Fastin’ easy


The shrinking of my appetite, from overpowering monster to soft-spoken weakling, has proved both remarkable and a little unbelievable. In three weeks of paleolithic eating I’ve gone from being an all-day grazer and craver to being the kind of person who can skip a meal and it’s no biggie. One of these days I might even forget to eat.

On Saturday I undertook an all-day fast, guided by my usual journalistic motivation: because other paleo lifestylers do. The thinking goes that hunter-gatherers must find food scarce at times, and will be subject to days without meals.

(However, based on a little research I’ve done, the reality for most hunter-gatherer groups seems the opposite: food is so abundant to them, the very concept of going hungry is alien; it’s those overpopulating agriculturalists who starve. Citation to come.)

I girded myself for a full 24 hours of water, tea and coffee only (the last item is a cheat; coffee is non-paleo — but can you blame me for indulging in a few free cups offered to me while doing volunteer work?). Ordinarily I would regard chewing gum as an aid to fasting, but I’ve foresworn my half-pack-a-day Excel habit at the moment for caveman reasons, too.

The reason for all this preamble is that the not eating was itself pretty easy; there’s not too much to say about it. Keeping busy helped: I worked at a Ten Thousand Villages fair trade store in my neighbourhood, as usual for a Saturday, then shopped with my fiancée for odds and ends for our upcoming wedding, then caught a screening of Crazy Heart at a local indie cinema — a film that was itself about craving, but for booze (which I’m doing fine without myself, by the way). It was a beautiful day until after the movie, and we walked for hours.

Oh, and watching a movie without snacks, for probably the first time ever, wasn’t so bad either. They had tea at the theatre, which was a relief.

The only moment of worry came at 4:26 p.m., when for a flash I felt a little light-headed while poking around a Pottery Barn. I didn’t tell my fiancée, who had been giving me unwarranted looks of pity and concern.

I’d considered allowing myself to eat at midnight, but in the end I went to bed with an empty belly (well, a belly full of herbal tea) and didn’t have anything until a banana the next morning at 10:30. It was my first bite to eat in about 34 hours. And yet my hunger was never any more powerful than the ordinary dinner-craving during my commute home — in the pre-paleolithic era, that is.

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2 Responses to “Fastin’ easy”

  1. Chris Robbins Says:

    Depending on unpredictable climate changes, time of year, etc. I suppose there would’ve been an over-abundance or under-abundance or just enough. Feast & famine, the reason our bodies horde fat, right? I suppose the tropical areas were the areas with most food. What one has to realise, I think, is that over-abundance didn’t mean overeating as the abundance would most likely be not that easily prepared, meaning long, hard hours preparing it for your tribe (without licking the proverbial frosting bowl) or just not very calorically dense such as berries.

  2. Your experience mirrors mine.

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