Gwyneth Paltrow, known for living a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle, free of red meats, will now be on food stamps for a week. It’s surprising to see someone who is accustomed to a lavish lifestyle seek out such a trying mission, but Paltrow is participating in the #FoodBankNYCChallenge. For an entire week, she will live only on what the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) provides New York recipients.
Time reports that Paltrow must somehow balance her food budget to $29 per week, the average cost of a single person living on foods stamps for a week. Although nutritonal foods are considerably more expensive than junk foods, Paltrow is determined to eat as healthy as possible while taking the challenge, as evident in her Thursday tweet.
Paltrow follows the GOOP detox diet, which consists of eliminating added sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, soy, dairy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. A lot of the forbidden foods on the GOOP diet are what numerous people living on food stamps usually buy, simply because they are more affordable.
The Food Bank of New York City is the catalyst behind taking the week-long challenge. Recently, the organization motivated people to get involved by writing on its official website.
“Congress cut food stamps twice since 2013, and soup kitchens and food pantries saw an immediate increase in visitors. New Yorkers can’t afford any cuts to Food Stamps.”
Although it’s extremely commendable that Paltrow is getting involved in the food stamp challenge for a week, the reality is that a multitude of Americans rely on food stamps for numerous months, and according to SNAP, sometimes for several years.
In 2014, over 46 million people relied on food stamps. The majority of the recipients are elderly, disabled, or children. Although there are indeed unemployed people who receive benefits, SNAP reports that many adults who receive food stamps are working, despite myths. Yet with bills such as mortgage or rent, utilities, and transportation costs, these people are struggling to find enough money for groceries.
New York isn’t the only state making cuts in the food stamp program. In 2014, the state of Maine made changes that required all healthy adults without dependents to have employment order to receive food stamp benefits. Consequently, more than 6,500 Maine residents were reportedly taken off the food stamps program.
Meanwhile, it seems as if Paltrow will provide updates throughout the week as she treks on with the challenge.
For anyone interested in the NYC food stamp challenge, the Food Bank of New York provides a “Challenge Toolkit”, which gives detailed information on how to get started. It’s open to anyone who isn’t currently on food stamps and wants to challenge themselves to live on a food budget of around $29 per week.
(Photo Courtesy of Lane Murdoch Jr./Stringer/Getty Images)