Can you? Can you trust your appetite?
Surely you are supposed to resist, deny and ignore your appetite, your hunger and your cravings…
I have some good news for you, hunger is your friend, but you need to be a better friend to hunger.
Appetite relates to hunger and specifically a craving or desire for particular foods. It is a vital and incredibly powerful thing. Appetite evolved long ago to tell you what your body needs. Every other species in the natural world knows what to eat and when to eat it and also how much to eat. Wild animals don’t need a nutritionist or clever clogs blogs to tell them what they should eat and when. Their body tells them and they do exceptionally well.
It’s the same reason that you don’t get the same joy from eating the same meals every day. It gets boring and you fancy these meals less and less. This is the case in all but the most robotic eaters who have little interest in the joy of eating and take meals purely for sustenance.
Rather than labour the point any further, I would like to illustrate the power and intelligence of appetite by sharing a short story of human survival.
Steven Callahan survived 76 days adrift in the Atlantic Ocean after his yacht sank in 1981. A life raft was his home for almost 11 weeks and initially he survived on emergency water supply and some meagre rations. He collected rain water for drinking and when food rations ran out he resorted to catching fish over the side of the raft. He found that fish were plentiful and easy to catch. Initially he would catch and kill them, throwing away the heads and yucky innards and feasting on the raw fleshy meat. Most interesting of all is how he describes the way his appetite changed over time. He stopped enjoying the fleshy meat and relished the innards and even specifically craved eyeballs of all things. His appetite changed as his body became depleted of certain vitamins and minerals. It turns out that eyeballs are rich in Vitamin A, Carotene and essential fatty acids and the livers and guts rich in other key nutrients that Callahan’s body was in dire need of. Eventually he ate little flesh and feasted mostly on the stuff that had initially repulsed him. His body knew what it needed and it sent irresistible messages through the power of appetite to keep him alive.
These days, appetite gets confused by our weird diet that includes combinations of foods that are not found together in nature and we rarely pick up on more than the simple sense of hunger.
If you had never had ready access to sugar of example, you wouldn’t experience sugar cravings, you’d get a hankering for your staple energy food which might be eggs, fatty meat or the occasional root vegetable. Next time you’re at the super market or local green grocer, stand back and look around at the fresh produce. Take it all in and take a note of the things that appeal to you. Think about why they might appeal to you and consider picking your veg and fruit based on this seemingly strange exercise and see what ends up in your basket/trolley.
Basing your diet and your go-to recipes on a variety of fresh vegetables is also the best way to retrain and regain that natural healthy relationship with your appetite. When you’re stood in front of the fridge trying to workout what to have for dinner, you’ll have a fully stocked array of fresh goodness and colours that will inspire your appetite to tell you exactly what you need.
If you’re intrigued to read the full story of one man’s survival at sea, click the pic to buy…