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Food Fatigue

Food Fatigue
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
Food Fatigue
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

A few years ago, I realized that I’m simply bored with food — not all the time, just sometimes, and not all food, but some of our go-to foods. Some folks refer to this feeling as food fatigue, while others call it food boredom or meal boredom. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s annoying, and I feel guilty about revealing it because I know there are millions of hungry and starving people around the world who would love to have my problem — access to so much food that I sometimes lose motivation to eat and slip into a food rut. Still, the truth is this: the older I get, the less interested I am in both making meals and eating food in general, and that scares me for three reasons.

First, I have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and skipping a meal or snack can precipitate shaking, sweating and a severe headache that only subsides after I consume food, pop an aspirin and take a nap. My husband says I get “hangry,” but it is much more complicated than that, and something I manage on a daily basis. So even when nothing sounds good to me, I force myself to go into the kitchen and eat something — anything. But it’s getting harder and harder to make myself eat, and so I’ve been eating a lot of junk lately, which isn’t like me at all. The second reason is that up until about three years ago, I found great joy and satisfaction in sitting down at a table with family or friends and consuming my favorite foods — fresh, sweet watermelon; a ripe, juicy peach; chicken and dumplings; fried shrimp with cocktail sauce; tiny green field peas (like Cream 40 or Lady peas); homemade buttermilk biscuits; Mom’s potato salad; Mom’s Thanksgiving dressing, etc. This food funk has started interfering with one of the greatest pleasures in my life — eating.

The final reason lies 13 or more years down the road of life, when I’m 70 or 80 years old. I’m concerned that my food boredom will escalate, and I’ll stop eating like I should, and I’ll just start wasting away. We’ve all seen elderly folks in our families and communities lose so much weight that they become weak, frail and unsteady — like a gust of wind could blow them over. Is this in my future? I think a robust appetite is key to preventing this from happening and maintaining my independence and quality of life.

So I’ve got to puzzle out this issue and find a way to regain my love of food and the pleasure associated with gobbling it down. I’ve tried a few online suggestions that have helped some.

I read that crunchy foods still appeal to those who have experienced similar food fatigue feelings, so I’ve added more raw vegetables and nuts to our meals, and I keep a can of lightly salted mixed nuts in the kitchen cabinet for snacking. I’ve also been trying new recipes and different spice combinations here and there trying to reignite my once-healthy appetite. I made an Indian-style curry rice salad two weeks ago that I devoured, and I’ve been using a lot of spicy salsa in my dishes lately.

I have not mentioned my food boredom to my doctor. Last year, during my annual exam, I mentioned to him that my thighs felt numb sometimes, and that I was concerned that my legs weren’t getting adequate blood circulation. He looked me right in the eye and said, “I’ve seen this a lot since the pandemic. My patients think they have something wrong with them, but it’s all in their head.” Needless to say, I’m not going to tell him that I’ve been bored with food for going on three years now. I’m sure that’s all in my head, too. And who knows? Maybe it is. I’ve read that there could be a psychological component to my disinterest in food.

My husband cooks some evenings and tries to create meals that appeal to me. He’s 50/50 at this point, but he gets an A+ for effort.

“What sounds good tonight?” he asks.

I respond by saying, “Delicious, nutritious food.”

“You’re going to have to give me a little more than that,” he says.

“Nothing really sounds good to continued from page

me,” I add. “Anything you feel like making is fine.”

I appreciate his trying to help me through this issue more than he will ever know.

While it seems weird that a perfectly healthy middle-aged woman would grow tired of food, it apparently is a rather common problem. I have three friends who told me they are in the same boat. “Let us know what you figure out,” they said to me last week.

So I’ll continue to fight my food fatigue and find answers for myself and others going through a similar food funk. By the way, what should I make for dinner tonight? Or tomorrow night? Or the next day?

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