I cannot live on one meal a day as I have been trying, apart from a coffee and butter in the morning. It means going a full 24 hrs before the next meal and today, by noon, I was so hungry, my stomach actually kinda hurt. I will need to eat smaller amounts through the day to get by. Thankfully, Kathy, who I work with and who is also on the Challenge had some extra food (I don’t know how) and shared it with me so I was able to have two meals today. Apparently it is not cheating if someone else who is on the Challenge shares their meal. Anyway, I thought is was very generous of her.
Apart from feeling very hungry much of the day, which is no fun, my energy has been holding. I added some nettle tea to my menu today, which will provide me with good general medicine. Talking about medicine, I am on number of supplements, so if there is one thing that I am cheating on this week, it is that I am not prepared to give up my supplements needed to maintain my health (remember the chronic inflammation). These include magnesium, vit d, glucosamine, trimethylglycine, licorice extract, black radish root, seriphose, melatonin, and some other compounded anti inflammatory supplements. The value of these alone likely exceeds the $18/week. I manage to stay relatively active and healthy, I work full time plus, and I remain generally close to a 1 or nil on the pain scale most days (was not always as good). Imagine, for those on welfare who are also ill or struggling like I am with ill health. Not only can they not afford healthy supplements, but the food they are eating is making them sicker.
If any of you are unfamiliar with the Food Costing In BC 2015 published by the Provincial Health Services Authority and previous editions of the Cost of Eating in BC by the Dietitians of Canada, I recommend reading these. They essentially cost out the “average monthly cost of a nutritionally adequate, balanced diet in BC based on the National Nutritious Food Basket” in various regions of BC, including Vancouver. “The average monthly cost of a nutritious food basket for a reference family of four in British Columbia in 2015 is $974”. In Vancouver, the cost increases to $1,011. Most importantly, there are serious negative effects on physical and mental health when people cannot afford a healthy diet and as the Dietitians state “it is timely for further income and disability assistance reform so that more British Columbians can afford sufficient healthy food and meet their nutritional needs”.
The Challenge is not really about how I am going to make it through the week. I will be just fine thank you to a secure job and co-op housing. The Challenge is about raising awareness of the need to raise income assistance levels. The question is what is it going to take to achieve this?