Monday, November 19, 2012

A New Situation

Andrea Kaiser

Okay, I found myself in a new situation---and I was surprisingly comfortable.  I went out to eat with my sister at Pi's (pizza) in the Kirkwood area. I took all my own food with me. Tammy was ordering from the menu. I told the waiter he probably had never had THIS situation come up, and I explained the Hunger Challenge. How could one eat only $31.50 for an entire week was his question. I shared my purchases and he started coming up with his own ideas for success!

 I ordered a glass of water, and also asked if he could take my meal and heat it up. He happily agreed, and was curious to see what I was eating! I explained to him I missed a meal that day to be able to consume this full plate of food: I had two soft corn tortillas and a bean mixture I had been eating all week, made with fat free refrieds, black beans and canned tomatoes. I garnished it with a small amount of shredded Mexican cheese. Beside it was a boiled red potato, and some broccoli with another small sprinkling of the same cheese. My plate was full, and later so was my belly, especially since I had a hard-boiled egg as an appetizer and a small banana for dessert. A gastronomic delight! Oh, dear, I forgot about ordering water with lemon, and adding sugar for my own free lemonade!

My meal was quite substantial--I almost felt like I ate enough for a queen. I wasn't hungry the rest of the evening like I was most of the week by 9 or 10 PM. No sunflower seeds tonight!

On day 5, I invited a friend for a meal, but was refused. He didn't want to eat beans! I didn't have much left from my groceries for the week: eggs, beans, broccoli, some frozen mixed vegetables, a yogurt, some milk, and my Joe's O's (Trader Joe's version of Cheerios). Variety is dissipating, and boredom is truly settling in.

Tonight I locked myself out of my car at 4PM, and feared I wouldn't get home for dinner by the time I was really hungry. I was beginning to feel the pangs. Earlier this week, when I got past the point of hunger, I would just skip a meal; but tonight, knowing I was going to Shabbat services, I wanted to eat something beforehand!
One more day to go!

It's only been a week -- how would I have survived if this was endless??

When I am job seeking, I eat minimally, and somewhat healthfully as well. What was different this time, was the tinier budget allowance; I normally spend a few more bucks than $31.50; not much more. I am so glad I don't indulge at all in coffee, alcohol, or cigarettes. And I very rarely buy bread or desserts, including cookies/candy. I keep my snacks minimal and make them last a long time. I keep my drinks to water and milk; occasionally juice. I periodically make lemonade from unhealthy concentrate, for something different to drink. I will add seltzer water to juice and make my own soda. That in itself, saves a lot of money! 

I recall when my childhood family was on hard times, Mom served Jell-O with milk as dinner. Sometimes with toast. Or rice with milk and cinnamon; adding a can of fruit. (She thought it was a good source of protein).  When she baked chicken, 8 of us had to eat off just ONE chicken. By the time it was served to her, she was left with the back! 
We all would share ONE can of vegetables. Most of our meal was meat and potatoes. Our salads were always iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I didn't know salads any other way! I learned when I was 50 and diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I had been severely malnourished as a child.

Having lived a life in financial abundance with a husband, I saw the other side: pure indulgence! And unfortunately, that's when my diagnosis showed up! I was banned from many foods for the rest of my life. What I learned: Moderation reigns over gluttony.

Now that I am single again, my past patterns of moderation return, whether I like it or not! AND this time I am healthier!

I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect on prayer before my meal! In addition to thanking God for the gift of food, I prayed for my stomach to remain full for as long as possible! 

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