Thirteen days to go, please help! #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

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As you may know, for the past 37 days I’ve been eating the equivalent of a daily famine ration only, to raise funds for famine relief in the Horn of Africa. The drought in Somalia is the worst in 60+  years.

At about $5,600 USD, so far, I am quite far from my original goal of $75k. But the good news is that Cheil Americas will match whatever I raise. This fantastic bit of news came directly from Buz Sawyer himself, our CEO, at our official launch event in Mexico City last week.

This means that you guys have 13 days to break Cheil’s bank!   🙂

Now is when I need you the most: Please click here to go to the UNICEF project page and donate whatever you can. Every dollar is worth double!!

If you’ve already given, or are unable to do so, please help me raise awareness among those who can. Share this on twitter, facebook, google+…  Hell, even on myspace!  😉  Use the sharing buttons below this post or just copy the link over.

13.5 million human beings are at risk, and 750,000 could die in the next few weeks. A child dies every six minutes, and University budget is nowhere near enough.

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Bit of advice if you’re living on famine rations… #DontFeedThePlanner

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Don’t move house.

I’ll write more tomorrow. Just wanted to make that clear, cause this weekend was sheer torture. Of course I’m super excited about the new place and finally living in Our place and not temporary housing… But still.

Write tomorrow. I need to ask all of you an important question.

Cheers

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I found my brave brand! (And it was right under my nose) #BraveCheil #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

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So… executive summary here: I eat famine rations only. You help fight the famine in Somalia, where 13.5 million people are at risk of hunger, and 750,000 are at risk of death in the next few days unless something is done. A child dies every six minutes –so by the time you finish reading here, at least one young little boy or girl will have passed away from hunger. Please click here to go straight to UNICEF and give for this cause.

I am doing this for 50/50 Make or Break, by @madebymany and @g00dfornothing. The group’s objective is to run 50 “small” bets to raise as much money as possible for famine aid. Please help!

A couple of weeks ago, super-nice @uberblond wrote a brilliant post about the experiential shift, which had a call to action for brands to wake up to this new reality and embrace ‘being more human.’  I, in turn, wrote that I was looking for a brave brand to join my fundraising and posted it all over: the Don’t Feed The Planner Facebook page, my Google+ circles and twitter, calling out to a great deal of brilliant minds in the advertising industry to help spread my call as widely as possible.

I haven’t written a whole lot about my work on this blog.  Earlier this year, after moving back from a 3.5 year stint in New York City, I joined a new team assembled to relaunch Cheil Worldwide in Mexico after an invitation from legendary ad-man Buz Sawyer (@buzsawyer).  During the past 11 months, this new team has taken shape, and was finally ready for a formal presentation. After some thinking as to what is different about this group, we realized that every one of us (@GranComandante, @LaSiguenza, @GalanCantu and even @BuzSawyer) had taken a big chance by joining the team –and that’s how #BraveCheil came to be. This is relevant, because when I shared my project and the results with Buz, and told him I had crashed and burned while looking for a matching scheme with at least two companies had had little luck convincing anyone to match my donations, he immediately said Cheil Americas would find a way and match whatever I raise doing this.

This feels like playing an arcade game and getting a 2x bonus!  Now we need to make the most of it and that’s where I need your help more than ever:  if you can give something, please do by clicking here (donations handled by UNICEF). If you cannot give, or have already given –please help me reach as many people as possible to maximize our contribution. Hit the sharing button below, or tell your friends about this.

Thanks Buz.

Thanks to my co-workers who encourage me and sometimes bear with my cranky (hungry) disposition.

Thanks, #BraveCheil.

I’ve found the spot for my first meal after this #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

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If it’s your first visit here, this blog is about my fundraising project for the famine in Somalia, where I eat only the equivalent of a famine aid ration in exchange for your donations. Click here to give please (straight through UNICEF).

Not really a fat planner post, more like a post fat planner thing. I came across the street from the office to a newish Japanese place called Hanzo. They have a gorgeous terrace with a retractable roof which is sun worthy during a great deal of the year in Mexico city.

Beyond the Tarantino reference, and the fact that Monica loves Japanese, the reason I chose this place was the service and welcome I got from their staff was awesome, especially Leo. So, if you’re ever in Mexico City near Polanco, and have a craving for Japanese, look it up.

Also: please click here to go to the unicef project page and give to help famine aid efforts in the horn of Africa.

I dare you to prove me wrong… #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

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So… I’m eating famine rations for at least 50 days, and blogging about it in exchange for your donations to UNICEF to help the famine situation in Somalia, which gets worse every day. Please click on the orange 50/50 logo at the top left, or just go here to give (all donations straight through UNICEF). This has been (so far) a difficult and humbling experience, and one that will stay with me for a very long time.

I started doing this because I believe in doing rather than talking. Even if I retweeted every famine item I came across on twitter and somehow succeeded in making #FamineAid a trending topic, I wouldn’t have impacted or raised 10% of what we have done up until now. That’s not to say that I’m super happy about the status quo –my target is to raise so much more!

