Posted by Alivia Ashenfarb, New Media coordinator of Team RICONN
I don’t remember anyone “craving” chocolate during our first week of training at Camp Wilmot. I don’t remember anyone craving pizza during our second week of training in Lowell. No one went around saying they needed meat or ice cream or their favorite cereal. No, no one mentioned craving anything in the beginning.
In the third week of Climate Summer, however, when teams separated, the “cravings” arrived full throttle, at least for Team RICONN. My teammates and I broke down in cries for chocolate, Mexican food, more fruits and vegetables, and ice cream, mostly at night, and mostly after long travel days between or within communities. (And the night we did appease these cries– with mint chocolate chip and cookie dough ice cream– we had never been happier.)
Over breakfast, the night after our cravings had been satisfied, I asked my teammates about their “craving patterns” so far in Climate Summer. We all mostly agreed that our cravings intensified since we left training and spent our first week alone as Team RICONN. Some of us said the types of food we craved changed– we wanted more sweets and “colorful foods.”
I asked why we didn’t crave a lot of foods during the two week training period. Here’s a list of reasons we came up with:
1. Wilmot, new Hampshire’s blue skies, lakes, trees, and mountains distracted us.
2. We were a group of about 30 strangers that were excited to get to know each other. We had a lot of talking to do!
3. Climate Summer interns bought food in bulk so there was plenty of food to go around. We could always stop into the pantry for a granola bar if we were hungry.
4. We didn’t exercise a lot so we were never starving. 5. Nutella (and the various desserts we made) held us over on the sweets we think a lot of adults are conditioned to crave. 6. If we couldn’t find something to satisfy our craving, we didn’t complain or dwell on it because there was always something to do.
7. We didn’t have connection to the Internet or TV so we enjoyed everything else around us, including the food, to the fullest. 8.Our teammates did a good job at “balancing” our daily meals with different food groups.
So why are we craving foods more now? Here’s a list of what we came up with:
1. We don’t buy in bulk (there is no wholesale store around us) and since we are eating on a budget, we can’t buy too much at other stores.
2. Our meals are less balanced because we don’t buy in bulk and are restricted to smaller stores with fewer lines of products.
3. We are biking more and are thus more hungry!
4. Biking often leads to daydreaming… all sorts of daydreaming… including what the ultimate meal awaiting us would look like!
4. We are working really hard to promote our cause and our events and we sometimes look to food as rewards or distractions.
5. We are back to using the Internet and watching TV and videos. Studies do show that people eat more when in front of a screen.
6. We are fewer people and more closely resemble a typical family where we can voice our desires and ideas (sometimes for food) openly and thoroughly. (We aren’t 30 people anymore where some thoughts get lost in the crowd.)
Whether we are craving more foods now because we are more tired, busy, digitally “connected,” and surrounded by cars, stores, and city streets rather than Wilmot’s serene setting, our cravings tell us about ourselves. They tell us about our physical, mental, and probably spiritual states. They, like our social, emotional, and physical needs should probably be met– at least pat of the time– because otherwise they linger and at least in Climate Summer, make us grumpy!