For me, hunger comes in waves. I’ll feel extreme stomach-turning hunger and then, after a while, the feeling passes. I’m still hungry, but at least the gnawing sensation in the bottom of my stomach if temporarily gone. I’m pretty fortunate; I’ve never really gone hungry a single day in my life.
This year, I participated in the 30 Hour Famine through my school. The actual event, where you don’t eat for thirty hours, is secondary to raising awareness for child hunger and collecting money for World Vision, but it was something I really wanted to do. I love food, probably a little more than the next person, and I eat practically every other hour, so I really didn’t believe that I would be able to last thirty whole hours without food.
Not doing something for a whole day really draws attention to how often you actually do that one thing. It’s like getting a cut on your pinky finger; you don’t realize how much you use that finger until you can’t use it. This year, I’ve signed up for the Vow of Silence, a Me to We event during which you don’t speak for a day to raise awareness for children who don’t have a voice, and Digital Detox, another event at our school during which you don’t use any digital devices for a whole day. I didn’t last through both events, not for lack of trying, but merely because I simply forgot not to talk or to use my cell phone.
Not eating when you have the choice to do so is really difficult. My stomach growled as I decorated the cake and I despaired at the thought that I wouldn’t be able to eat a slice until the next day. I decided to call it a celebration cake to be eaten when the Famine was over and tucked the cake into the refrigerator downstairs as soon as I was done frosting it. I gave myself a pat on the back; making a cake and not eating it even though I was hungry was another demonstration of the willpower I didn’t know I possessed.
Today proved to a more difficult day. As the hours dragged on, the gnawing sensation in my stomach grew until the intervals between hunger waves dissipated entirely. It certainly didn’t help that my brother Kyle and I went to the shopping mall, where everyone was milling around with drinks in their hands. Kyle, who was also participating in the Famine, finally broke down and bought a bowl of noodles twenty-five and a half hours in. I was on the verge of breaking down too; it would have been so easy to just go and buy something to eat. Somehow, I summoned enough willpower to resist the urge to eat. I wanted to do the Famine for real.
Kyle implored me to stay with him while he ate. So there I was, sitting in a loud, crowded food court where everyone sitting surrounding me was eating their lunches. “You want some?” Kyle asked. I inhaled deeply, the smells of Greek food and pad Thai wafting into my nostrils, and firmly said no. There were only four hours left and I figured that if I had made it this far, I could wait a little longer. My resolve wasn’t quite as strong the second time he offered his lunch to me. I took a drink of water and closed my eyes. How did people do this? Not eating for a day wasn’t killing me, but the feeling of hunger was really uncomfortable. Hunger was constantly on my mind and I felt tired and unable to focus. My heart was breaking for all the people in the world who had to suffer this way.
Today I learned that not eating when you have the choice to do so is really difficult, but not eating because you can’t is so much harder.
Click below for the recipe.
Click below for the recipe.