Today marks the end of this SNAP challenge. All week I have lived off of less than $4.20 per day, and yes it was at times difficult, and most definitely this experience was enlightening, but if I had to boil it down to one thing to take away from this it would have to be my personal outlook on managing life.
When I say managing life I don’t necessarily mean just time management or financial, but both as well as emotional and social. See what it means to be a healthy individual to me is a balance of physical health, social health, faith, emotional health, and financial stability.
Physical health definitely differs from individual to individual. For me personally, I know I need to eat often to keep my focus sharp. Now I’m not a doctor and I don’t know the technicalities of what this is, but for my body I know that I don’t necessarily have to eat pure meat and veggie diet in order to feel healthy. I know that if I eat nothing but McDonald I wont feel very active, but I won’t feel sick from not eating enough or eating too much. I know that because I don’t like to drink plain water I need to drink teas and juice more than one would drink water. But these choices may not work for everyone, and the SNAP program is not very accommodating to each individual’s physical needs.
Social health comes with a certain psychological safety with the people you surround yourself with. If you have a certain trust in the people around you, your social actions are not going to differ too much from being who you are. Of course, just like we talked about in class a few weeks ago, we as humans do put on a social front in certain groups. In each different social group we behave and present ourselves differently. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem arises when we adjust our social face to appeal to the specified social group but our fundamental beliefs clash with this social face. This is what happened when I did not want to eat peanut-butter in my classes but I was starving.
Faith is the religious expansion of one’s mind, but unfortunately has little to do with this particular challenge. One could make the case that hunger and faith are related in the sense of whether you have no food and are undoubtedly hungry do you still have faith in yourself or your religion or do you lose this faith? but this is not helpful in this particular discussion.
I put emotional health in this because as a female I could not write about eating without addressing my personal emotional state while this happened. I also found during my experience that my hunger may have been ignited by an emotional moment or time. It was difficult to not eat while emotionally upset or distraught or stressed or angry. And the hungrier I got the more emotionally upset I got which just increased the hunger. My conclusion for this emotional relation to food is that food is the top reason for emotional turmoil in my life.
And finally I find myself back where I started, financial planning. To live off of $4.20 for food comfortably is definitely do-able. However, it requires constant control of your urges and portioning of meals, as well as organization and planing to get the most valuable meal foods for the little financial aid that you are provided.
In all, this challenge is not impossible and everyone should try it at least once if for no other reason than to better understand those less fortunate than yourself.
Signing off for the last time on this SNAP Challenge Blog,