In which Molly the (future) librarian participates in the 40 hour famine.

24 May 2012–In which Molly the (future) library makes A Decision.

So, I’ve been having a war with myself. I work out, I eat, and I study.  All the hours I spend studying, definitely trumps all the hours I spend working out. And sitting really wreaks havoc on your shape (mentally, physically, emotionally).  I went from going rock climbing 2-3 times a week, hiking 1-2 times a weekend, working out in addition to that, having a job that kept me up and moving for 4 hours a day at least, to sitting for hours on end while pouring over homework, sitting while writing essays, sitting while reading papers, and sitting in lectures.

It’s not good. I hate being so inactive.  With winter coming, my options are even more limited, since the weather turns to custard (aka it rains and is really cold and windy and generally miserable). BOOO. I need a change. I need to rethink about how I’m eating, what I’m eating and why I’m eating.

Am I only eating for something to do? Am I eating because my body says, “seriously, wtf? Why is it getting COLDER now, again…we’ve just dealt with being cold for 8 months…why is it not warming up?Oh my gahd, the end is coming. Global warming is real and is destroying the world…that has to be it! Why else is it getting cold again? AGH! Bulk up, bulk up!”? Am I eating because I’m bored or stressed? I don’t honestly know. I think it’s a bit of a combination. It might also be because I turn to cooking and baking for stress relief, since the rock-climbing hasn’t been happening.

So, I wanted to rethink my eating habits, as I’ve said. And what better way to do that, while also benefiting a good cause, than by participating in the 40 hour famine. It raises awareness about hunger and poverty, you know, all those standard things that middle classers don’t generally worry much about. Those things happen to other people, after all. Poor people, that I don’t have to see every day. Well, there you would be wrong. Elaboration on that to come.

Now, looking at the 40 hour famine site, you can give up technology, talking, music, tv….all the standard stuff that, in all honesty, doesn’t really have that much of an impact emotionally. I mean…seriously? 40 hours without facebook? If you can’t do that, something’s wrong. Why not challenge yourself? That’s my reasoning. And why not challenge yourself with the cause you’re working toward? Why not feel, even if only briefly, what two thirds of the world feel. Two thirds of the entire world is either underfed or starving!

With that said, come 8pm Friday evening, it’s no food until Sunday at 12pm. I can have water and juice and tea. The site says we’re allowed to have barley sugars…but I don’t want to be eating candy! That seems counter-productive to me. It’s going to be an experience.

It’s going to be rough.

It’s going to be tough.

I’m probably going to turn into a bear, since we all know what happens when I get hungry…But, I know it’s going to be hard. That’s the point. Going to bed hungry, waking up hungry, and working through my weekend being hungry is not meant to be a vacation. It’s meant to be an awakening about how many people throughout the world (USA, NZ, and other developed nations included) live day to day. Yes, it’s not only third world countries where hunger happens, though those are the only places we hear about. Take a look around…hunger is everywhere.

Now, I realize that my going without food for 40 hours is galaxies away from actually solving the problem. By not eating I’m not actually putting food into someone else’s mouth. The money raised by this experience is going toward a cause….but it’s a long way away from being solved.  I’m definitely not so naive as to think that I alone will make all the difference. I also probably won’t bring about world peace, find a Moa, or ride a unicorn. But, being aware of a problem is the first step. And making others aware is another step. Are you aware? (OK. No more preaching. 😛 Back to the usual Molly-volity…that’s Molly + frivolity. All well-mannered, of course).

In order to combat the need to feed, I’ve decided  that every time I think I want to eat, or think about eating, or get tempted by the Peeps in my cupboard,  I’ll just come write in my blog. So, there might be quite a few posts of me going “ARRRRRRRRRG….worst idea EVER. So hungry, grrrrr.” But, I think it is beneficial to test myself.

Here goes.

Update: We have eaten the Peeps. Temptation averted. And, I shared with my flatmates! Look at that, already I’m spreading the wealthy of food to those less fortunate. (Yes, the NZ-ers do not have Peeps. I have converted them to the yellow, fluffy, marshmallow-y goodness. Sadly it was not in the form of a Peep S’more…but I will work up to it.)

I have also finished off all the potential snacking things in my cupboard, like the peanut butter…can’t sneak any spoonfuls of that heavenly substance for a few days.

25 May 2012—In which Molly the (future) librarian starts the famine. Hours 0-4: Morale is high…if unsatisfied.

It’s 8pm. The famine has begun. I can no longer eat. I’ve made and eaten my dinner…and have been very unsatisfied. That whole “last meal” thing…I thought it was supposed to be a transcendent experience? I was less than awed. Maybe it was my cooking skills …NAH. That’s definitely not the case.

