Day Seven: Ration Challenge

Today is my final day! I’ve gone through phases of craving different foods over the past week – today it’s pasta! I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and enjoy some nice carrot sticks (thrilling, I know, but I’ve missed vegetables!) 

We woke up early this morning and did a car boot sale selling all the stuff that didn’t sell yesterday. We made a total of £18.50 this morning, so we’re super happy with that! I took my bottle of water and my dried apricots with me, so while everyone was tucking into bacon cobs around me I could enjoy my apricots. The food truck smelt amazing, and I’m not going to lie, it was torture.

apricots car boot

I feel that even throughout this challenge, I’ve had a very productive week and I’m quite proud of all the things I’ve managed to achieve this week. One thing I do wish I’d done, was to keep an eye on how much money I spent. I usually spend a little bit here and there, buying snacks and hot chocolates, and it would’ve been interesting to see what I bought this week in comparison. I think it’s pretty much £0 to be honest, so it’s something I hope I can keep up after this challenge. Repeat: I do not need snacks!

I visited family this afternoon and had my last black tea I was entitled to, then went home and had a nap – it is a Sunday after all! 

Today I used the last of my flour ration up to make crepes and sprinkled the last little bit of my sugar on them. I had enough of my flour left to make 3 crepes, but I have one of them to Jack (he had maple syrup – lucky!) I also think my crepe skills have got better over the week – ha! I chose to share my crepes because this is what refugees would do in camps. They have their own communities where they get together to share rations and meals – this was what was behind the spirit of joining a team during the Ration Challenge.

crepe 3

It’s bittersweet that my time on the challenge will be over once I wake up tomorrow morning, and I’m going to be very careful with what I eat and not rush into anything as not to make myself ill. I’ve never been so excited for carrot sticks before! This cause means a lot to me, and I’ve tried to prove that over the last week. Anybody can suffer from displacement and Concern UK work so hard to provide refugees and displaced people all around the world with food, education and medicine. So again, I would like to thank you all so much for being a part of making a change and helping me through this tough challenge to bring awareness of some of the struggles many refugees face on a daily basis. I’ll remember my experiences for a long time and I’m hoping it will change me to be more considerate and careful when choosing food options. To not be greedy and to be thankful of how much we all truly have.

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My carrot sticks are ready for tomorrow!

 

Sponsors are being collected until the end of June 2019, if you can donate a bit of loose change, it’d be so appreciated! If you’d like to support me by sponsoring me on my challenge, you can do so at the following link:

Every little bit helps to make a difference.

https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/rebeccahardy

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Day Six: Ration Challenge

I’ve found the idea of starving myself much more appealing than eating the same food over and over again, and I’ve been wondering whether refugees feel this way sometimes. We take for granted just how much variety is on offer to us and we pick and choose food as we please. One of the hardest things for me on this challenge has been making myself eat things that I don’t necessarily like and instead I’ve chosen to go hungry. I have the privilege that my time on this challenge will come to an end, but I wonder how long it would take for me to cave in and just accept a life eating rice. This challenge has been so eye-opening, and if you’ve been following my blogs I’m sure you’ve noticed that it has sparked questions along the way. 

ration challenge meme

After this challenge has finished, I am aiming to be slightly more conscious of my food choices and my portion sizes. It’s so easy to be greedy when we have so much on offer. It doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves and I’m absolutely planning on buying a happy meal for myself before I watch Toy Story 4 on Monday evening, but it’s about realising just how lucky we are to have this choice.

Today we took part in the village yard sale! We’ve been trying to declutter, declutter, declutter – people who have me on Facebook have probably noticed my relentless posting on Marketplace, but I’ve managed to sell so much this way! I helped out on that for the first two hours (we made £5.50 altogether!) and then I left Jack to it while I went to work.

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I work with food, so I’ve dreaded being around food while being starving, and today has been so, so hard. I’ve felt quite unwell all day and working a job where you’re surrounded by food, and having to lift and carry stuff when you haven’t eaten properly for a week has about killed me off today. I managed to drink plenty of water while working and ate my 40g dried apricots for today, which gave me a much needed sugar-kick.

I finished at 5pm, came home and slept until 8pm. It felt like a good idea to me to sleep for a while, I was tired, hungry, stressed and angry – this challenge pushes your emotions to such extremes.

I then made myself a crepe with a sprinkling of sugar with a small glass of milk to drink and I just kept reminding myself that tomorrow is the last day. The milk tasted weird, because my taste buds have changed, but at least my crepe turned out better this time!

