600 calories. 3 days.

For three days this week, all I ate each day was a cup of black beans and a cup of white rice. This came to roughly 200 calories a day.

Why? Well, in areas of the world where hunger is most prevalent, dietary staples are heavily just beans and rice. Not only are the food selections limited due to agricultural production, but food is typically very expensive as well.

Approximately 1 billion people in the world wake up without a firm confidence of how much food they’ll actually be able to obtain that day.

I wanted to gain perspective. Hunger is something that we whine and complain about, but it isn’t something that most of us have lived with.

And by no means have I actually lived with it. I experienced three days of minimal calories and nutrition, but I started off in an extremely well-fed state and I had unlimited access to clean drinking water. Nonetheless, there were something that I noticed:

  • Most of the people I told showed concern. Endlessly I heard about how it seemed unnecessary or unsafe to dramatically reduce calories. In such an athletic state I should be consuming a lot and to cut down on that was unhealthy. And that the nutritional content of beans and rice was not very impressive and that could be bad for me.

Hold up. EXACTLY. Now imagine if all these people were feeling that way about the huge population that has to live that way their entire lives. What a different world we could live in!

  • I was really tired. I slept 10-12 hours each night. And I fell asleep at a few tables on campus. Walking up a set of stairs wore me out. Keeping my arms up to wash my hair was exhausting. Picking up my backpack felt like a strength workout. Walking at a slow and steady pace was easy for me to handle, but it did always seem like my heart rate picked up a little.
  • Staying hydrated was harder than I had expected. My hunger cues disappeared pretty quickly once my body realized that I wasn’t listening to them anyway. I reached a point that I didn’t want to put anything into my mouth because it just felt sad to me. I forced myself to drink a lot of water, but even then, it felt odd to drink without combining it with a solid food.
  • My body adjusted pretty well by the 3rd day. I was still exhausted and my hunger came back pretty strong, but for the most part I think I was more mentally alert.
  • My head was almost always spinning. And on the second day I was taking notes in Genetics when I just had to put my pen down because I didn’t have the energy to take notes quickly enough.

Ultimately, I am really glad I did it. And I am so glad that I do have the resources to now replenish my depleted glycogen stores and to catch up on nutrient intake. But so many people don’t.

I don’t really ever have the words to express how I feel about hunger in the world. And about the devastating rates of malnutrition and starvation-related deaths in the world. I can’t explain why I feel so deeply and strongly about people. I also sometimes struggle with understanding why other people don’t care as much as I do. About nutrition or people or anything, for that matter.

I have to fight off the overwhelming urge to shake someone and say “look at all the amazing things we humans can do! look at how we can change the world! look at how we can love others so much!”

I have a hard time finding words and fighting off feelings, but there is one thing that I can confidently say and will spend my whole life dedicated to.

I want to end world hunger.

We will end world hunger.

And if I had a penny for every time someone has told me “good luck with that” then I’d use the money to start school feeding projects around the globe.

But guys, this is something that we can do. I believe that wholeheartedly.

And talking about it makes me more and more fired up, so if you ever want to see me at my prime then just get me talking about it.

I will work until I put myself out of a job. I will fight until health is a guaranteed human right.

We’re all human. We’re all in this together.

“We’re all just walking each other home.”

(And also your random motivational picture for the days because it is entirely YES. And you, dear blog reader, are beautiful in what you are and I appreciate and love you for that!)

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