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We made it!  What a fascinating and tummy-rumbling week its been.  D and I have raised a whopping $820 (and counting) so far.  I am just gob-smacked by that figure.  Such generous people in our lives!  Thanks to every one of you who took the time to donate some cash.  Your money will enable Partners Relief and Development help many Burmese children.

Judging by the stories on the Live Below The Line community board, I’d say D and I have eaten well this week.  We’ve had nutritious meals, and even though they have been repetitive I’ve been able to mix things up with spices and my new BFF, Peanut Butter.

D has found LBTL much easier than I have, but then he’s not used to eating my HFLC diet (although he is sugar-free too).  I have really missed my protein and have felt a little like I did in my sugary days – hungry, thinking about food a lot, and did I mention hungry?  I’ve also had noticeably less energy and could really feel the difference during my runs this week.  I’m looking forward to getting back to my usual diet so I’m rid of this ‘I-need-a-snack’ feeling.

I definitely have a new appreciation for food wastage.  Since D and I started meal-planning a couple of years ago we don’t have a lot of waste any more, but this challenge had taught me that we could do so much better.  Normally I throw away ends, and veggies that are looking a bit manky, but not this week.  I know I will be making vegetable stock more frequently from now on.

Would I do LBTL again?  Yes, in a heartbeat.  In fact, I think I would like to have a ‘simple week’ more often so D and I can donate more to the various charities that we support. It’s an easy way to free up some cash.  Next year we have several family members who want in, so I’m looking forward to a week of communal meals with them.

Living Below The Line has certainly made me feel grateful for all the things I have in my life.  We only had to live this way for our food.  So many people have to pay for everything on that sort of budget.  Compared with those living in poverty D, Eloise and I live like kings, and it is my hope that we can be good stewards of what we have so that we can share it with others.  D and I know we could be doing more than we currently are.

When I worked at the Soup Kitchen I got really sick of the misconception that poor people are rubbish at handling money.  It’s just not true.  Most people living on a benefit are friggin’ geniuses at budgeting.  The guys at Soup Kitchen knew all the places to get a free feed, where the cheapest cuts of meat could be bought, what day to shop at certain second-hand stores to check out the new stock, what veggie market vendors would give away free stuff.  It’s almost impossible to save up a nest egg on a benefit, so it’s the unexpected things (like needing to go to the doctor) that can really throw a spanner in the works, and can make someone who has just been holding their head above water to go into a downward spiral.

Today I am standing in solidarity with my brothers and sisters around the world who are living below the poverty line.  I wish I could do more for you.