Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Gwyneth Paltrow and the Seven Limes



Photo (7) Seven limes by Wikioticslan on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Licence.

A few weeks ago everyone was mocking Gwyneth Paltrow’s food choices for a week-long food stamp challenge. Admittedly, they were a little ridiculous. I mean, it was nice to see that she chose things like dried beans, frozen peas, eggs, and some fresh vegetables. However, along with everyone else, I thought “seven limes??!“. Unless she got an amazing deal on those limes they seem like a nutritionally foolish expense. I saw some people posting their superior $29 selections. When Gwyneth failed to last more than four days on the challenge it seemed like everyone was more than a little gleeful. I saw others bragging about their success.

As much as we all like to take pleasure in Gwyn’s failures, I think that we may have lost the point. The point of this food stamp challenge is to show people how difficult it is to survive on such a limited food budget. To that end, it’s a good thing that Gwyneth failed. If she had happily lived on that little food budget then that would mean that all people living on food stamps should be able to contentedly survive on $29 of food a week.

Regardless of the choices that Gwyneth made, there’s little room for pleasure or flavour in such a meagre food budget. Note that there was no money for cooking oil, condiments, spices, or staples like flour and sugar. No coffee, tea, no chocolate! It’s nigh on impossible for someone to feed a family a basic nutritious diet when they are forced to rely on food stamps. More important here than Gwyneth’s failure to do so is the failure of the government to provide its citizens with the means to afford healthy, palatable food.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

7 thoughts on “Gwyneth Paltrow and the Seven Limes

  1. I had not heard of this challenge. Interesting $29 for a week of food – we need to continue to build on how to help them grow gardens (container, box, traditional, ect.). I know when I see the price of fressh herbs in the grocery store, so thankful I have my own. Community programs to help those that think growing a nutrious patio or balcony garden will not work.


  2. Pingback: bite my words

  3. I didn’t know about the challenge, either. And I am, sadly, not surprised by the people’s reactions. It’s always easier to criticise than to make an effort and do something yourself.
    I can see a few things she highlighted by doing her food challenge:
    the shopping list should be carefully thought through – so there’s no waste that can’t be re-used for other purposes in the household;
    I think she should have tried the challenge for a bit longer. You learn as you go along. Some skills have long been forgotten and with people living very often a long distances away from their family members of older generations, a lot of old skills and recipes become long forgotten;
    some foods can be grown from sprouts of leftovers – like onions, garlic, celery, some salads, etc.
    Kudos to GP for doing it and not turning a blind eye, like many others.


    • Tihana, I’d imagine such a challenge would be even harder for a celeb than it would for us “regular” people as they wouldn’t normally have to think about cooking or budgeting.

      While I’m not a fan of such challenges at least they often serve to bring attention to food insecurity. Pity the focus ended up being more on her food choices.


  4. I agree with you on the difficulties of this challenge. it sounds like this sort of challenge would be best done if the said celebrity were to film a documentary. As she wasn’t able, tweet served the purpose. Pity the people didn’t get the message.
    Thank you for your reply.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The health system I work for requested recipes for them to take to Guatemala on their annual trip to provide medical care, medical supplies and so many other things they do. Although, I was not able to go, what a lesson I learned on this recipe making journey. The challenge most likely impacted her, in a good way, but the impact would be much different for another person.


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