Let me explain. I’ve been having a love affair with bruleed bananas, and thought a fantastic last meal would be bruleed banana pancakes.  So, I whipped some of them up, with egg whites, oats, and cinnamon.

I ate them. They were delicious….but, as my dad would say, “Not it.”

So, I decide I need something savory. Too much sweet, fruit, breakfast-y type things. I cooked up some veggies and shrimp with cheese. That was a bit better. But, still “Not it. “

So, I made toast. Simple toast with butter. That was the closest I got to being satisfied. Out of all the things I ate this evening—bruleed banana pancakes, shrimp with veggies and cheese—the toast with butter was the best. It’s the simple things we overlook that we often enjoy the most. Am I generalizing? Shut up. You all know you love toast. Everyone loves toast. (Amy says, ‘God, toast would be SO good right now.’ She’s doing the famine with me.  Solidarity MAN! Strength in numbers. At least I’ll have someone to whine to who knows what I’m going through.)

Now, my belly is full and I am mentally preparing for the road ahead. Tomorrow will be a day of homework, reflection, maybe a bit of yoga, and any multitude of other things to take my mind off all the food I won’t be eating.

I’ll have to make sure the tea I drink isn’t caffeinated. Can’t be hopped up on caffeine on an empty stomach. That will make for a very grumpy, slightly (more) neurotic Molly.

26 May 2012–In which Molly the (future) librarian continues the fast. Hours 5-28: Morale is not much different than normal.

On the first morning, I woke up and took stock. Tummy’s a little grumbly, but otherwise it’s not too bad. I made myself a cup of coffee and a cup of hot water. I did homework for a few hours. It’s now 11 am…I’m not feeling too hungry, but I think I will come 2 or 3 pm. I can tell. But, I’m going to keep  busy and keep my mind off it. It’s off to a good start. And, at least my major homework is done for the weekend.

We decided to do a grocery run, which wasn’t exactly designed to take my mind off the food I won’t be eating. But, it does get me out of the house. We all piled into the car (Claire, Amy, Nikki and I) and drove over to Pak n’ Save, where, apparently word had gotten out that Amy and I couldn’t eat, because there were tons of freebie tastings, which I’ve been told never happens in NZ. Everything from meat, to bread and oil, to cheese. It all smelled so good. And we couldn’t do a thing about it. Well, Amy and I couldn’t do a thing about it. Nikki and Claire too advantage. Apparently the stuff was pretty good. But, I stuck to my list, got only what I needed (and a bonus bar of Lindt dark chocolate).

Then we came home, I did some yoga, had a Google chat date and took it easy. Yoga kicked my butt. Simple moves were challenging. I had no balance. I also couldn’t get warm (but, that’s probably due to the flat, the wind and the coming winter, rather than my lack of food—haha).

I wasn’t too hungry all day, not even around dinner. Claire, out of solidarity, didn’t cook anything for herself. But, Jess came right in and made the best smelling toast ever. (SEE?! Again with the toast!)  I just had hot water and some juice and another cup of coffee. I felt tired and a bit sluggish. I decided to make ciabatta bread to go with the burgers I’m making for dinner tomorrow (in celebration of Memorial Day this weekend), so I started the sponge part of the dough. Then, I set it aside and went to bed.

27 May 2012–In which Molly the (future) librarian finishes her pledge and gets reflective. Hours 29-40: Morale is a little shaky.

It’s the final hours. I woke up definitely feeling a bit woozy. I had some juice and was ok. Then I went with Nikki to the veggie market. Walking down the hill was fine, but walking back up with all my pounds of fruit took its toll. My hands are shaky, my legs feel like jelly, and I’m tired. I know I wouldn’t be able to do any kind of manual labor like this. Well, I could…but it wouldn’t be quality, or if it was it would take me three times as long to do it. I cannot imagine having to do real work on an empty stomach all the time. But, I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? I know I haven’t reached my limit, far from it, but being put into a position where I feel this weak is an eye opener.

In all honesty, it hasn’t been that bad. My stomach isn’t hurting, I can move and get work done (mental and physical) and I know I have access to food. What about those that don’t have that access and that piece of mind? That security?

What about those that have to push through anyway…knowing that not only they are hungry, but their children are as well?

I have one hour to go, and with each passing minute, I can’t help but be awed at the strength of humanity.  The perseverance. The tenacity. The sheer force of will. Maybe it’s just a lack of choice.

I’ve made it. I am allowed to eat, and strangely don’t feel like it. But, I made myself a bowl of oats, yogurt, banana slices and dates to get me going. All-in-all it was a good experience, one I would gladly repeat for this cause.


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