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My Live Below the Line Challenge: day 4

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freedom farms bacon

If Freedom Farms Streaky Bacon – still plugging for sponsorship – is a 10, and Trifle is a 1, then beans on a rice is a 3.

Originally I’d planned on a few meals of beans on rice & a few of tuna on rice. After one meal of beans on rice this changed. But first a little more on the ‘food scale’.


The Food Scale

10 – Heaven in your mouth: Freedom Farms Streaky Bacon, Halloumi cheese, the first mouthful of Jack & coke, Oreo shakes, brownies

9.5 – Drexels French Toast

9 – A party in your mouth: my home-made French toast, my home-made pizza – yep I’m pretty humble when it comes to my cooking ability for these two items, ignore the fact that they are the only things in my cooking repertoire I do well.

7 – other pizza, other bacon, fish ‘n chips.

5 – I couldn’t care either way: pumpkin, potato, roast dinner – What! are you even a Kiwi! note: see yesterdays entry on rice. I have a roast for Christmas dinner (as is tradition) I wouldn’t be sad if I never had one again.

3 – I could, but only if I really, really had to.I don’t hate myself enough to eat this: supermarket pizza, white ants – a Ugandan delicacy. I recommend the dried dead ones over the still-live-in-your-mouth-with-wings-on ones. Mmm nutty.

white ants driedwhite ants wings






2 –  The world would be a better place without: parsnip, swede, yams.

1 – Lets take bets on how long I can hold this in my mouth before you meet the contents of my prior meals.

trifle1-e1286413613925Avoid at all costs: Trifle. Trifle is the only food in this category. I would eat a bowlful of white ants over a bowl of trifle any day. I’m not sure why I dislike trifle, I don’t recall any traumatic experiences.

If I break trifle down, Custard is a 7, Jelly is a 5, Sponge is a 5, Cream is a 7. Yet somehow these things combined make the most repulsive food substance known to man.

I guess Trifle is like the 2013 Los Angeles Lakers, made up of appealing parts, Nash, Kobe, Howard, Gasol, who on their own are all 8-10’s, yet somehow combined, became something that made all L.A fans feel ill.


Hunger: It’s important to note that hunger has a sliding effect on the food scale. For example a petrol station pie is a 3, but after a late night & a couple of beverages that same pie can become a 10. Likewise that Dominos pizza from Day 2 is a 7, but on that day it became a 15.

Advertising/deception: Food that isn’t as advertised. KFC/McD’s/Burger King start out as an 9, but each bite you take it drops a number until it hits 5 & then 2 hours later it becomes a 3.


With all that cleared up my meals have been like this.

Beans & Rice – 3

Tuna & Rice – 7

Banana Rice – 7 (easily an 8.5 with honey)

Beans, Tuna, Rice – 5. I took to this as the tuna has a Thai green curry, which wonderfully masks the beans.

Meal one: 6:15am… I overslept. “Banana Rice”.

Half asleep & not concentrating I peel the whole banana, faced with eating it all now & having no banana tomorrow or having 1/2 an incredibly brown-icky banana, I opt for the whole one today, what a treat!

1 Banana, 1/3 cup of rice, milk.

A brief dilemma as I contemplate taking the car or arriving to work late. I go with late, so far I’ve stayed car free.

Meal two: 10:30am “Tuna & Rice”. 2 spoonfuls of Tuna, 1/3 cup of rice.

WP_001373Meal three: more a snack than a meal. 3pm. Beans & Tuna (no rice)

I’m so flip’n tired I combine the last of the beans, 1/5th of a can, with a spoonful of tuna, not enough to mask the beans, this meal is a 2.


I crash for an hour, then I get up & go to the gym…

“Tim, people who live below the poverty line don’t go to the gym, so why are you?”

Great question intelligent-thoughtful-beautiful reader! Let me tell you why…

My job is not physically demanding, yet those that are poor can do quite physical tasks to survive. In Uganda we had no washing machines, I attempted doing my washing several times. Not only was I bad at it, but it was time-consuming & draining… I was sweating like crazy & dying after 45 mins. Some of the lady’s there would be doing washing all day, absolute workhorses! On a side note the washing machine is the single greatest invention in human history.

So that’s why I went to the gym, I wanted to see what effect my limited diet would have on an intense activity.

I took the car. 3 1/2 car-less days. Sure I could make the 75min walk to the gym, but there was no way I’d be able to get home without dying.

I shouldn’t have worried, I died anyway.

Before I got there I hit what I can only call the IDGAS zone ( I don’t give a ***t!). It comes after Hangry, you basically stop caring about anything & everyone else. Who cares about this dumb challenge anyway.

The Gym sucked.

I had a session with my PT guy, doing what I’d normally do, I didn’t tell him of my new-found diet, as I didn’t want the session altered, and he wouldn’t approve. Halfway through the 1st set of bench I knew I was in trouble. Set 1 felt like Set 2 & set 3 felt like set 5, if such a set even exists. I just about passed out multiple times & I’m sure he was disheartened by what could only appear as a lack of effort.

