Hungry Brain

Today nothing was working.  It’s my third week of trying to eat vegan during the day, and everything was just…meh.  I had oatmeal that should have been a little sweeter and had too much nutmeg.  I tried to fix it by adding a little vanilla, but it was too much, so my bland oatmeal started to have this weird burning, perfum-y after taste.  The almond butter I got seems to have no oil, so it’s kind of a thick paste that wouldn’t spread over my apples.  It was a slow enough day at work, that I had a lot of time to think: Am I hungry? 

For most of the day, the answer was “no,” but I spent so much time wondering if I was hungry or just underwhelmed with everything I’d eaten, that I basically obsessed over the moment-to-moment status updates of my stomach.  Which means that I knew the moment that the answer switched from “no” to “yes.”  As a result, I was never a little hungry.  I was crazy, distractedly hungry right away. 

The thing is, lunch was actually good.  It was cauliflower with a sauce made of tomatoes, almonds, and garlic.  I had it over a salad with some bean sprouts that I bought on impulse yesterday.  But I was already a little cranky, and I felt like I’d eaten quite a bit, but none of it was satisfying, so I was tired of eating and just generally not having it.

I left work thinking about what I would have for dinner, and I knew I could have fajitas with lots of peppers and onions, but suddenly I was craving a Tex Mex staple: queso.  The moment the thought popped in my head, I couldn’t think of anything else.  My mom makes a great queso that is basically Velveeta and rotel, and it is bad ass.  Traffic was a mess because it was the first day of school, so I had a lot of time to sit and think about where I could get Velveeta.  There were two HEB grocery stores between my exact spot on the highway and my house, but I hate the grocery story. 

I am on record as thinking that the grocery store is up there with, like, the post office in terms of places I hate.  Plenty of people have promised they could turn me around on grocery stores, but they have all failed because I loathe it.  It’s nothing personal; I like HEB more than most grocery stores, but I cannot go there when I am cranky.  Instead–like a crazy person–I stopped at two gas stations and a drug store to find what is, essentially, fake cheese.  I know that is crazy, but I get irrational when I get hungry, and a grocery store just seemed too big.  It would take too long.  I just couldn’t do it.

I found a small block of Velveeta at the last place I stopped, which happened to be a biggish gas station where I once stumbled upon a public wine tasting that they were hosting in a space the size of a walk in closet.  That gas station has really got it going on, you guys.  Did I overpay for some weird, faux cheese that doesn’t even need to be refrigerated before it’s opened? You bet.  I have no regrets.

I got home and cut up a chunk of it in half a can of ranch style beans and microwaved.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was warm and comforting and satisfying.  I think one of the issues I ran into today was that I was experimenting with too many new dishes.  I was using new recipes or new ingredients, and when they all flopped, I was craving something familiar and comforting.  I fixated on queso, but I also thought about eggs.  I really miss eggs.  I also don’t totally understand which plants I can count on for a satisfying amount of protein vs. fiber or vitamins or whatever.  So, I picked up several cans of black beans, which I know how to cook in different ways for a reliably filling meal. 

Tomorrow is another day.

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