Sunday, 8 May 2011

Staying Strong Below the Line - Week 1

It's been a week since I started Staying Strong Below the Line and it's time for a progress report. I bet you're dying to know how hard it has been to live on $2 per day.

Caffeine withdrawal
Well I won't lie to you, it has been hard. By far the hardest part has been giving up coffee! My energy levels fell through the floor for the first few days and I struggled to stay mentally alert at a time when I really need to be switched on (I'm writing my honours thesis).

Interestingly though, now I feel really good. The headaches, which had been plaguing me for the last few months have disappeared. I feel peaceful and meditative rather than so supercharged that I steamroll over everyone around me. I like this.

Calorie deficit
On Thursday I cycled 60k to get to a speaking gig. That night I found myself snapping at a dear friend of mine (sorry Lucy!) for no good reason. The next morning I had to drag myself out of bed, feeling like death. Things made sense when I felt much better after eating my planned breakfast and lunch in one go.

How was I going to survive on $2 per day if I was burning that many calories? After five days I'd already lost 1kg.

Mung beans to the rescue
Something had to change. I needed more calories for my coin. So on Saturday, I headed down to Amba Bazaar in Syndal and the friendly shop owner, Dhinesh, gave me a discount on a 5kg bag of mung beans! Hoorah, now I had enough to eat.

(I also realised that a big part of the problem was I messed up the mental arithmetic and was living on $1.50 per day instead of $2 per day!)

What am I eating this week?
Here's how I'm spending my $14 this week:
- 2kg of white rice ($3.60 from IGA)
- 4kg of mung beans ($9.30 from Amba Bazaar)
- 14 Cenovis multivitamin tablets ($1.26)

How's the nutrition?
Have a look here. To summarise: good. I'm getting 2600 calories per day, 134g of complete protein and all of my vitamins and minerals. 

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