I get home & jump in the shower, thank God for hot showers. The gas runs out midway. Instant cold water. fml.


Meal four: 6.45pm “rice & tuna”

Tuna is all gone. Tomorrows menu is looking dreadful, but I still have that $1.50 to look forward to.


The Highlight of my day came a little later, watching a young friend get baptized.

10:30pm Zzzzzzz

The low-light of my day, waking up @12am hungry & headaches, awake most of the night.

One more day to go.


you can follow my fundraising efforts Here.



My Live Below the Line Challenge: day 3

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morning person

5:40 am *BEEP-BEEP-BEEP* snooze *BEEP-BEEP-BEEP*… At some point the beeps of the alarm merged into the beeps in my head as if they were filtering out the words I was thinking, #*@# mornings!


 Meal one: 6am, Breakfast “banana rice”

1/3 cup of rice, 1/2 Banana + milk


The story of Banana Rice

When I was 6-7yrs old my parents were missionaries in a poor area of the Philippines, an event that would undoubtedly shape my life and ruin me for happily zombieing along in a consumerist society, although I’d still give it a crack for a couple of years in my 20’s and occasionally wish I could flick a switch & play ‘house’ with all the other grown ups instead of pondering the meaning of life 🙂

Anyhow I digress… the Philippines equals lots of rice. Often the next morning there would be rice leftover from the night before, so we would have,

“Banana rice”  – banana + rice + milk + sugar, normally served heated, my preference is with a twirl of honey or maple syrup.

“Chocolate rice” – rice + milk + coco or Milo.

Or last and certainly least, “Yuk Rice” – rice + milk + golden syrup + sultanas.

Shortly after we returned from the Philippines we moved to Wellington, where dad – who had left the Police – began working for a very multicultural church. Guess what, more rice! Often having people over for meals, breakfast rice became a staple part of our diet.

I haven’t had breakfast rice for 10+ years, so I thought the Live Below the Line week was a great chance to bring out an old favourite. I cheat, I don’t do it properly, I’ve been having it cold, I have more milk than I need, and I’ve been missing the added honey (makes a world of difference).


It’s not hard to make. How hard can it be when the majority of the ingredients are listed in the name 🙂

You can follow along at home…

Step one: add banana

WP_001371Step two: add rice & milk

WP_001375Now some people like to switch step 1 & 2 around, but it is my expert opinion that only the most experienced should attempt this advanced technique.


6:30am – midway through my walk to work in the drizzling rain it feels like my ears are going to explode out of my head,  they’re so cold.

6:45am – I get picked up by a work colleague, most likely moved to sympathy for how tragic I was looking.

Meal two: 11am, Lunch,  Take that hunger, today I came prepared!

1/3 cup rice, couple of spoonfuls of tuna

3pm – Still drizzling, I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid any heavy rain, a refreshing walk home.



I’ve really been enjoying the walking – apart from this mornings exploding ears

it’s great for the mind to wander & ponder

Something that doesn’t tend to happen in amongst the hurried busyness that life can sometimes be, or maybe we keep ourselves busy so we don’t have to stop and think…

I smashed out an hour nap, naps are the best! before I caught up with a friend. Normally we’d go out for a meal but that was off the cards so we just wandered in the rain pondering life, love, money & all life’s great mysteries.


Meal three: 8pm, Dinner “mix it all” & “banana rice”

1/4 cup of rice, couple of spoonfuls of beans, couple of spoonfuls of tuna

topped off with heated banana rice.


12:30am brain fried from too much study & essay writing. shutting dowwn  n………..


You can follow my fund-raising progress here.



My Live Below the Line Challenge: day 2



Hangry (Han-gree)

adj. Having a strong feeling of or showing annoyance, displeasure or hostility; a state of anger cause by lack of food.

My day didn’t start as a hangry day, in fact I don’t recall ever being hangry before. Now I’ve been hungry before, and I’ve certainly been tired and grumpy/angry before – would that be trumpy or tangry? – but not hangry.

My alarm went off at 5.30am & full of youthful enthusiasm and excitement for the day I jumped out of bed with the alertness of a meerkat. Most unusual as I am not a morning person, as I’m sure you’ll see as the week progresses, lets put this down as an anomaly.

I got home late last night so didn’t have time to prep anything for today, all I had left was some cooked rice from a missed meal yesterday – another anomaly, I just wasn’t hungry for some reason.


Meal 1: 5:50am Breakfast “banana rice”

1/3 cup rice, 1/2 banana,  milk all mixed together, Yum!


With a full belly & confidence overflowing – who needs food? not me, I survived on 2 meals yesterday, I’m going to own this week! – I headed off on a 50 min walk to work.


10 o’clock – I’m really missing my morning coffee (pretty much essential to my survival on the morning shift, see: not a morning person), and what’s that I feel? could that be hunger? yes, yes it was.


Up until this point my biggest gripe has been technology withdrawal, apart from writing this blog (which publishes straight to facebook in case you were wondering, as I know some of you are, I won’t name names… *cough* Mark *cough*) I’ve managed to stay tech free, no games, no texting, no email, no facebook, no movies, no music.

