As we continue on our HFA journey, the 2015-2016 fellows are excited to announce the start of another simulation!
In September 2015, our type 2 diabetes simulation allowed us to build an empathetic foundation for the work ahead of us. For two weeks, we did our best to live according to patient profiles assigned to us by our partners at MedStar Health. We tested our blood sugar, planned meals, and counted carbohydrates. We managed the ins and outs of our medication regimes—a level of complexity matched only by the challenge of fitting diabetes management into our busy schedules. (Read about each fellow’s experience here: Amanda, Jake, May, Dan).
The inquiries and discoveries that emerged from that experience were so compelling that when we were presented with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in yet another simulation, we jumped at the opportunity.
This time around, we’re taking a slightly different approach. Lately, we’ve been having quite a few conversations about the importance of healthy eating in diabetes management. So much revolves around nutrition, yet so many people living with type 2 diabetes encounter significant barriers in their attempts to maintain a healthy diet.
In an effort to better understand one such barrier, the fellows are taking on the SNAP Challenge. Organized by the Food Action and Research Center, the SNAP Challenge asks participants to live on the average daily food stamp benefit: about $4.44 per person per day. This means that for our two-week simulation, each of us has $62.25 to spend on groceries. And, because food stamps can’t be used at restaurants, we won’t be eating out either!
We’re taking on this challenge because we recognize that many Americans, and many people living with type 2 diabetes, have limited financial resources to spend on food for a given week. Tough decisions have to be made: high calorie or high cost? Fresh or packaged? Time-consuming or quick?
While these are oversimplifications of very real challenges, the fellows are eager to learn from the challenges and tough decisions we’ll face during the SNAP Challenge. And we’re even more eager to continue learning from people on the front lines of nutrition education, food access, and type 2 diabetes. Stay tuned for more about our experience!
Pictured at Right: Amanda’s first SNAP Challenge grocery trip? $43.97, which means she’s got $18.27 left to spend over the next two weeks.