Sunday, May 15, 2011

Live Below the Line Diary #1: groceries

Being a person who doesn't so much eat to live, but lives to eat, the thought of the 1.4 billion people who live in poverty across the globe is both easy and extremely difficult to empathise with. It is perhaps symptomatic of the culture of consumerism which many of us live in, and indeed indulge in, that food holds so many connotations other than what it essentially is - fuel to keep our bodies functioning - paradoxes such as having access to fresh fruits and vegetables and yet choosing to eat the highly processed and packaged; ultimate indulgence rather than a necessity; as a threat to the thighs rather than as a means of sustaining them. Shopping for Live Below the Line was an experience that made me feel immensely grateful for a privilege that I have always had - choice, that I not only have access to good food, but I can pick what I want; I can have standards, I can have favourites, I can do things like the BITE ME Project, I can go to a restaurant and look at the menu and know what the different meals on the list are. It is this ability to choose which I am most able to empathise with. This week my choices have shifted from what flavour of cupcake shall I get, to should I eat this piece of bread now and get hungry later? From thinking about flavour and satisfaction to whether or not I can afford to cover the 5 food groups

As Sarah convinced me whilst shopping in Aldi that $2.19 for a dozen eggs was just too expensive and that eggs - one of my all time favourite foods ever - were a luxury (not just a given in everyone's kitchen) a man with a fairly full trolley pulled up next to us. Not super full, in fact it was probably rather empty by most standards. But at the time, the sight of  oranges, olive oil and cookies... words can not begin to describe. And here I was coming to the realisation that I was going to have to downsize my packet of pasta. 

Hence, this week as I Live Below the Line (the global poverty line is $2 a day), I hope not only to bring awareness to those who live in impoverished situations (and who make $2 cover a lot more than just food) but also to the privileges in our daily lives that many of us take for granted and the fact of how incredibly lucky we truly are. 

My groceries for this week: 

2kg of rice (Coles) $2.99
1 loaf of bread (Coles) $1.09
500g pasta (Woolworths) $0.65
500g Yellow Split Beans (McKenzies, from Coles)  $1.21
400g diced tomatoes (Aldi) $0.69
1kg frozen mixed vegetables (Woolworths) $1.59
825g fruit salad (Coles) $1.49

Total: $9.71

(full post)


  1. omg you're so dedicated :') I'm really inspired by this
    and your photos are so good it makes all the food look really good!!

  2. Whoa, this is an awesome project that your taking part of. How long do you plan to keep this up? Hope I haven't missed another post explaining it in more detail... xx

  3. Sofie, I'll let you know how it goes! The photos are deceiving - my pasta today was tres bland.

    Jen - Live Below the Line goes for 5 days, today (Monday) until Friday. I am counting down every second until I can eat happily again!

  4. Oh my goodness, good luck with it Vanessa! xx

  5. no coffee?
    no milk?
    no fruit?
    whoa..good luck.
    makes me think how a family of 3 could survive..:D
    water is free.

  6. I admire your commitment to raising awareness about poverty. Has the experience made you think about wastage and whether you could live with less? I'm always saddened by those statistics reporting that we produce enough food to feed the world twice over every year but most of it gets wasted.

  7. thanks for your comment. this is a really interesting post. i too, live to eat. i don't know how i would manage with out meat, or even just variety in my diet!