A little about the mental side of food

Day 7

  • 1 mile (1.6km or 64 laps of 25m pool) swim South Vancouver pool – lots of chlorine!
  • Breakfast: plain and wholemeal vegan pancakes (no eggs or milk) with stewed half pair, orange rind and ½ teaspoon of grated ginger – basically porridge but fried in a saucepan!
  • Lunch: 1 left over thick pancake
  • Snacks: half a small orange
  • Dinner: rice and beans with a small handful of bok-choi

People yesterday wrote how can I walk 30km on a boiled potato but really how can anyone do that everyday of their lives. I am not here to show how tough I am, I’m doing it to highlight how tough 1.4 billion people are who do it daily, without choosing…

Basically porridge cooked up on a frypan!

I have to say that it is not a good idea to do the Live Below the Line challenge for more than the five days as it is proposed. I’m becoming a little bit food and price obsessed (if I wasn’t already). It is something I can manage as I have had to before in the past living in developing countries but I am doing this challenge for a month as an advocacy tool not as a ‘diet’ or cost saving exercise.

I have found the thinner you get the smaller your stomach becomes and, for me at least, the less hungry I become. I don’t think this is a good thing and I believe there is always an energy debt that needs to be repaid. I know this from loosing a lot of weight when I was in Ethiopia running a marathon and being able to put on weight for a long time.

So how to manage your energy output and calorie input is important. I didn’t really understand it when in Ethiopia, as some people may remember with a photo of me looking like Changi prisoner of war (photo never to be shown to my mother again), but I learnt mainly through a lack of testosterone and libido that it is important to have some weight on your bones. So these days with a libido to keep in check I know there is a lot at stake and I won’t allow myself to live below the weight line!

So far the food is simple, energetic and enough but hard work for preparing, cooking and carrying – everything is so bloody heavy!

Temptations are tough, long wait times between meals, no convenience, no treats and a lack of diversity are the challenges but it is more of a mental challenge and I know what is only available to me and satisfied with that. The biggest killer for me now as it has been in the past when I come back from developing countries is food wastage. To see food be wasted is tough – I have to suck it up or you go a bit insane but please if you can try not to waste food, it is a slap in the face to the world’s poorest, the people who produce the food and the environment it came from.

Losing my head over food for LBL!

One of the most in intriguing outcomes of this challenge is how other people deal with what I have to eat and their level of guilt eating around me. They are not the stupid ones to take on the challenge and don’t feel like you need to feed me – feed the ones who need it (donations to the Global Poverty Project maybe…?).

Certainly not too food crazy at this stage although did have a couple of dreams that I was sneaking extra food and treats to beat the challenge and have woken up relieved that I am still going pure and strong.

I actually love the simplicity, discipline, humility and integrity of eating a diet like this and I hope this is something we can all take solace in and maybe strive for a simple meal once a week to take check and honour those who don’t get to choose simplicity and strive for a little bit of it in our own lives.

Rice, beans, bok-choy and swimming hair!

When I thin of the mental toughness and physical draw on food for this challenge I can only imagine what it must be like to have it for your entire life. Yes, it might be all people know living in extreme poverty but there is always someone around who has more and the desire for it – even just something as simple as food.

Bien provecho!

PS. Live Below the Line is not a mentally healthy thing to do long term so stick to the 5 days is my suggestion! Sign up to do it May 7-11 with the Global Poverty Project –  http://www.globalpovertyproject.com

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