Monthly Archives: January 2014

Hunger is Not a Catastrophe

The difference between hunger and other things:

Let’s say you’re out in the yard watering your prize-winning zinnias and . . .

A.    you see the neighbor kid chasing his ball into the street, or
B.    you feel a hunger pang.

In which situation do you . . .

a.    drop the frickin hose and take immediate action, or
b.     wait fifteen minutes to see is the situation escalates?

Or, let’s say you’ve just come out of a social event, maybe you’ve been tutoring at your local library, or maybe you’ve been to the gym and had a great workout that’s got you on an endorphin high, or maybe you’ve been inventorying your stock of comic books at the little shop you opened on a whim. It’s late. It’s dark. You start your car and, like the safe driver you always are, you check your review and . . .

A.    you see that someone is crouching in your back seat, or

B.    you feel a hunger pang.

Do you . . .

a.    drive as fast as you can to the nearest fastfood establishment to see if you can appease the beast  within,

b.    get out of that stupid seatbelt and car as fast as you can, or . . .

c.    give it fifteen minutes to see if it goes away on its own?

Or, let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night, as you so often do since raising kids complete destroyed your wonderful youthful ability to enter and maintain really deep sleep, and you . . .

A.    notice a funny smell. You sniff. You try to place it. Your eyes begin to burn and water. Then you recognize the odor. It’s the scent of fifteen-year-old nylon shag carpet, that’s looked like crap for the last twelve year and you’ve said over and over again that you wished you’d gone with hardwood, burning. Yes. Your house is on FIRE! Or . . .

B.    you feel a hunger pang.

Should you . . .

a.    jump out of bed, wake everybody up and see if they want to make smores,

b.    jump out of bed wake everybody up and get out of the house,

c.    jump out of bed, sneak down to the fridge and get some of your favorite dairy product because dairy may not be the solution for every problem but it can certainly be a distraction,

d.    or give it fifteen minutes to see if it goes away on its own?

I’m not going to tell you what to do. Chances are you’ve already got enough input in your life. But I will say that in my weight recovery process, which included redesigning my diet (see Don’t Verb Diet) I learned to make friends with hunger.

Hunger is a bully.

Appetite, the tongue, is a fiend, but the belly is a bully. It goes about its own business, pushing and shoving as it needs to in order to get what it wants at the time. It doesn’t care about the body it’s part of or whether all the parts are getting what they really need. It only wants. It makes demands. The more you respond to it, the more you encourage it. The more you ignore it, the less likely it is to come back around and pester you.

The feeling of hunger is the guts tightening. It’s like internal tummy crunches. It will actually reduce the size of all that stuff in there if you let it happen. In the course of weight recovery, it is a good a feeling as the endorphin rush from running or working out. Feeling it and letting it pass can be a very satisfying exercise.

Making Cents of Kilowatt-Hours

What’s an hour worth?

In “The Juice” I discussed the quantity of power my house had consumed in one year. I was surprised out how far below the national average we were, but that wasn’t the most surprising thing I saw in the numbers below.


The surprising thing was the per-kwh cost. Nine cents!

What does that mean? It takes an old fashioned incandescent 60 watt bulb over sixteen hours to use one kilowatt-hour, almost 67 hours with a compact fluorescent. So if you go off to school or work and leave a light on all day you spend a nickel if you’re old school and not even a full penny if you’re newfangled. Worst case, do it for a month old-school and you’ve cost yourself one sixteen ounce soft drink.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, it takes about a pound of coal to generate one kilowatt-hour of electric power. So electricity (conveniently delivered right to my home, 60 watts, 8 hours a day for a month) and root beer (at a local convenience store, chilled, bottled, 16 oz) cost about the same.

Weird, huh?