Do or Do Not.

Different Energies (Or Lack Thereof)

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Today, I discovered an interesting side effect of eating a mostly vegetarian diet: the kind of hungry I now get in the late afternoon is totally different from the kind of hungry I’m used to.

See, in the olden days of last week, if I didn’t eat enough at lunchtime (or sometimes even if I did), then by the time the late afternoon rolled around, my stomach would be crying out for me to put more food in it. I’d feel hunger pangs down at the bottom of my stomach, and I’d have to feed it — and I could shovel pretty much anything into it to shut it up. Frequently, this late-afternoon food craving would carry with it a serious inability to concentrate, so even if I wanted to ignore the noises emanating from my stomach, I still had to eat to get my brain back online so I could get work done.

But today… OK, so I had what I thought was a pretty decent amount of food for lunch (a couple of delicious veggie fajitas), but I didn’t have anything else to eat in the afternoon, as I was avoiding the high-sugar desserts offered at the conference I was attending. Big mistake there. After the conference, I chose to walk home the two miles from Alewife, but I realized pretty quickly that I just didn’t have the energy for the walk. (Well, I thought I didn’t — I pushed through and made it, but for a while I wasn’t sure I was gonna.)

The hunger that hit me was of a different timbre than the hungers I’m used to: it wasn’t as much a stomach-oriented feeling of “must put food in belly” as much as it was a whole-self-oriented “must put energy in body.” It was… a bizarre feeling for me. I mean, I’m used to being somewhat low-energy a lot of the time, but more in a heavy-sluggish way than in a out-of-fuel way, if that makes much sense.

Got home, ate a ton of salad and felt much better.

On the plus side, however, I did not get the brain fog that I not-so-infrequently get in the afternoons, even when I’d been sitting in a giant salon in a hotel listening to people talk about building websites all day. So I’ll take that as a win.

Man, who knew learning to eat differently could be so damn difficult?

Also: while I’m on the topic of vegetarianism, I’ll share a video my friend Dwight that he thought I’d appreciate and that I likewise think you might enjoy:

Written by Allen

May 25th, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Posted in Personal

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5 Responses to 'Different Energies (Or Lack Thereof)'

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  1. When I quit eating mammals and fowls, I found that I had serious protein craves. (“OMG I'M FUCKIING STARVING!!!!!!!”) And I'd drop an egg on my salad and calm down, but be very aware that my body was learning new tricks and not always liking them. I have learned little ways to get more protein through the day and don't have those episodes any more. The fact that we do eat fish on occasion helps, too. Part of what was going on, imvho, was that my body was used to large amounts of protein, not what it really needed, but what it expected. And body and brain had to learn to manage the changes. Brain had to learn to look for enough protein, Body was happy to have it as long as it got enough and it quit screaming for dead animal. Now, it asks for other things.

    Greek yogurt is higher in protein than the ordinary / Swiss variety.

    Nuts are good but fatty, so, need temperance.

    Quinoa is a great,. high protein grain. You can eat it hot as a side dish or make a cold salad out of it (and have a wonderful, SUBSTANTIAL, brown bag lunch they next day). And you can put ANYthing with it. Or nothing. It is more flavorful than white rice, similar to brown but not the same. And it's quick.

    I think bodies are like children. You need to listen to them and pay attention to what they have to say, but you get to be the final authority because you are the grown up. ;-)

    Kitty Cunningham

    26 May 10 at 2:40 am

  2. Interestingly, this is how I behave when I'm on Atkins. The concept of “hunger” shuts down to a large extent and gets replaced by a warning light of “yo, you're running low on fuel.” I can ward off “yo, you're running low on fuel” much better than “hunger”, but when I crash, I Have Crashed and there is no getting neatly back up.


    26 May 10 at 2:54 am

  3. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the type of hunger you had while eating meat had an excess quality to it while the type of hunger you are experiencing now has more of an empty quality. That fits with changing to a diet that's less caloricly dense than you're used to – as you learn to calibrate your meals for the amount of fuel you need it'll become less of a problem. You might try having a hot beverage with your meals/snacks (preferably with little to no caffeine) to help your stomach figure out what's going on; if you do, I'd like to know how it goes.


    26 May 10 at 3:09 am

  4. This exact thing happened to me, when I quit eating wheat and (most) refined sugar. It was such a strange sensation; I realized that this unhealthy clawing hunger and hideous headaches and mood swings I'd felt my whole life wasn't really normal hunger at all but a blood sugar thing. Life has been so much better since then.

  5. Are you cutting down on sugar at the same time? In my experience, the kind of hunger shift you describe is MUCH more closely related to the types/amounts of refined carbs I'm eating than how much meat I'm taking in.


    26 May 10 at 1:52 pm

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