Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Learning about hunger

We all do it. We say "Oh, I'm starving!" when we're a bit peckish. But research has shown that very few of us feel the real pangs of hunger. We are a nation of noshers. A few nuts here, a yogurt there, even a candy bar to tide us over to the next meal.

We have childhood obesity drilled into our heads, and of course fat parents are blamed for all the obese kids. Mine are bone skinny, BTW. We have weird relationships to food here. Lap-band and gastric bypass surgery have become commonplace and everyone we know is on a diet and hitting the gym.  So why have we distanced ourselves from real hunger?

The easy answer is to look at how much money we spend on food compared to the rest of the world. We'll buy anything that isn't nailed down at the grocery store. As food experts tell us to only shop the perimeter of the store, we realists know where the ketchup, mustard and salad dressings are. Never mind the brown rice and organic pasta. It is hard to cook without canned tomatoes, olive oil, and spices, all of which are in the interior of the store. How guilty do you feel pushing the cart down the aisle to get maple syrup, flour and organic vanilla?  Shopping the perimeter of the store is a great idea, but in practice it isn't possible.

Meanwhile, we snack on. Snacking, or grazing as it was called in the 90's, is great if you're trying to keep your glucose levels even. But grazing doesn't allow your body to feel real hunger. Even skipping a meal won't let you feel that gnawing tummy feeling of being famished. Now skip eating but once a day, and make that meal handfuls of dried cheerios. Try that for a few weeks and I guarantee that you WILL feel hunger. It is a rare experience for most Americans, but unfortunately not for a good percentage of the nation's children. Kids who get free lunch at school but no other meals at home. I don't believe that is from neglect. I think that there are so many of us pushed downward to poverty level that cannot afford food.

This month I didn't buy any food. My money was spent on other frivolous things like the gas and electric bill. There was just no money left over for food, never mind transportation to the store. Applying for food stamps means a LONG ride. I can't do that now, since my parent partner lost her job.

So we eat pretty much nothing.  I made a pot of veggie chili and Graham ate the entire Dutch Oven full except for two small bowls that I had. Left in our cabinets is rice, pasta, canned salmon, canned tomato products. In the fridge is nothing but my insulin pens. No butter, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. The freezer is also empty.

What I've noticed as we get hungrier and hungrier is that food commercials gross me out. I don't want a lot of fattening sauces and flavors that mask what you're really eating. I just want the essence of the food. Gimme a steak and a baked potato and hold all the extras, please. Because I AM starving and need to eat protein. 10 more days till we can go shopping. I think we'll run out of everything by then.

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