Ever since I was a child, I was told the same thing that all of us were in that it was a healthy and smart thing to eat three square meals a day. The thought and practice was to start the day off right included eating a good, healthy breakfast. This was inevitably followed by lunch, a snack, dinner, and desert. Over time, the practice of eating three large meals was gradually changing to the idea that it was even better to eat five to seven mini, small meals a day and this was called “grazing.”
The logic behind all this is that we need calories and energy to operate most efficiently throughout the day. If one failed to start the day with breakfast, they would be tired, lethargic, and inattentive. Lunch was programmed into our lives from the start with lunch breaks starting in school and continuing into our work lives and beyond.
I bought into this for a long time and tried to eat three meals a day. However, as we all know, life is busy and fast and full of way more to do than one could possibly have time for. I think a lot of people sacrifice their sleep before their meals to accommodate this busy and crazy life we live. I could get away with that here and there in short runs throughout my life, but I could not miss a good night’s sleep for most of my life.
I do what I can to make the most of my time. But one day as I was taking the third shit of the day, probably after a half a dozen pisses, I began to question this age-old idea of eating three meals a day in a big way. I thought of how much time, money, and energy was going into identifying, deciding, planning, procuring, eating, and cleaning up after these all these meals. I thought of how many times I was using the bathroom a day and it dawned on me what a large percentage of my and everyone’s day was spent on these activities.
I thought of how much of the food that I was ingesting was in effect complete garbage and in reality, more poison to my system than nourishment. I am talking about all the fast food, gas-station hot dogs, soda pop, candy bars, and all the processed bullshit I was shoving into my system thinking I was doing a good thing. I thought of how much time my work associates spent on talking about what they wanted for lunch, reviewing menus, ordering, paying for, picking the food up, and finally eating it. I would say that the “What’s for lunch?” discussion would start as early at 10 and rage for a good hour or more culminating in another hour of eating, only to be followed up with staggered rest room visits and lethargy. It seemed like half the day was taken up by this vigorous lunch bunch. Then everyone was sluggish and tired after lunch, dragging themselves through the motions, but not really working.
I do believe that our bodies are biological machines and in that they can restore and maintain themselves to some degree is what sets them apart from most purely mechanical machines. Regardless, I would still consider our bodies to be a type of machine. All machines wear out with continuous repetitions and I guess that is what aging and fatigue is to us. In line with that, I thought that maybe the answer really is to eat less meals but bigger meals when we do eat. This would result in less wear and tear on our systems over the years as each skipped meal was a saved digestive repetition. I also realized that by eating three meals a day, I was eating a lot more than my body needed to sustain itself and that is why I was losing all this time in the bathroom. I cannot imagine our system was designed to crap all day throughout the day as that would be a waste of resources.
I also thought about how most machines’ power source made sense for the application with some being plugged in, some run off batteries, and some even run off the sun. I thought about how plants can survive a cloudy day, even a cloudy week just fine. The idea that we have to constantly power our bodies with all these meals to be efficient began to ring hollow. Snakes eat a relatively huge amount at once, but then do not have to eat for days. These are pretty simple machines, so why would they be equipped with a power generation and storage system far superior to ours?
My plan was to only eat once a day. I would have one large meal and that should be all I needed. I found that all eating breakfast did was make me hungry all day. So that would not be the meal I would eat. Lunch was just plain inefficient being right in the middle of the work day and a giant interruption that would certainly derail any momentum I had built up during the morning. If I waited until dinner, I found that I would get drowsy and angry if that meal was later. The answer was to eat a large early dinner. I was able to replenish my reserves before I crashed and do it at a time when work has largely stopped for the day, and then have energy for a productive and pleasant evening.
I found myself in the bathroom much less and found that I had a lot more energy and focus throughout the day without having to worry about all these meals. I also saved a lot of time that I could use for work, hobbies, family, friends, and relaxation. I cannot think of one single other way to save so much time, money, and effort. I am able to live such a much fuller and more fulfilling day not worried about eating through so much of it.
I also only put good fuel into my system. No more fast food, processed food, microwaved crap would pass through my lips. I eat to live. I do not live to eat. There is a big difference. But what I do eat is excellent from all perspectives from taste, to nutritional content, convenience, and timing. I eat organic food whenever I can and avoid mass-produced genetically altered food.
Instead of relatively unproductive lunch meetings where I was inevitably disgusted at the eating particulars of my guests, I had real meetings that were laser focused on the business at hand instead of on a menu, the specials, the manners of the waiters, other diners we ran into, and the millions of lunch time distractions.
I tend to entertain people for full or multiple days and never even thought to offer lunch or breakfast as everyone around me eventually joined me in eating one meal a day. The thought of engaging in these typical customs never really crossed my mind. When they did notice and ask if lunch was being brought in, they would learn that they were on their own for such an absurd undertaking.
Now, I have been enlightened with how false the common-sense antiquated wisdom of three squares a day really was. I realized that engaging in such unnecessary behavior was not only the opposite of good and healthy, it was actually bad for countless reasons and destructive in the end. I would implore one to not only consider the frequency of how they power up, when one powers up, but what they power up with.
I think that with an open mind, a week or two of experimentation, one will come to the same obvious conclusions that I have and start to eat only once a day. I now am a firm believer in this system. Since I have been doing this for years, I can never go back, and I wonder how anyone has the time or patience to eat three meals, let alone “graze,” clean up after these meals, and deal with the repeated visits to the bathroom.
This has all been written from the perspective of an individual but take a minute to step back and imagine if conventional wisdom was to eat once a day and that is how we were taught to live. Think of all the societal problems that would be favorably impacted by this. We would have a lot less food waste since we would eat only what we needed. Portions are starting to get right sized to some degree, but the amount of food we waste is staggering. All this food takes resources and emissions to produce, process, store, transport, prepare, serve, and then dispose of. Think of the emissions that would be spared were we not to do this tired dance.
Obesity is a growing problem and due in part to the huge portions constantly being stuffed in our faces throughout the day. This problem and all the costs of the resulting health issues would also start to decline with the unneeded emissions from producing and disposing of food we never eat. It would be easier to actually feed the hungry with all the surplus food that we would have. If there was no lunch, we would not have the whole country hopping into their cars to drive to pick up food. The benefits of universally adopting such an idea would be wide ranging and positively impact our lives like golden dominoes. Eating once a day is one of many things we can do to start to regain control of our out of control lives and one I believe in firmly and know that after a trial period, you will too.