/ Living on a 5 a week food budget

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Blizzard - on 09 May 2013
I live a frugal life, but reading this article was still a surprise.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22345958

The article highlights that there are few people with high incomes on welfare, so the tabloid press can mislead us with their stories.

Having just come back from Nepal and witnessed how poor they are there, I'm surprised people in the UK appear to have it as bad (eating porridge 3 times a day) even on benefits.

I guess we are lucky to have a Welfare system in the UK. There is no help like that in Nepal.
balmybaldwin - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

Yes, we are lucky to have a welfare system.

To be fair the example you gave about porridge 3 times a day, the woman quoted openly admitted that it was due to going out drinking earlier in the month, and that it was a choice she made.

It's interesting that of the cases quoted that I've read (I haven't read them all), it seemed to be 2 attitudes, one where it's fairly straight forward and easy to deal with, though clearly not ideal, and another where it is "impossible" and they can't have all this nice stuff they want - of these 2 attitudes, it's the people on higher (but still low) income (be it wages or benefits) that had the second attitude
Kemics - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

I read possibly the worst article ever on the bbc earlier this week about how to live on 5 a week.

It was unmitigated bollocks.

Basically it smugly said how they lived on 5 a week. But it was done by the logic of dividing the total bulk costs of product by the amount they used: 1 potato costs 1. But I only used 20% so that's 20p.

One egg only costs 9p (but you have to buy a box of 48 etc)
half a tin of tomatoes from a multipack
1 stick of cellery costs 2p etc etc

So basically you can live on 5-10 a week....If you're happy with borderline malnutrition.

I reckon 40 a week is about the minimum you can survive on with good nutrition. But your average fell runner/triathlete is going to have massively different calorific needs to a 15 year old girl.
Frogger - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Blizzard:

Thing is, there are always things people 'need' to buy before food... smartphones, sky tv, alcohol, a car (in london!)......

Makes you wonder

MG - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:

> I reckon 40 a week is about the minimum you can survive on with good nutrition.


What!?! Even 2/meal is only 35 a week and that's pretty luxurious.
hokkyokusei - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:

...

> Basically it smugly said how they lived on 5 a week. But it was done by the logic of dividing the total bulk costs of product by the amount they used: 1 potato costs 1. But I only used 20% so that's 20p.
>
> One egg only costs 9p (but you have to buy a box of 48 etc)
> half a tin of tomatoes from a multipack
> 1 stick of cellery costs 2p etc etc

That's definitely cheating!

> So basically you can live on 5-10 a week....If you're happy with borderline malnutrition.
>

In October last year I ate for just less than 1/day, shopping at Tesco, approx 2500 calories/day for 31 days. I shopped "in bulk" where possible, but not artificially. ie I didn't buy more than I was planning to eat as above. I lost a couple of kilos, but that's because I'm a bit overweight, not because I was starving.


Sir Chasm - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Kemic

> I reckon 40 a week is about the minimum you can survive on with good nutrition.

Unmitigated bollocks.

balmybaldwin - on 09 May 2013
In reply to hokkyokusei:
> (In reply to Kemics)
>
> ...
>
> [...]
>
> That's definitely cheating!
>

Only cheating if we are talking about perishables, I think things like buying chopped tomatoes in bulk is fine
Hat Dude on 09 May 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> In reply to Kemic
>
> [...]
>
> Unmitigated bollocks.

Fried or boiled?
Kemics - on 09 May 2013
In reply to hokkyokusei:

> [...]
>
> In October last year I ate for just less than 1/day, shopping at Tesco, approx 2500 calories/day for 31 days. I shopped "in bulk" where possible, but not artificially. ie I didn't buy more than I was planning to eat as above. I lost a couple of kilos, but that's because I'm a bit overweight, not because I was starving.

But surely if you losing weight that's because you're not getting enough calories to sustain energy levels and so your body is using fat stores. If you kept up that diet, surely that weight loss trajectory would have continued into unhealthy?

Kemics - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> In reply to Kemic
>
> [...]
>
> Unmitigated bollocks.

okay, I'll rephrase - 40 is the minimum I can survive on.

