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21 Days for World Hunger – Day 8: The Language of Hunger

21 Days for World Hunger – Day 8: The Language of Hunger

Whine No Dine

Anxiety fueled by sleeplessness and compounded by calorie reduction is running the show right now. I didn’t really think this through well. Cranking out nearly a post a day is knocking me on me @ss, and this issue of world hunger is so monumental; I just could not possibly grasp the full extent of the problem in 21 days let alone relay it to other people. It is seriously keeping me up at night.

Last night I was up until 2:15 and thought, “No worries, mate (sometimes I call myself mate), you can still get 5 hours of sleep – yay!” At 3:30, I was telling myself, “Well, you can still get 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Yeah, you can make that work. Think happy thoughts. The beach. Your puppy. Your upcoming anniversary. A trip your girlfriends are taking you on for your 50th. Just think happy thoughts. Easy enough.” By 4:30, any semblance of optimism had been crushed. Destroyed like what is expected to happen when that rogue killer comet hits earth next year. Boom Gone. I could only muster, “Dude (sometimes I call myself dude), you’re screwed.” The arrival of rhymes comes at curious times.

At that point, I was just so pissed and frustrated for allowing my thoughts to control my life. Even my famous WHOOSH didn’t work whereas that’s my usual go-to solution. A WHOOSH is my version of thought-stopping. I picture the thoughts, and then a ginormous rainbow (sometimes it’s pastel and sometimes psychedelic depending on mood) swoops in and surrounds the thoughts swirling faster and faster until it whirls them into outer space. Usually it works. Last night, no go. I was too far past the point of no return, because by that point, my stomach was grumbling, and I was just feeling strung out. Clearly, I am overwhelmed with this endeavor.

Today is Day 8 for what is turning out to be a prolonged 21 Days for World Hunger. Several times today I welled up with a doubt so huge that I came <<this>> close to stopping, quitting. I question if any of this is worth it. And while I’m eating enough food to get me through the day, it’s not enough to take my mind off of food. It’s not an issue of energy per se, despite the fact my energy is definitely low on the vitality meter; no it is more an issue of self-imposed deprivation. I thought about food all day. I feel like a pubescent teen trapped in a convent. A mind filled with  temptations, but being watched by nuns puts the kibosh on the desire. And because I’ve put major limits on myself, I’m stuck in a perpetual spiraling of longing and denial, wanting and deprivation. It kind of sucks, actually. Today, day 8 is definitely the hardest day since I started. I attribute sleep disturbance as the main culprit of my crappy attitude. Hunger is a close second. Both are contributing to a serious lack of focus, so much that I probably have all kinds of pselling earrors in this post. And I don’t evin kare. I might be having sugar withdrawals, too.

This Negative Crap Doesn’t Help At All

I wasn’t planning to go here, but here I am.

News of Trump dominates the information highway. It’s like the Trump Information Autobahn as media outlets furiously race, clamoring over one another, honking and swerving for the next eye-bulging, mouth-gaping piece. I fear media will get the man elected and not for his credentials but for the guaranteed sensational lack of newsworthiness he provides to the populace who seem to have an allergic reaction to real news that broadens perspectives.

As much as I try to avoid it, there it is. And here I am participating in this hot mess. Right now. See what I mean? I am a part of the problem right now.

It’s like the entire world is rubbernecking a gazillion car pileup. Everyone is running to their windows to watch the spectacle; the tantrums, belligerence, classless behavior, and endless infantile acts of defensiveness of a so-called man with the stunted emotional development of three-year-old, who just happens to be running for the most powerful job in the world, US President. As he scoops everyone up in his fury and casts a spell upon the masses with fist-pounding pomposity demanding attention (and with great success I might add), because we just cannot.turn.away.

His main unintentional skill, convincingly twisting and turning what evolved societies would consider unacceptable acts of human behavior into heroic actions that should be reserved for only the truly brave, real champions, those who work to make this country better, not angrier. But no, not paying taxes is heroic in the eyes of his transfixed followers. Maligned actions including but certainly not limited to exploiting women, bigotry, his failed business endeavors leading to four bankruptcies (how much did the American taxpayers pay for these indiscretions?), scamming hard workers like contractors out of their due pay, bald-faced lies, inconsistent statements flip-flopping his words, and a general aura of anger that has perpetuated a hatred of monumental group-think proportions – these are part of this man’s MO. This story comes straight out of a horror flick, and Trump’s the man behind the mask wielding a chainsaw that is carving out the flesh, heart, and soul of what I once considered a compassionate and loving society, into a damn bloody mess.

While this has nothing directly to do with hunger, right at this moment, it certainly will in the future were Trump to become President. The man has never held a public office. He’s never spent time with children living in poverty. He has zero compassion for the vulnerable and an apathy for women that is so flagrant, I am stunned all women are not grossly offended by his presence. Between a clear personality disorder, an arrogance as deep as the earth’s core, and a life of excessive luxury, the man is so far removed from the realities of regular middle-class Americans let alone those living in dire poverty and misery, that all hope would be lost on these people were he to assume any more power than he’s already stolen. I am watching, in awe, as this thing spins out of control, and I fear for the vulnerable and feel a deep sadness for the dissolving benevolence and vanishing grace, the resulting by-products of his so-called leadership.

