Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Food Stamp Diet

There's a new diet sweeping the halls of Congress and many local legislatures throughout the U.S. this week. It's one loaded with fats and carbs, and probably won't help you lose anything but your appetite.

It's the Food Stamp Challenge, where elected representatives try to live on the approximately $3 per day that those on Food Stamps must live on. Big juicy steaks have been replaced with bologna sandwiches in the Capitol dining room, the Taco Bell Value Menu has become a favorite meal out, and for those Congressmen and women who've been willing to put their stomach where their mouth is, it's been a heck of a week.

From Representative Barbara Lee's Food Stamp Challenge diary:
It's hard to concentrate for any length of time on anything except food. I don't know how people with no money for decent meals do anything - study, work, exercise, read, have fun, etc. It's all about just making it through the day. ... (day three)

... This is such an unhealthy diet. I am trying to eat the most healthy food I can afford, but I have no problem imagining how someone eating like this could quickly develop diabetes or high cholesterol. And with all these carbs, I can see how easy it would be to gain a fair amount of weight. ... (day four)
Could you live on $3 per day? I'm pretty sure I couldn't. While typing this short blog entry I ate my breakfast of a Cliff bar and a Crystal Geyser Juice Squeeze, leaving me less than a dollar for the next 15 hours or so before I go back to bed.

Obviously, the members of Congress (and local officials) who are participating are doing this to raise awareness of the challenges that millions of Americans face in providing their family with food security, and to build support for the Farm Bill that includes an increase in federal support for the Food Stamp program.

Is your rep on the Food Stamp Diet? Do you think he or she should experience poverty first hand? Why not send them a note and suggest they get on board.

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