Lessons from Alone: Are You Hungry?


Alone teaches us what being hungry really means. SPOILER ALERT: it’s not what Americans think.

So much is said about the “food desert” here in the United States.

I’m not so sure one exists. Maybe we have a chronic spelling problem and we’re really suffering from a “food dessert”?

I’ve seen people go to food banks and throw food away because they didn’t like what they received. They complain about Brussel sprouts or getting ham again. Instead of gratitude, they grouse (and I’m not talking about the tasty bird.)

Last year here in Tennessee, lawmakers proposed not allowing junk food to be bought with EBT benefits. One lady protested. She claimed she, as a free-food recipient was entitled to eat cookies.

I beg to differ. Humans–American, Africans, Chinese–people deserve to have nutritious food. Vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat, nuts, tofu, etc. supply us with essential nutrients. We can’t survive in a healthy manner eating Oreos alone. (Sorry, Nabisco. Your cookies are to die for, but I’d die if I only had Oreos to eat.)

People who toss aside vegetables or protein because they don’t like them aren’t hungry. They’re merely suffering from appetite.

Although in a broader sense, Proverbs 27:7 applies to more than physical hunger, but how accurate a picture it paints of our entitlement. “One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.”

One of the driving forces on my favorite reality show Alone is hunger. After contestants have thrown up a temporary shelter, they search for food. When they catch a fish or kill a mouse, they are grateful. To a person, they pray, “Thank you, (whatever animal) for your life. Then they use every portion of the critter–the entrails for bait or maybe a skin for a carrying bag. The rest they eat.

As we watch them around their fire pulling thin fish bones from their mouths, boiling the heads for soup, eating every last morsel without any seasoning, genuine gratitude shines in their demeanor. They were hungry.

When I’m hungry, I’ll eat more than one apple and only the seeds and stem remain. Maybe I’ll savor fish or pea soup–neither my go-to food. When I’m very hungry, cookies or ice cream don’t matter. I pick from the bowl of tomatoes or eat raw green beans as I harvest from my garden.

Proverbs 13:25  says, “The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is in need.”

What is important to your life? Could you rank them in order?

We need food and shelter and each other. BMWs, filet mignons, or diamonds are sprinkles on the cupcake. Be grateful you are clothed and fed and housed.

More important, be grateful you have a God who loves you and will not see “the righteous abandoned or their children begging for bread” Psalm 37:25.

Shameless self-promotion

In Borrowed Lives, Meredith Jaynes finds three abandoned girls. They don’t care what they’re fed. They love to eat, and eat gratefully–even leprechauns (see book two).




  1. Cleo Lampos says:

    So relevant to today. Thank you for putting in words what I have felt for a long time.

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