Live Below the Line Challenge Diary

Living below the line - pizza

Well, this is me on Day 3, absolutely exhausted, delusional and ever-so-slightly grumpy (sorry to the guys I work and live with!) and what’s more I’m currently eating vegetables yet again, on a yeast-less homemade pizza base – what am I doing?!

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Let me take you through my week….

Day 1:

As I went to prepare my breakfast I went straight to the fridge and pulled out the freshly squeezed orange juice. Then realisation struck, this was Live Below the Line week and I had only budgeted for water! Swiftly putting it back into the fridge I started the morning with porridge mixed with water, and a few blackberries, which wasn’t great but was pretty filling and saw me through till 10.30am. As a mid-morning treat I then went to cut open the pear which to my horror had completely rotted inside; this wasn’t the best start to the week! After quickly disposing of the pear, I opted for a digestive biscuit instead which despite being out of date by over a year, still tasted surprisingly like a digestive.

Lunch consisted of vegetable soup and bread, but without stock or other flavourings was not particularly appetising. However, the jam tarts came to the rescue, and the taste of these were just incredible after the blandness of the soup!

Living below the line - Jam tarts recipe

Dinner comprised of roasted vegetable curry with homemade tortillas, followed by apple and blackberry crumble with natural yoghurt. The entire meal was really rather nice from start to finish. See my low-cost Live Below the Line recipes here. All in all, not a bad start to the week……

Living below the line - roasted vegetable curry

Day 2:

The withdrawal symptoms were beginning to kick in, I had a constant headache, was ever-so-slightly snappy and absolutely shattered. I put the headaches down to the obvious chocolate deprivation, the tiredness must be the lack of fresh fruit, and TIG’s boyfriend would probably say I’m always a little snappy – but I’ll put that down to missing protein! It’s such a strange feeling not to be able to have the food I feel like, or pop to the shops and pick up a chocolate bar. I absolutely love my food and no matter how big a portion is on my plate, I will eat it! However, today I was surprised to find that I had little interest in food at all and was certainly not looking forward to meal times.

Day 2 was probably the hardest day so far. This was the day when I came to the conclusion that the vegetable soup that was meant to last for all 5 lunches had definitely gone off! At this point I was craving just any sort of fresh produce, I wasn’t even pining for a chocolate bar – just something fresh and in date!

Live below the line jelly

However, the jelly was a genius purchase and I highly recommend it if you’re living below the line – it’s the perfect sugar pick me up that will taste great all week.

Day 3:

I’ve made it to Day 3 and the headaches are getting less, maybe my body is finally adjusting to the lack of chocolate. However, I am still pretty exhausted, and slightly concerned this blog post might not even make sense.

Today it was lovely to have a change of breakfast – natural yoghurt with warm blackberry compote. I did make the mistake however of not having anything else, and by 10am I had eaten my entire allocation of jam tarts and digestives for the day!

Lunch was last night’s tea, curry for the third day running. Just thinking about eating it was tough! I managed most of it but my appetite seems to have completely gone. I then had a little bit of jelly and made it through till dinner.

Due to the vegetables looking rather the worse for wear, I had no choice but to use them up today, and what better way than a homemade  pizza. I was actually quite impressed, it tasted pretty good too.

Living below the line - pizza

Pudding was Apple and Blackberry Crumble with natural yoghurt once again, but it is still really tasty, – definitely one of my more successful ideas!

So, at the end of day 3 I have no fruit or vegetables left and the only main ingredient I have is pasta, which will now be my lunch and dinner for the next two days. This is not going to be easy.


Day 4:

Day 4 and my body had just about adjusted to the lack of nutrients…and chocolate! The headaches had gone, but I was still struggling to stay awake. Breakfast was once again one of the highlights of the week – natural yoghurt and warm blackberry compote.


For lunch I finished off last night’s pizza, which was pretty tasty considering. However, for dinner I had pasta and tomato sauce which was probably by far the least satisfying main course, and the thought of that being my lunch and dinner for the next day really hit me hard.

Living below the line - pizza

The worst part of day 4 had to be the weekly pub quiz. Tap water in one hand and quiz sheet in the other! It was not until half time when the challenge really began…they brought out the free chip butties! Despite these being free I didn’t feel it would have been in the spirit of the challenge to have any – so I painfully watched team mates eat my share. I think the lack of chip butties must have affected my quiz performance as we were a long way from winning!


Day 5:


I made it! Day 5 has arrived. What better way  to end the challenge than going back to basics for breakfast…porridge. This was followed by pasta and tomato sauce for lunch and for dinner, tomato sauce and pasta! Psychologically, today was by far the hardest, but it was in fact the first day that I felt hungry, and actually had an appetite, yet I struggled to eat all of the pasta as it was just so bland. Friday night is often ‘dine out’ night, which may have had something to do with my appetite coming back! I have approximately 3.5 digestive biscuits left, 1 apple and a little bit of porridge and flour…not sure what I can do with that but I’ll figure something out!


This week has been particularly hard because of the headaches, the tiredness even more so, and the lack of food choices that I definitely take for granted. Poverty traps people, it has controlled the quality and quantity of the food I’ve eaten. Not only that, this challenge has also dictated my social life – I didn’t have the energy to go to  the gym, I couldn’t eat out with my friends and family and I’ve really struggled to stay focused enough to write about this challenge – let alone do it! I’m so glad to have completed it though – it has been quite a tough lesson, but I have certainly learnt a lot about the struggles that face those who live below the poverty line. I only had to get through 5 days – for others it’s just a way of life….


This week I have been raising money and awareness for the great work that Farm Africa does. What I love about Farm Africa is that it is very different to most charities. They don’t give handouts, or quick fixes, they help farmers grow their families out of hunger permanently. Farm Africa believes that Africa has the power to feed itself, they work directly with farmers to help them unleash their potential to feed Africa’s people. They offer pioneering techniques that boost harvests, reduce poverty, sustain natural resources and help end Africa’s need for aid.


Please give generously to help put an end to extreme poverty. I’ll leave you with this video taken in Uganda. Farm Africa taught Robinah and her group new ways to farm their land and provided them with disease-resistant seeds to help their farms flourish. Robinah and her fellow farmers were so thankful to Farm Africa, they greeted the Farm Africa staff with this song which translates to ‘Thank you Farm Africa’. Show your support and help more people like Robinah escape from a life of poverty.

Donate to Farm Africa

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Are you Living Below the Line this year?
How is it going for you? Any side effects yet?
Why not share your experiences below…
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Author: TIG

Anna is ‘That Ideas Girl’ or TIG for short! Hailing from the small thriving village of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, she is a graduate of the London College of Fashion with 6 years online and offline marketing experience. Anna is overflowing with ideas that she just can’t wait to share with the world!

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