Top 5 things I’ve learned

This is my last day today and just in time as I am very low on food and have to eat smaller meals today. I have felt hungry most of the time for the last 2 days.  I learned a lot during my week on the welfare challenge.  It is hard to pick the top 5 but here they are.

  1. $26 dollars buys a lot less food than you would think. I worried about running out of food all week.
  2. You worry about key nutrients. For example you can’t afford milk and dairy.  I drank only water all week to manage my budget. The food I missed most was cheese. I really wanted to buy some but just no way.
  3. My meals were often monotonous with no spice, sauces or condiments. Meals were not particularly enjoyable especially seeing what other people were eating – and in many cases wasting.
  4. I reduced my exercise as I did feel tired part way through. And I definitely craved more food after exercise.
  5. Location of grocery stores is important as I did have to seek out deals in different places to manage when I was low on money at the end.

Most importantly, I am convinced that, as research shows, exposure to this diet for a long period would have a significant negative health impact.  The pathway is certainly the quality of the diet although for a week you can eat reasonably healthy food. Having said that I know I would have soon begun purchasing less healthy food to get some flavour and more sense of fullness.  I think more importantly it is the actual lack of food that poses the greatest challenge. There is just not enough of it and there is an underlying and constant worry about going hungry. When I started this I knew that poverty makes people sick and the welfare food challenge highlighted some of the subtle and not so subtle reasons for this.

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