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Thank you to everyone who has given their support to me, either morally or through sponsorship. 

If you’d like to support me by sponsoring me on my challenge, you can do so at the following link:

Every little bit helps to make a difference.

https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/rebeccahardy

Day Five: Ration Challenge

This morning I woke up with another headache but no feelings of hunger, I also weighed myself today and I’ve lost 6lbs in 5 days. 

There’s a ‘Ration Challenge’ group where people share posts about how the challenge is affecting them and people have been putting all sorts of different things that you wouldn’t think would be going on, particularly around affecting emotions. I think I must’ve been pretty lucky so far, but today I woke up and I just didn’t feel particularly cheerful. It’s strange how something like this can affect you in so many different ways. I’ve also been suffering with hiccups so much over the last couple of days, no matter how much water I’m drinking. By taking part in something like this, it truly feels like an act of solidarity and makes you so aware of how living like this can affect you in ways that go beyond hunger. 

I’ve drank plenty of water all morning but didn’t fancy anything for breakfast. I visited the Leicester New Walk Museum today with my good friend, Fishy! There’s a temporary ‘Mod’ exhibition on at the moment, which I thoroughly recommend checking out! Don’t think it has much time left, so if you’re free this weekend – pop down!

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At lunch time I had 40g of apricots and a cup of tea with milk and one sugar. I knew I needed some sugar around lunchtime because I became really cold and tired. I ended up falling asleep for a couple of hours this afternoon – just complete blood sugar crash!

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Had two cups of tea this evening – reusing the tea bags and sorted some stuff out for the yard sale tomorrow morning! 2 days left to go! 

 

If you’d like to support me by sponsoring me on my challenge, you can do so at the following link:

Every little bit helps to make a difference.

https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/rebeccahardy

Day Four: Ration Challenge

OVER HALFWAY!

Woke up with a bit of a headache this morning and felt a little sick. Waited a while before making my morning tea, again with the same used tea bag and my milk and sugar rations. At this point, I just really want a little bit of chocolate, I don’t usually eat much chocolate but I think the lack of sugar I’ve had in my diet is now giving me huge cravings. I’m just glad that I got 50g of sugar from joining a team!

Before I left for my final day to take down our degree show I ate another small flatbread triangle! I’ve felt so hungry throughout the day today, as I’ve been constantly near the smell of food. Finished the degree show with heading to the pub with a few of my friends from Uni, and drank a nice glass of water while they had their beer and cocktails! 

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Aidan and Laury rolling the exhibition carpet up!

I have read that many people can see the end after day 4, so I’m hoping by tomorrow it’ll be easier with end in sight!

I grabbed some dried apricots for my earned fruit reward from Team Hufflepuff today – I grabbed 4 small bags because I think it’ll be easier to portion myself this way. That’s one bag a day starting today! The allowance is 170g but due to the size of the bags I’ve actually got 160g of apricots, buts that’s fine – I can do this! 

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40g of dried apricots

For dinner I made a crepe (flour, oil and water) and sprinkled a tiny bit of my sugar ration on it, I also ate 40g of my dried apricots. The crepe was quite nice, I have enough flour rations left to make a crepe for each of my remaining 3 days! 

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Pale, greasy crepe – delicious!

 

Advertising

Since taking part in this challenge, I have noticed just how much food is advertised to us constantly. When you’re actively trying to avoid food, whether it’s eating it or even thinking about it, all the social media adverts, television adverts, billboards and posters just seem to be screaming “food, food, food!” With is, as a country, being bombarded with these adverts 24/7, I don’t think it’s any wonder that obesity in the UK has risen so drastically and will continue to do so. It is estimated that by 2020 – so next year 91% of the population of the UK will be overweight or obese. This is a completely shocking statistic, but not surprising given the advertising and the price of junk food.

During our It Takes A City To Raise A Child project, we focused on poverty as one of our key contributors to children’s life chances in Leicester. We asked why a bag of crisps costs less than a bag of apples? When parents are living below the breadline, they need to feed their children. Parents often go without food themselves to be able to afford to buy meals for their family, however, food such as frozen chicken nuggets, frozen chips and tins of spaghetti hoops, are cheaper than much of the healthier options – and they go further. Buying food in this way means that children can be fed a few times from a cheap purchase down the shops, as opposed to spending money making something healthier, like meat and vegetables, which may only feed the family for one meal. 

There needs to be more awareness on how families living in poverty really can eat better for less. Many of these recipe cards available demonstrating just that aren’t realistic, for example, they will list something as costing £1.80 – but then the small print might say “per person” but the recipe serves 6. This is over £10 for one meal, and many families don’t have that kind of money to spend. Something needs to change. Poverty is real and it affects people all around the world.

