Friday, September 21, 2012

Sensing SNAP Guilt

Yesterday, I had a fashion show at the Venue Scottsdale, which included a nice dinner.  After the fashion show was over I decided to leave and not stay for the nice catered meal because I was doing the SNAP Experience.  As much as I wanted to stay and talk to people who saw the show, I just couldn't be tempted to eat of the food.  It would have also been difficult to watch as everyone bit into the most delicious catered meal I've seen this year.  It was an interesting feeling to have to be pulled away from something I am good at, which is talking to strangers and eating.

People had asked why I wasn't staying for the dinner and rather than explain that I was on the SNAP Experience, I made the excuse that I was waking up early for my fitness workout.  This kind of made me think, if I wasn't able to afford the $65.00 dinner at the event what would have I told people.  Or would have I missed the opportunity of showcasing in fear of the cost of the meal.

Doing the challenge last year and again this year, I thought I would have already learned what I needed to about "living on food stamps."  I say "living on food stamps," like I actually know how it is to live on food stamps, but I know that a whole week doesn't amount to the hardship people face when dealing with a severely low budget to live on a day to day basis.  What do you tell people when you get invited to events that is outside your budget?  Why is there a sense of shame when you know you're on food stamps or on a low budget for food?

Why didn't I just tell people about the SNAP Experience challenge?  I guess last night it was easier just to tell people I had to wake up early rather than have people look at me oddly for taking on a challenge that is out of the ordinary for fashion designers and event coordinators to even consider.  Food is such a big part of many social settings and many of the events I attend.  I guess a part of me feels like I didn't want to be judged amongst my peers and I would rather have given a "good excuse" for skipping out on the meal.

And why did I feel the need to even make an excuse for leaving early in the first place?  I suppose when you turn down a meal that was ready for the taking, you feel guilty for leaving it behind. And to feel right with yourself, you make excuses of why you didn't want it in the first place.  I think given what I learned, I will also tell people that I was on the SNAP Experience even if it may take longer to explain.

Below is a photo from last night's event, it was my design for the Venue Scottsdale for Project NACE's Fashion for a Cause event.  The bodice is crocheted with plastic grocery bags, crocheted by my mom and she even finished it off with a all red plastic grocery bag clutch purse.  David Twigger from the Venue Scottsdale made the matching hat and I made the skirt and the 10 ft long train.

© 2012 Andy DeLisle/ten west photography





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There are many who need SNAP benefits (most commonly known as food stamps), because they wouldn't have the funds to be able to eat. The month of September is Hunger Action month and today was the start of the ACAA's SNAP Experience (Sept 15th - 21) where many of us would challenge ourselves to see if we could survive on a budget of $29.00 for a week's worth of food ($41.00 if you opt in for a $12.00 budget for food not approved by SNAP).

Would you like to know if you can live on a $29.00 food budget click here for more information.

The Arizona SNAP Experience is sponsored by the Arizona Community Action Association


There are many who need SNAP benefits (most commonly known as food stamps), because they wouldn't have the funds to be able to eat. The month of September is Hunger Action month and today was the start of the ACAA's SNAP Experience (Sept 15th - 21) where many of us would challenge

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SNAP Challenge year 2

Yesterday was my first day of the SNAP Experience, I was late to the game because my birthday happened to be this week and I didn't want to miss out on the chance of doing the challenge again. The challenge officially started on September 15th, but it was a hectic day for me.  I woke up at 5am in the morning to get my gown prepped for a TV segment, I went to the TV station, then after that I attended a bridal shower, and then a bachelorette party, where I ended up staying the night at the hotel the party was booked at.

I certainly didn't want to be the "Debbie Downer" of the party by not participating and so I partied it up with the rest of them.  Then on Sunday, my husband and I celebrated my birthday early knowing my real birthday was on a Monday.

I know this year's SNAP Experience will be more difficult for me as I am making way to becoming a vegetarian, I'm on a diet, started a fitness boot camp, and completely busy with my orders and events.  But I'm not one to throw in the towel without trying it again this year.

The amount of knowledge I know about poverty statistics, because my husband works for the Association of Arizona Food Banks, doing the challenge reminds me of how some people live and essentially where I come from, which was the Philippines.  I heard stories from my parents and family about what they endured to be able to survive and I know I will never experience poverty like they have, but at least maybe I can experience hunger and never complain about how lucky I am.