By “tech free” I guess I’m talking entertainment & communication. I did have it put to me that technology delivers & heats my shower, all I can say is I had enough dribbly-cold showers in Uganda to gain an everlasting appreciation of a hot shower.

So why has no tech been hard… I just wanted to watch some football yesterday, I wanted to check my fantasy scores, I wanted to play some music, I wanted to play some Civ…

Quick Side note: I was introduced to Civilization 5 less than 2 weeks ago & I’m hooked, I may have put in a few hrs with some friends this last week 🙂 The bonus is now I’ll probably stop dreaming in hexagons. The downside is at some stage I’ll probably get the shakes as I go through withdrawal.


12 o’clock – I’m really hungry, my stomach is making funny noises, why didn’t I bring lunch, what was I thinking ?!!

3 o’clock – Home Time!… but it isn’t as I have to stay on. It feels like my stomach is trying to eat itself.

4 o’clock – The Hangry Zone. I pick a kid up from the shops to bring him back to school. He hops into the car with a pizza, it smells Amaaaaaazing! He opens the lid and offers me some. Look at all that cheesy goodness & it’s vege! omg! this is the best looking pizza I have ever seen in my entire life! I smile, I politely decline. I want to smash his head through the window & drag him behind the car, why are you chomping so loudly!

Oh, so that’s what it feels like. I’m hangry.


I leave work just before 5, I get home just before 6, the walk home is freezing. I’m hangrier, I haven’t eaten for 12hrs. I cook a bunch of rice for Dinner, Breakfast & lunch.


Meal 2: 6:30 pm Dinner “mix up”

1/3 tin of beans

1/3 cup of rice

3 spoonfuls of tuna


10 o’clock: My hangry day has drawn to a close.

What I take out of today: If I can survive the temptation of pizza, I should be able to see the week out… and as for you Pizza, you’ll get your comeuppance come Saturday.



You can follow my fund-raising progress here.



My Live Below the Line Challenge: day 1


Day 1 will be the easiest, because it’s shorter than the rest. After coming off 4 evening shifts, Monday was a day off. My day didn’t start till after midday where I headed off to the supermarket to grab my food for the next 5 days.

Walking through the supermarket was when it finally hit home. There would be no salmon, no halloumi cheese, no coffee, no juice, no beersies, no Freedom Farms Streaky Bacon…

Freedom Farms Streaky Bacon is like the Jesus of food, it’ll change your life.

and I’m back… no eggs, I was really tempted by a large tray of cage eggs, but couldn’t do it… though I quickly jumped off my ethical-eating high-horse so i could purchase some bananas.

WP_001365Here is my shop in all it’s glory.

brown rice $1.60

Tuna $2.50

Bananas x3 $1.64

milk $2

Beans $2

Total $9.74

Which leaves $1.51.

I’ll need that for Friday.

Meal one: midday who am i kidding, 3pm. “Beans & Rice”

1/2 glass of milk

1/2 cup rice

1/3 can of beans


I made the picture big so I wouldn’t be as sad.


Off to a good start. Today was a car free day I made two trips clocking up 3hrs of walking, although it meant I didn’t get home till 11ish.  Fortunately I avoided the rain but was unable to avoid a snail on my way home, I knew I was hungry because the crushing sound reminded me of crispy potato chips Mmmmm…

I just re-read that sentence, to clarify I stood on the snail, I didn’t eat it. That might come later in the week 🙂


Meal two: 11:30 pm “Banana Rice”

1/2 Banana, 1/3 cup of Rice, 1/2 cup of milk… all mixed together.


Almost midnight, I’ll be up at 5.30am to make it to work for 7 o’clock starts *shudder*.


You can follow my fund-raising progress here.


My Live Below the Line Challenge: the (Rules) Spicy Extras

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guidelines rules

We’ve had the what, why & who posts, welcome to the ‘how’, the Spicy Extras. My self-imposed rules & guidelines to add a little flavour to my Live Below the Line challenge.

The challenge is to feed yourself on $2.25 a day for 5 days ($11.25), to raise funds & awareness for those who live in extreme poverty.

The Spicy Extras…


No freebies – no “thanks for the shout bro”, no free stuff, no work provided meals.

One Supermarket – those that live in extreme poverty can’t bounce from place to place chasing specials. Oh, and it has to be within walking distance, because if you’re living off $2.25 a day you don’t have a car, which leads nicely to…

The Car

I make roughly 2.5 trips a day, a trip being, home to work/gym/shops/friends & back. Those that live in poverty don’t have their own car. So I’m going to go car free…

well try to.

Of all the goals this is the one that will be hardest. So if on average I’d take 12.5 trips over a 5 day period, I will consider 2 trips a success.


There is a lot of stuff I have which those that live in poverty don’t. So I’m going to go without them *. With my daily blog update being the exception, there will be no internet, no phone, no TV, no Facebook, no movies, no computer, no gaming, no music… should be a fun week 😐

* exceptions being where they are required for work.

Day One begins I’m off to shop, but I’m just taking $10, I have something a little different planned for Friday 😉

You can follow my fund-raising progress here.