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Understanding Food Insecurity


Earlier this month, we shared a TED Talk from Clancy Cash Harrison about what food insecurity looks like. She touched on several pieces but one of the biggest things that struck is her openness about her bias about good foods and her lack of understanding as a provider in the lack of resources available for healthy, nutritious foods for S.N.A. After posting this TED Talk, we had a friend share with us their experience of being shamed for the choices they make each and every day between managing their health issues and their food resources. They asked to remain anonymous.

I am food insecure sometimes. I have dealt with the stigma related to it for a long time. I also have health issues and food insecurity can make them worse. Doctors and other medical professionals tell you, “You must eat junk food all the time. You need to try harder. There is no reason you eat (fill in the blank). You’re not trying. I can’t help you if you don’t help yourself. Here is a list of all the things you need to eat… everything must be fresh, nothing out of a box…” But what they don’t understand is, I can’t afford those things. At the end of the month, when the SNAP benefits run out, and the money is gone, what do you do?I am food insecure sometimes. I have dealt with the stigma related to it for a long time. I also have health issues and food insecurity can make them worse. Doctors and other medical professionals tell you, “You must eat junk food all the time. You need to try harder. There is no reason you eat (fill in the blank). You’re not trying. I can’t help you if you don’t help yourself. Here is a list of all the things you need to eat… everything must be fresh, nothing out of a box…” But what they don’t understand is, I can’t afford those things. At the end of the month, when the SNAP benefits run out, and the money is gone, what do you do?

One time, my nutritionist told me “there’s no reason you should be eating Hamburger Helper. You can make your own” and then listed about 10 items I would need to make it from scratch. I told her, “if i could afford all those things, I wouldn’t be eating a $2 box of Hamburger Helper!” She just couldn’t understand the concept of not being able to afford to eat healthy all the time. After that, I just stopped going there, and tried to manage my diabetes on my own until I could find a new provider.


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