Sunday, 6 May 2012

On Being Hungry (or, what I learned during my unintentional 3 week fast)

It was almost three weeks ago now that my little friend the stomach bug decided to take up residence in my intestines (WOW, this post is off to a great start already isn’t? I promise I won’t be gross…), but I am happy to say that I’m finally feeling back to normal (or at least close to it), and my lab test results came back clear. Yesterday I ate an entire burger at my favorite joint downtown, and truly… it was a mouthgasm. Ask my mom. I was almost in tears, it was so good. There was a little bit of grunting and groaning and cavewoman sounds going on. Don’t judge. You’d be doing the same thing if you’d been eating toast and applesauce for three weeks straight.

Over the past three terrible weeks of the-longest-virus-anyone-has-ever-had,—ever, I have been thinking a lot about hunger.  Mainly because I was almost always hungry.  That deep, emptiness in the pit of your stomach, can’t concentrate on anything type of hunger.  Sometimes I would just stuff my face with something delicious (read: horrible), such as a large McDonald’s french fry, but then I would pay for it in spades. It wasn’t worth it. Turns out I’d rather be hungry.

I would click through blogs or scroll through photos of those I follow on Instagram, and I’d see photo after mouthwatering photo of all your delicious food shots, and I would die a little inside.  Seriously, there were a couple of times that I actually teared up, because I realized how much we take for granted the simple act of eating great food when we’re hungry. We take for granted the accessibleness of it, the abundance of it (for most folks, anyway).

For me, cooking awesome meals used to be fun. This was somewhere during, oh… maybe the first six months of my marriage? I was determined to be the good little wife that tried new recipes almost every night of the week, and I beamed when my husband loved them and pouted when a meal didn’t turn out as great as I’d hoped.  But somewhere along the way, I burned out on all the cooking (as I often do with… everything), and I never really got back into it. Now I stick to tried and true recipes (especially ones that are extremely easy), and I grumble to myself all throughout the process of preparing a meal. When I’m not begging to go out somewhere to eat, that is. Terrible, I know.

But over these weeks—the hungry weeks—something seemed to click back into place inside me. Whether it will stay clicked remains to be seen, but I think I rediscovered the joy of cooking fresh and healthy meals for myself and my little family. All I could think about these past few weeks was all the glorious food I would make for my husband when I’m feeling better and he’s done with finals, and how I’ll never again take for granted the act of sinking my teeth into something delicious (oh, and then keeping it inside my body for more than 20 minutes, of course). 

A few other things also occurred to me during this experience with hunger, one being that too often we don’t actually wait to be hungry to eat.  Because food is so readily available to us, we often snack or eat a meal at the first sign of hunger (which, I think, we actually might sometimes mistake for the simple feeling of not being full), and at least for me anyway, this causes me to not enjoy food very much.  Of course it’s never good to wait until you’re famished before you eat, since then you tend to overindulge, but I do think it’s healthy to wait until you’re good and hungry before you eat. I think this might help me stay motivated to cook real, balanced meals, and get excited about food like I was during the hungry weeks.

All just observations and thoughts I wanted to write out, for my own benefit down the line, as well as for whomever else it might concern. Hunger isn’t always a bad thing. Like every other feeling that’s uncomfortable, it just might teach you something if you let it.

Tune in tomorrow for some gorgeous photos from the farmer’s market. I’ve never felt more excited about food as I did this weekend! :) Happy Sunday!

(sneak peek of tomorrow’s post…)


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