Ration Challenge 2019: Day 2

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I’m totally expecting this Ration Challenge – which I’m taking part in for one week to show solidarity with and raise funds for refugees – to get increasingly difficult as the week goes by. And after day 2, I can’t say I’ve felt hungry…but I certainly haven’t felt satisfied.

The work that Concern Worldwide and other charities do to provide displaced people with food, medicine and more is vital: they simply wouldn’t survive without it. And there’s a huge difference between eating to live and living to eat, which has hit me pretty starkly already.

I woke on the morning of day 2 at my normal time with a niggling headache (hello, caffeine and sugar withdrawal), but surprisingly not hungry: the rice and bread clearly did the trick. It wasn’t until around 9am that my stomach started rumbling, but I decided to hold off on the first meal for a while longer in a bid to avoid using too many of my rations in a single day.

Lugging the 16-month old and his pushchair down the stairs and over to the local shop was interesting – after just one day of the Ration Challenge I already felt more sluggish and a little lightheaded. I’d normally eat far more protein and a ton of fruit and veg – which I’m already missing loads – so this is pretty different…

10.15 came, and I’d waited long enough: it was time to break out my remaining two flatbreads (flour, water, oil and salt), and the other half of my kidney bean dip (a quarter of a tin of kidney beans, blitzed up with oil, salt and paprika). I managed to make it last a good half hour, deciding that eating mindfully was the best way to get through the week.

 

Ration Challenge 2019 Day 2 - Flatbreads and Kidney Bean Dip

 

And I thought I was doing alright. But then the baby’s lunchtime came around, and making his cheese sandwich and slicing up fresh cucumber and kiwi was far too tempting. I was jealous. And I was hungry again.

 

Ration Challenge 2019 Day 2 - Jealousy

 

Well, I don’t know how hungry I really was, but I certainly wasn’t satisfied. I knew I had a bowl of mujadara in the fridge (rice, lentils, paprika and salt, topped with a few slivers of fried onion), which I’d cooked for my second (and final) meal of the day.

So I spooned some out, reheated it and ate it – again slowly, in small spoonfuls. It’s made me think that this could actually be the most sensible approach to take for the rest of the week, too: make a big batch of something in the morning (or the night before), and pick at it over the course of the day.

Easier said than done. That batch of mujadara lasted me until 4.45pm before I’d polished off the lot, and I’m honestly not sure whether it was down to boredom or hunger.

 

Ration Challenge 2019 Day 2 - Mujadara

 

I relied on water to keep me going – which made me grateful for the easy access we have to safe, clean drinking water. And after I’d cooked for Chris (tortellini with pesto and garlic bread…not jealous at all…), I set to work making two bowls of onion rice for the next day.

It couldn’t have been easier: I fried off a tiny amount of my ever-dwindling onion supply, chopped as small as possible, in a little oil, before adding rice and salt, stirring it to coat it in the oil. I poured boiling water over the top, gave it a single stir, then turned the heat to its lowest setting, covered the pan and cooked for around 15 minutes till it was done. And that got divided into two portions for the next day.

With a sudden energy burst, I decided to use 100g of the remaining flour to make more flatbreads, too, to break up the monotony of the rice. This time, though, I rolled them out between two sheets of oiled greaseproof paper to save using more flour, sprinkling the top of each with salt before cooking. And I may have eaten one of them hot to stave off the evening hunger pangs before bed…

 

Ration Challenge 2019 Day 2 - Flatbreads

 

Two days gone, and I’m pretty sick of rice already. But I’m developing a new taste for tap water, which I normally have to dilute with squash before I can stomach it. The only problem is that even after seven pints of the stuff throughout the day, my headache is still lingering…here’s hoping that tomorrow brings some relief. I’m just grateful that I’m only surviving on these rations for a single week – with the average stay in a refugee camp measured at 10.3 years, it’s clear just how vital charity is to these people’s survival.

At the time of writing, I’d raised just under £300 in sponsorship for taking part in this year’s Ration Challenge. My next mini target is £308, which can provide two refugees living in a camp with food for an entire year! To find out more about the Ration Challenge and to sponsor me, click here

 

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