Since I started the Food Stamp Challenge, I have noticed some things. This is my list. It isn’t an extensive list, but it’s the things that I really noticed the most.
I am cold. No, I am freezing. While this may not seem significant to you, I love the cold! I am a northern person and I walk in snow barefoot! But this week, at about the day 4 point, I got VERY cold! I feel like I am freezing to death. I’m not sick. I am not running a fever. But I feel like I am in the dead of winter. I now completely understand why my dear friends, who survive ONLY on food stamps, are always cold. This is horrible!
I am tired. Probably because, as Michy said in the comments,
“You know, I can’t help but look at this and say there is no way you are eating eating enough to sustain life. Seriously, put your food consumption into FitDay and you will see you are WAY below your RDAs and calories for health… your metabolism can literally shut down when this happens, causing weight gain, lethargy, illness and more!I think you are definitely proving the point of this challenge! It’s really impossible to eat HEALTHY and sustain yourself on this low of a budget!”
And then I sat and thought about it last night. This is the first week I haven’t lost a little weight. In fact, I gained a pound. Back in 2010 when I headed to Bremerton because I couldn’t eat anything, my average daily calorie intake was 583 (second post down)… average… a day! Yes, that was redundant. I am trying to make a point.
You should be consuming, on average, 2,000 calories a day. I was literally starving. Not the “Oh meh ger, I haven’t ate anything in an hour! I am starving!” No, it was the real “We’re about to throw your butt into the hospital” starving. And, weird thing, I gain weight when I am starving because every little bit I put in my body goes to storage because my body KNOWS I am starving. Guess what happened this week… I starved myself. I gained a pound. (I am working on a post to show the daily intake)
I am hungry. I kept myself occupied and drank coffee to keep myself from noticing this, but trust me, I still noticed. I was hungry. Although, oddly enough, I wasn’t really hungry when I first woke up except for a couple of days. But the first time I ate for the day, I really noticed it! I was VERY hungry.
My stomach keeps growling. While I am lucky, to an extent, and can’t feel hunger pains until I am seriously starving, BUT my stomach keeps growling… constantly. It’s getting embarrassing.
The kindness of neighbors, friends, family and random strangers. I have had several friends and family members offer to buy us food this week. My neighbor gave us veggies from her garden. A random stranger offered to buy me a sandwich. Why? You can tell when someone is hungry. Even if you don’t LOOK hungry or stare longingly at every food in sight, the growling stomach gives it away. Each time I stopped and explained why I am doing this (and why I am hungry). Everyone felt the need to argue the points that
- Most people have family that can help them
- Most people go to the food bank
- Churches will give you food
- Some people have gardens
- We have plenty of people who will just GIVE you food.
- I am doing this for the poor who don’t attend church.
- I am doing this for those who have an issue taking charity from a church when they won’t go to one.
- I am doing this for people who have no family, have few friends, are isolated in a rural area.
- I am doing this for people who can’t garden (or can’t afford to).
- I am doing this to make a point… That you can’t eat healthy on food stamps.
- I am doing this for every single mom who has gone hungry so she can feed her children.
- I am doing this for every single dad who has gone hungry so he can feed his children.
- I am doing this to show support to my friend, who I will not name, who rocked her crying child to sleep at night because his belly hurt and she had no more food to feed him.
- I am doing this as an UP YOURS to the politicians who cut the food stamps budget because they worried people are abusing it.
- I am doing to show support to my disabled friends who don’t have enough food to feed themselves, who WE feed as a community.
- I am doing this to show support to Libby’s Kids Kitchen who volunteers to feed children on the weekend because their parents can’t afford to.
- I am doing this for the kids that live here who have celiac disease and can’t eat the free breakfast and lunch at school.
- I am doing this for the people that don’t have a food bank they can turn to (because of allergies)
She is not lazy. She isn’t mooching off the system. She works 40 hours a week because she can’t afford child care. She works herself to death to make ends meet. She doesn’t have a cell phone. Her only luxuries are the internet and new panties. But because she is on food stamps, people see her as a lazy mooch.
Food is too expensive! I generally love talking about food. I love eating food too! But I really noticed that living in a small town, the food is very expensive. It’s cheaper for me to drive 53 or 89 miles away to buy my food for less. That $15 in gas makes the trip worth it when you are saving $200 on groceries. It not only makes my trip worth it, it feeds us more and we can have junk food that way. And by “junk food” I mean pizza, cookies, bread, and yogurt. We you are allergic to 54 foods, some foods become junk food!
Being on food stamps is not the end of the world. For a long time, we managed without food stamps. It was hard, but we made it. We weren’t always eating fancy foods, but our bellies were full. When I finally decided to apply for food stamps, I felt like a failure. You are not a failure for accepting food stamps. You may feel like it, but I promise, you are not a failure.
I don’t plan on being on food stamps for the rest of my life. Probably a couple more months while I get back on my feet.
Most people I know use them responsibly as a means to supplement their food budget, not replace it. They use food stamps to help them get on their feet and hopefully, not need more assistance. And, if it makes you feel any better, you earned these benefits by working. I pay taxes every year. I have seen some rude comments like “I work so people can buy junk food on food stamps.” I don’t look at it like that. I don’t look at it like that.
I pay taxes and work (at home) to help people who need a hand up. I pay taxes and earned my food stamps benefits to help feed my family in a time of need. Just because a few people abuse the system, doesn’t mean that everyone will.
We’ve only been on food stamps twice. Once for 6 months and then this time. I’ve been on them since June and my goal is to have enough income to get off of them in a couple of months.
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