Hoorah! Obviously it’s not the overwhelming celebratory hysteria of VE day or the resigned relief when rationing was finally lifted on 4th July 1954… BUT we made it to the end of the challenge!
I wish I owned a set of scales so I could have weighed myself before and after. I’ve definitely lost several pounds over the four weeks, while having pleasingly saved some pounds in my purse too. I feel more energetic and healthy, and am surprisingly not craving things I’ve had to cut out – except the egg issue of course!
We’re now at the end of the rationing challenge, and have found it much easier than anticipated!
On the whole, the rationed allowances have more than met our needs. The only exception was oil, which we would have used in preference to margarine or lard for cooking.
We have eaten well, and the fact that there is such a range of fruit and vegetables available at this time of year has helped tremendously. I have lost nearly 2 kg, probably due to less chocolate and red wine as well as the reduction in animal fat!
We’re now well into week 2 of the challenge and still enjoying the fun of living within our rations and thinking about the source of our food. This week’s focus is on the Dig for Victory campaign, so I’ve focussed more on the fruit and veg part of our diet.
Suprisingly, we’re finding that keeping within our rations is pretty easy! We have significantly reduced the portion of meat used for some of our regular family favourites such as Spaghetti Bolognese, Cottage Pie, or even a roast chicken dinner. Our eating pattern and recipe choice hasn’t changed that much, but the meat meals are better balanced and food is stretched much further. A simple tomato Ragu makes a pasta Bolognese one night and transforms into chilli con carne the next.
We need protein for body repair and growth, but protein can also be used for energy. Adults generally need about 50-60g protein daily, with 30g meat or 85g pulses (dry weight) providing around 6g protein. More specific estimates for needs are 0.8g protein/kg lean body weight.
People often worry that they’re not getting enough protein, but this is unusual for most of the UK population. We do however need enough calories (from starch and fats) to enable proteins to be used for their preferred function i.e. biosynthesis (bodily made) of functional proteins for growth and repair of tissues.
My family and I are now on day 3 of the WWII Rationing Challenge, and I hope others are having as much fun as we are! We are: me, a lapsed vegetarian, keen cook and urban gardener; my husband, a Yorkshireman and self-confessed carnivore; and my teenage daughter, a student and an experienced and experimental vegetarian. We live in social housing off Newmarket Road and as we grow a huge range of seasonal fruit and veg, this challenge had instant appeal.
For me, the challenge is not only a way to experience a diet like that of my grand-parents during the 1940s, it will also test my cooking skills, make me think about what I am eating, and most importantly, reduce my environmental impact.
Like the diet of those living in the 1930s, the current UK diet is full of ‘unhealthy’ and ‘unsustainable’ foods. We consume large amounts of animal products, and not enough fruit and vegetables – very few people eat their 5-a-day.