Live Below the Line, Round 2: Days 1 & 2

As I was nearing the end of my first three weeks of Live Below the Line, I had put a little reminder in the back of my head to pick up again shortly before the challenge ended on July 1. Fast forward one month later and I find myself once again living off $1.75 a day for food and drink. This time around, I’m doing it for another twelve days, ending on June 28. Once the challenge is officially over, I would have racked up 31 days of living below the line.

During my first three weeks of the challenge I experimented with different foods, trying to fit in all my nutrients and doing my best to get enough protein, fibre, fruits and vegetables. I tried to keep it as “clean” as I could, eliminating all animal products from my diet (with the exception of eggs during my second and third week). This time around, I took it one step further.

In the weeks in between Round 1 and Round 2 of my challenge, I had been craving sushi like you wouldn’t believe. I felt like a pregnant woman who had a strong urge to feast on nothing but pickles (and no, I’m not preggers). Plus, it doesn’t help that a sushi restaurant recently opened within walking distance of my house, not to mention the lunch place by my work that seems to call my name about twice a week. I have sushi on the brain!

The good thing about sushi is that it’s gluten-free and you can get it vegan; two aspects of a diet that I’ve desperately been trying to incorporate into my everyday living. After going through this sushi obsession, then having to menu plan for LBL, it occurred to me that sushi may very well be the best route to take this time around.

With that plan in my head I went to Chinatown and was able to score the following ingredients:

2 cucumbers for $1.00

3 sweet potatoes for $1.16

3 avocados for $2.00

3 mangoes for $2.00

1 pint of blackberries for $1.00

6 apples for $1.00

2 packs of nori for $3.00

1 bag of sushi rice for $5.00

For a grand total of: $16.16

Seeing how I have $1.75 to spend each day, and I’m participating for twelve days in total, my accumulated budget equals $21.00. Deducting what I’ve already spent, I have $4.84 to pick up some fresh produce next week (and some green tea from the bulk food store this evening).

So yes, I’ll be living off of sushi for the next twelve days, however I do have an apple each day and some berries to mix it up a little. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s actually been working out well so far. I was able to teach myself how to roll the sushi properly, and I even began to experiment with different filling combinations. This morning I made a cucumber/mango roll for my breakfast and a sweet potato/mango roll for lunch. For dinner I’ll have cucumber/avocado.

The one ingredient that was not only the most expensive but also has the least nutritional value is the rice. Albeit, the one bag will definitely last me twelve days and I’ll be getting most of my energy/caloric intake from it.

In looking up the nutritional values of the other ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how nutritious the nori is! It provides you with potassium, protein, fibre, vitamins A, B-6, and C, calcium and iron. Who knew that seaweed could pack such a healthy punch?

By the end of the month I’m going to be a pro at rolling sushi! I’m already getting pretty good at it and it’s only day two. I may also be so sick of sushi that I won’t eat it for a while afterwards, but hopefully that won’t happen seeing how I’m having so much fun with preparing it.

If only I could afford some miso to add to my meals, then I would be a completely satisfied girl. Miso is my chicken soup for the soul. Oh well, at least my sushi quota will be fulfilled.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from making my sushi so far, it’s this: when you have to put in time and effort to carefully prepare a dish, you appreciate the food so much more. “Convenience foods” lead to laziness and overspending; homemade meals make you realize the importance and cost of each ingredient.

Two days down, ten more to go!

Feeling generous? Why not donate to my fundraising efforts and check out my page here.

Are you a resident of Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia or New Zealand and would like to get involved in the Live Below the Line campaign? Participate and create your own fundraising goal by signing up here.

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