Gwyneth Paltrow Fails Food Stamp Challenge In The GOOP-iest Way Possible

Samantha Kilgore

Poor Gwyneth Paltrow -- no matter how often or how hard she tries to connect to the "common woman," she just never quite gets it done successfully.

The actress is also a lifestyle writer who runs a website called GOOP. Paltrow has come under fire for her unrealistic recipes and eating style detailed on the blog -- the food she uses in her recipes have an estimated cost of around $300 a day, putting it far out of realistic realms for most people. She has also been criticized for her insistence that she, as an actress, has it harder than a working mother with an office job, as well as her constantly failing efforts to be seen as the same as every other woman, while still peddling blankets that cost $900 on her website.

But so far, none of that has stopped Gwyneth on her quest for commonality.

Case-in-point is Gwyneth's recent rise to a challenge made to her by celebrity chef Mario Batali. As previously reported by the Inquistr, Paltrow agreed to the Food Bank New York City challenge, which asks that participants live on an allotted budget for groceries equivalent to that of a person receiving SNAP benefits, or food stamps. Since Congress has enacted cuts on the SNAP program twice since 2013, the weekly grocery budget for one person comes to $29, or about $1.38 per meal.

But rather than being humbled by the challenge, or admit to the difficulty of trying to eat on under $30 a week, Paltrow posted a picture of her food purchases on Twitter, stating simply that the items pictured were what a person could buy for $29 at the grocery store.

And her strange choices left many outraged.

Paltrow's $29 bounty included a dozen eggs, brown rice, black beans -- all nutritious, filling and economically-smart choices -- as well as peas, tortillas, cilantro, limes and fresh vegetables. As pretty as the picture of her fresh, healthy choices make, the idea that the food pictured would be the only food eaten by a person in the course of a week seems not just unlikely, but unhealthy, as well.

Of course, this is the woman who wrote in her recipe book that she would "rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin."

Rebecca Vipond Brink, a lifestyle writer at the Frisky, actually calculated what a person eating Paltrow's choices would actually be consuming, calorie-wise, over a week, and it came to less than 1,000 calories a day – about half the calories recommended for a healthy, balanced diet. Brink breaks Paltrow's diet down, drawing a sharp divide over not just the unrealistic grocery choices Paltrow made, but in the difference the type of a diet a woman like Paltrow needs, versus the diet a woman who is actually living on SNAP benefits would probably require.

"That is, by all means, possible for a week for someone who has the option to be physically active or not. It's possible for a week for someone who doesn't have that option, too, actually, but it's not sustainable over the long term for someone who has limited transportation options, negligible assistance with childcare, and probably a minimum-wage-or-less service job. The average sedentary adult burns at least 1600 calories in a day. Supposing that the average woman in America is 5'4" and weighs 165 pounds, she'd burn about 2400 calories a day even if she was moderately active, meaning that she worked a service job and took care of kids. She would be working at a 1400-calorie deficit on Gwyneth's diet."

"Don't Worry, Poor People: Gwyneth Paltrow Is Here to Show You How to GOOP Your Food-Stamp Benefits," wrote one person.

"Gwyneth Paltrow eating on $29 for an entire week might be more impressive if she consumed more than 1,000 calories in that time," wrote another.

"Gwyneth Paltrow bought scallions, onions, a clove of garlic, and fresh parsley. She is doing her poor people shopping wrong," summed up another Tweet.

Considering that she spent an estimated $5.00 on limes alone, it's little surprise that her food choices have come under major scrutiny.

Gwyneth Paltrow's $29 grocery bag has certainly left a bad taste in many people's mouths -- but the question that needs to be asked is whether Paltrow did it out of ignorance of how low-income people actually need to live, or out of maliciousness in an effort to highlight her own extreme eating choices that she sees as healthy -- or is it because she is so truly out of touch with reality that spending a significant portion of a very small food budget on garnishes rather than actual food seemed like a reasonable choice?

Let us know what you think in the comments below -- and tell us, what sort of food choices do you make when feeding your family on a budget?

[Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images]