Whine Almost Over

Several times today I walked over to the fridge, opened the door, and stood there peering at the food. Fortunately for me, there wasn’t that much to look at. I’m aware my heightened cantankerosity (I might have just made up that word) is driving me to seek instant gratification in the form of comfort food. And because of this Food Justice Diet, I am denying myself that form of comfort. And it’s pissing me off. But it’s a good thing, right? Should I not just sit here with my feelings and acknowledge them until they get bored and move on to someone else?

Yes, and no. For me, taking action helps alleviate discomfort. It’s not the easiest choice, but it’s certainly healthier than some other vice ideas that come to mind. I do love the creative process, and it’s helped me through difficult times. So, I practiced a new kind of WHOOSH. I created my first tangible artsy whoosh.

I actually feel a little better.

Version 2

The Language of Hunger

While some of my energy slowly recovered throughout the day and while my attitude has vastly improved, I have to admit that writing this post at this moment is about the last thing I want to do. Alas, I’m driven by the goal to help bring awareness to world hunger. I carry on. sigh.

Kenda Swartz Pepper

Check out the many different ways to say hunger. Do you recognize any?

飢餓Honger רעב FaimHunger饥饿Glad배고픔Hladπείναfome Głód Foameiголод hambre Sult空腹La fame الجوع Гладът Nälkään

I realize hunger in any other language is still hunger. Similar to the language of love, which can be expressed in the absence of words, the language of hunger can be as well. But unlike love, at least for some of us, hunger is a language wrought in pain and suffering. Regardless of a person’s native tongue, the language of hunger is universal and is spoken in struggle. It manifests in body language, physical appearance, dis-ease, illness, cognitive functioning, physical weakness, and emotional issues like depression. For children, it impacts their cognitive development, their physical development, and it contributes to learning disabilities. And all of those things lead to poor social functioning. Those who are living with hunger are at a tragic disadvantage to all others who receive proper nutrition and enough calories. 

Day 8 Food Intake
I weighed in at 114. I think my body is starting to eat itself.

day-8-food-intakeFat = 29%
Carbs = 62%
Protein = 12%

I know. Those number don’t equal 100, they equal 103. If all my faculties were in place, I’d tackle this problem with the enthusiasm of a high school linebacker. They are not. I will not.

Because I will be moving on to Latin America tomorrow, tonight’s meal was rice and beans. You’ll start to notice a theme here. BUT not just any ole beans, these are Mr. Pepper’s Mexican Beans with rice.

My husband is a master bean maker. His beans are so darn good that his recipe is featured in Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s cookbook The Vegan Table.

Recipe Scott Pepper’s Beans

Ingredients listed below are for a 12 quart pot. For 6-qt pot, halve all these ingredient amounts. Because we eat rice and beans on most nights of the week, we make big-time batches of this stuff and freeze individual quarts.


  • 7 lbs pinto or black beans (3.5 lbs of each)
  • 1 fist garlic
  • 7 chile peppers (Anaheim green for mild)
  • 7 Jalapenos
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 6 tbs chili powder
  • 6 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs red chili flakes
  • 3 tbs salt


  1. Wash beans repeatedly, soak overnight in large pot with plenty of extra water over beans
  2. Rinse beans repeatedly, fill pot with fresh water 2 inches over top of beans, turn heat on
  3. Chop peppers, onions and garlic and add to pot
  4. Add chili powder, cumin and red chili flakes
  5. Bring to a boil (lid on is quicker) and stir thoroughly, then turn heat down to simmer for 2 hours with the lid off so the house smells good
  6. Stir thoroughly every 30 mins or so
  7. Test for doneness by pulling a few beans out on a spoon and blowing on them, when cooked they split open as you blow on them
  8. Add salt, stir, and let cool

Makes about 10-12 quarts. Load into quart containers and freeze until needed. Keep as much liquid in with the beans as possible, to help maintain tenderness when reheated. Tastes good as bean soup too! For burritos, reheat a cup or two and drain the liquid off in a sieve. Add brown rice, salsa, onions, or steamed veggies. Get creative!

I never tire of Scott Pepper’s Mexicans Beans. Speaking of Scott Pepper. He is the best husband in the entire universe. Today he not only put up with my wildly swinging moods, but he ran errands for me and pampered me and fed me. I sure do love that guy.


However mean your life is, meet it and live it:  do not shun it and call it hard names.  Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.  Things do not change, we change.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. ~Henry David Thoreau


To read other posts in this series, click click click the links. Please share your comments!

Day 1:    The Food Justice Diet
Day 2:    Alarming and Curious Statistics
Day 3:    Finish Your Plate, There are Children Starving in Ethiopia
Day 4:    The Nameless Hungry
Days 5-6:  “Where Does She Get Her Protein??”
Day 7:    One Small NGO Making a Big Impact in Ethiopia
Day 8:    The Language of Hunger
Day 9:    Plenty of Soy Solutions in Latin America
Days 10-11: Can Small-scale farming feed the world?
Day 12: Why Organic Farming?
Days 13-14: The Have and Have-Nots of Southeast Asia
Day 15: Have You Eaten Today?
Day 16: Hunger in America
Days 17 & 18: Hunger’s Dirty Little Secret
Day 19: Eat Plants
Day 20: Watch This, Read That
Day 21: The Power of Activism




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