Day 4 Living Below The Line: Why Variety is the Key to Health & Healthy Vegan Fridays #41

Day 4 Living Below The Poverty Line and Why Variety is the key to health

For those who haven’t been following my blog, this week I’ve been living below the poverty line eating food that costs less than £1 ($1.50) a day.  I am doing this with my family for 5 days, Monday to Friday so today is the last day.  Yay!

I am doing this to raise money for people who are living in extreme poverty.  I would love it if you could sponsor me and donate to Tearfund to help support truly hungry people.  Thank you so much to those who have already donated.  I will be donating the remainder of my weekly food budget as I’ve saved a fortune this week.

Not only have I set myself the task of staying within budget but my requirements are also for me to have a healthy balanced diet and not to go hungry as I’m pregnant.  No easy task but I’ve managed it and I’ve been eating simple, but healthily and for the most part delicious meals this week.  I want to help inspire people who have limited budgets that they really can eat healthy food on a budget.

I’m going to give you a breakdown of my meals yesterday (Thursday) and then explain why variety is so important for your health and how you can still achieve this on a budget.

** Please note that this post may contain affiliate links which means that I can receive a small payment if you make a purchase through my links.

Thursday’s Meals


Banana & Flaxseed Oaty Pancakes

Day 4 Breakfast Living Below The Poverty Line

This breakfast wasn’t actually in my original meal plan, but I got bored of smoothies (a pregnancy thing) and wanted something a bit more substantial so I managed to find a very basic pancake recipe just made up from oats, water and banana that I used.  I had already mixed my flaxseeds with my oats though so had to include these too but the pancakes turned out brilliantly and we all devoured them.  I served them with some chopped banana on the side and I had my spinach spare to add to my evening meal which provided a bit more vegetable variety too.  Smoothies are great if you want a quick healthy meal but sometimes you just want to chew and taste the individual ingredients a bit more.  My toddler just couldn’t wait.  (Mental note to self, put her in her highchair first before taking photos).  She is just starting to get good at climbing and getting creative with using different boxes as stools.

Toddler Grabbing Live Below The Line Breakfast

Here is a breakdown of the cost of my breakfast (for one person)

  • Oats £0.05
  • Flaxseeds £0.06
  • Bananas £0.06
  • Water: FREE

Total cost of breakfast: £0.17


Spicy Carrot and Kidney Bean Soup with Homemade Wholewheat Garlic Flat Bread, Banana & Carrot batons

Day 4 Lunch Living Below The Poverty Line

Although I am extremely bored of soup now,this was the nicest flavour that I’ve had all week.  I love a little bit of heat and I was surprised how much my toddler enjoyed this.  She wouldn’t really eat soup before this week began and now she finishes it off.

This is the lunch breakdown:

  • Carrots: £0.04
  • Onions: £0.02
  • Kidney Beans: £0.01
  • Oil: £0.01
  • Salt & Chili Powder: £0.01
  • Fresh Yeast: FREE (Tesco gives this away free at the bakery)
  • Wholemeal Flour: £0.06
  • Oil: £0.01
  • Salt £0.01
  • Water: FREE
  • Banana: £0.06
  • Carrot batons: £0.01

Total Cost of Lunch: £0.24


Homemade 100% Wholewheat Foldovers stuffed with Cannellini Beans,  Cauliflower, Carrots and Garden Peas in a Garlic and Tomato Sauce, with a Mixed Vegetable & Apple Salad & French Dressing and a side of Spinach

Day 4 Dinner Living Below The Poverty Line

Although I may be bored of soup, I’m actually still really enjoying my flatbreads, especially stuffed with such a gorgeous filling.  They tasted so fresh.  Yet another gorgeous filling meal.  I liked the spinach too for a bit of variety.

The breakdown of my dinner is:

  • Fresh Yeast: FREE (Tesco gives this away free at the bakery)
  • Wholemeal Flour: £0.06
  • Oil: £0.01
  • Salt £0.01
  • Water: FREE
  • Oil: £0.01
  • Beans: £0.09
  • Spices: £0.01
  • Onion: £0.02
  • Water: FREE
  • Passata: £0.03
  • Frozen Veg: £0.03
  • Oil & Vinegar: £0.01
  • Spinach: £0.08
  • 1/3 Apple: £0.04

Total Cost of Dinner: £0.40

Total Cost for the day: £0.92

Yay, well under budget today which is amazing.

Why variety is the key to health

I did set out this week to make my budget diet as healthy as I possibly could.  I did the best with the limited funds that I had (£1 a day per person) but out of curiosity I typed in my daily diet into Cronometer and calculated my nutrients to see how well the diet had met the nutrients.

For all the basics it had done very well.

Calories eaten on a typical day

The number of calories we ate on Tuesday were 2622 which is over the requirements for a man to maintain has weight and over the requirements for a pregnant woman too.  So I’m very happy about this.  A couple of friends have expressed concern that I am living below the poverty line while pregnant, but I wouldn’t have done anything to put my baby at risk by going hungry.  I planned this out so we wouldn’t get hungry.  I’ve probably eaten above my calorie intakes and am piling on even more pounds during this week.

So where do you get your protein?

The amounts of fat, carbs and protein were all over the Recommended Daily Allowance too.  So when people ask vegans that extremely common question ‘where do you get your protein?’ you can be safe in the knowledge that eating unprocessed fruit, veg, seeds, beans and whole grains will more than take care of your protein requirements.

Any deficiencies with eating on the cheap?

