We are 2 days away from the end of our month long Food Stamp Challenge, and I can’t wait! This has been both difficult and easy, educational, enlightening and I am glad that we did it.
The question I was asked the most was why are you doing this? I am not sure that I can truly explain why I decided to do this – but I will try. This biggest one was to see if you could eat nutritionally on the SNAP (food stamp program) and the other was see if the stereo type that is portrayed of people on food stamps was true. The second reason really is not coming across the way that I mean and I don’t know how to better articulate it. So many people think that people of food stamps or other government assistance programs are milking the system and because they look capable of working that they should be. Now there are always people who take advantage of systems and programs – but I truly feel that the SNAP program is not really one of them. It is not easy being on food stamps, worrying about how you are going to feed your family, are you going to have enough money on your card for the items that are in your basket and wondering how you are going to pay for the essentials needed that are not covered within the program. To talk about whether or not a person should or can work – well, I have been unemployed and yes I was capable and willing to work, but many jobs I was not qualified for, if I took them they would cost me more than I was making and then you have to be offered the job that you interviewed for – after many months of that I finally started working for myself and then after 2 years found a job.
I am not that different from many people that are on food stamps – I work a part time job, consult for 3 other people, write this blog, homestead, part of 2 boards, involved in my community and I am a single mom for pretty much 24/7, 365 days a year. All that being said my time is very limited and I have to plan for everything. I had to put aside time to prepare the foods – time that I would have liked to spend sleeping, spending time with my daughter, friends, family or just taking the time for myself.
This month was not that much different from my regular food life. I soak my grains, oats, flour – make almost everything from scratch, plan my meals. What was different was that we do eat out on occasion and I buy the best products that I possibly can (which I am very much looking forward to getting back to). We ate a very clean diet for the month, very little processed food, very little sugar. I did eat out twice during the month (work and a get together) and I felt it – my body was not used to the heaviness of the food or the amount.
So my observations of how this effected me: I pretty much felt hungry all the time even though we ate nutritionally, we ate less than we normally would; I lost weight; my digestive system was off, my energy was low; I slept poorly; my patience seemed short.
I am looking forward to March 1 and our celebration, along with buying things that we went without for a month and of course my red wine!