The One Where I Defend Gwyneth

The internet, as it often is, is outraged with Gwyneth Paltrow.

I have no strong feelings one way or the other about Ms. GOOP, except that if she can manage to do all of the Tracy Anderson workouts without crying like a little baby she is a better woman than I.  But I have to say that I am getting irritated by the outrage.

Yes, she’s richer than anyone else. Yes, she’s thin and blonde and made strange choices in naming her children. Yes, she’s doing some kind of competitive divorce thing where she’s better about it than anyone else has ever been.

But the fact that she didn’t get her SNAP shopping exactly right is hardly cause for additional outrage. In fact, I think that the entire point of the “SNAP Challenge” is to highlight the very idea that getting enough groceries to feed a person for under $30 a week is HARD.

So Gwyneth bought a lot of greenery, and a ridiculous amount of limes.


And she was relentlessly slammed about how this pile of food would only provide 1000 calories a day and is all wrong and WHO THE HELL DOES SHE THINK SHE IS TO THINK THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD EAT??

But really people, the challenge isn’t (I don’t think) intended to show how easy breezy it is to whip up a week’s worth of fab food for under $30. The challenge is to show that it is CHALLENGING to survive on this budget. Duh.

If you sent me to the grocery store with $29 and told me to come back with a week’s worth of food I would probably cry.

After I pulled myself together, I would work from my regular priority grocery list and buy apples, yogurt, oatmeal, sliced turkey, cheese sticks, a carton of milk, and a carton of almond milk (since my kid is potentially allergic to real milk, which is a whole other saga)…and then I’d probably be out of money.  Maybe if I had my wits about me I would get a dozen eggs, a bag of dried black beans, and a big bag of rice.

The point is, little old regular me who doesn’t have a chef or a lifestyle website or a kid named after produce would have NO IDEA how to spend $30 to cover an entire week of food.

The task put before Ms. Paltrow was not “How to live fabulously on $30 a week” or “How to buy exactly the right organic produce for optimal health on $30 a week” – it was “What can you buy for $30 a week and can you live on only that food?”

And the answer was “A lot of limes” and “No”.

And yes, she only made it four days, and she (gasp) went OUT TO EAT DURING THAT WEEK. And no, she has no idea how hard it actually is to live on SNAP benefits. Neither do most of us. And I am grateful for that, and I wish that it wasn’t so hard for so many people, I really do.

Would everyone be less angry if she had gotten it just right? If she had put together the optimal list and cooked exactly the right meals to finish out the whole week with exactly the right nutritional content and then posted pictures of how YUM it all was and how this was going to be her new diet plan?

Well HELL NO. Everyone would be mad that she was making light of the plight of the common man and OF COURSE she could do it because…I don’t know, some reason that makes people ANGRY.

But being mad at Gwyneth isn’t going to make anyone less hungry.

Not reducing SNAP benefits would be nice. Increasing the minimum wage so a lot more people don’t have to try to live on SNAP benefits would be helpful. Closing the wage gap so working single moms aren’t more likely to be on SNAP in the first place would be a step in the right direction.

But goodness people, being mad at a wealthy celebrity for not knowing how to shop and eat like she is on public assistance is just a big waste of energy.

Save your energy for the Tracy Anderson workouts so you can be mad at Gwyneth for THAT recommendation. Ouch.

About Kristen

Me: Kristen, more than 40-something (don't make me face the number), suburban mom of 2, working girl, therapeutic writer, proprietor of an emptying nest Addictions: Iced Coffee, FOMO resulting in twitchy compulsion to check FB/Instagram/Pinterest in an unending loop, texting, hugging my one child while Snapchatting the other and yelling at my dog

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