Friday, 10 February 2012

Simple Meal Day

See previous post for a description of my "refugee meal." Today was the day.

7am Ate 3/4 cup of cooked rice with a little bit of oil for breakfast.
7:30 Started cooking rest of rice and beans. Feel hungry already.
9am 1/2 cup of rice for snack. Feel good. Beans almost cooked. Deterred Kate from eating my rice.
11:10am Lunch: about 1 cup of rice and half of the precious beans with some oil and salt. Lots of rice left. I gave 1/2 cup of my rice to an insistent Kate. She mixed it with mustard and ranch dressing, then barely ate 3 bites.
1:30 snack: rice and oil; have been feeling fine, though a bit hungry/weak.
3:30 snack: a little bit of rice
5pm Supper: rice and the rest of the beans and oil. Fairly filling.
7pm snacked on the last of the rice. It went fast when there was nothing left to eat!

The day went fine. Other than feeling a little bit hungry, I felt good. I also felt a bit sleepy/tired around 3:00pm, likely from not having the protein that I'm used to (it's a bit of a familiar feeling from my regular eating troubles). I stayed home all day except for a good walk to Safeway and back, pushing both kids in the double stroller--it was decent exercise. The day was not too stressful other than dealing with some whiny kids.

I cooked the rice for about 25 minutes; the beans had soaked overnight so were boiled for 10 minutes and then simmered for an hour. The proportion of rice to beans is what surprised me the most. There is enough food for someone to live on, no question there. It seemed like too much rice, but when I saw how few beans there were to eat, and how quickly the oil disappeared, I was glad to eat the extra rice. While I felt a bit hungry all day, I'm sure after a few days my stomach would adjust.

I missed eating fruits and vegetables (nutrients). I missed snacking on things--I drank water instead. What must it be like for a refugee who has travelled for days or months from their home, lost everything (including, perhaps, some family members), and is malnourished, to receive a ration of rice and beans and oil from an organization such as Canadian Foodgrains Bank? I think it must be excellent. But I will gratefully continue to eat my many nutritious foods. I will eat rice and beans once or twice a month to remember what a good portion of the world eats every day.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Andy's Refugee Camp

Welcome to Andy's Refugee Camp. Here you are safe from the unrest of your own country. You can stay here as long as you need. Thanks to some generous donors you will be given some daily rations to cook and consume at your leisure. You will also be provided with potable water for cooking and drinking. (It is Clearbrook Waterworks water: one of the best!)

The Winter 2012 issue of a Common Place has a sidebar in their piece about the famine in East Africa that was very interesting to me. There is a picture of an average daily ration at a refugee camp. It is the same picture as shown above and is provided by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. See for the original piece.
I wanted to try their suggestion of eating a similar meal for a day in solidarity of those suffering from drought and hunger. However, I don't have a scale so I had to use Google to find some conversion sites, in order to figure out how much 50 grams of beans is, etc. I put 1 1/2 cups of dry brown rice in a bag and weighed it on my bathroom scale and it was approximately 1 pound (450 grams). 2 cups may be more accurate, but I'll pretend I got shafted in the daily provisions. 50 grams of dry beans is about 1/4 cup, so you see some kidney beans in a measuring cup, and 50 grams of canola oil is 3 3/4 tablespoons. I decided to salt to taste but I doubt I'll use 5 grams of salt.

As I figured out the measure-ments, I snacked on frozen berries and chocolate chips. I think I am going to try this tomorrow. Too bad I just baked rye bread today! (I used to fast on occasion before my hypoglycemia issues; I found that I was always offered free food at the most inconvenient times!) Complicating this is the fact that we are going to Arizona the next day so I'll be furiously attempting to pack myself and otherwise prepare for our early morning departure including 2 munchkins. I'm already wondering how I will fare with my regular diet while traveling...but anyway, this is just for a day, and I am home from work so won't need too much extra energy. I soaked the beans tonight and will cook them tomorrow. It looks like there will be plenty of rice for me, but the beans and oil will have to be spread out a bit. Why don't they give the refugees a bit more protein and a bit less carbs? Maybe I'll find out tomorrow!!!

Stay posted for the results of my refugee-ing. If I don't post ever again, you'll know that it...didn't work out.