No time for fasting! Bring on the cinnamon swirl French toast with blueberries!

Have you ever noticed how some things don’t matter unless you’re specifically forbidden to do them? I’m not speaking simple temptation here, I talking about restriction-created psychologically based hungers and cravings. The subject is fasting.


I get hungry just thinking about it!


That’s exactly what I’m talking about, 9. As we’re headed down the home stretch of Lent the subject is timely. When I was fourteen I gave up sugar for Lent.


Don’t remind me, I’m right in the middle of that!


I remember it well, Lily. Have you baked the double batch of butterscotch and chocolate chip cookies yet and not had one single nibble?


It is so not fair that you know everything about me.


In sixth grade we gave up watching the Flip Wilson Show for Lent- –


The what?


It debuts in two years, 9, in 1970. It’s comedian Flip Wilson in a bunch of comedy sketches. He plays all kinds of wacky characters, including Geraldine. Bonus: a cute boy that we really like watches it, too.


Mark watches it?


No, Steve. I don’t know what took us so long to notice him, he looked just like a twelve-year-old Clark Gable. But his family had to move at the end of sixth grade because of his dad’s job. I wonder if I’ll ever see him again?


Mrs. Swanson’s sixth grade, the year “The Flip Wilson Show” was our Lenten fasting sacrifice. Both Steve and Mark are in this photo!

I hate to be a downer but so far we haven’t, Lily. His family visits town when you’re fifteen but, sadly, you have chicken pox and can’t leave the house for the duration. I guess you can say we’ve been on a Steve fast for 52 years.


What’s the first thing adults think of when they hear the word fasting? If you’re in your fifties, sixties or beyond the word colonoscopy may spring to mind.




Forget I mentioned it, 9, it’s a health screening thing people do these days, once every ten years if you’re lucky. The last time I did it a 3-day fast was involved, culminating with taking some pills and drinking a ton of water that makes you- -on second thought, we’ll skip that part for now. Enjoy your childhood. You don’t have to thank me.


Recently I’ve confronted a less stringent type of fasting on a daily basis, but the way it plays on my imagination can be off-the-wall insane. It’s a simple thing that bazillions of us have to do. Raise your hand if you have a hypoactive thyroid, the sluggish kind. Nice to see you all! And how many have to take something, daily, to improve thyroid function? Okay, most of you. So. We all know there needs to be a 4-hour window between the medication and taking a calcium supplement, right? And fasting for one hour before and one hour after the thyroid medication is taken.


Ah, for the days of yore! I’m not referring to when I was nine, like 9, or when I was fourteen, like Lily. In fact, those times could be downright brutal. Lily, for example, sets her waist-length hair (with the aid of Dippity-Do) on pink sponge rollers every other night and sleeps on them. Nine has other sorrows, like Nixon’s victory in the 1968 Presidential Election.


Don’t remind me!


Maybe it’s because I write fiction, but here’s what my mind does with the calcium and thyroid medication protocol. I used to have calcium only at night so it was easy to keep it clear of the thyroid meds first thing in the morning. So simple- -I only had to fast for an hour after that and there’s always so much to do first thing in the morning (feed the cat, check the email, save the world, etc.). Now, with the new “improving bone density” lifestyle I’ve embraced since being diagnosed with a wee bit of osteoporosis I take a new calcium supplement twice a day. . .




So you’re the one with the math aptitude, Lily. I’ve finally settled into a routine of having the calcium (which is best taken with food) with breakfast, then wait four hours to take the thyroid med, BUT I have to fast one hour before and one hour after the thyroid med.

Fasting not! Let’s put chocolate chips in the oatmeal. . .

For some reason, this drives me bananas! Maybe it’s because I’m more awake in the 10 A to noon part of the day than I am when I first wake up, but it can be hunger Hell the second I realize can’t eat until the second I can.


I eat a solid breakfast and usually have a little something more before the fasting cutoff time, yet this condition persists. Today, for example, at the beginning of the fasting time slot I suddenly craved a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, something I haven’t eaten in probably ten years. Where did this impulse come from? And it’s far from unique. . .


Bottom line: there are a ton of ways we can make ourselves crazy. These days we are hyper-aware of what exact minute and second it is RIGHT NOW, perfect lubricant for obsessive behavior. This awareness makes it hard to set aside thoughts of denial for even a two-hour window of time. No wonder we’ve been agitated into higher rates of consumerism and I-don’t know-what-ism.


Time to step back and fast from the fasting!


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