The Act for Peace Ration Challenge

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post a blog courtesy of a book launch and uni assessment, but now the dust has settled it’s given me time to catch up on a few things – including blogging and diet roadtests!

My third diet roadtest for the year is a ‘charity edition’ – I’m undertaking the Act for Peace Ration Challenge. As part of the challenge you’re issued with a ration pack that has the same amount and type of food a Syrian refugee gets every week in a refugee camp.

And let me tell you, it’s not much! In fact, it’s about only 1,700 calories a day, which is well below health standards for adults the world over.

So what do I get in my ration pack?

  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Dried chickpeas
  • Dried lentils
  • 120g of protein (the ration pack coms with a tin of sardines, but you can opt to swap it out for a vego option, which I did)
  • Can of beans
  • Vegetable oil


And that’s it. It’s starchy, it’s boring, and it’s simply not enough food for an average human adult to live off.

So it’s also very humbling. I’m only doing this for a week and I’ve been miserable – hunger pains, headaches, lethargy, and dehydration. I also had the realisation of how lucky I am to just go and get something to eat if I feel hungry. You can’t do that if you’re on rations – you need to make this food last a week so you need to think ahead to save the food for the next meal.

It’s also painfully obvious that I am NOT designed to cook lentils (disaster) or flatbreads made on coconut flour (turns out that doesn’t work) and really this challenge is as much about my cooking skills as going hungry.

On the menu…

If you follow me on Instagram ( then you will have seen some of what I’ve been cooking/eating so far this week. To date, it’s mostly involved:

  • Rice for breakfast and dinner
  • Rice and / or lentils for lunch
  • Flatbreads as snacks

Over the coming days I’ll be using the tin of beans to make some rice and beans meals, and some felafel from the dried chickpeas. And then I’ll be pretty much out of rations.

The good part is that you can earn rewards through fundraising, so to date I’ve been able to earn a spice, a vegetable, more protein, milk, sugar, two teabags, and an item worth up to $5 (I bought a box of tea – yay!).  Also if you do happen to cheat or slip up, you need to pay a penalty of $50 … so this morning I paid for a banana (the world’s most expensive banana ever) so I could have some ‘brain food’ for my exam!

Training impacts

As you can imagine, with the amount of classes and training I do, I have a pretty fast metabolism and consume a lot of calories on a daily basis, so consuming so little has been a CONSTANT struggle. As soon as I eat my ration meal, I’m hungry again. But the lethargy is starting to impact my training. I got through teaching my cycle class this morning but it was nowhere near the intensity I’d normally be capable of, and I felt physically ill afterward.

I’m also really missing my post-workout protein – I’m realising how much it helps with my recovery. Oh and I’m REALLY missing my pre-workout – I need caffeine!

But every time I think about complaining, I’m reminded I’m only doing this for a week and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for me. For the refugees, that’s not always the case.

So I shall persevere! I have three days to go, then on Sunday I plan to have an AMAZING breakfast and probably a post-class brunch.

Can you help?

If you should feel so inclined to make a donation, you can do so here. The challenge finishes Sunday but I’m sure I can keep taking donations for a wee while afterwards.

Key stats

(Courtesy of Act for Peace)

  • Right now, there are more refugees and displaced people around the world than at any time since World War II – 65.5 million according to the UNHCR, the UN agency dedicated to protecting and supporting them.
  • That number is growing at an unprecedented rate – every single day, 28,000 more people are forced to flee their homes because of conflict, persecution and natural disasters.
  • Currently, 55% of refugees come from just three countries – South Sudan (1.4 million), Afghanistan (2.5 million) and Syria (5.4 million).
refugee image
The Syrian conflict, which started in March 2011, has led to hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing their country. The situation escalated in 2013 and again in 2015. It is estimated that over one million Syrian refugees have now fled to Jordan. The main refugee camp of Zaatari already hosts over 90,000 people whilst the vast majority of refugees have settled within the host communities of Jordan including in Souf and Talbia camps. Act for Peace is working with its partners DSPR Jordan to provide urgently needed food packs, hygiene packs and clothing packs as well as psychosocial support to families who have fled the conflict. DSPR also provide monthly medical days for refugees and various other services. Souzan and her mother in law Ola fled with their children to ensure their families safety. Souzan was 9 months pregnant when we met her.

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