Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dealing with Appetite Fatigue - The Common Sense Approach

Appetite fatigue can actually overpower your feelings of hunger. Your mind and your body may simply refuse to eat if you develop appetite fatigue. This simple fact could cause some very serious issues with your ability to survive. If food supplies become severely limited, you will need to have a plan to avoid appetite fatigue. It is a problem that can be dealt with if you use some common sense. Your meal planning, your food storage and your cooking techniques all play an important role in avoiding the dangers of appetite fatigue.

Meal Planning

Planning your meals can be a critical component of the ability to maintain a diet that is effective for your survival and helps to avoid appetite fatigue. One of the main areas where you should focus your efforts is in portion control. Proper portion control actually deals with two major areas of your meal planning.

The first area of concern deals with cooking too large a portion of a single food item. This can create a condition that is aptly called “left-over syndrome”. This is most often exemplified by the annual Thanksgiving turkey dinner. We prepare a bountiful feast that couldn’t possibly be consumed in a single day. In the process of trying to avoid wasting excess food, we continue to eat that food item in the form of “left-overs”. We often try to consume what’s left before it can go bad in order to avoid waste. This is quite often an unsuccessful attempt. In the process of cooking too much, we actually risk developing an avoidance of that food item.   

The second area of concern usually deals with individual portion control. By controlling individual portions of a food item, you avoid the risk of consuming too much of a particular item. This could lead to an avoidance of that particular food item. It’s much easier to serve smaller portions and then serve a snack or dessert item to give the meal a little additional variety and added calorie content.

Food Storage

A commonly overlooked part of a well-stocked food pantry is comfort foods. Comfort foods can be a wide variety of items from chocolate to hard candies. It can also include dehydrated fruits or nuts. While quite often these are not the best item in terms of shelf life, they are an important factor in keeping morale high and stress low. In the stress created by a survival situation, the positive effects of these foods will become very important. Comfort foods will also be vitally important when young children may be a part of the equation. Even simple things like canned fruit can be a big appetite enhancer and help you to avoid appetite fatigue. Comfort foods may even help to increase your awareness and your energy levels.

Cooking Techniques

People are guided by their senses. We use our senses of smell, sight, touch and taste in our environment on a daily basis. Our senses form the foundation for our reactions to everything we do, including eating. This can be an important consideration when preparing meals that will help you avoid appetite fatigue.

We like to touch our food almost as much as we like to eat it. This is something every young child has demonstrated time and again. It’s always a lot better if they can push it into their mouths with their stubby little fingers, especially if they’ve had a chance to squeeze it a little first. This can also be seen in the popularity of the simple sandwich. We not only get to eat it but we get to hold it in our hands and may be a direct result of our younger days. This also accounts for the popularity of certain “finger foods” like French fries. We then derive an almost symbiotic pleasure from its consumption. The touch factor can become almost as important as the taste.

The taste factor is also important. Any meals you prepare must also satisfy our taste buds. Seasonings will make all the difference in the world in satisfying this aspect of our appetite. Properly seasoned food can make a big difference but only if it is done correctly and in the proper proportion. Too much seasoning can also ruin a meal, especially where basic seasonings like salt and pepper are involved.

The smell factor can also play a significant role. We have an automatic defense reaction to things that smell bad. This reaction is a part of our basic survival instincts. We automatically think in terms of illness or death prior to the consumption of anything that smells bad. Any meals we consume must have an appealing smell or we may find ourselves automatically rejecting that food item.

Meals must also appeal to our sense of sight. If it looks good, we tell ourselves it should taste good also. We have even developed conditioned responses to many food items because of their appearance. A pile of plain mashed potatoes is much more appealing to our sense of sight when they're smothered with a little brown gravy.

All of these factors can play a significant role in providing meals that allow you to avoid the problems associated with appetite fatigue. It’s important to remember that some people tolerate a lack of variety better than others. Having a plan to deal with appetite fatigue will help you avoid its problems.

Got appetite?

Staying above the water line!



Gorges Smythe said...

I'd never really considered the subject, but it all makes sense.

John said...

We don't often think of how food appeals to our senses as much as it does. Thanks for bringing it up. The idea of portion control and avoiding leftover syndrome is important, too. In a true survival situation, leftovers will likely be appreciated more as hunger mounts.
I would suggest cutting down on sugary foods now as part of one's prepping strategy because doing so heightens the flavor of foods, especially the genuine sweetness of fruits. We've dulled our tastebuds with so much of what's in our modern diets that it's no wonder we keep wanting more and have an obesity problem.

Matt said...

Great piece. This is critical when it comes to your kids' survival. Small children simply won't comprehend that they need to eat what's offered to survive. If they turn down your beans and rice long enough they will grow weak and likely become more susceptible to other ailments. This is a good reminder to keep treats on hand to help motivate the little guys to eat up!

riverwalker said...

To: Gorges Smythe

It's a sad fact that we live in a country where an excess of food is more often the norm. As a result, we abuse food in some of the worst ways possible.

We have a tendency to eat larger portions even when we aren't that hungry and waste too much food without a thought to where our next meal could be coming from if something goes wrong.

Thanks Gorges.


riverwalker said...

To: John

I think the sensory appeal of food is more important than many people realize. The success of many fast food joints is probably based more on sensory appeal than the actual food itself.

There are so many products that focus on the "touch factor" it's amazing. french fries, BBQ wings, etc. all rely as much on the "touch factor" as they do on sight and taste.

I talked to a fast food restaurant chain that fixed lagging sales on a drink product(shakes). They fixed the problem by simply adding whipped cream and a cherry to dress it up a bit and make it more "sensory appealing".

There will probably be a great many people who will have a difficult time adjusting to a more limited diet if food supplies where to become severely limited.

Thanks John.


riverwalker said...

To: Matt

I firmly believe that small children will have a very difficult time adjusting to even small changes in their regular diet.

They more than anyone else will need something of a familiar nature to keep their appetites in a healthy state (i.e., comfort foods).

Thanks Matt.


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