Food provides us with energy, and if we eat an insufficient amount of food, and do too much exercise, then it doesn't do us any good.
Today I learn this lesson the hard way. Fortunately, a couple of trips to Aldi and an unconventional dinner provides redemption.
After another diluted milk porridge, I head off to a work meet at the allotment, and end up moving shovel after shovel of earth and stones. As it transpires, hard physical labour when you haven't had enough to eat turns out to be quite reckless.
After an hour and a half of work, I start to feel less than perfect. I suspect my choice of meals yesterday failed to provide sufficient nutrition, especially as they were coupled with a few lengths swimming. I make my excuses and head home, starting to feel hungry - proper hunger - a physical and mental craving. The sensation is far from pleasant.
I start thinking of budget meals I can make that have a higher protein/carb content than some of the meals I've been having. Rice and a tin of kidney beans with sweet chilli sauce strikes me as a good idea.
Fortunately, my choice of lunch - the thawed colcannon I made last Sunday, and beans turns out to be a decent choice of carbs and protein, I do however, still feel tired - though I'm unsure it's due to another poor nights sleep or overdoing the exercise.
I decide the appropriate thing is to do a stocktake of my remaining food, after which, fatigue returning, I head to bed in need of sleep.
|Milk||~ 200 ml|
|Carrot Soup||1 Portion|
|Minestrone Soup||9 Portions|
After a snooze, I wake up feeling much improved, and take the family on a trip to Aldi - focusing on protein, and frozen veg. Unfortunately the store I visit has sold all out of kidney beans.
It's a shame, as I had begun to fancy rice and beans. By the time the shopping is back in the car, the desire for rice and beans has turned into an obsession.
I drop my wife and shopping at home, and head to another Aldi in search of kidney beans.
|Item||Cost||Servings||Cost per Serving|
|E/E Baked Beans||£0.24||2 x 1/2 tin||£0.12|
|Tuna Flakes in Brine||£0.98||4 x 1/2 tin||£0.25|
|Sweet Chilli Sauce||£0.79||12 x 25g||£0.07|
|Frozen Mixed Vegetables||£0.89||10 x 100g||£0.09|
|Frozen Garden Peas||£0.89||10 x 90g||£0.09|
It transpires that they too, are short of beans. I discover this as the hunger returns. I pause to contemplate the merits of ditching the diet and ordering all the local Chinese restaurant has to offer.
I keep that option in mind, whilst I go on a protein hunt. Whilst I haven't worked out the details of my spend so far, I know I have less than 50p to spend on dinner. I also have a cheese toastie and minestrone soup to eat tommorow, and I don't really want to throw either away.
I wander around Aldi for a while, trying to find an appropriate alternative. I contemplate blowing the budget today and trying to recoup later. I find a tin of sardines, that I contemplate eating with rice. They go in the basket, but for some reason I continue looking, contemplating the merits of budget-busting purchases of chicken thighs ( £1.99 for 6 ), gammon ( £0.99 for two ), bacon, frozen fish, chick peas and many other products.
Circling the store, whilst hunting for cheap protein, I decide there is no point in failing to purchase spaghetti and another bag of porridge oats.
After dismissing tinned meat, discounted Christmas pudding and staring at various vegetables, I pause in an attempt to consider the situation sensibly. I suspect I have got myself in a trap of considering everything in terms of three meals a day.
Put in these terms, it becomes pretty clear that my needs are carbs and protein. I have carbs. I need protein. Cheap protein. Having memorised the Aldi essentials offerings, there is a product that I have been entertaining purchasing, which is nuts.
Nuts for tea.
Aldi have a few nut products on their essentials range. I start by considering the fruit and nut range, before moving focus to the cheaper "Roasted Salted Peanuts" - which usefully has the nutritional breakdown for half a packet. I decide to opt for Roasted Salted Nuts to solve my protein needs, and head to the checkout.
|Item||Cost||Servings||Cost per Serving|
|Porridge Oats 1kg||£0.75||20 x 50g||£0.04|
|Peanuts||£0.48||2 x 100g||£0.24|
|E/E Spaghetti - 500g||£0.23||7 x 25g||£0.04|
Returning home, I prepare a 100g serving of Peanuts.
|1/2 bag Roasted Salted Peanuts||24p|
The peanuts satisfy my immediate appetite, and I get on with chores, returning to prepare my vegetable rice. My Initial plan is to use 90g peas and 100g of mixed veg ( a tenth of a packet of each ). After weighing out 90g of peas, I return half to the bag, and also half the planned proportion of the mixed veg.
|1 Portion Rice||4p|
|45 g Frozen Peas||5p|
|50g Frozen Veg||5p|
|25g Chilli Sauce||7p|
When I serve the vegetable rice, I was very pleased to see how much the vegetables had bulked out the rice, I then add the weighed out portion of chilli sauce. Transferring the chilli sauce from weighing bowl to plate proved to be a slightly tricky operation.
The first few forkfuls of vegetable rice and chilli sauce taste divine. The chilli sauce lasts about halfway through the plate, leaving the second half feeling a little plain by comparison.
As I finish the meal, I pause to consider why I hadn't purchased frozen veg earlier - given how little is needed to add a portion of veg to a meal, and how inexpensive it is, it seems reckless folly not to have bought any previously. The only mitigating factor I have in my favour is a lack of freezer space.
The feelings of hunger I experienced today were very, very unpleasant. I'm not doing this diet to harm my health, and I today realised that I have not been treating the meal plans with sufficient seriousness, and without some serious adjusting I am not going to stay on plan until the end of the month.
That's quite a sobering thought. I am hoping that the frozen Vegetables I bought today go some way towards a more maintainable diet, as I have very few remaining funds to play with.
|Value of Food Consumed:||£10.44|
|Cash to spend:||£4.00|