Monday, March 24, 2014

Release the Feast: The 30-Hour Famine Challenge

On Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22, Edgerton youth and community members participated in the 30-Hour Famine, an event designed to raise awareness about world hunger and funds for World Vision. Since I have never known what it is like to go hungry, I decided it would be interesting and eye-opening to participate as well. Although the students are starting their famine after lunch on Friday, I decided to begin in the morning.

Friday, March 21
8 a.m. Begin 30-Hour Famine, no breakfast
8:15 a.m. Show up at Edgerton School District to discuss the Common Core Standards with District Administrator Dennis Pauli
8:50 a.m. Interview over. Leaving Pauli's office, I spot a bowl of chocolate pieces for visitors on the receptionist's desk. Without thinking, I unwrap and pop a Dove chocolate piece in my mouth. This intentional not eating is going to be tougher than I thought.
9 a.m. Begin 30-Hour Famine again. Thank God I was not even an hour in.
10:30 a.m. Stomach is grumbling. “I want an apple with peanut butter!” it demands. “Well, tough. Get used to no food until 3 p.m. tomorrow,” I tell it. This is not going to be easy. I take a few swigs of water in an attempt to placate my grumbling stomach. Not sure it bought it.
11:45 a.m. I show up to my chiropractic appointment in Janesville. I get seen around noon. After doing some spinal alignments, my chiropractor starts standing the table back up. I had apparently taken my feet off the stand and start falling off the table while it is in motion, to both my chiropractor's and my own amusement. “I'm falling,” I yell as I kick my feet. Apparently I am going silly from hunger.
12:45 p.m. I stop by Piggly Wiggly in Edgerton to pick up a carton of orange juice and a carton of banana orange pineapple juice. I am finding that the juice does more to sate my hunger than water, although both are equally important. I find myself wondering briefly if I should not attempt that high school challenge: drinking a gallon of milk. I have heard it expands the stomach lining, which is why people get sick if they do it. But how many are on a famine? Hmmm...
1:20 p.m. My, the banana orange pineapple juice is delicious. I just drank half my water bottle in the past 10 minutes. Now off to the EPAC to get photos of a school concert. Another interview scheduled for 3 p.m. today, and at some point I will have to pick up the African Hope pendants from Forever Yours Jewelry in Sun Prairie. This is quite a busy day and weekend to be fasting.
4:30 p.m. I have learned that the busier I am, the less aware I am of the hunger. Also, juice helps a lot more than water. Drinking water leaves my stomach grumbling while juice does more to quench the hunger.
5:30 p.m. Want to know a real challenge? Try going into a grocery store to pick up a non-food item while partaking in a famine. The smell of chicken that lingered on the air outside Copps in Sun Prairie just about broke me. But I managed to pick up what I needed while resisting the sights of fruit, pastries and other baked and fried goods.
8 p.m. Finally arrived back at my parents’ house in Antigo.
9:15-11 p.m. Watched Herbie: The Love Bug with my parents. I am not normally a movie and snack girl, but popcorn would have been just great. (Sigh)
Midnight: Bedtime!

Saturday, March 22
8 a.m. Wake up, have a breakfast of kiwi juice. It is actually quite good. Despite not having any substantial food, I feel less hungry now than yesterday. It is like my body is adjusting to not eating. It was like that my senior year of high school as well. I only fed it every 16-26 hours, so it adjusted to my eating schedule. Luckily I only have a few more hours left, and things to keep me busy in the meantime.
11 a.m. Leave for the US Cellular store to update my phone. I made sure to fill my water bottle with some more juice before leaving.
1:30 p.m. Return to my parents’ house from town. Only an hour and a half left! I am drinking less juice and water than I did yesterday. Again, I think my body is adjusting to not eating food because I have not heard my tummy grumbling lately and I do not really feel hungry anymore. Of course, I have also not gone running during this famine either. The story might be quite different if I kept up my physical fitness routine.
2 p.m. Here is hoping that the last of the banana orange pineapple juice will coincide with the end of my famine. Only an hour left. I plan to break my famine with two rice patties topped with almond butter. Supper will be pasta with alfredo sauce and chicken. I can hardly wait...
3 p.m. Famine finally over! I think the last 45 minutes was the hardest, probably because I was acutely aware of the hunger in my belly and the fact I was almost done. Rice patties and almond butter never tasted so good.... 

In conclusion: I must admit, the 30-Hour Famine was not easy. Although my body adjusted to the not eating, my famine was actually a little longer than 30 hours. On Thursday, March 20 at approximately 9 p.m. I finished eating supper - a whole pizza. Although I started my famine at 9 a.m. the next day, I did not eat breakfast beforehand, too busy. So aside from the little Dove chocolate slipup - and let’s face it, that is a tiny blip in the whole thing - I went without food from 9 p.m. Thursday to 3 p.m. on Saturday. So closer to 42 hours, or almost two days. How did I fare? I lost about 3 lbs. That being said, I would not advise this as a weight loss plan ladies.
So the grumbling stomach that occurred around noon on Friday was because aside from the singular Dove chocolate, I had not eaten anything in about 15 hours. Could I have lasted longer without food? Probably, but it is not advised. We need food and nutrition to sustain everything we do on a daily basis, whether it is walking the dog, cooking supper, working or running 5 miles. I am one of the lucky ones: I have never had to go hungry. My parents worked hard to provide me with a good life, and as an adult, I work hard to pay my bills. Not everyone has that luxury though.
After participating in the 30-Hour Famine - and there were times I was not sure I was going to make it - I have an ever greater appreciation for people living in poverty and in developing countries. Growing up, I was used to eating three square meals a day, including a home-cooked dinner or leftovers every night.
Aside from dealing with anorexia my senior year of high school, where I ate every 16-26 hours while being a 3-sport/year-round athlete, I have never had to worry about a grumbling stomach, and I have never wondered where my next meal was coming from, or when.
The experience has made me even more determined to help Hope 2 Others ministries in Tanzania, to give to people who have far less than I do. We complain about not having enough money, but the truth is, we do live like kings.
This summer, I will be traveling to Tanzania with Hope 2 Others. While there, we will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for a medical center we are building in Kisongo, Tanzania; doing home visits to give food and supplies to needy families; and teaching newborn resuscitation (I personally will not do that, but the medical professionals with us will).
I am blessed to be a part of an organization dedicated to helping and enriching the lives of others. To find out more, visit

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