Friday, December 10, 2010

The Importance of Food

I never really think about food. I mean, I eat a small breakfast in the morning before school, usually a green apple. I eat my lunch amongst the constant chatter of my friends, always distracted, never really paying attention to what's going into my mouth. During dinner I'm usually watching tv or something, barely aware that food is going into my body. I eat, but I rarely enjoy food. I rarely think about it in any significant way. I don't really have a favourite food. I like lots of things:

mmmm, warm, hot, tasty meatballs

Potato perogies! Potato perogies!

A nice, light, healthy treat

And a less healthy treat ;)

But I don't really care about food. I am an insanely picky eater, so I spend a lot of time strategizing about food. But I never really think about how important it is. I think of it as a necessity, but not necessarily a need.

I am currently in hour sixteen of the Thirty Hour Famine we are doing at school. And man, am I aware of food. This awareness of food, this most basic need, this godawful hunger, is fascinating. The fast started at 2:00 am (when I was fast asleep). I didn't really feel hungry until about 11:15. Lunch was hard, as everyone was eating around me, and my body was demanding food, so used to eating at that time. Class time wasn't too bad, because I was distracted, talking to my teachers, playing drama games, whatever. But then I came home, and, oh lord, is it bad. I thought I was doing okay, but I guess I was just distracted all day. Now that I'm just relaxing I am soooooo hungry. It's hurts. And it's majorly distracting. Every few seconds this little part of my brain alerts me. It's hard to watch tv, do homework, do anything, when I'm constantly thinking about food.

The hardest moments I've had so far are the moments of real temptation, like when I saw a bowl of jello on the counter, or, worse, when someone offers me some food off-guard. I forget for a second that I can't eat, and then I remember and it hurts so bad. I'm going crazy.

Through all of this I'm noticing how big part food plays in my life. When I come home I usually grab a snack out of the fridge. Today I opened the fridge out of habit, and then realized that I couldn't eat. It's interesting to examine how my habits, my time, my whole life is controlled by food. How humans structure our whole days around food. We often forget about our basic needs when worrying about our bigger needs--acceptance, achievement, love. But today is really reminding me that life are really about the bare necessities:

Then I think about all the people in the world who go without food everyday not out of choice, like me, but out of desperation. It makes me feel so bad. Usually, world hunger is an abstract concept--something I understand, but nothing I ever really experience. I've been feeling one tenth of what these people feel everyday and I hate it. I feel so awful. I mean, how does anyone ever getting anything done, being this hungry? It's so distracting, so annoying, so painful. It makes me grateful, that's for sure.

With all this worry about food I also wonder what life would be like if we didn't need food. World hunger wouldn't been an issue. People would be more productive. Our lives would no longer revolve around food--how would we structure our days? There would be no lunch breaks or long hours cooking dinner for the family. We would have so much more time. There's a giant food industry out there that would cease to exist. Life as know would be different. A very, very interesting idea (also, for your consideration: what if we didn't need water? what if we didn't need sleep?).

It's also intriguing to look at the effects that the hunger has on my body. On top of hijacking my every third thought, the lack of food also makes me feel very tired and weak. It'll interesting to see how bad things get by tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to that first bite, I have to tell you.

All of this is the long way of saying I'M HUNGRY. I would eat ANYTHING right now. I mean, I would prefer this:

But I'd settle for almost anything. Even a piece of this, which isn't even really food (but still banned in our famine!):

So, as you sit down for dinner tonight, think of me and my friends, in Toronto, starving ourselves, salivating at the idea of a single morsel of whatever you are eating. And think of all those kids and adults who go to bed hungry everyday, not to raise money, but because they don't have money. I know I'll be thinking of them. They're my strength through all this pain. If they can survive it everyday, I can survive fifteen and a half more hours.

Wish me luck, just in case.

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