 

If you’d like to support me by sponsoring me on my challenge, you can do so at the following link:

Every little bit helps to make a difference.

https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/rebeccahardy

Day Three: Ration Challenge

Yesterday early evening, I had a dentist appointment for a routine checkup. While I was travelling back from my checkup, it hit me how privileged I am to have access to things like dental care and I have been feeling so grateful. By sponsoring me on this challenge, you’re helping to raise money to give Syrian refugees access to medicine – something we take for granted. This experience is constantly opening my eyes to different difficulties refugees are facing and has made me even more determined to complete this challenge and raise my fundraising goal of £100.

Last night before I went to bed I made a few flatbreads to last me the next few days, 6 mini falafels and some “hummus” (chickpeas and water!) which is what I had for my lunch today. The food that I’ve made will last me 3 days. As I’m not massively keen on rice, I think I have done well to avoid eating too much of it! At the moment I am still only eating one meal a day and just drinking plenty of water. However, now there is the temptation of flatbreads to snack on this may be a different story – stay tuned!

I struggled to get to sleep because I had such bad acid reflux. Woke up today feeling really groggy and struggled to keep my eyes open, so I went back to sleep for an hour. It’s the lack of energy that I’m noticing the most and as I have a long day scheduled ahead of me I thought I better have a bit of extra rest!

Team Hufflepuff

Today I joined ‘Team Hufflepuff’ as an honorary Hufflepuff – my partner, Jack is a Hufflepuff and I couldn’t find a ‘Team Slytherin’! I’m so, so glad that I joined them! They’re a lovely group of people who share an energetic group chat – it’s great to have some support in this way. By joining Team Hufflepuff, the group shares extra rewards, as refugees would share their rations with their neighbours. I now have 50g of sugar, 210ml of milk and 170g of fruit of my choice. I am choosing dried apricots for my fruit and will be using them to snack on over the last 4 days of the challenge. This afternoon I enjoyed a cup of tea (made from a used teabag) with a splash of milk and one sugar (I usually have 2) – this tea tasted like the best thing I’d ever tasted in my life! 

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By being part of a team I also get to share their spices. However, I have decided that I will only have the spices that I already own but I will see if my local shop has some dried garlic because I would really enjoy some of that right now! The spices that Team Hufflepuff have on their ‘spice rack’ are: Cumin, Paprika, Dried Garlic, Nutmeg, Cayenne, Coriander, Turmeric, Cinnamon and Pepper. I will be using Turmeric which is my original spice, Pepper, Cumin, Paprika and hopefully Dried Garlic if I can get some! 

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If you’re doing the challenge and haven’t joined a team yet, I’d really recommend doing so. It’s a brilliant sense of community with the added bonus of some extras!

Meal of the day and National Refill Day

As today is National Refill Day, I took my refill water bottle along with me to our degree show, along with my tiny lunchbox of rations! It’s important to stay hydrated while doing this challenge and I have been trying to survive mainly off of water, I already feel like I will struggle to eat large portions after this challenge but at least for me, there is an end in sight. On average refugees spend 17 years inside camps, this diet is their life.

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Today I took in my lunchbox, one flatbread cut into 4 triangles, a spoonful of “hummus” and two mini falafels. 

The flatbreads are good when fresh but not so great the next day. I seriously think I’ll be making them again once the challenge is over though, but just eat as soon as I’ve made them. I followed the recipe from the Concern UK recipe book included in the ration pack for Fatima’s Flatbread Bites – they sort of taste like stodgy pancakes. They’re made with flour, a bit of water and some oil for cooking – that’s it! 

End of day update:

I actually only ate two small triangles of flatbread all day and had two cups of tea made from an old teabag, using my new milk and sugar rations! I’ve been super busy all day with my degree show and got home at about 10:30pm, so I feel like I haven’t had much time to think about food all day! Going to bed feeling fine. I can’t believe how little I’ve managed to eat this week so far without feeling too hungry compared to what I’d normally eat. It’s made it clear that I just eat for the sake of it most the time! 

 

If you’d like to support me by sponsoring me on my challenge, you can do so at the following link:

Every little bit helps to make a difference.

https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/rebeccahardy

Day Two: Ration Challenge

So last night I suffered with a terrible headache and feeling sick. It’s so unpleasant and really hits home as to what these refugees have to live with daily. I think part of it may be my body ‘detoxing’ particularly from lack of any sugar at all. I’m hoping that as the days go in, it gets a bit easier, but until then I’ll just drink my body weight in water! I woke up this morning with a very mild headache, hoping that it would be completely gone by this afternoon.

