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Hunger Challenge: Day Three

When I got up Tuesday morning, I discovered one pleasant side effect of this whole operation: In two days, I had already lost a pound.

I’m not doing this for vanity’s sake, and I recognize that if I return to my $12-cocktail ways promptly upon wrapping up the week, I’m not going to maintain my peanut-butter-sandwich figure, but still, when one has to get up every morning and survey a kitchen filled with tasty treats that are off-limits, some of which, in fact, contain caffeine, one should, I think, get some karmic benefit. And if my interim weight loss is my little side perk, I’ll take it.

Also, I should note that on Monday night, I dreamed I was in the desert. With my parents. I believe we were on some sort of road trip together, and we were stopped at a gas station that had a cooler filled with ice, water and bottles of soda. My mother pulled a 20-ounce bottle of Diet Coke out of the cooler and held it up. Water beaded and dripped down the side. “Would you like one?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said, grasping for the bottle. Then, just as I touched the cool, slick side of it, I realized it was only Monday night. My hand dropped. My face fell. “Never mind,” I said. “I’m not allowed to have that this week.”

Later in the dream, I went out to a restaurant and ordered a food pellet about the size of a jelly bean. At the very least, my Challenge dreams are keeping me entertained, even if they’re a bit torturous in the offing.

Today, I decided that I was rationing a little too closely. Hence, my day became one long series of mini-meals. I started off with a redo of Sunday morning’s egg-in-a-basket; then took leftover oatmeal to eat mid-morning; then ate a peanut butter sandwich one half at a time, spacing those halves out by about an hour and a half; then had a container of split pea soup around 4 p.m.; then came home and made what might be the tastiest concoction yet: a rice and lentil dish made in the rice cooker that came out as smooth and creamy as risotto.

Meanwhile, Amy Sherman, who got me into this in the first place, was posting on Twitter about the fabulous recipes she’s developing that are budgeted for $1 a meal. I guarantee whatever she was working on was better than what I was eating, but so be it.

In the late afternoon, I got an email from another Iowa friend—a former boss who was flying out for a conference. She was available for a Friday evening get-together if I had the time open.

I did, indeed have the time open, but had to figure out how best to be a gracious hostess while staying on track with the challenge. Friday night would be so very, very close to the end of the thing—if I could make it that far, I had to make it the last 24 hours.

We agreed to eat dinner separately (her somewhere fabulous, probably picked from a list I would recommend to her, and me, at home, where the dining would not be nearly as delicious…), and then meet for drinks. My beverage of choice? It would be the ever-popular water. But I promised her we’d go somewhere where the cocktails were tasty and up to San Fran standards.

After all, I do live here. Wherever we go will still be serving cocktails when I’m done with this and am ready to go back. And I will be grateful, because I’ll have the freedom and flexibility to do that. Every time I start descending into poor-me whining, I just remind myself of that, and that pretty much does the trick.

10 Comments on “Hunger Challenge: Day Three”

  1. #1 Karen
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Genie the blog looks fabulous BTW. All the hunger has released some great creative energy.

    First thought…I know that Mother of yours and she would have insisted you drink the diet coke so I know you were dreaming. While she’s a compassionate woman she’s only go so far on this challenge with you.

    Second thought….before you started you should have got my Mom’s tuna loaf recipe. Now that’s a winner and probably could be spread out over a week for about a buck a meal. It’s not something you can dream about though…it’s more of a nightmare.

  2. #2 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Kären, thank you for the comments on the look! I needed to change it up to help with troubleshooting, and I’m still doing some tweaking, but I like it much better than what I had before, so I’m enjoying playing with it. Glad you like it! And I think you’re totally right on Mom and insisting I have something to drink in the desert — she would not have allowed me to go thirsty. I also should have probably gotten that recipe from your Mom, but as much as I like tuna, I might have started hating it by the end! ;-)

  3. #3 Zannie
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    After all, I do live here.

    And I’m confident that once you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll stop saying “San Fran” and start making proper enchiladas. :)

  4. #4 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Zannie, perhaps. Perhaps!

  5. #5 Gudrun of Kitchen Gadget Girl
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Genie, congrats on making it to day three, you are almost half way done! I must admit, I have been eager to read your daily post in my reader and see how the day has gone for you – I admire you for taking on this challenge, although the thought of having to do this every week scares the $%^# out of me. And factoring in my family of 4 makes it even worse. I appreciate you raising the awareness about this issue – it does cause me to view all this differently.


  6. #6 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Gudrun, the nice thing about having four people though, is there’s a little more money to spread around — if I’d had more to play with, I could have done more with cheap cuts of meat, etc. As it was…no way!

  7. #7 Karen
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Tuna loaf is an acquired taste. I really only know one person who likes it and that’s my beloved Mother. I try not to hold this against her. I suppose you could have it with a salad one night, then as a sandwich on that fun bread you got with some pickle relish, and then maybe make some hash using potatoe chips, and by the end of the week just CHOKE it down.

    Awhile back the boys and I had two girls from Africa here that were orphans and traveling with an incredible choir they are a part of. We asked them what they ate when they couldn’t find a meal and they said, “dirt”.

    I suppose $21 to them would have been a million. Still the injustice of all of it. I joke about the tuna loaf but I was thankful to have it. My Mom did her best.

  8. #8 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Kären, it’s true — that $21 is a month’s (or more) pay for a lot of people in the world. As bad as the situation is here in the US? It’s nothing compared to some of the countries I’ve lived in or visited. We’re incredibly blessed here…and yet, the situation still is not right. So many hungry mouths…

  9. #9 Gayle
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Genie, I’ve started spreading out my “meals,” too, on the challenge. There’s definitely something rewarding about having a few bites scattered throughout the day. Never thought I’d so look forward to a slice of pear…

  10. #10 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Gayle, I know — I would usually focus on one thing every day that I was totally looking forward to. When it started being that peanut butter sandwich, I knew I was in trouble… ;-)

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