I know many of you have been wondering what my fast was like. Sixteen days with just an empty plate is a long time. How did I get through it?
Like anything you have never done before, it was an adventure. In some ways it was not what I expected.
I started the fast after consulting with my doctor. He advised having a source of electrolytes and vitamins (multivitamin pill and half bottle of Gatorade for breakfast), lots of water (lunch!) and some protein (half glass of almond milk for dinner).
I felt hungry a lot during the first two days. After that my body seemed to get the message that I was not going to be feeding it. I felt the lack of energy that comes from going without food – I was tired every day, especially in the afternoon, and needed a nap. One particular Friday it took three naps to get through the day. Although I had planned a reduced schedule I might have needed to cut back further. On a few occasions I felt faint, and this needed care of course.
The mental challenge was bigger. If you look around you see food-related advertising everywhere – restaurants, grocery stores, food items. My lowest point was when I happened on a full buffet table stretched out in front of me. Imagine you’re a person who cannot afford to buy enough food; these constant reminders would be like rubbing salt in a wound.
My challenge — which was not easy — was far easier than that of a food-insecure person. I was not eating by choice. I knew all along when the fast would end, and that I could end it at any time if I needed to. The hungry person is not hungry by choice, and there may not be an end in sight for them. Many food insecure individuals are continually on the edge, sometimes okay and sometimes not in an ongoing state of uncertainty. I had certainty.
I also experienced anxiety. I am not sure if this was because I was confronted with new challenges at a time when my energy level was low.
These mental challenges were offset for me by the many messages of support I received. Thanks to all!
Spiritually speaking, I also regularly sensed the strong support of the many people who were praying for me.
I ended the fast angry and disappointed, because the House passed the budget resolution unchanged on the same day when I broke the fast in the company of Robin and Bread friends. Angry and disappointed because this policy is so wrong and so immoral. I did not expect one man’s protest to change Congress’s direction, but I do hope I inspired others to be a voice for the hungry. Our country is better than this.
So, what comes next? Congress continues their work on the budget, and we should continue to do what we can to bring love to the public square.
Tell your Representative and Senators – NO cuts to SNAP! Please urge your network to action by posting your thoughts and links to this blog, Bread for Indiana’s and Bread for the World’s Facebook pages.