Out of 29 other vitamins and minerals, there were only 5 that weren’t quite at 100% of the RDA.  These were:

  • B5: 62% RDA
  • Vitamin E: 72% RDA
  • Calcium: 62%
  • B12: 0%
  • Vitamin D: 0%

Nutrients Breakdown of Day 2 on Living Below the Line ChallengeA vegan diet will always show D and B12 at 0% and all vegans should supplement these anyway.  A lot of meat eaters will also be deficient in these vitamins too as these are caused by lack of exposure to sunshine and a depletion in the quality of the soil.

For the remaining 3 vitamins, the solution to this would be to plan meals for the next week based on foods which were higher in these particular nutrients.

I don’t really believe in eating fortified foods as they are generally processed and I think you may as well eat healthier foods and just take a supplement as it will be cheaper and healthier.

I would recommend that everyone take a multivitamin daily to cover their bases as this is less complicated than trying to calculate all your nutrients out on a daily basis.  As long as you don’t use it as an excuse to eat junk as supplements will never come close to being as healthy as the nutrients obtained straight from food.

I also don’t think the body needs to have all the vitamins present every single day.  Our food grows seasonally so during some seasons we have access to a higher proportion of some vitamins than others.  The same logic applies to the sun and our bodies can store a certain amount of vitamin D over the winter as long as we get enough in the summer.

However it is important to vary your diet (preferably to eat seasonally) as much as possible so that you get access to the biggest range of nutrients as you possibly can.  This doesn’t mean you have to cover all your nutrient bases every day or even every week, just over the space of a year make sure you’re trying fruit and veg from every colour, and lots of different types of whole grains and potatoes, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.

The nutritional value of our food is a lot lower now than it used to be as more emphasis has been placed on profit rather than providing healthy foods.  So we have to eat more whole foods to give us the same vitamins than we used to.

So if you’re eating on a budget, don’t worry that you may eat the same beans for every meal for a week.  That’s fine, just make sure next week you buy a different type of beans.

If I was to continue this challenge next week, instead of buying spinach, carrots and onions as my vegetables, I’d probably buy tomatoes, mushrooms and kale to base my meals around.  This would up my vitamins that were slightly lower this week.

How varied is your diet?

I would also love it if you could sponsor me and donate to Tearfund to help support truly hungry people.  Thank you so much to those who have already donated.  I will be donating the remainder of my weekly food budget as I’ve saved a fortune this week.

If you want to catch up on my journey so far you can also read about How I’m going to live below the poverty line for 5 daysWhat food I bought to Live Below The Poverty Line and Day 1 Living Below the Line:  Finding out what true hunger really meansDay 2 Living Below the Line: Why eating unrefined food is essential on a budgetDay 3 Living Below the Line: Why eating vegan food is cheaper.

For those of you who don’t know, Healthy Vegan Fridays is a weekly blog hop hosted by myself, Carrie @ Carrie on Vegan, and Gabby @ The Veggie Nook.  It is a place to share your healthy vegan recipes that make use of whole ingredients and minimize the use of processed and refined foods. The recipes shared on this link up are intended to emphasis the beauty, creativity and benefits of a healthy, plant-based diet!

Please like the Healthy Vegan Fridays Facebook Page!

Recap of last week:

Most Popular Submissions

1:Do-Si-Do Cookies- Vegan, Grain-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Oil-Free

DO-SI-DO COOKIES- Vegan, Grain-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Oil-Free

2: Lentil Burgers with Vegan Gravy

Lentil Burgers with Vegan Gravy

3:Fantasy Melted Chocolate Ice Cream

Fantasy Melted Chocolate Ice Cream

My Favourites from Last Week

Whole Wheat Flatbread

Whole Wheat Flatbread

I’ve been eating loads of wholemeal flatbreads this week, and this recipe looks so much quicker, easier and cheaper than the recipe I’ve been using so going to have to give it a go.

Aloha Tropical Stir-Fry

Aloha Tropical Stir-Fry

This stir fri just looks and sounds beautiful.  I adore tropical anything and really love putting fruit in my savoury meals.  I’d never considered topping a stir fri with coconut before but it’s such a good idea.

strawberry rosemary sun-tea – goodness in a glass

strawberry rosemary sun-tea – goodness in a glass

This tea looks amazingly refreshing.  I just need a bit of sun so I can make it!  Probably more wishful thinking.

And just a quick request- PLEASE put a LINK BACK to this blog party on the post you a

re linking. We want to try and spread the word about Healthy Vegan Friday and would really appreciate your help doing so!

So, if you have a healthy vegan recipe (or 2) to share, please add it to the list below! If not, feel free to browse the submissions and get inspired! You can also check out our Pinterest board, Facebok Page and feel free to tweet about it using the hashtag #VeganFridays. Feel free to grab our button (code is on the sidebar) to help promote this even and show your vegan pride.

You don’t have to be vegan to submit, just needs to be a vegan recipe. so share that creativity of yours!

Thanks and happy Friday!

Submission Guidelines

  • maximum of 2 submissions per week
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  1. Thanks for featuring the sun-tea. :) Hope you enjoy it with the sun!

    This week I’m excited to share Lime-Seared Vidalia Onion & Black Bean Tacos. (Everything tastes fresher with lime!)

    Way to go with Living Below the Line – it’s awesome to see how you ate healthy on such a minuscule budget. Have a great weekend!

  2. says

    Cheapest” diet” startup I’ve ever done. Kolata says that scientists dieting vegan have a much better and have a better outlook on life. So maybe the term” diet” is becoming passe.

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