Brent and I have been entertaining the idea of trying a food stamp challenge: that is living on what the average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP recipient does. This is partly because rising food costs affect us all and are particularly hard on the most vulnerable among us. We’re also interested in demonstrating that being vegan on a budget isn’t impossible or torturous.
The average food stamp recipient gets just $31.50 per week. I realize how much money that is when I think about my favorite oatmeal costing just a few dollars for a supply that will last several weeks. Add the raisins and agave nectar (that will last a little longer than the oats) and you’ve got a nutritious tasty breakfast for a week, for example. I also realize how little money it is when I think about how much Brent and I can spend at a Starbucks.
We’re planning to present you with receipts and nutritional profiles for our meals. I suspect that meeting nutritional requirements will be the most challenging part but I’m prepared for some creative solutions to these problems. We’ll be following B12 and the intake of zinc most closely (since vegans can have trouble getting these nutrients) but iron, calcium and protein will be among the nutrients we follow (for those skeptical carnists among us). Vitamins C, A and D are easy to get if you eat vegetables and leave your house once a day for a few minutes so we’re not too concerned about those but we’ll be watching them anyways.
We’re curious about what you’d like to see as we undertake this challenge. What should our rules reasonably include? Are fruit from local trees and condiments from take-out fair game as ‘free food’ or should we stick to our budgeted foods? Would supplements be cheating if we can budget them? We want to hear from you because you’re the ones we do all this stuff for.
This is Christie and Brent, signing off!