Hunger; What is Hunger?
A question you can get a dozen different answers for and most often said to be an unpleasant or even painful experience. Most people in the first world have likely never really experienced true hunger, or at the least, most people do not really understand what hunger is and is not.
This weeks video delves into the topic of True Hunger and brings clarity to the common misconceptions and beliefs around hunger.
Disclaimer : This post and video is about hunger from the perspective of those who generally eat healthful foods and are not experiencing true starvation nor severe nutritional deficiency.
In todays society it is a rare occasion that anyone truly get’s hungry, this may be hard to believe but stick with me here. When you ask a random mix of people what Hunger is to them, or what they experience as hunger you usually get various responses but more than a few come up again and again. This said, just because they are repeated again and again, are seen as societal truths, doesn’t make them the truth…
The most common definitions of Hunger are:
1. Stomach pains and growls
2. A feeling of lethargy or being tired
3. Irritability or anxiousness
4. Headache or brain fog
5. A sudden specific craving or a perceived need to eat
Looking above at all of the common perceptions around Hunger the common thread is the label that it is a painful / irritating experience, one that can only be solved by eating food, this simply is not the case. It’s actually humorous IMHO as the list above more accurately describes what hunger is not. I would like to share a different perspective, one that says instead that Hunger is a Pleasant experience and offers up a different understanding of all the symptoms above.
Let us start there first 🙂
1. Stomach pains and growls –
The stomach is a elastic like organ that can stretch to accommodate large meals. Most people eat in a half hazard way mixing many foods together that are not only hard to digest but that can cause fermentation and often digestive issues; hence the amount of digestive disorders today and the amount of antacids on the market. Often stomach growls and pains can be attributed to the stomach simply emptying of its contents and or gas formation from fermentation, other times it can be a over production of certain digestive acids and /or fermentation by-products. If one ignores symptoms for a longer period of time large issues can manifest, stomach pain need not be a issue if one utilizes food combining and east simply.
While it is possible to be hungry at the time that the stomach empties or growls it is in no way a reliable indicator for true hunger. Most people eat such complex foods with long digestive times they feel “normal” with a full stomach and often eat on a full stomach. The truth is we are much better off to eat lighter, easy to digest food and to allow the stomach to empty between meals, that is if understanding hunger and growing in health is our aim.
2. A feeling of lethargy or being tired –
We live in a stimulation based society that often thinks feeling tired or lazy is a bad thing… The truth is most people are starved for sleep and could really use a digestive rest. Sleep is the only way we charge our nervous system which is in turn is our true source of energy. When people are tired and think they need food really what is needed is sleep. Food works as functional fuel for our cells but its the nerve energy or spark that is required to utilize that fuel. The simplest analogy is comparing the two systems to that of a car, sleep recharges the battery and gas is the fuel, no matter how much gas is in the tank we can not start the car without the battery, that is unless we Push start it / use stimulants. Considering fuel, in the term of days, we essentially have a limitless supply of tissues to burn for fuel energy without ever consuming a bite, it’s really the sleep we require to “recharge”.
3. Irritability or anxiousness + 4. Headache or brain fog + 6. Hangry!! –
Digestion can take up to 60% of our blood flow, it really is a labor intensive activity, that is why some people literally pass out after a big Thanksgiving meal. When the contents of the stomach empty and the bulk of mechanical digestion is done the amount of blood needed for digestion is vastly diminished. During this time blood flow is diverted to other systems often resulting in more energy to clean up debris and toxemia in the body. When the body is clearing debris it runs through the blood stream to be eliminated. It is during this time of elimination that we experience symptoms of detoxification which have a wide range of uncomfortable effects including all of the above. As one cleans up their diet and detoxifies through the “surface load” of toxemia consistently for a appreciable amount of time, these symptoms diminish and disappear until there is no discomfort between meals (think of this as cleaning the dirt under the rug and under the chairs). It is poignant to note that the body will not detoxify at a rate that is dangerous to the body, potentially unless one has a long history of potent pharmaceuticals.
5. A sudden specific craving or a perceived need to eat –
I saved this one for last as it is the only one that can be true, to a extent. Most of the time when people have specific cravings it is more closely attributed to detoxification of the residues one is actually craving. Just like a cigarette smoker who wants a cigarette to curb his cravings, the reality is this is simply a coping mechanism to stave off the detoxification of the last cigarettes / or in our case foods eaten. Often times one will crave a very specific food from the past as the body has energy freed up to peel back the layers of the “onion” or rather the past debris that was stored at a time that it couldn’t handle the incoming load.
The condition that this statement can be true in is in regards’ cravings attributed to a lack in a specific nutrient, most commonly today a mineral deficiency. A example of this would be chocolate, if one only gets their magnesium in appreciable quantities from chocolate their body starts to identify chocolate with magnesium and will crave it when low.
A helpful tip in this regard; True needs persist. If a specific food is craved intensely for days and weeks it’s a good idea to look further into it. In such a case I would recommend researching the nutritional contents of such a food, especially if exceptionally high or unique in a certain nutrient, and replace it with a healthier alternative to see if it helps. In the example of Chocolate and magnesium one could eat a lot of dark leafy greens and green juices to see if it staves off the craving.
Now to What True Hunger really is!!
True hunger is a calm, pleasant feeling, a recognition that you could eat but with no feelings of urgency nor pain attached. This feeling is often accompanied by salivation and or a clearing of the tongue at the thought of any simple whole food, especially fruit. If the body is quite clear and clean one may also note a slight closing of the throat, almost the feeling that two fingers are lightly pushing on the middle of the throat. Hunger is said to be the best spice / seasoning, this is because when one is truly hungry anything tastes amazing, a leaf of lettuce, a apple, any whole food is well received and enjoyed, that is unless its a food one simply hates.
Understanding and applying these simple truths about hunger, choosing to eat from such a calm balanced state while more deeply understanding the eruptions and dense energies we are moving through during detoxification brings in new levels of energetic and emotional awareness. Such a practice can help us to know ourselves better, come into closer contact with our needs and to create a better relationship with food and thus ourselves. Know that you are not your emotions, they are simply vibrations that are moving through us. The more we honor and and accept these energies and emotions as something we created, and are now clearing, the more painless such movement will be leaving us feeling light and free.
I really hope this simple blog post has brought you into closer contact with true hunger and allows you to move through such periods of trial and temptation with more grace and ease.
All to growing in the ways we can live, love and let go of that which does not serve us, becoming more active in our conscious creation.
Wishing you Much