Food is a basic human need, of which we are reminded every few hours. Or when we see a tv commercial for burgers, pizzas, or tacos. Or I mention burgers, pizzas, or tacos. See? Not all hunger is created equal.
Let’s review the three types of hunger.
Real hunger. It’s been a few hours since you last ate. Your stomach growls. Perhaps you feel light-headed. That hunger goes away when you eat something.
Hedonic hunger. Food is immensely pleasurable. “Hedonic” derives from the Greek word for delight and pleasure. It’s what allows you to say yes to a second piece of pie after eating your third helping at Thanksgiving dinner. Or makes your mouth water when you smell popcorn at the movies or Cinnabon at the mall.
Emotional hunger. We are hungry for something that food will not satisfy, no matter how hard we try. We will eat to the bottom of the bag of Doritos or the half-gallon of Ben & Jerry’s in a futile attempt to momentarily soothe away our sadness, anxiety, or loneliness. It’s a hole that can’t be filled with food. Trust me. I’ve tried.
So, what’s this got to do with our current situation? I think the hoarders are anxious people trying to self-soothe and gain some control over what is essentially uncontrollable.
Here are some healthier suggestions for the rest of us who are left trying to feed ourselves and our families.
The basics: Plan meals, including some fruits and vegetables. Make a list. Shop in-store only once a week. Remain flexible. Don’t buy sixteen of something you only need one of.
- Shopping online is not new to me. Amazon and I are old friends. But some others in my demographic (ok, boomers) may have been dragging their feet. This whole “social distancing” thing may push them to join the 21st century.
- Start with your neighborhood supermarket. Many markets have offered curbside pickup of online orders for years and are ramping up their delivery services (and hiring new people!) in response to the crisis. Some are offering special hours for seniors.
- Reach out—from a distance. Call or text seniors or medically vulnerable neighbors to see if they need anything before you head to the store.
- Meal prep services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh will deliver all you need to prepare two or three tasty, complete dinners (protein, veg, & carb) per week to your door. If you’re bored with the canned soups and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese you’ve stockpiled, this could be a solution. You’ll also learn how to cook.
- Order in. We enjoy eating out once or twice a week and want our favorite restaurants to stay in business. Don’t you? Occasionally, we drive through or order delivery. A variety of delivery services (Post Mates, Grub Hub) also serve our area and we can order online and feel good that we are supporting local businesses and drivers.
- Remember to thank the workers who are serving you. Sure, it’s their job, but they are putting themselves and their families at risk to serve you. Now is not the time to complain.
Finally, maintain your distance. Wash your hands. This is a time for us all to pull together, but separately.