Updated: Aug 26, 2020
So! The content of this article (and the ones to follow, this week) will be slightly different to the usual stuff. I will be taking part in the Concern Worldwide "Ration Challenge". Let me explain:
The nature of the work I do as a health and wellness coach involves calculating the optimal nutritional intake for individuals, tailored to their needs, tastes, cravings, health requirements, dietary restrictions and fat loss or muscle gain goals.
A huge part of this is calculating the macronutrient balance (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) which is suited to the aforementioned categories and planning their meals accordingly. At Real Health Living, we lead by example and so 20 minutes of my weeks is spent calculating my own optimal calorie intake and macronutrient balance to meet my own needs, whether I'm bulking up or cutting at the time - the work goes in and it removes all of the decision making stress later in the week when you have the "what do I fancy for dinner tonight?" argument with yourself. Now the reason I mention this is that this week, contrary to my own health requirements, my meal plan has taken on a whole new look.
My week usually consists of a variation on the same theme for my breakfast and lunch (pre and post-workout meals), normally chicken, rice and a selection of veg and salad (not to mention a plethora of leftovers and healthy snacks, too!). My dinners are higher carb on training days and lower carb on rest days and incorporate a mixture and variety of flavours and cultural influences, throughout the week. An example of my evening meals in an average week could look like this:
Monday (training day): stir fried king prawns with Pak Choi, garlic, chilli, spring onions and rice noodles.
Tuesday (training day): chicken Thai green curry with crazy amounts of different green vegetables, red bell peppers, garlic, onions and lime.
Wednesday (training day): roasted butternut squash 'hot' salad with pine nuts, parma ham, grated parmesan and mixed leaves.
Thursday (rest day): rare scallops with a light mixed salad.
Friday (training day): steak night! (400g-500g sirloin steak with watercress, rocket and spinach salad. Mmmm)
Saturday (rest day): lemon and herb chicken with steamed greens
Sunday (rest day): spinach, mushroom and red bell pepper omelette with mixed leaf salad.
The above is essentially the general gist of a week in the life of me - please note that this is an example of my meal plan, specific to my training and dietary needs and also my current health goals, meaning it may not work for you! Get in touch if you would like a completely bespoke and tailored meal plan created for you, here.
This week, however, (24th - 30th August) I am taking part in the Ration Challenge 2020 which involves eating the same rations that are provided to Syrian refugees living in the refugee camps in Jordan. Let me show you what I'm working with for my dinners everyday, here:
Monday: chickpea and red lentil ras el hanout falafels (using the entire week's worth of chickpea and lentil rations to make these, I will eat them as snacks throughout the week)
Tuesday: rice and red kidney beans with half an onion
Wednesday: plain flour, water and vegetable oil pancakes
Thursday: rice with egg
Saturday: rice and red kidney beans with half an onion
Sunday: rice with sardines (1 small tin)
I also get an extra 1.5kg of rice and 400g of flour from the ‘coupons’.
Doesn't sound too exciting does it? Now part of the sponsorship process is that, if I raise enough money, I can add a couple of luxuries to my week, a few of which are already included in the plan above. My spice (ras el hanout) was an extra, earned by sponsoring myself. I can have 1 teabag per 5 people I get direct sponsorship from. 170g of a vegetable of my choice (that's my precious onion), 120g of protein (2 eggs, thank you very much), 2 teaspoons of coffee (or sugar, but I've chosen coffee!) which I got for raising a certain amount within a given timeframe. There are a couple of other bits too but I've not yet raised enough money to add them to my rations for the week (330ml of a drink of my choice for raising £600 and an item of food or drink with a value of up to £3, if I manage to raise £800.)
As you’d expect, living on rations is physically tough. I'm already experiencing caffeine withdrawals, hunger and hangriness. It hammers home the contrast between the life we live and those living in refugee camps on rations. The situation is unjust and it gives a fresh perspective on how lucky we are. I also get to do this from the comfort of my own home with a comfy bed to sleep in, a roof over my head, warmth, security and free healthcare just a phone call away, should I need it. I also know that all of my family are safe and well. I am also in great health, personally, and know that I am strong and fit enough (not to mention with a few extra pounds of fat on me to work with) to take this challenge on, out of choice.
Please donate if you can by clicking here
A massive thank you and virtual hugs go out to all of you who have kindly donated already, your sponsorship makes a huge difference and your generosity will be a constant reminder and source of positivity for me throughout the following days. Thank you so much.
Here is my photograph of all of my food for the week: