Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Food Challenge update - so much salt

I was expecting to go hungry this week while taking part in the Karma Project's Eat The Math challenge. I'm not.

There are plenty of calories in the box provided by the group for me and the other participants to dine from. Plenty.

The problem is the quality of those calories. It's a lot of carbs, not much fibre and vast, vast quantities of salt.

I won't go into the issues I'm having with the lack of fibre, but I was unable to sleep Monday night with blood pulsing in my ears and a weird headache, which I'm attributing to the half of a box of mac n cheese and the 600 mg of salt I consumed in one sitting. I saved the second half for lunch yesterday, with an additional 600 mg of salt. Last night's selection was the ramen noodles, but I skipped the 'flavour pack' when I realized it was 1350 mg of sodium in the form of salt and MSG. I'm all for an awareness raiser, but I'm not going to poison myself with that much salt two days in a row.

My takeaway from the experiment so far: people who need donated food aren't getting particularly good stuff. While I get that beggars can't be choosers, it's bizarre that people who most need a clear head and health to get themselves out of a tight spot are the very ones who will not get the nutrition needed to do so.

Another takeaway: I've had offers from a lot of kind people to augment my food box with lunches and coffee and dinners, and I so appreciate it. (especially the coffee part!) But I wonder about the social connections of people who are in enough trouble to need help from the food bank. If you don't have friends and family to feed you in times of serious want, that's a deeper level of trouble than not having cash to put food on the table. I've spent quite a bit of time imagining the chain of events that would put me in such a spot.

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