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The Food Cranks

This weekend I spent time with a significant portion of my family to celebrate a batch of birthdays. Not surprisingly, we talked about food many times over. We discussed what to do about feeding the little kids among us and how to handle the different meals we’d all be eating together. Given that it is also Lent, some of us had other dietary restrictions to consider as well in the menu planning. Along the lines of that latter topic and fasting for religious reasons, we segued into talking about The Food Cranks.

Just what are these, you ask? Well, as someone who is notorious for having them, I should warn you that they aren’t very pleasant. My sister who is an EMT defined it as not just about being hungry. It’s more like getting to the point of needing to eat where your blood sugar has started on the swift decline towards crashing and you become very irritable and, well, really, really cranky. You reach the stage where you’ll snap at everything and everyone for no rational reason until you can get some food and raise your blood sugar back up to normal operating levels. For me, this also happens if I have to wander around from place to place to find something to eat, if what I really want isn’t available and I really need to have a meal at that very moment.

Since we were dealing with a lot of little ones this past weekend, feeding them before the Cranks set in and Meltdown became imminent was very important so our meals revolved around their little tummies. As my other sister pointed out, however, I am also one of the folks’ whose natural constitution needed to be factored into that equation. This came back to me when I was traveling last month. With my internal time clock out of sync, I had to be very careful to make sure that I was heading towards food when the first sign of being hungry appeared. This didn’t always work out so well, but I managed not to have too many problems. It had been a while since I’d really had to consider the Cranks and their impact on my personality.

One of my sisters used to phrase it like this when we traveled together or were on a family roadtrip. The minute I made the tiniest comment about kind of getting a bit peckish or saying, “I could kind of go for something to eat in a little bit,” she’d holler out, “We need to find something right now for lunch/dinner/snack!” She never wanted to tempt the Cranks out of hiding. All of my siblings seemed to agree with her on this. (Nothing like having four of your five siblings agree, “Yeah, you do get really, really cranky when you need to eat something.”) I didn’t realize that they had such a reputation.

I’ve tried to be better over the years about making sure I listen to my body to know the signs and that I carry snacks with me. Unfortunately, sometimes I just forget, and with the amount of running around I do during my day going from meeting to meeting, there are times when I just don’t realize how long it has been since I last had a meal until it is almost too late to short-circuit the process. Other times, there’s just nothing that I want to eat or nothing suitable to eat at the time I need to put some proper nourishment into my body. A street-cart pretzel doesn’t really cut it. So, I do apologize in advance if you end up meeting the Food Cranks on my behalf. They don’t really mean to be so irritable; they just can’t help it. They’re kind of hungry right now.

Buon appetito!

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