And boy was I hungry yesterday, on my birthday which was the day before I started the challenge.  I woke up at 4:30am to attend my fitness boot camp class.  I figured if I was going to eat cake I had to burn calories before I did it.  I ran several errands during the day and spent a nice evening with friends that involved a nice meal and dessert.  I was feeling more guilty and so I took an hour walk with the dog and my hubby.

So here comes yesterday, I woke up hungry but not knowing what to eat, and didn't end up eating breakfast but opted for a late lunch.  I found that since I am exercising more that I'm hungrier than ever, but I'm still on a diet.  I opted for a tortilla with 2 eggs and a little cheese.  I know splurged with the shredded cheese going at a rate of $2.50 a package, but I was thinking I can make it last the whole week.  In retrospect, I should have gotten a block cheese and grated it myself, it might have been slightly cheaper.  The tortilla package was $1.99 and the package of eggs was $1.99.  But I was amazed that I couldn't get as many vegetables when I went grocery shopping because I had spent a bulk of the budget on things that would stay fresher than vegetables.

So, yesterday I was doing well with eating 2 cheese and egg burritos (one for lunch and one for dinner), but after I came back from walking the dog for an hour, I was super hungry.  I ended up drinking a ton of water and going to bed hungry.

This morning, I had plans to wake up at 4:30am to go to boot camp, but I didn't have the energy and ended up sleeping in.  I have the same dilemma this morning, I haven't eaten anything yet, but I feel the need to keep up with my exercise goals.  We will see if I have the motivation to push through.


___________________________________________________________

There are many who need SNAP benefits (most commonly known as food stamps), because they wouldn't have the funds to be able to eat. The month of September is Hunger Action month and today was the start of the ACAA's SNAP Experience (Sept 15th - 21) where many of us would challenge ourselves to see if we could survive on a budget of $29.00 for a week's worth of food ($41.00 if you opt in for a $12.00 budget for food not approved by SNAP).

Would you like to know if you can live on a $29.00 food budget click here for more information.

The Arizona SNAP Experience is sponsored by the Arizona Community Action Association


There are many who need SNAP benefits (most commonly known as food stamps), because they wouldn't have the funds to be able to eat. The month of September is Hunger Action month and today was the start of the ACAA's SNAP Experience (Sept 15th - 21) where many of us would challenge


Monday, March 26, 2012

My diet journal for all the world to see

As I get ready to seriously embark on the last diet I ever want to be on, I'm pondering whether to post my diet journal publicly to motivate myself to be good.  I feel like if I know someone else is watching what I eat that I won't be as tempted to have many bad days.

I'm not promising that I won't have my bad days, just that if I have them that I won't out right quit on my weight and health goals.  Being a Monday, I know I am usually good during the week, but when the weekend comes is when I have trouble staying "good."

Since I didn't eat anything just yet, I have nothing to post but a picture of what my diet journal looks like.  I usually include all the calories, fat grams, my activities, calories burned from exercise, and some words of encouragement.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The SNAP Recap

By day 5 of the SNAP experience, my husband was getting worried for me.  I was cranky, I was running on 4 hours of sleep at night and my stomach was cramping.  I did really well on Friday during the day, but by night my body was craving something more substantial.  I broke down and ate a microwave dinner that cost about $4.00, a granola bar, and pre-birthday cookie.

The days totals amounted to $8.19 and my 5 day total was at $24.78 and going out to eat total was $11.82.  A total of $36.60.  I say not bad for the first time ever doing this, I think if my birthday didn't land on day 6 of the challenge I think I could have mentally prepared myself better for it.

One thing for sure, I appreciate the SNAP program even more.  I always thought at least people get benefits, because in the Philippines you would have to make do without any help or at least that's how it was when my parents were growing up there.  But budgeting for that little amount makes me realize that $29.00 a week is still not enough to get by. 

I also realize how healthy food is more expensive and can see why people can gain weight on a $29.00 a week grocery budget, because despite not having enough to eat, people cannot eat a well balanced healthy meal.  The cheapest thing I bought during the week was a box of stuffing that had 10 servings.  After eating just 2 servings, I looked at the box and realized there was nothing nutritious about it and it was loaded with sodium and carbs.  Sure it filled me up for the short term, but I think it made me hungrier and thirstier to try to drown out all the salt I just inhaled.

This was a completely eye opening experience and one I think I will do at a later time to complete the whole 7 days to remind myself of how lucky I truly am to be able to eat healthy.



Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 4 Food Totals

Breakfast: -- Calories: -- Cost:
Black Coffee-- 10 -- .18
1 can of Slim Rite -- 170 -- .80

Lunch:
1/2 Crab Sandwich no mayo (79 cents a can and bread on sale for $1.24 a pack) 1 serving of Cream Cheese --225 -- $.73
1 can of Slim Rite -- 170 -- .80

Dinner: (used the $12.00 supplement budget)
2 Jr. Cheeseburgers from Wendy's -- 480 -- $2.17
Total water intake 1/3 of a jug -- .26

Total Calories: 1055
Total Grocery Cost: $2.77

Would you like to know if you can live on a $29.00 food budget click here for more information.

The Arizona SNAP Experience is sponsored by the Arizona Community Action Association

SNAPing in Scottsdale

Yesterday was day 4 of the SNAP Experience and I'm doing better than I thought. Although, for the first time ever I've had to brown bag it to my Scottsdale appointments. I had 5 appointments in Scottsdale with about a 2 hour break in between where I usually would have went to a sushi place or went to my friends restaurant LimeLight Dipping Bar and Grill. But I brought my Slim Rite nutritious shake and a half imitation crab meat sandwich with a serving of cream cheese. I don't know if you can really call it a sandwich, because it was on one slice of white bread I got on sale and quite frankly it's stale (which I realized why it was on sale).

For dinner I had a little over $2.00 left to spend for my $12.00 supplement for the week and I used it to buy 2 99 cents Jr. cheeseburgers at Wendy's. At this point I was starving and when my husband kept asking me what I want, all I said was food. I didn't care what I wanted, whether it was healthy or not I just wanted something to help my stomach not feel the way it was feeling. Not to mention that when I was driving, my eyes were a little more sensitive to light and I was feeling light headed. I was focused enough to make it through, but it's not a feeling I want to really feel behind the wheel.

At the end of day 3 when I was sewing at 2am, it really hit hard about hunger and my mom's own hunger story about my grandfather trying to feed 9 children. My mother always told me that in the Philippines, my grandfather use to sell fish everyday. He would buy 50 pisos worth, save two for the family's dinner and sell the rest just to break even. When my stomach was growling and cramping while I was sewing, I was reminded of that story and wondered how anyone could feed 11 people with fish and rice and be satisfied.

My mom also told me a somewhat funny story about a bag of peanuts, which I also thought of when my tummy was cramping. My mom had saved enough money for a bag of peanuts and the bully at school stole them. She was so upset because that was the only thing she was going to have for lunch that she confronted the bully, but she got in trouble for yelling at him. As long as I can remember, I use to think that was funny. Fighting over a bag of peanuts and risking a beating for a bully for it too. And although, I don't fully understand what it means to go hungry, the story is less funny when I think about the daily worries my grandfather endured to be able to feed his family.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stuffing with SNAP

Day 3 of the SNAP Experience was actually a great day for energy. I scored a box of stuffing for 50 cents and it serves 5 cups. Normally, my diet can't afford all the carbs and calories of stuffing, but for 50 cents and a small selection of sale food I had to choose from I went for it.

I also jumped on the scale this morning and I have lost a pound since Monday. When I started the challenge I was adamant about keeping my schedule and work out routine the same. So far, my energy level has been low all week and I crashed yesterday at 11pm. And for the first time all week I finally got 9 hours of sleep, but only because I am exhausted and eating less than my normal diet.


Here is what I ate today.

Breakfast: -- Calories: -- Cost:
Coffee with less Soy Milk than yesterday -- 25 -- .30
1 can of Slim Rite -- 170 -- .80

Snack:
Kashi cereal, I ate 1/2 a serving dry -- 90 -- .18

Lunch:
Tuna Sandwich no mayo (79 cents a can and bread on sale for $1.24 a pack)3/4 serving of Cream Cheese and arugula --165 -- $1.29
1 Egg--70--.13
Coffee with Soy Milk -- 25 .30

Snack:
Kashi cereal, I ate 1/2 a serving dry -- 90 -- .18

Dinner:
Stuffing -- 260 -- .10
1/2 Serving of Cream Cheese-- 35--.13
1 Egg --70--.13

Snack:
Kashi cereal, I ate 1/2 a serving dry -- 90 -- .18
2 cups of black coffee--20--.36

Total water intake 3/4 of a jug -- .59

Total Calories: 1110
Total Cost: $4.67

Would you like to know if you can live on a $29.00 food budget click here for more information.

The Arizona SNAP Experience is sponsored by the Arizona Community Action Association