To be honest, the temptation to feel disappointed is huge. When I set my desired target of raising $75k USD for famine aid, I had no clue how I was going to manage it. I have probably used up all the goodwill available to me from friends and followers in social media after repeatedly whoring myself for this cause –and yet I still look at what we have achieved together and can’t help but feel like the biggest thing I’ve achieved is losing a lot of weight (I’m not complaining about that yet).

But that’s not true. That’s my pessimistic self talking, and it usually happens when I’m working late and super hungry and my cynical side asks whether this is all worth it. And you know what? It is. Even if it’s just to see the look in my son’s eyes, and hopefully show him that we all need to be a bit more compassionate towards other human beings.

Some of my best friends in the world have asked me tough questions like why I help Africans and not Mexicans (they do have a point, especially these days). My answer is that despite the terrible situation in our country, the African famine is a global emergency, where 750,000 people stand to lose their lives to hunger. But now the little wheels in my mind are turning, and I will find something worthy to do for my own country. Thanks guys.

I’ve also been asked “what will change after you do this?” In all likelihood, nothing, except for hopefully contributing to save the lives of a few human beings and improve their lives even if just for a few weeks. If you think about it, that’s powerful stuff.

Now, when I stop and realize that most of what has been raised has come from me, my wife, my family and my awesome friends, it does get a bit sad. For every 100 RT’s, I get 0,1 donations.  Seems like I would need to get to get to 5,000,000 in order to make my goal (assuming $15 per donation, and 0,1 donations per 100 people spreading the word). So, today I ask you to prove me wrong. Prove to me that despite the social media ADD we live under, and the myriad things happening every day, we can still feel for others, and we can still feel empathy for people in need.

Click here to go straight to the UNICEF project processing page and please give whatever you can. Also, please help us to spread the word by clicking on the sharing options below.

Thanks!

Recipes, please! #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

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Long story short: I eat only the equivalent of a famine aid ration for 50 days in exchange for your donations to help UNICEF out in distributing (much needed) aid in Somalia.

Cath Richardson from the amazing Made by Many team suggested my project could get some attention and mentions on foodie blogs if I could come up with what kind of dishes I’ve come up with to ease my ration-eating life these days.

I love the idea, and so I will be posting a few these days. I love to cook, but I mostly follow a recipe and maybe 10% is from inspiration. The problem here is ingredients are very limited.

Today, it’s whole & wild rice with lentils. I’ve opted not to add garlic to the rice anymore, as you can grow tired of the same flavor (as much as I adore garlic).

Ive got enough rice for a couple of days, and cous cous for a third. I will probably get some chickpeas for that day, as I’ve done lentils for the past 2.5 weeks and could go back to cous cous & chickpeas.

Some people have asked what I do if I run out or forget to cook. The easiest thing is to get steamed white rice (gohan) and some edamame as pulses.

Anyone have suggestions given what the typical ration includes? See the ‘about famine aid rations’ page on this blog for details.

And please, help me spread the word about this project. If you are able to give, please click here and go straight to UNICEF to give. Every last bit helps.

Thanks!

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Fat planner before and after pics (finally!) #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

As many of you know, I pitched an idea to 50/50 Make or Break to raise funds for Africa: I would eat only famine rations for 50+ days to raise awareness and money to fight the ongoing famine in Somalia, which kills a child every six minutes. As I mentioned before, I have kids and cannot bear that thought.

If there was such a thing as an FAQ on this site, the top two questions would be:
– How much weight have you lost??
– What exactly do you eat / are you allowed to eat? (Answer here)
– Aren’t you super hungry? How do you cope?
– Are you under medical supervision? You could get sick!

The answer to the first question will be visual. Here is the fat planner 5 weeks ago. I don’t have a full body shot with me now, and that is good for now 🙂


Now, here are a couple of pics I had taken during the last few days:

This is my new mug, halfway through the "Fat Planner" project.

My favorite Etiqueta Negra stretch suit I bought in Argentina fits again!

As for weight, I’ve probably lost quite a bit. Haven’t dared step on a scale, but my guess would be a bit over 12 kg (26 lbs, or 2 stone –not going for accuracy here ha) given that my clothes from my life in Argentina are starting to fit again.

Hunger: Sure, I feel hungry every once in a while, but it has become a lot more bearable as my body doesn’t need to carry all that weight around. Yesterday I actually forgot I only had 300g of rice (instead of 400 in the ration) and I survived pretty decently (albeit hungry by the time the night ended after a launch event with our top client (hence the suit). Today? I forgot the entire 60g of pulses (lentils) at home. Going back to fetch those today. It’s been a crazy busy week 🙂

Will update this post with some of my recipes over the weekend. Was told some awesome people at foodie blogs might suggest some options after that 🙂

Enjoy Friday people!

In awe of the latest @5050Good stuff #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

Hi! You may remember me as the ad man who’s eating famine rations to raise awareness and funds for famine aid in Somalia. If you want to contribute, click here or on the 50/50 orange link at the top left of the sidebar. All donations are handled directly by UNICEF –no funky business here.

So: We are halfway there, and so far I would say I’m about 7% into my original fundraising target. I am still looking for a brave brand to come in and save the day by matching the funds I raise, but nothing to comment on this one (yet, hopefully).

