aka I said I’d write a blog post on this so I will
Dear Past Beth,
If something looks like a good idea at 10pm at night, it’s probably better to wait until morning to actually think things through. Making a hasty commitment to eating nothing but rations for a week is not a decision that should have been taken so lightly. But here we are.
Having never been able to commit to so much as a diet for more than half a week, I suddenly decided that living on the same rations as a Syrian Refugee in a camp in Jordan for a week was something I could do.
So here’s the down low:
- 1 week
- 170g red lentils
- 85g dried chickpeas
- 1.5kg white rice
- 400g plain flour
- 125g sardines
- 400g kidney beans
- 300 mL vegetable oil
- No drinks other than water
- No cheating
- Fundraise as much as you can
I’m not going to lie, it was SO HARD. On day one I turned up at nannying and the family had just been to a bake sale. To be honest I didn’t even want a brownie. The kids had veggies with their dinner and I wanted nothing more than to add a bit of colour onto my plate of plain rice.
It wasn’t until about day three that I realised that even if I had gone on diets before, I was still eating meals that I enjoyed (even if they weren’t chocolate and ice cream). Not having any control over my food for a week was extraordinarily hard to come to terms with.
Day four was horrific. My body had decided that it wasn’t going to take in any more rice, so I ended up putting off even looking at my food until that evening. I basically spent all my meals sitting in front of Masterchef.
On day five, UNHCR posted their data for the last year. As of a week ago, one in every 113 people on earth has fled their home to escape conflict or persecution. That is more than the entire population of the UK. Suddenly my week on rice didn’t seem so bad in comparison.
I would love to say that after seven days on rations, the first meal I ate was the best thing I had ever tasted. It was nice to have some colour on my plate again, don’t get me wrong, but at the end of the day it was just bacon and eggs.
Yes, it was a huge struggle to complete this challenge. But while I ate like a refugee, I slept in a comfortable bed, was legally allowed to go to work every day, studied at a good university and lived in a politically stable country.
I would gladly eat rice for the rest of my life if it meant that refugees could do the same.