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Live Below The Line Challenge Update - Our Team

We're going strong with the Live Below The Line Challenge and I wanted to take a little time to introduce our local team and talk about how the challenge of only eating $1.75 in food each day is working for us seven so far.

Team Devour & Conquer Poverty

Who we are:

Myself, a food writer along with my husband Jay, who I can credit for convincing me to do the LBTL Challenge in the first place. As soon as I told him about it, he said "You've got to do this - you can help others with affordable recipes and you do love a difficult challenge." He knows me so well and supports me every step of the way.

Jessica, Bryon and Pascha - our team family. A hardworking and wonderful couple who have become my west coast family, Jessica runs her own home-based business and Bryon works full time outside the home. Both have been dedicated fundraisers for BC children's charities over the years. Pascha is an amazing and brave 11 year old girl who agreed to do the challenge with us. I'm so proud of how well she's doing, making her own lunches from our allotted groceries, and forgoing treats and things she loves to learn more about how many children in need across Canada live every day.

Dee - my supportive and upbeat friend, who has cheered me on without fail as I forge a new path in the food writing world and jumped at the chance to experience this unique $1.75 challenge. Dee is a busy gal, working full time and raising two great kids and I'm so glad she's part of our team.

Sarah - another inspirational friend, who has dedicated her career to fighting poverty and homelessness both in our community and across Canada. She works with local charities to help those who live below the poverty line and is making amazing strides in improving how our community can best care for everyone who calls this area home, no matter their situation.

How We're Doing So Far

We're into Day Two of the $1.75 Challenge and so far it is going well (I do miss good coffee a lot, a sacrifice well worth it to experience this). We are lucky in that by participating in the challenge as a team, we were able to pool our budgets together and cook bigger meals that we are all sharing. The fear is - did we plan properly and will our team have enough food to get through the week? Time will tell.

I chatted with Pascha yesterday evening to see how it was going from an 11 year old's perspective. I was happy to hear that she's doing great so far. She has had moments of nervousness, wondering exactly what she'd be eating this week, and has bravely tried quite a few new things. She's even been game to learn how to make homemade tortillas with her mom, and understands that the more we cook and bake from scratch, the more our budget stretches.

One of the realizations that Pascha has had from doing the challenge is that if her family was living below the poverty line, they couldn't afford to keep their little dog Jersey. That's a powerful thing to understand at that age, that there are kids out there who can't afford to have a family pet because they can barely eat. Pascha's a very smart girl, and I think this experience is giving her a unique insight into childhood poverty both around the world and in her own community.

Our Meal Plan

The majority of our budget was spent on inexpensive and discounted ingredients that could be combined in different ways throughout the week - rice and beans for dinner, then a burrito with the same ingredients and an egg for breakfast. We all have loaves of bread that I baked - the difference in price between buying flour and yeast and buying pre-baked loaves is shocking. Everyone also has a raw dough ball in their fridge to make pan-fried naan bread, baked left-overs calzones or garlic bread. We also all have raw tortilla dough made with flour, canola oil and water, and can make our own tortillas when needed on the stove, costing just pennies each out of our budget.

Jessica was smart enough to pre-prep the family fridge for the Challenge

Because our food budget of $1.75 per day each is pooled, we had enough money to buy one big protein for the week to share and we picked a whole, uncooked chicken. I'll be roasting that chicken tomorrow with some of our budgeted root veggies, and we'll use that for the rest of the week to supplement our meals and make a team soup on Friday.

What We're Eating

Breakfast - eggs, toast, pan-fried naan bread, breakfast burritos and oatmeal. We each have ONE banana for the week, and are saving them like treasures as that is our only fruit.

Lunch - soups (like yesterday's Wallet-Friendly Potato Bacon Soup at .28 cents a portion), rice and beans, fried rice, homemade hummus and veggies, tortillas filled with left-overs.

Dinner - Thursday will be Lentil Dal and rice, tomorrow is chicken dinner night, and tonight is pasta and marinara sauce. I managed to find a massive (intimidating) 100 oz can of concentrated crushed tomatoes for $3.50 and transformed it into a big pot of spaghetti sauce with onion, garlic and herbs which will last us all several meals.

We'll be eating tonight's pasta and sauce tonight with sauteed stinging nettles that I foraged last weekend, in place of expensive spinach. Packed with nutrients, at the peak of their season right now and completely free for the taking on my local hiking paths, Stinging Nettles are great opportunity for us to supplement our budget with free, foraged food, and giving us a boost of iron, calcium, and silica, as well as other trace minerals.  Nettles are rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, and K and are even a substantial source of protein. I'm excited to hear the team's thoughts on how the nettles pair with our pasta.

How You Can Help

Our team is raising money for Make Poverty History, a Canadian anti-poverty initiative that is focused on childhood poverty issues in Canada and worldwide. Did you know that 1.2 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. More than 925 million people go to bed hungry and 50,000 people die every day from poverty-related causes? Click here to learn more about Make Poverty History.


We're asking anyone who wants to support us during the Live Below The Line Challenge to forgo one specialty drink they might have had this week (specialty coffee, beer, wine) and donate that $5 (or more) you would have spent to help people who really need it.

Click here or on the bowl logo above to visit our team page and donate using a credit card or paypal. All donations to Make Poverty History receive a tax receipt. Thanks for supporting our team and those in need around Canada.

If you have a few minutes, search the hashtag #LiveBelowTheLine on twitter, facebook and instagram to see how other people around the world are doing with the Challenge this week.

Coming Soon: Devour & Conquer's Live Below The Line recipe for Slow Cooker Mexi Black Beans.

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Thank you for your kind words, Coco! It has been such an enlightening experience about poverty issues and the struggle just to eat on such a tight budget. Your support means so much to us (and to all the people that struggle with poverty on a daily basis).


Great work and advocacy to highlight people who are living with poverty. We all should try living on a very tight budget, and imagine what it is to survive on $1.75 a day.
I will make a cash donation to support the work you all do!

Thank you,



So proud of you for spearheading this Roomie! While I didn't participate this year I'm glad to help out with a donation. Keep up the good work!