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Hopeful Food

(post, Trista Cornelius)

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The Exhaustion struck for the last three days, no matter that I’ve given up caffeine, eat an uber healthy diet, get enough sleep, blah, blah, blah.  Yesterday, I’d had it.  I gave up.  For at least 30 minutes, I gave up my belief that food is transformative, that you are what you eat, that how you eat shapes the quality of your life, that food is medicine.  

Those 30 minutes made me realize a key ingredient in my enjoyment of food:  hope.  Until I gave up, I’d not realized that each meal held hope, hope for continued health, for better health, for longevity, for a good rest of the day, for a good tomorrow.  

Imagining meals without hope as an ingredient, meals without potential, without the possibility of pumping up my forearms like Popeye and launching me over life’s obstacles seemed tasteless, textureless, purposeless.  

Maybe my seemingly simple goal of getting through full days on my own natural energy, not propped up by caffeine or any other crutch, is unrealistic.  Striving for this ideal, however, has given me a relationship to food I would not have had otherwise.  It’s never “just food.”  Each meal is a chance to rest, to recuperate, to restore, to re-establish my ideals and brush off the humdrum good-enoughs and strive for more.  

I might not have the perfect formula for staving off The Exhaustion, but my life is better for trying.  Maybe instead of approaching each meal with expectation, with the goal of vitality, of immortality, I should listen for what it has to teach.  Maybe, in striving for this one thing I desire, I’m missing other lessons in food.  Maybe it’s not the lesson I seek, but isn’t that how all wisdom comes along—-not wrapped in the package you expect?  

(Photo:  Hawthorne blossoms in an empty liquid vitamin jar.)