What I’ve learned
So I lose the Ration Challenge. I may try again next year, especially because of all the donations people made, but if I cannot subsist on the rations they’re receiving and still live a functional life, we’re clearly not providing enough. And the refugees getting any food at all are the lucky ones!
Even for someone who has lived in poverty most his life, and traveled to parts of the world were I could see it in the extreme, I still learned a lot from this experience. Here are a few things that spring to mind:
- Gunna say it again: those that get any food at all are the lucky ones. That’s a fucked up meaning of the word “lucky”.
- We waste so much food. During the challenge I wouldn’t let a single grain of rice go to waste. Literally. Imagine if we all did this every day and had infrastructure means of making sure spare food went to where it was needed!
- I hate to adjust my food from the start for health reasons. Those health reasons include high cholesterol and triglycerides. I swapped white rice and flour for brown and veggie oil for olive oil. Basically we’re giving the cheaper less healthy option to the refugees. Speaking of which…
- Where the fuck are the fruits and vegetables!? I don’t know much about nutrition, but I almost broke down and cheated by eating an apple. That was after 4 days. Imagine going years on this diet. Humans evolved by foraging, and while there were no doubt some grains in our scavenger diet, we had lots of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Leafy greens are especially important. Through my sponsors’ generosity I was able to add spinach–specifically chosen for its dense nutritional benefits–but that wasn’t in the base provisions.
- A lot of the reason why I don’t eat well enough on a normal basis is that I don’t prep enough. I get tired a lot (part of a medical thing) and that causes me to eat junk food or eat poorly. But if I prepare a lot of things for the freezer/slow cooker/rice cooker, get some healthy snacks, etc, I will likely eat them.
- I can eat smaller portions if I put my mind to it, this week proved it. I think I’m going to get one of those divided plates and stick to better portioning.
- You can do a lot of magical things with chickpea juice. Who knew!?
- When I’m on an incredibly low calorie diet I actually start skipping meals. That’s strange to me and I want to explore it more.
- I drink a LOT of water when I’m on a low calorie diet. I live in a part of the world where currently I have plenty of access to free quality cholera-free water which I don’t have to carry on my head for miles, that’s probably not true for most refugees.
- If you’re hungry, you’re going to get brain fog. If you get brain fog you can’t work well. If you can’t work well then you can’t get more food. #thisisamerica
- If I was in an urban environment but could only eat the base plan for the ration challenge there is a 100% chance I would begin to steal food. It’s an absolute certainty. Whoever would play the role of Jean Valjean would have to chase me for a loaf of bread, but I would definitely steal from those who had plenty even though I’m not sure I’d have the clarity of mind to steal smartly.
- I’m sure I could keep going on this list to be honest.
I’ve been assured that all donations will still get to the refugees even though I was unable to finish the challenge.
Why I had to quit early
I never expected to say this, but I had to stop the ration challenge earlier than planned. It really sucks because–although it was tortuous–I was learning a lot and seeing some positive changes in my life regarding portion sizes and the need for meal prep. Plus my friends really came through and donated a whole lot of money for refugees which was incredible! I’m a really stubborn person and often fall victim to the fallacy of investment, so once I start something, it’s hard for me to convince myself to stop, even if it’s the right thing, so if I abandon ship, you can be certain it was necessary.
But I crashed yesterday. I couldn’t concentrate at all to the point where I was having trouble getting work done in a job where many rely on me. I’d forgotten to take my medication, so perhaps that’s why I was having trouble focusing, but then again why had I forgotten my medication? I went to the gym to try to work out for a bit, but that didn’t do anything, and probably burned up even more energy! Realizing I probably shouldn’t be driving, I pulled into a park and slept for a while then drove home.
Since I’m on some rather serious new medication (more on that in a future post), I realized I really need to remove the variables to make sure those meds aren’t going wrong, and eating such a low calorie diet really is going to be cross-purpose to that medication. I know I only had two days left, but I don’t want this to interfere with my job or health. Speaking with several people in the Ration Challenge Facebook Group I found out that there were a lot of people getting health issues who might not have even had any prior to this including one person who told me she passed out in the shower!
Since I stopped the ration challenge yesterday I’ve had two full meals and am still having some trouble focusing but it’s better. Depending on where my life is, I may try this again next year, but we’ll see. Had I not been on meds, I know I would have finished it, but if I hadn’t had the sponsorship and had to stick the base plan, I don’t think I would or could have.