But I have quite a demanding lifestyle and need to maintain a higher calorie intake. (and I avoid bulk carbs like pasta)
hokkyokusei - on 09 May 2013
In reply to balmybaldwin:
> (In reply to hokkyokusei)
> [...]
>
> Only cheating if we are talking about perishables, I think things like buying chopped tomatoes in bulk is fine

Yeah, sure. But actually I didn't buy anything that I didn't plan on eating within the month. Because I wanted to show I could eat for 1/day from a standing start. If you only have 31 for the month you can't actually go out and buy a years worth of tinned tomatoes, because you don't have the money.
MG - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Kemics: FYI the costs of feeding people in places like the MoD, hospitals and prisons is less than 3/day or 21 a week. I doubt soldiers need fewer calories than you.
hokkyokusei - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> (In reply to hokkyokusei)
>
> [...]
>
> But surely if you losing weight that's because you're not getting enough calories to sustain energy levels and so your body is using fat stores. If you kept up that diet, surely that weight loss trajectory would have continued into unhealthy?

Well that's possible, but I think that at ~2500 calories/day eventually the weight loss would have tailed off. In fact it did but it was at least partially due to an unconscious level of 'hoarding'. Although I averaged 2500 calories/day, I probably ate less than that at the start and a bit more towards the end. I don't think I would have starved to death on 2500 calories/day, millions (billions?) of people make do with less than that.

Oliiver - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Blizzard: now let's reduce benefits.
Duncan Bourne - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:
I don't see how you can live off 5 a week unless you are sourcing your nutrition from elsewhere (growing own veg, eating road kill etc) but you could probably live off less than 40 if you were careful (lots of rice and reduced items + 2 days a week fasting) though I would have to price it up.
When I was doing calorie restriction I was on about 1600-1800 calories a day and getting good nutrition at that, though current scientific thinking is leaning towards the fasting regime
The Lemming - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Oliiver:
> (In reply to Blizzard) now let's reduce benefits.


Isn't it past your bedtime?
Oliiver - on 09 May 2013
In reply to The Lemming: lemming, I know your from Blackpool and can't afford battery's for your clocks and for your benefit it's only 17:25.
owlart - on 09 May 2013
In reply to MG: Do you not think that the MoD, NHS and HMP are buying in rather larger bulk quantities than Kemics might be able to?
MG - on 09 May 2013
In reply to owlart: And paying for it to be prepared. Also not the cheapest of cheap.
Rob Naylor - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> (In reply to hokkyokusei)
>
> [...]
>
> But surely if you losing weight that's because you're not getting enough calories to sustain energy levels and so your body is using fat stores. If you kept up that diet, surely that weight loss trajectory would have continued into unhealthy?

No...as you lose weight your calorific requirement drops. Quite a lot, too...I used a weight loss site some years ago to lose 3 stones and the "weight maintenance calories" start point for my loss target dropped steadily as my weight came down. Lugging 3 stones less weight around dropped my maintenance calories by several hundred a day. Eventually the poster's trajectory would have flattened out.
EeeByGum - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Blizzard: It is all relative. There was a programme about the $1 dollar a day poverty line. They went to India and where as you can't live a life of luxury for a dollar a day you can live well above survival standards. However in this country, you would really struggle and in Australia, you probably wouldn't stand a chance.
Duncan Bourne - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
Food I lived on for about 6 years priced using tescos online prices. It could be done cheaper than this with a bit of shopping around.
Museli 750 g = 2.79
Apples (2 packs) = 1.98
banana (8 pack) = 1.15
brocolli = 0.76
carrot (pack) = 0.69
potato (5 baking) = 1.95
tuna (6 tins) = 3.54
milk (longlife 1 litre) = 0.53
tea (80 bags) = 1.26
peppers (500g) = 1.41
lettuce = 0.89
red kidney beans (6 tins) = 1.26
spagetti (500g) = 0.19
tin tomatoes (7) = 2.17
yogurt (500g) = 0.45
cottage cheese (300g) = 0.59
chicken (1kg pack) = 3.99 (0.80 per portion)
mushrooms (350 g) = 0.75
onion (4) = 0.76

total = 27.64


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