I’m 4 days in and it wasn’t too bad (mostly just incredibly boring) until today, when I got sick for reasons unrelated to diet. It’s nothing terribly serious, but eating like this is really awful when you’re sick – I can’t imagine doing this for more than a week, or with a chronic health condition! I’ve spent $20.20 so far, and am living on lentils, rice, and tea, with vegetables and a couple other things on the side. The rest of my money will be spent on vegetables tomorrow, to last me the remainder of the week, but it won’t really be enough – I’m already visibly losing weight. I do have enough food that I won’t starve, so I’ll stick it out for the rest of the week as long as my health doesn’t get worse. I’ll also be writing to my MLA about this, and encouraging my friends to do so.
That said, I feel like a complete jerk for even taking this challenge, because I can drop it after a week, while others rely on welfare for years. I’m privileged enough that I can afford to buy enough food to meet my nutritional needs, am able-bodied, and have a degree. Probably, many other people doing the challenge are as privileged as I am, or more so. I get that the intention is to have people from various walks of life (ideally, people with whom politicians can identify) raise awareness, but it shouldn’t be necessary. After all, why should anyone listen to me about my experiences eating like this for one week, when they could be listening to someone who is actually on welfare? I’m happy to do what I can to help put some pressure on the provincial government, but really, the government should already be paying attention. They should already have made it a top priority to find ways to lift people out of poverty. Having such low welfare rates can’t possibly be the result of a lack of awareness; it’s more likely the result of apathy, and of ongoing, conscious decisions to prioritize other things over the well-being of some of the most vulnerable citizens of BC.