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28 Days of Survival Food: Day 12
Aug 5, 2010, 11:40a - Life

Yesterday (day 11) was the toughest day yet. Becca had her thesis proposal hearing, and to celebrate we had a bbq with her friends afterwards. I was surrounded by food, and not just any food - the impulsively-, non-consciously consumed food. You know, like the chips you get at a Mexican restaurant, that are perfectly crispy and lathered in salt, that can fill you up even before dinner is served? There was a big bowl of chips that I kept seeing myself reach out to, but the act was constrained to my imagination as my mental wall kept my physical arm from reaching out. It happened probably 6 times last night. I had to resign myself to lentils and quinoa, this time cooked on the bbq coals instead of the stove. It took much longer to cook, but it came out really well and had more flavor than usual.

Before that I had had a headache all day, and I'm still in my pseudo-"cross-eyed" vision state I wrote about last time. I noticed that it went away momentarily last night, when I was having a stimulating conversation with Chris. So I tend to believe that it's more neurological or psychological than my physical eyes actually being misaligned. I wrote last time that I thought it was because my brain was changing. I want to clarify that I don't think this change is simply brain degradation due to a nutritional deficiency, but rather a more complex reorientation of my brain, perhaps as it transforms on the road to X. The mis-aligned vision might just be an innocent side effect of that process.

Yesterday I wasn't sure I could handle 17 more days of this victual monotony, especially when I'm surrounded by temptation. The good news is, my short-term future is looking a bit more interesting. Day 12 of survival school was the day we slaughtered the sheep. So today I get to have some fried flour dough and some lamb, though I don't think I'll be able to get the lamb blood, sausage, tongue and liver we had out there. Instead I just bought a lamb shank. I'm planning to heat the fat down to oil and use that to cook my flour dough and lamb meat. Tomorrow I'll be getting amaranth instead of oats, an apple, and lamb stew with yams and hominy in addition to the other vegetables for dinner (but no lentils and quinoa). The day after that I get corn meal for breakfast, bread as a snack (first real bread of this experiment), more lamb stew, and then 2 ribs. The day after that is back to amaranth and lamb tamales for dinner. But then 2 days of (voluntary) fasting.

Speaking of fasting, I was so unmotivated by my food that I didn't even eat on day 10, save for some raisins and peanuts. I've also been skipping my breakfast of oats every other day or so, I guess because I'm just not hungry enough to want it's dull flavor.

Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened to me around this time on survival school is that I started praying before eating, because the food seemed like such a lucky gift. This is also when I started to truly believe in God for the first time since sixth grade, as I'd been an atheist ever since. I also made all sorts of promises about eating that I quickly broke when I got back, including not doing anything else (e.g. talking, working, reading) while eating, so that I could focus the field of my attention onto savoring each bite. I also started to eat extremely slowly to help savor the flavors.

Funny thing is, I don't feel that way right now. I suspect it's because I've got a lot of things around me that I use to keep myself busy (including lab work), whereas out there I had little else to occupy the time save chewing.

Anyhow, 16 more days to go. I can't believe I'm not even half-way done. It's going to be rough.

Read comments (2) - Comment

Jessica - Aug 13, 2010, 8:06a
I wish I had read this earlier. Jeff just suggested we send you a free BOSS field cookbook.

nikhil - Aug 14, 2010, 7:03a
That's cool. I didn't know one existed. I'll take it!

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