As you may have guessed based on the subject heading for this blog, I’m about to join activists across the country by living below the line to better appreciate the constraints of global poverty. As I begin this challenge, I’m hoping a few of you can dig up meal suggestions from your days as a broke and under-employed college student and write them in the comments section below, but just so we’re clear, I actually am vegetarian. So, chunks of hot dog over a platter of Kraft Dinner won’t quite fit the bill. Yet, the irony of this isn’t my vegetarianism so much as the fact that I’m trying this after a brief period of what was probably the healthiest eating of my life. I’m sure any Second Cup employee in the province could tell you about my love of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. And raspberry white chocolate scones. And chocolate banana bread. And pumpkin gingerbread. Okay, you get the point.
All this is to say I might have a bit of a sweet tooth and struck out hard when I reviewed my eating habits with a registered nutritionist. In order to curb my sugar cravings I decided to go ‘cold-turkey’ by cutting out refined sugars and replacing them with a variety of healthy alternatives. Other than a slight blip, I’ve been doing surprisingly well. The area Second Cup-pers even stopped offering me cookies when I place my orders, although they still ask how the diet is going.
When I first heard about the Live Below the Line campaign I decided against it without even really considering it. After all, I already do lots of volunteer work pertaining to global social justice. Furthermore, I’m fairly athletic and need a substantial meal to fuel my work outs, Finally, I figured I wouldn’t be able to maintain my new, healthy, naturalpathic, vegetarian diet on a mere $1.75 a day. However, as a YCI alum, I receive newsletters, and saw that YCI was recruiting a team to go below the line. I was about to delete the email before my inner-monologue reminded me of what should have been obvious from the beginning:
“It’s supposed to be hard.”
There are many good reasons for deciding not to participate in a campaign and I’m certainly not judging anyone who is not interested in participating in this challenge. All I’m saying is that my original reason for not doing this was because it would be inconvenient for me. At the risk of making a terribly insensitive understatement, global poverty is inconvenient. I’m sure there are thousands of people around the world who would love to enjoy a healthy, naturopathist-approved meal on a regular basis, but these options aren’t available to them. This experience is supposed to offer me an insight in to the grueling effects of poverty, so how can I possibly begin to understand this issue if the experience isn’t a little grueling?
As such, I’ve decided to sign up for the YCI Live Below the Line campaign beginning June 3rd. I doubt my naturopathist will approve but frankly I wasn’t planning on telling her (here’s hoping she’s not much of a blogger). I’m still not sure what nutritionally-balanced meals I’ll be able to pull off on a vegetarian diet, but I suspect there will be lots and lots of lentils.
Wish me luck!!