I have to say I am floored by the awesome ideas coming out of the 50/50 Make or Break project. When we kicked off a few weeks ago (3.5, to be precise), the Fat Planner was the only project there. And I was lonely!  When I heard about Africashback, I knew I had come across the best idea of the lot (so far, at least). It is so simple, and so powerful that it seems obvious in retrospect –like all genius ideas:  There are actually lots of sites out there offering discounts or product recommendations. None do it out of the goodness of their hearts –the way it works is that products purchased using those links earn a referral commission ranging between 5% and 10% of all products at the amazon.com store.

Say, for example, you got a new Kindle and you want to buy the Clay Shirky’s very popular bestseller “The Cognitive Surplus.” If you click on this link (generated through Africashback search), you will effectively donate 5% – 10% of your purchase to famine aid through UNICEF. That’s it. You pay the same price, and amazon.com! gives Africa money. Could it get any better?

The possibility of scale is just staggering, and I hope you will consider buying all your amazon.com needs from the site.  This one comes to us by way of Mike Overthrow and Adam Molloy, two bright minds who work in digital marketing at Ecclesiastical Insurance in the UK.  Kudos guys, it is fantastically awesome. Here is Mike’s wannabe DJ blog: Coveritup.

In any case: if you can afford to make a generous donation, please give to my effort (I’m hungry!!!) by clicking here. Otherwise, if your disposable income does not allow for it, but still buy stuff from amazon.com (US or UK stores), please buy through Africashback.

Long weekend hunger. #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

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So,  I’m still eating a famine refugee’s ration while asking for your contribution to UNICEF for the horn of Africa. Please click here to go straight to UNICEF and give what you can.

Today is independence day in Mexico. Emilio,  my 8.5 year old is spending the long weekend with us and 5 other kids in a warm resort town 60mi south of Mexico City. There’s 8 adults,  and loads of delicious food,  wine and drink. I’m having a tough time explaining the Fat Planner project to some of my friends who think I’m boring because I won’t drink or eat with them.

I’ll hold the fort. I only ask that you keep helping me to spread the word about the famine in Africa and please contribute what you can. Click here to go straight to UNICEF and give. Every grain of sand helps build a beach.

Thanks!

The paradox of abundance (or, This shit is *really* hard) #DontFeedThePlanner #FamineAid

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So… as some of you know, I’m working with @madebymany and @goodfornothing on 50/50 Make or Break, and I’m spending at least 50 days eating famine aid rations only in exchange for your generous donations to UNICEF. Click here to give, please.

During the last 16+ days, I have had to work late on an empty stomach at least 4x, go out to a business dinner at a Korean restaurant (soju included) and just look at the food & drink, and generally be very creative and frugal with my rice or cous cous portions to ensure I don’t have to go through long periods of time without something to eat.

This saturday, though, was probably the most difficult one. We met at a childhood friend’s house to spend the afternoon together.  When at the supermarket early in the morning to get “ration supplies” (cous cous, whole rice, unsweetened soy), I came across some dehydrated Porcini mushrooms and arborio rice… and decided that I wanted to cook for my wife and friends. I love cooking, and it helps me relax… or so I thought!

The hard part came when the first 2oz of vegetable stock went into the semi-fried arborio rice with garlic and olive oil. After about 2 minutes, the smell was intoxicating (at least it seemed like that to me). I don’t know if you remember the “Pinknic” episode of the Pink Panther –but that’s how I felt. I was close to cutting out a fish drawing from a magazine and cooking it to eat it 🙂

Pinknic: By this point in time, this is more or less how I'm starting to feel –looking at the calendar and seeing how long it will be until I have a decent meal

If you don’t remember the Pink Panther, or this episode in particular –please don’t make me feel old in the comments, and just watch here:

So, anyway –here I am, working late again on a pitch for a global campaign. At no point in thinking of the Fat Planner project, did I stop to think that a career in (M)Advertising might conflict with putting myself through this. Sure, there are hardships involved, but the people in Somalia unfortunately don’t have the luxury of deciding when their hunger ends.

Most people I know think I’m a bit crazy, yet I do this from the safety of my western living, and the certainty that if I run out of food, I’m a supermarket run away from what would seem like infinite food supplies in eastern Africa. Even my famine aid ration equivalent is purchased in a supermarket, and I have the luxury of choosing between cous cous, bulgur, rice (of many kinds) and whether I want to eat lentils, beans, soy beans, etc.

I could go into how insane wealth distribution, and the general selfishness in the west causes all of this, but I won’t. I will just ask you to put your money where my mouth is, and give a little so we can help improve the situation in Africa –even if just by a little.

You can click on the orange 50/50 logo at the top of the sidebar on the left, or just click here to go straight to UNICEF-handled payments. Even the smallest donation helps.

Thanks. And keep that porcini mushroom risotto away from me!!  😉
P.S. I included the Pink Panther video as a joke, and not as an attempt to profit or abuse any copyright owners. All rights and copyright belong to the original owners. I wish I spoke legalese.