It’s been all over the news lately and a hotly debated topic that poverty and obesity go hand n’ hand and specifically targets only these individuals.
But does it really? I doubt it. I’ve been reading a ton articles regarding this issue and wanted to help dispel some of the truths and a lot of over-exaggerated myths:
First, the truths:
Truth #1: Most individuals receiving food stamps can’t afford to buy the more expensive healthier foods or keep themselves healthy. This is called “inflation” and it’s hurting EVERYBODY of all incomes.
Truth #2: Junk foods/ frozen foods/ pre-processed ‘unhealthy’ foods are priced so they’ll be easily accessible. Truth is, junk foods, etc. are pitched to everybody of ALL incomes, not just those using food stamps.
Truth #3: In some states they’re now making it illegal to purchase steaks and lobster and certain types of sea food with a food stamp/ SNAP/ EBT card. That should nip your ‘protein’ intake and getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids right in the bud.
#Truth 4: You can’t purchase ‘hot’ pre-made foods with an EBT card from a deli in a grocery store. If it’s cold, then you can buy it from a cooler and it will have a sticker: “Food stamp eligible”. Oh, we’re you planning on hosting a block party tonight? You’ll have to put back the hot fried chicken, fried mushrooms and okra and just have your guests bring their own food and table service (silverware), then.
Back in the day before they issued Food Stamp cards, there was once a form of “food stamp” paper bills and before that, a small book of “stamps” (thus is where ‘food stamps’ derives and was born out of the first great depression of the Thirties and then president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “the new deal”). Food ‘stamps’ allowed a family or a single person to buy a certain amount from the four basic food groups: bread, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
Truth #5: You can’t buy alcohol, tobacco products, lottery tickets, toilet paper, deodorant, soap, laundry soap, and other non-food items. In California (home of the ‘birth defects, reproductive harm, and carcinogen warning labels’), an individual can’t purchase candy or soda pop when using food stamps.
I sort of laughed when I read a ‘top ten list’ of what can/can’t be bought with food stamps that some contributing reporter/author at the Huffington Post, I believe, compiled. The article seemed largely thrown together to meet a deadline more than likely.
What I disagree with was that the reporter/author of the article states right off, “I didn’t pay attention to Home-Ec (home economics class) and I really should have,”
Excuse me, my dear, but Home-Ec (from my recollection when I took the required class back in Jr. High School eons ago), didn’t breathe a word about food stamp assistance or what you could/ couldn’t buy with them. I don’t know where this reporter/author went to school, but I suppose it’s a geographical thing and what school you attended way back whenever.
What did make me furrow my eyebrows in curiosity is when I read an article recently last month in May in Yahoo news that food stamp recipients and those receiving EBT cash assistance and other government assistance are blowing tax payer’s money on $800 tattoos, trips to Vegas, flat screen TVs, computers, X-boxes, Play Stations. And who does it hurt? The tax payer, first and foremost. Secondly, it has a trickle down effect to the truly impoverished that need the government assistance to help supplement and allow them to simply exist like the rest of society and it hurts everybody in the end. In all my life I never knew it was even “legal” to waste food stamp allotments and EBT cash assistance in such stupid and frivolous ways.
The percentage of the ‘honest’ impoverished folks likely make up a 1 per cent, if even at that. I think the article I read grossly overlooked (or excluded entirely) the individuals who sit at home, have nine, or xxx amount of babies by several different ‘fathers’ just to collect the assistance and mooch off of society. And the comment section lights up with such snide remarks like: “They need to get sterilized… it’s called ‘birth control’.” “They need to get a job,” “They need to execute these types,” etc.
Uhm, this won’t solve the issue of poverty. It’s been around and will continue to be around long after our time. It’s called society and what, we as a nation, sweep under the rug. It’s still a huge nasty stigma and its coming to the forefront thanks to inflation and wages that can’t allow individuals to provide basic necessities of life. And secondly, government assistance like food stamps is there to supplement. It was never intended to live on solely. However, some individuals do find miraculous ways to make ends meet: it’s called living frugal. And this is where I’d like to dispel some myths about poverty and this sudden of interest with obesity being linked:
Myth #1: All individuals living below poverty level and/ or receiving food stamps/ EBT cash / SNAP, disability are morbidly obese. This just isn’t so, and here again, the facts and figures aren’t accurately projected in the article I read, either.
Sure, you might be restricted on what you can/can’t purchase with food stamps, but your eating choices don’t have to be limited to Ramen Noodles or Mac n’ Cheese 24/7, either. Eating choices start with the individual and what they want to put into their bodies.
Myth #2: All individuals living below poverty level and/ or receiving government assistance don’t take care of their oral health, brush their teeth or even see a dentist for regular checkups.
Not all low-income or below poverty level individuals have terrible teeth (or no teeth, for that matter). I can kind of see where this assumption derives from because poverty is directly identified with rotten teeth, poor oral and overall health.
It all depends on how the individual was
and b.) had someone to show them early on in childhood how to properly care for their teeth and show them the importance of staying healthy and active, taking vitamins and eating right. Key to good overall health starts with your teeth, diet, nutrition and exercise.
Myth #3: All individuals receiving government assistance/ EBT/ Food stamps, etc. are all lazy and do nothing all day long and don’t contribute to society in any meaningful way.
Myth #4: All individuals receiving government assistance don’t know how to look after themselves. E.g. (shopping for groceries, buying ‘non-food’ items like toiletries, picking up after themselves and keeping a clean tidy house/ yard, etc).
The answer glares right in my face when these myths are presented in numerous articles and never added into the equation: are these articles presenting ‘generational’ poverty (handed down from family to the next), working class poor, low-income individuals, disability recipients, etc.? Nope. The articles ‘gloss over’ the statistics and sometimes leave a lot unsaid resulting in misinformation and lack thereof.
Stayed tuned for my “Part Two” in this interesting series where I will list some healthy eating habits on a shoestring budget. Oh, and if you’d like to read up on the arsenic in rice, here’s the link. For some odd reason wordpress keeps directing me back to here when I highlight a word and try to insert the link in that… very frustrating, anywho– here it is:
This comes from Consumer’s reports.
Thanks for reading, sharing, and liking as always. 🙂