Stress eating

by Sarah on August 30, 2014

{Echinops in the Golan Heights, Israel}

Air raid sirens send me in a panic. This summer we had many of them. Aside from that life goes on as usual- work, home and the daily routine- with a few changes to avoid being bombed. Until I acclimatized to the new danger level- like being perpetually at the start line of a 200 dash, waiting for the gun to go off- I was hyper-alert and depleted of energy. Every wail of motorcycle and every cry of a child would trigger false starts- jolts of wasted adrenaline, pulse racing to nowhere. I had to wait an interminable second before I could discern if I should run to the bomb shelter, or if it was just background noise mimicking disaster. It’s like going rappelling for the first time, leaning back into the void with only a thin rope between me and oblivion.  I had to trust that I’d make it to the safe room on time, trust that the Iron Dome would deflect the rockets, trust that shrapnel would land in empty areas.

{Wild figs from the Golan Heights}

The situation has me craving an American diet that saw it’s heyday in the 1970’s- sugar, carbohydrates, butter and potato chips. In my stressed, adrenaline zapped state, chocolate and pasta are my salvation.  Corn dogs and even deep fried candy bars seem like perfectly sensible food.  There are times I wish they were available in the Middle East.  I know what I should eat but I’m not remotely interested in a garden salad flecked with sunflower seeds. Just give me ice cream and I’ll be happy, if only until the next run to the shelter.

I’ve also been reading too much news. It’s not good. None of it. And it gets worse. It’s hard to disconnect myself from my reality-a reality which consists of friends and family across most of Israel under rocket attack. Even when my area is “calm” I worry about those who are not out of danger.  And so it goes for the last two months. My addiction to minute by minute updates and political commentary is a habit broken only by forced distraction- cooking and baking are my remedies for the chaotic world.

{Ayit Stream, Golan Heights}

Yet even rockets have become the norm, just another annoyance, like bomb scares and security checks at the mall that Israelis have become accustomed to. I try to get on with it, try to take it in stride and enjoy what summer has to offer- wild figs picked on excursions to the north. Lychee, mangoes, plums and peaches, all locally grown, fill up the stalls at the green grocer. And most recently, pomegranates have made their appearance, a sign that the New Year is approaching, and with it perhaps the hope for a more peaceful future.



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