Back to work on a Monday, for a long 16 hour shift, starting off the day with no coffee. I decided over the weekend to ween myself off of coffee and sugar as much as possible since I'm eating less of it anyway. It seemed like the natural thing to do since I wanted to kick those habits. Even though there is added sugar in inexpensive pasta sauce for instance, I don't have the cash to buy a Starbucks drink, a chocolate chip cookie at work from Mrs Fields, or any of those sweet treats. So while I can chose to use more expensive pasta sauce with less sugar and still be on budget, I simply don't have enough for extras.
Day 5 has been stressful and rough for me. I'm not hungry, but wanting to eat and drink a soda or a coffee to just keep myself busy, and emotionally eat.
I was thrown off by a mandatory work meeting to interview someone in which lunch was a part of the round table interview -- I was going to bring my lunch, but with the formality of it being an interview, it wasn't the appropriate time to talk about why I was eating my PB&J sandwich. (Most of my coworkers know that I'm doing the Hunger Challenge) After a bit of wrangling over it in my mind with the rules (not to accept free food at work, if you eat out for work to take out the amount of an allotted lunch, etc.) I decided to just go with it, and subtract out what I would've eaten had it not been an interview. I wanted to be a Hunger Challenge purist by sticking to the rules exactly, and although this lunch interview wasn't in a restaurant, it still had unwritten rules of it's own that I had to go by.
I talk to a lot of people in my work, from different backgrounds, but often, many people living in poverty. I spoke to another person today telling me how they don't have food in their fridge and can't feed their children. Feeling especially weak from caffeine withdrawl, food addiction withdrawl really, and eating a basic food stamps diet, I was almost brought to tears listening to this person's current situation. On top of not having food, this person had MANY other awful things happening to them in life. As if not having food wasn't enough! I gave them information and referrals though about food stamps, the local food bank, and local churches for free meals. But I will never hear "I hardly have enough money for food," in the same way again. I instantly become even more empathetic when hunger is an issue.
I have also received contact from people, some that I know pretty well I thought, some that I don't, that have been on food stamps themselves in the past or currently. Not much surprises me but I am surprised that I didn't think of this outcome of doing the Hunger Challenge. That people around me experience hunger in their own day-to-day. There is so much judgment by the "haves" against the "have nots" that if you are a person that has always had, then you may not know that the have nots and the hungry are right in front of you, in your own friend circles, in your own families, or with people that you work beside everday.
All of this has me feeling pretty heartbroken and sad for others. I'm certain I'm more emotional partly due to the lack of caffeine, the lack of crutches like sugar, and just my regular eating patterns, and a long stressful day, but I keep reminding myself, how does that person that has literally no food in their house cope tonight without a crutch, or even a basic something to eat? I went for a brief walk to get some fresh air and try to decompress. I talked to a loved one. And here I write down my thoughts and experiences which also helps.
I've spent $3.44 so far today. Oatmeal. PB&J x 2.5 (yes 2 and a half sandwiches - but one that I didn't eat went towards my lunch cost). Apple x 2. Cup of tea.