Ration Challenge 2020: Day 2

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I’m taking the Ration Challenge and eating the same rations as a Syrian refugee living in a camp in Jordan for one week. Find out more and sponsor me here! And read previous Ration Challenge posts here.


On Day 2 of my Ration Challenge, I woke feeling surprisingly positive: not hungry at all, and without the headache I’d been expecting. At 7am I made my third cup of black tea from my first teabag to try and stave off any caffeine withdrawal headaches, drained my chickpeas (half my chickpea rations) that had been soaking overnight, and boiled them, ready to make hummus for later.

It was a far more basic recipe than I’d normally go for – simply chickpeas blended with salt, paprika and plenty of vegetable oil – but it made one ramekin-full, and I was hopefully that this protein-packed portion would keep me full overnight.


Ration Challenge UK - Hummus


My first meal of the day was at 11.15am: a simple affair of rice cooked with kidney beans, with salt, paprika and a little vegetable oil stirred in. To make it more interesting (and to add extra texture and flavour), I topped it with 1/7 of my 170g of shallot that I have for the week (I’m eking it out for seven meals), fried in oil until crispy, then drained on kitchen paper.


Ration Challenge UK - Rice and Beans


2.30pm came around (I’ll skip over how tempted I was to nibble on the child’s cheese sandwich at lunchtime…), and I made the dough for my flatbreads for the evening – and I didn’t mess it up this time! Again, very basic: 100g of flour and a pinch of salt, combined with enough water to make a stiff dough. After chilling it in the fridge for half an hour, I rolled it out into four flatbreads, sprinkled with salt, and cooked in a dry frying pan, ready to snack on throughout the afternoon if needed.


Ration Challenge UK - Flatbreads


Up until the afternoon of Day 2, it had been a pretty sedentary challenge for me. But with milk supplies getting low at home, I needed to walk to the local shop with the toddler – only half a mile in each direction. It’s a trip that’s normally no problem whatsoever, but for some reason, he decided he needed to be carried most of the way, in both directions. It was the first time I’d really noticed how weak I was feeling, It really made me stop and think about the parents who could be living in these refugee camps for 10 years or even more – how do they survive and still parent properly on such meagre rations?

I ate my evening meal at 5pm, and did so slowly, savouring every mouthful (well, every mouthful that didn’t go to a curious toddler, who thought my meal looked far more interesting than his pasta Bolognese, topped with tons of cheese). I saved one flatbread and a tiny bit of hummus to enjoy later in the evening after he’d gone to sleep, and that kept me going for the rest of the night. My evening ended with another cup of tea from that initial teabag, which is pretty much just coloured water by now.


Ration Challenge UK - Hummus and Flatbreads


Before I went to bed, I put the remaining chickpeas in a bowl of water to soak, ready to use the next day. Already, after only two days, I’m finding myself unexcited about the thought of food – not like me at all. For these refugees, eating is about survival, not enjoyment – we’re incredibly lucky to have such easy access to a vast amount of choice.


Learn more about the Ration Challenge here.


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