and although taste is a bit compromised, at least i can get an almost balanced menu, plus an apple a day!

today's food has turned out pretty well, even with my two failed attempts - at cooking a soft boiled egg (which turned out hard boiled =.=") and at frying an egg without oil (which i ended up having to convert into scrambled egg). i think by the end of these five days i might get eggs/oats/carrots-phobia after consuming a dozen eggs, 900g of oats and 1kg of carrots.

day one menu:

brekky - creamy oats + hard boiled egg
lunch - scrambled egg sandwich + toast + carrot sticks
afternoon tea - apple
dinner - mixed vegies porridge

oh i'm craving chocolate....and seeing all the yummy food when i open the pantry or fridge door to take out my meagre food supplies really doesn't help! but the rather bland meals, lack of choice and limited nutrition, really makes me think of those who are living below the line each and everyday. we are very fortunate to have so many things that are often taken for granted.
feeling extra extra extra grateful today.

Monday, June 6, 2011

living below the line from tomorrow!


finally finished midyear exams this morning, hello holidays! this year, i'm gonna start my winter break on a different note. from tomorrow till saturday, i'll be doing the live below the line challenge.

for the next five days, i'll being living on $2 of food each day to help raise funds for the oaktree foundation, thanks to all the wonderful support and donations from my family and friends. fundraising from this campaign will be going towards helping establish and maintain schools in impoverished communities in cambodia, papua new guinea and east timor.

education can make longlasting changes in the plight to eradicate poverty. with the help of scholarships, training, building of facilities and equipping schools with adequate resources, many more children will have the opportunity to learn, and receive the education that is key to breaking this vicious cycle of extreme poverty.

$1.4 billion people, or in other words, one fifth of the world, are living on $2 or less everyday. although only eating $2 of food a day is only a small challenge compared to that those in poverty face on a daily basis, i hope that through this tiny taste of their struggle, i can not only gain a better understanding of myself and the world around me, but also be able to do a little bit of something for others.

after much planning and going to the market plus coles, and aldi too, i managed to get a fairly healthy bunch of grocery that will hopefully satisfy me for five days - breakfast, lunch and dinner - that's 15 meals!

looking forward to an exciting challenge ahead! :)