The first couple of days of this challenge were fairly uneventful. I’m still recovering from this latest bout of shingles (which means I’m now in for a good week or so of severe PHN flare ups before they taper off to normal flare ups… yay), so I’ve been laying low with my ice packs, coconut oil, and other items in my arsenal. When I’m down like this I don’t really have much of an appetite anyway, but that’s the kicker: if I don’t force myself to eat – and eat well – my recovery time is a lot longer.
So, I took the easy route and cooked up the quinoa from my list of Hunger Challenge items. As I’ve mentioned a good 748 times before, quinoa is a nutrition powerhouse that’s packed with protein, good carbs, and fiber. Not only that, but it yields about three times as much cooked product from dry, making it even more valuable as a bare bones staple. I cooked about 2 cups of dry product and portioned it off for different uses throughout the first few days.
Now, I have to admit that when I went “shopping” in my kitchen, I had a few ideas in mind. That cabbage was going to serve a very specific purpose and I was pretty stoked about it: SLAW. The last Hunger Challenge I participated in back in 2011 resulted in one of the best bare bones recipes I’ve ever created, and it’s one I turn to time and time again: Tangy Coleslaw Quinoa Salad. Sure, it sounds a little strange, but imagine crisp, tangy, non-mayo-laden coleslaw mixed in with mild, slightly nutty quinoa….. not just their flavors, but their textures…. crunchy. Crispy. And that irresistible “pop” from the quinoa. It’s just an incredibly fun salad to eat.
It also yields quite a bit of finished product, too, making it a great dish for this challenge. I enjoyed that for breakfast and lunch on Monday, and stuck with a really simple spinach and tomato salad with a side of quinoa and mixed veggies for dinner. In fact, I did that both nights, because I honestly couldn’t muster the strength to move through the pain and prepare anything else.
So much for all the variety I was hoping to have, haha.
When all was said and done, I ate about $4.25 of my $4.50 daily budget each of the first two days of the challenge. I made about one and a half times the amount of Tangy Coleslaw Quinoa Salad, so that worked out to about $2.70/day, since I had one serving at breakfast and one for lunch. The spinach & tomato salad came out to around $0.75, and the small amount of quinoa with mixed veggies worked out to just about $0.80.
There wasn’t much variety and I didn’t have much of an appetite (unless you count this insane craving for the most obscene apple streudel imaginable, though that’s been going on for weeks) but I made it through. It’s the next couple of days I’m worried about. If I know my body and how it reacts to this challenge, I will be one cranky, hypoglycemic *insert bad word here*! That and the food boredom that’s bound to set in will make the middle part of the challenge a bit rocky. But I have plans for that bag of split peas and intend to have some spaghetti for dinner in the next couple of days, so we’ll see what happens! : )