Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I hear discussions of "hunger" vs "appetite" as if one were legitimate and the other bad. Actually both are good. Hunger means it's time to eat, appetite means you will really enjoy it. I think we are talking about something else.
There are times when I just want to eat, like there is an Itch going from my mouth, down my throat and into my stomach. The only way to scratch it is to eat. But like all itches, scratching makes it itch more. Remember when your mother told you not to scratch a rash, it will just make it worse? If only she knew. And then there is the back itch, where it starts in one place, and when you can find someone to scratch it, it moves to another place, then another. It's like starting with pretzels and ending with cookies.
Is that hunger? Obviously not. Is it appetite? Actually no. That junk is enjoyable, but not satisfying. Alas, there is no calamine lotion to alleviate The Itch. When I have The Itch, it is never for fine food. Whoever snuck downstairs at night to gorge on Beef Wellington. Only junk can scratch it, and the quantities involved would make me feel worse that the Itch that started it.
But unlike poison ivy, which takes a good week to go away, The Itch goes away in about 20 minutes most times if I follow Mom's advice and just don't scratch. I'll sip on coffee or go for a walk. Or both. Travel mugs are a blessing. Anything to hang on because I KNOW The Itch will fade and disappear.
I am very active and when I sit down to a meal it is with an appetite, whetted by the smells of preparation. I bless my appetite because it is what allows me to enjoy my meals, look forward to my meals, relish every bite. I think it's time to stop deriding appetite.
And find ways not to scratch The Itch.