What was your take on the challenge after I introduced it yesterday?
Today I read Health on the Run’s post “Why Survive on 35 Misses the Mark” and honestly I agree with a lot of her points. The topic of welfare, food stamps, and government assistance is a very loaded subject on both the liberal and conservative ends of our nation and I would like to leave my political opinions out of it. A change to the Farm Bill and SNAP programs are not what I am seeking to happen from this campaign. If I do say so, that’s a little ambitious to assume that will happen.
As you read these posts and continue with the conversation, these are the points that I hope are most evident as I finish Survive on 35:
1. This is a “challenge” and with that term comes the thought of a “game” or a “competition”. For me, that’s not what this at all. I’m on a budget 24/7/365, so for me, grocery shopping can be challenging. I have to find healthy items at a reasonable price and figure out how to get certain foods to stretch for days. But even with my meager salary, a food stamp budget is even less. I’m already learning that although I have the resources available to me (SNAP participants do not), I have to choose between adding tomato to my sandwich and staying on the $35/week budget. You must make choices on this budget, organic is no longer an option. You stop caring whether your “healthy” cereal contains HFCS or sugar in. The point is to choose the healthiest options within YOUR budget.
2. I don’t believe that Survive on 35 was meant to say that being on food stamps isn’t hard and that eating healthy is cheap. Eating healthy is in no way “cheap” but neither is McDonalds. There has and always will be a debate over whether or not people can afford to be healthy. Pushing the 10 of us to go as low as an average food stamp budget is pushing us to make healthy work even at one of the lowest food budgets in America.
3. Poverty isn’t a joke. Many of the people on government assistance have faced life situations that have put them at the point where they must rely on someone else to help feed and support their family. That is taking a lot of dignity away from a person when they can no longer provide food for themselves. Even though I must eat off $35 for the next week, I can drive to a grocery store of my choice, I get to go to work every day, and I have been blessed to live in an apartment that has a working stove, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher all at my disposal to cook a healthy meal.
4. Healthy is manageable on any budget. That is the point of Survive on 35. That’s it. Don’t read into it, don’t assume there is a political agenda behind it, don’t assume the 10 of us are looking down our noses at someone… Healthy can be affordable. It IS that simple.
I hope that at least this gives you an idea of where I’d like to take this challenge. I don’t want to make a joke of poverty, to campaign for political agendas, or to push my cheap meals on everyone else.
I agreed to this challenge just to make the point that healthy meals can be made on any budget.