I skipped breakfast again and had one of my earned black teas (2 left, so hold out and I’ll be sending messages to earn some more!). I still really can’t stomach the idea of eating rice or lentils for breakfast, it just doesn’t appeal to me at all but I think the hungrier I get, I won’t mind anymore. I felt slightly hungry this morning but not too bad. I’ll be surviving predominantly off of water today I think!

This morning I worked my “shift” on our degree show, starting at 10am. I was glad that mine was earlier in the week because I’m not sure I would have the energy to get up so early and venture into the city later on in the week! The idea behind our main project featured in the degree show was that ‘It Takes A City To Raise A Child’. We used this to highlight the life chances of children living in Leicester, who suffer from poor mental health, lack of school readiness, hidden homelessness and keeping with this Ration Challenge – poverty. The statistics around food poverty affecting children in Leicester is shocking and by experiencing this challenge it’s a reminder that it’s not just refugees that have to go through hunger, poor nutrition and lack of energy. The ration challenge is important to highlight that it’s not “us” and “them” and that people all around the world are affected by poverty and by raising awareness we can help make a change. We need to stand together to work to stop poverty.

poverty

Surprisingly I felt fine, not as hungry as I did yesterday. I drank quite a bit of water throughout the day but other than that I wasn’t hungry. This challenge has helped me realise some of my unhealthy habits, when I walked to the train station earlier my first thought was to go and buy a Kit-Kat Chunky which I obviously just do out of habit – luckily I realised before I even got to the train station shop! Maybe I need to work on my Kit-Kat Chunky addiction once the challenge is over! 

For dinner I used my leftover rice from yesterday, my leftover lentil soup and some water and mixed it together and heated it up, I also fried a little bit of tofu up with some turmeric. It was palatable, but everything sort of tastes the same and is the same shade of turmeric!

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Finishing the day off with making hummus, falafel and flatbread to eat tomorrow. Wish me luck!

 

If you’d like to support me by sponsoring me on my challenge, you can do so at the following link:

Every little bit helps to make a difference.

https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/rebeccahardy

Day One: Ration Challenge

Today I started my first day on my #RationChallenge. I skipped breakfast because the thought of rice for breakfast just didn’t appeal to me at all, I need to think of what I can create for my first meal of the day – or I’ll end up being so hungry that I don’t mind the rice! I did have a black tea when I woke up though – I have earned 3 teabags so far, so some of you will be receiving messages so that I can earn a couple more by sharing my challenge with others. (I get one teabag for every 5 people I ask for sponsors – whether you sponsor me or not!) I usually have my tea strong, and I can even drink black tea so that’s not been a problem for me, however, I do like to have a couple of sugars in my tea which obviously I’ve had to leave out this week!

For lunch I fried a bit of rice up with some turmeric, which is my chosen spice and some vegetable oil. I earned turmeric by sponsoring myself and choosing a spice was a really difficult decision! I decided on turmeric because I absolutely love it, but I am a bit worried that I won’t be able to stomach it again after this challenge has finished. I’m taking a lunchbox with me today with my (cold) fried rice in, to eat while I’m working on our degree show! Lunch was hard because my friend bought lots of sushi for us to share during setup and obviously I can’t eat it! I ate half my fried rice and had plenty of water.

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I’ve been feeling extremely hungry all day but not particularly able to stomach a lot of rice! The turmeric helps massively but I’m still not a huge fan of rice.

I fell asleep this afternoon after my blood sugar dipped – I could feel myself craving sugary food – and when I woke up I really struggled to motivate myself to cook any food for dinner. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like living with such little energy everyday and on top of this cooking for your family with such uninspiring ingredients. 

For dinner I eventually cooked myself some “lentil soup” using the recipe provided by Concern Worldwide. I didn’t bother to use a blender once I’d cooked the lentils because the consistency was like thick soup anyway! It wasn’t too bad to be honest! I sprinkled a little turmeric on the top, but I found the lentils were quite tasty. I’ve got a portion for tomorrow and then enough lentils to make another batch – which I definitely will be doing! 

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Finally, I’ve put my chickpeas in the fridge in water to soak overnight and tomorrow I will be making half of them into some basic hummus and the other half into falafel. I will also try to make myself a couple of flatbreads for tomorrow too! 

If you’d like to support me by sponsoring me on my challenge, you can do so at the following link:

Every little bit helps to make a difference.

https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/rebeccahardy