SNAP Challenge Recap

Saturday was the end of my SNAP challenge and I need to confess something… Spending only $36 on groceries for the week was easy for me. I was able to buy more food than I needed and I was able to create some really tasty meals that were incredibly healthy. My athletic performance was unhindered, my spirit was never distraught, and I knew that even if things got tough that it would eventually end. And after seven days it came to a close.

I realize as I stand here typing this that my life is no different than it was seven days ago, albeit I’m more lean – I’ve been “dieting” for a while now – but nothing is different. You CAN live off less than $37/week in CA and not only can you eat healthy, but your meals can be delicious as well. Although the first week will be a little boring because the only spices I was able to afford were salt and pepper.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t simulate the true distress of someone depending on Food Stamps because I earn a livable wage and I’m surrounded by financially secure people. Even when I don’t go out to eat I’m still invited to birthday celebrations and social events. Although I don’t order any food when I’m at a birthday dinner – I just  enjoy the free ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce – I’m still offered that last roll of sushi that nobody else is capable of eating. My office has a break-room filled with snacks and all the coffee my heart could desire.

My life is vastly different than someone at or below the poverty line. I live in a world where I would need to spend a lot time

fabricating a reality to effectively simulate what it might be like to depend on the SNAP program and/or live in poverty. I know nothing of what it’s truly like to live week-by-week and have the burdens of menial tasks that fit nicely within my salary

I’m able to spend an evening out to dinner with my girlfriend laughing off stress from a “rough” day. I’m able to celebrate

success by getting more frozen yogurt than I actually need. I’m able to buy a wheel of cheese with a name I can hardly pronounce, let alone spell.

snap challenge meals

But what if you couldn’t? What if $37 was all the available funds you had before

stocking your fridge? We can all think of single expenses that cost at least $37 that we have no trouble swiping our card for. Even with $37 in my hand at the check out line, I’m comforted by the amount that’s in my bank account.

The SNAP Challenge showed me how little I know about poverty, other than it exists and I’ve been very privileged. Even on a

limited food budget I was able to live a normal life. However, just because I can do it doesn’t mean others can and I’d much rather live without a restricted food budget than with one. Not everyone has that privilege.

See some of my meals from last week on Instagram!



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