Gerard’s Blog: Just Off the Bloat

It’s late, and I’m not anywhere near ready for sleep.  Could have been the sugar.  Could have been the day’s dosing of several coffees.   Could have been the incessant gut rumbling and sense of bloating following the spree.

Let’s back up and start over.  I’m just back in Dawson after a 36-hour absence.  I had to dash to Whitehorse with my son for a couple of errands, and in my typical state of rush, “forgot” to take food.  So road food it was.  We avoided the deer, grouse and lynx, which were all seemingly offering themselves up to us, and decided to dine on commercial goods, which paradoxically in today’s world, might be deemed more “traditional” than the real meat of true road-kill.

So, here I am, wondering what to do with this bubbling bath of energy in the early morning hours.  And as I was clearing out the trash from the truck, I thought that some of you might be interested in a qualitative analysis of my brief dietary splurge.

First of all, I’d like to say that I am amazed by the volume of trash generated from food wrappers over this relatively short time:  there is a plastic grocery bag filled with wrappers, plastic and styrofoam.  This is more trash than our whole family has been generating over weeks on “the diet.”  Hmmm…

A search in this bag helps my recollection and tells the story.  There is a styrofoam cup that once held road coffee.  All in all, it was not a very satisfactory beginning to a  breach of caffeine absenteeism.   And of course, I knew better, but this experiment was not so much a deliberate act of temptation with the very best offerings that earth can present, as it was a simple indulgence in the type of foods that could easily be passed off as normal or acceptable daily intakes.  And sadly, every single subsequent coffee was disappointing, whether it was the “free coffee with gas” (which I now understand more fully the meaning), or the fill-ups with restaurant breakfast, or the bought coffee on the run.  Nothing to miss there…

There are more empty packages that once contained the likes of sweet chili Doritos, hickory sticks, an ice-cream bar, a “family pack” size of sushi, road-side popcorn, a milk shake and monster drinks.  We’d all have to agree that these choices are not quite consistent with the recommendations of the Canada Food Guide and that there is plenty of room there for dietary improvement, but the truth is that I could once eat this with impunity.

Not now.  I’ve been buzzing for the past day, and probably even through this medium, you can hear me.  I feel bloated and for the first time in awhile, no longer have that familiar emptiness in the tummy.  But, I do not feel satiated:  I feel thirsty, unsatisfied and strangely… hungry.

I think the hunger is simply a disguised craving for more strong flavors.  And that was the most striking observation.  The flavors were so overwhelmingly intense, whether that be salt or sweet or hot spice, and this intensity seemed to successfully sabotage my ability to differentiate between need and desire.  In a world where that is the benchmark, how does the subtlety and nuance of real and nutritious food stand a chance?  And how will we even begin to make gains on the obesity epidemic?

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the simplicity of my hot cup of water right now and I look forward to the search for gentle and genuine flavors tomorrow.

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