The 38-hour famine
Friday, September 26, 2008 | 01:02 PM ET
by Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca
As a great lover of eating, the news that I would have to go 38 hours without solid food was quite distressing to me.
It was my turn for a colonoscopy.
I will say no more on the procedure itself. It's not appropriate to a food blog, nor is a event that you are virtually unconscious for particularly noteworthy.
But 38 hours without food…
My appointment was for 11 a.m. Friday morning, and the instructions from the doctor said no solid food after midnight Thursday. At a little before 11 p.m. Wednesday I was sitting down with a sandwich, preparing a quiet farewell to chewing for a day and a half. I followed that with a pear and a yogurt, and went to bed feeling very unsettled.
Breakfast was a large glass of white grape juice. As my family bustled around I tried to avoid watching them eat, a difficult task when you are trying to get your kids organized and off to school. Then they were gone and I settled down to work with a cup of tea.
I was quite surprised that I wasn't all that hungry, and that didn't change as the day progressed. I was, however, continually distracted by thoughts of food, though again not in the way I might have expected. It was not visions of barbecued ribs, cheesy lasagnes or coconut cream pies that were distracting me. It was little things. "I think I'll just grab a cookie," would pop into my head, as if it was someone else. "No. You won't," I would respond.
The idea would fade without so much as a whimper, only to reappear as, "How about a cheese biscuit," 20 or 30 minutes later.
And it made me wonder about eating. I have watched my kids want to eat because they were bored, or go for long stretches without because they were deeply involved in something. How much were my distractions prompted by hunger, and how much by moments of boredom, or simply by habit?
I can think of at least two occasions in the last week where I have felt hungrier than I ever did during that food-free day and a half.
By 1 p.m. on Friday I was all done, and ready to go. I had thought before about some elaborate celebratory lunch to mark the end of my fast. But still my hunger, perhaps simply by a learned lack of expectation, was at bay. I had a bowl of chicken rice soup, a biscuit, half a date square and a cup of tea.
And that was all I wanted.
Have you fasted or gone without food for a time? What was your experience?
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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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