Dine Below the Line – Cinco de Mayo!

Day 26

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Breakfast: oats as per the norm and a 45 minute podcast interview with Brock at the Sprocket Podcast (not loaded yet but check them out)
  • Snacks: bread bread and bread!
  • Lunch: last bagel and banana
  • Dinner: Dine Below the Line – quinoa, lentils, homemade bread, beans, rice a few greens of simple shoots and weeds basically but yum!

Food brought from Allen and his mother

A fantastic shared dinner which really makes it quality, quantity and fun!

The spread of food from all the dinner guests… not bad eh!

It was an idea for those who wanted to join in with people who are doing Live Below the Line for a meal. For my poor friends they kind of have to do it but it is a great concept.

Try this at home anytime and even better with a group of friends…

  • Potluck meal where people have to contribute food to the value of 50 cents per head (in the US)
  • Set your best dining table at make as formal as you like
  • Enjoy the evening with friends, family and great conversation!

The most important part of any meal – people!

I can see myself setting up a few of these kinds of dinners and you will be surprised what you can come up with when all pooled together and even better under a theme like our Latin American Cinco de Mayo festival dinner!

Desert was a fantastic full moon – the closest the moon for the year!

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Enough Food was not Enough – I got hungry…

Day 10

  • Day off! Except 6km ride, 6km walk – Vancouver
  • Breakfast: oats, bran, a few flax seeds, orange peel, dash of cinnamon and boiling water
  • Snacks: not enough!
  • Lunch: leftover dinner – rice noodles and roasted vegies
  • Dinner: Roasted vegetables, rice and beans

The least amount of energy expenditure for the whole trip but enough food wasn’t enough for the first time, an insatiable hunger that could not be fed…

It was grumpy last week but yesterday it was hungry. The day was spent indoors working away and it was the least amount of physical activity so far for the trip. My body has finally caught up with me and the energy debt I have created is knocking on the door!

It was just one of those days where enough food was never enough. I luckily can up my oats intake a little and make sure I have some filling rice in the evening. But what must someone do who is hungry with nothing in the cupboard or in the field? This is where the world’s poorest become truly remarkable because they just have to weather through the drought or lack of food either till food comes again or till they suffer because of it. I don’t encourage people to be hungry but it gives a sense of venerability and helplessness.

My hosts boys in their play box of lentils - making me more than a little hungry...!

Today is a lucky day as I get to go to a free concert from my favourite musician – Michael Franti (http://michaelfranti.com) who is a great role-model for me and has lead a lot of my social justice thinking and reflection. I feel it is going to be the perfect time to see him 10 days into this challenge.

Always an inspiration to meet Mr Franti!

A few exciting things happening with some follow on from polio eradication and a few future plans of possible presentation tours…

Anyway the moral of this story today is let us see those who are hungry not as sad helpless people but as some of the most powerful and hopeful in the world and that we should never have to see anyone be so in a situation that doesn’t need to exist.

A nice way to distract the hunger that I think most people in extreme poverty don't have... Not guilty just in ore of the power of the hungry in the world, just wish they didn't have to be so powerful eh.

A little about the mental side of food

Day 7

  • 1 mile (1.6km or 64 laps of 25m pool) swim South Vancouver pool – lots of chlorine!
  • Breakfast: plain and wholemeal vegan pancakes (no eggs or milk) with stewed half pair, orange rind and ½ teaspoon of grated ginger – basically porridge but fried in a saucepan!
  • Lunch: 1 left over thick pancake
  • Snacks: half a small orange
  • Dinner: rice and beans with a small handful of bok-choi

People yesterday wrote how can I walk 30km on a boiled potato but really how can anyone do that everyday of their lives. I am not here to show how tough I am, I’m doing it to highlight how tough 1.4 billion people are who do it daily, without choosing…

Basically porridge cooked up on a frypan!

I have to say that it is not a good idea to do the Live Below the Line challenge for more than the five days as it is proposed. I’m becoming a little bit food and price obsessed (if I wasn’t already). It is something I can manage as I have had to before in the past living in developing countries but I am doing this challenge for a month as an advocacy tool not as a ‘diet’ or cost saving exercise.

I have found the thinner you get the smaller your stomach becomes and, for me at least, the less hungry I become. I don’t think this is a good thing and I believe there is always an energy debt that needs to be repaid. I know this from loosing a lot of weight when I was in Ethiopia running a marathon and being able to put on weight for a long time.

So how to manage your energy output and calorie input is important. I didn’t really understand it when in Ethiopia, as some people may remember with a photo of me looking like Changi prisoner of war (photo never to be shown to my mother again), but I learnt mainly through a lack of testosterone and libido that it is important to have some weight on your bones. So these days with a libido to keep in check I know there is a lot at stake and I won’t allow myself to live below the weight line!

So far the food is simple, energetic and enough but hard work for preparing, cooking and carrying – everything is so bloody heavy!

Temptations are tough, long wait times between meals, no convenience, no treats and a lack of diversity are the challenges but it is more of a mental challenge and I know what is only available to me and satisfied with that. The biggest killer for me now as it has been in the past when I come back from developing countries is food wastage. To see food be wasted is tough – I have to suck it up or you go a bit insane but please if you can try not to waste food, it is a slap in the face to the world’s poorest, the people who produce the food and the environment it came from.

Losing my head over food for LBL!

One of the most in intriguing outcomes of this challenge is how other people deal with what I have to eat and their level of guilt eating around me. They are not the stupid ones to take on the challenge and don’t feel like you need to feed me – feed the ones who need it (donations to the Global Poverty Project maybe…?).

Certainly not too food crazy at this stage although did have a couple of dreams that I was sneaking extra food and treats to beat the challenge and have woken up relieved that I am still going pure and strong.

I actually love the simplicity, discipline, humility and integrity of eating a diet like this and I hope this is something we can all take solace in and maybe strive for a simple meal once a week to take check and honour those who don’t get to choose simplicity and strive for a little bit of it in our own lives.

Rice, beans, bok-choy and swimming hair!

When I thin of the mental toughness and physical draw on food for this challenge I can only imagine what it must be like to have it for your entire life. Yes, it might be all people know living in extreme poverty but there is always someone around who has more and the desire for it – even just something as simple as food.

Bien provecho!

PS. Live Below the Line is not a mentally healthy thing to do long term so stick to the 5 days is my suggestion! Sign up to do it May 7-11 with the Global Poverty Project –  http://www.globalpovertyproject.com