Gwyneth Paltrow has officially thrown in the towel on her food stamps challenge when she admitted, after four days, that she could not live on food stamps and eat healthy or consistent meals. She said that she was thankful that she was able to provide well for her kids and mentioned that mothers are doing the impossible every day. Now that Paltrow has realized just how hard it is to live on the assistance that the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) provides, she has spoken out against how bad the system really is.
Paltrow called it a cyclical problem after she stated, “The food system in our beautiful country needs to be subjected to a heavy revision.” When first entering the challenge presented by celebrity chef Mario Batali, Paltrow believed that she could live on $29 for seven days. She went in thinking that she could show people how to live healthy on that small amount of money. Swallowing her pride she admitted she forfeited and went for a chicken and fresh vegetable meal at The Polo Bar.
The challenge was part of the #FoodBankNYCChallenge designed to show people just how hard it is for the thousands of Americans who live on such small amounts of assistance. $29 dollars was considered the amount that the average person receiving SNAP benefits gets per month, in New York. Paltrow’s shopping list included black beans and brown rice, one dozen eggs, lots of limes, and some other fruits and veggies. The shopping list was rather odd, but Paltrow said that altogether it cost her $24.40 (as certain vegetables are cheaper in certain areas). With $29 dollars, Paltrow had to basically live on $4.14 per day, over the seven day challenge. But this is the challenge that many people face everyday.
Living on SNAP benefits have been a hardship for many people. People who need assistance because they do not make enough are forced to come up with money to pay for most of their food or eat garbage to best utilize their food stamps. Paltrow experienced this first hand when she made comments about how unhealthy it is to live on food stamps. When a person fuels their body with garbage they end up feeling sluggish and tired, and many experience pain, cramping, and heart burn, because of what they eat. Paltrow was determined to show everyone how to live healthy on food stamps but she could not do it. That is because eating healthy comes at a high price.
Those with SNAP benefits are forced to buy unhealthy food that can make several meals, simply because they do not have enough money to buy things even remotely healthy. Those with kids also set their kids up for childhood obesity and unhealthy lives.
While Paltrow was able to give up her challenge and go buy a meal at The Polo Bar, those living on food stamps will never be able to do that. Their challenge comes every day. Now with many states trying to reduce the number of things SNAP benefit receivers can buy, the challenge becomes even harder. As Paltrow worked to live healthy on food stamps, this option is simply not affordable for everyone. Taking away the ability to buy candy and soda is one thing, but taking away the ability to buy chips is difficult for those families who practically live on sandwiches and chips, or hot dogs and chips. Overall, as Paltrow said, the government just needs to take a hard look at the food stamps program and give it a heavy revision, in a way that would not hurt those who receive the benefits.
Opinion by Crystal Boulware