Gwyneth Paltrow: Caught Cheating on Food Stamp Challenge?

13 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Battle-hardened Green leader gets tough on the top earners.

First things first: In an effort to bring attention to the challenges faced by families who live on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — also known SNAP, or food stamps — Paltrow accepted a challenge to live on the food you can buy for less than $29 a week. But the actress, whose life-style publication Goop was heavily criticised recently for suggesting women should steam-clean their vaginas, has fallen at the first hurdle, despite her earnest attempt at “walking in their shoes to see how far we get”.When Gwyneth Paltrow, actress and new age foodie guru, decided to see if she could live on a diet costing only USD$29 ($38) a week as part of a campaign to raise awareness of how the poorest Americans live, it was perhaps inevitable that her grocery bag would contain brown rice, black beans and an avocado. But we’re talking here about Gwyneth Paltrow — maker of the widely mocked celebrity lifestyle site GOOP, notorious purveyor of pseudoscience and spotlighter of extravagantly expensive goods. She had signed up to chef Mario Batali’s challenge to do her part in helping to end hunger in the state; to challenge others to try and live off the small amount of money; and to help put pressure on America’s Congress to redress the cuts that have been made to New Yorkers’ food stamps, now known as SNAP.

But her low-carb, low-fat shopping list has invited ridicule and concern in equal measure, as critics take to social media to point out that busy mothers need to consume plenty of calories. Paltrow tweeted a picture of her food shop worth $29 which included a dozen eggs, a pack of black beans, a pack of rice, kale, peas, an onion, an avocado, a tomato, garlic, tortillas, a chilli, lettuce, corn, spring onion, coriander, one sweet potato and seven limes.

Unfortunately for Paltrow, as soon as she showed fans the food she had bought she received a wave of criticism for her particular choices, which were seen as unwise or unrealistic for those living on such a tight budget, while many took her attempt to live as someone who is poorer than they are, as condescending. Gwyneth Paltrow if ur trying to buy all ur groceries for $29 u don’t buy 7 limes and 2 different kinds of lettuce and avocado — Linneah Tovstiga (@linneahbt) April 12, 2015 It is asking supporters to try living like 1.7 million New Yorkers who rely on food stamps (now known as Snap). The 42-year-old mother of two took up the cause after being challenged by Mario Batali, a celebrity chef, and posted a photograph of her shopping bag on Twitter.

Her bag suggested she planned to eat Mexican food – including a bunch of coriander, seven limes, a packet of gluten-free tortillas and a head of romaine lettuce. Though about 20 percent of people on SNAP have no other source of income, most others have jobs or access to other sources of government assistance that they also use to purchase food, according to the USDA.

The actress has long championed healthy eating on a budget, although recipes on her website, Goop, have frequently been criticised for being out of reach of ordinary families and her detox regimens dismissed as nothing more than fads. SNAP challenges such as the #FoodBankNYCChallenge, which celebrity chef Mario Batali invited Paltrow to join, have been roundly criticized as misrepresenting the very real policy challenges the program presents. Others have similarly noted that busy, working people often have no choice but to be far more active and thus require far more calories over the course of a typical day. Not to mention that by the end of the week you may end up eating tortillas and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which sounds — not very exciting.

But there’s another reason why her food stamp debacle seems to rankle her many critics: The spread looks more like it was concocted to be featured on a glossy Instagram or Pinterest page than to actually provide nutrition. Her choices are actually perfectly in line with the “macrobiotic” lifestyle to which she has said she adheres — specifically, she eats very little animal protein or processed foods and loads up on locally sourced vegetables and grains. If you’re going to take issue with Paltrow’s execution of this so-called poverty challenge, some critics have suggested that we take issue with the charity-publicity industrial complex as a whole. We have a debate on our hands, courtesy of the uber-rich celebrity who probably couldn’t cross the street without igniting a firestorm of controversy.

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