No Mas Límones

The week of 1,000 lemons will be drawing to a close in a mere hour and a half now. Jenni and I spent a good hour wandering the isles of the Whole Foods picking out epicurean delights to fill our tomorrow.

One would think that the cost of the extravagance of our foodstuffs would be offset by the Spartan nature of our diet for the last week, but that turns out to not be the case. One of the three ingredients in the master cleanse, maple syrup, ran $40 for the half gallon we consumed. Lemons, at 50¢ apiece, we consumed 50 of. So all in all, not eating was about $12 a day. Not too shabby for two people, but far pricier than Ramen and potatoes.

I asked Jenni if she had learned any important lessons and she feels she now has a much better sense of just what her hunger feels like. She says it peaked around the second day and hasn’t really gotten worse sense.

For my part, the way she deals with food boggles me. She laid around the house watching the Food Network for most of the day. In the way some people would discuss the subtlety of a good book or the bouquet of a fine wine, she lays about all day contemplating eating things.

Myself, I spend most of the day not thinking about food at all. After about a minute and a half of watching mozzarella folded into phyllo dough, I’m famished. Well, I definitely want to eat. I think if anything I have a far worse understanding of my hunger than when I began.

Since Jenni was having a rougher time than me, I decided I’d stop eating altogether to see if I could get closer to her experience. It’s been a little over a day and I’ve not had anything but water.

I do have the impulse to eat. When I catch hold of it in my head though it doesn’t really seem to be hunger. I have the impulse to eat at certain times of the day so that I can sit around with people and talk. There’s the social and habitual components of eating.

Foods also remind me of my childhood or part of who I am. Wandering around the Whole Food picking out fancy organics certainly made me feel like a sophisticated young adult. Grits or biscuits and gravy make me feel Southern. Chocolates and ice cream leave me feeling indulgent and lavish. There’s the identity components of eating.

When I take the impulse and try to dig into it to find something other than these things there doesn’t seem to be anything else and that disturbs me. My only explanations so far are either that I’m totally disaffected and divorced from the experience of my body, or that somehow the experience of my identity and the experience of the foods are the same thing.

In some ways that makes sense to me. I know what anger feels like in my body. The tension in my shoulder, my pulse increasing. I know sadness, I know happiness, I know these feelings. What though does Southern feel like? Where is that in my body? Does it taste like collard greens and grits? I think maybe it does.

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