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Three meals a day Myth

Picking up from the previous blog, lets delve into how this whole three meals a day being the ideal eating routine became the norm.

Once humans discovered farming, started growing their own crops, raise livestock, even store surpluses, it gave them access to a steady source of food. Spending hours a day hunting a wild boar or spearfishing in the local stream became more of a sport rather than a necessity. They could till the land, cultivate food, and eat more than ever before and with greater food security, people no longer had a reason to fast from lack of access to food.

The agricultural revolution might have created a reliable and steady source of food, however in exchange for this reliability, they got a less varied diet and probably a less healthy population and more controllable population too. Many societies made a single staple crop like rice, wheat or potatoes, along with some vegetables, the basis for their diet. Their diet narrowed, and research shows that that this change caused their health and height to suffer. People got shorter, and had nutrient deficiencies that potentially led to disease.

Once our ability to store food increased, we started evolving a working routine. Eating a meal in the morning before heading out for the day’s work become more feasible and practical. Social rituals grew around these mealtimes, establishing the modern three-meals-a-day pattern. Fast forward to the 20th century and we had cereal companies bombard us with how their cereal is the best way to start a day and how B’Fast is the most important meal of the day, the concept of eating B’fast was drilled into our head.

The term Breakfast, literally meant the time when we break a fast.

It is not tied to a particular time of the day!

Even though the farming civilizations weren’t necessarily foraging for food, or going days without eating anything, nevertheless they were still pretty active. They spent most of the day cultivating crops in the fields and tending to livestock, so they were still experiencing drops in insulin and accessing fat stores and practicing a sort of unplanned ‘intermittent fast’.

However In these days of excess, where there is a super market just a drive away, storage facilities to store food indefinitely, Food and Beverage companies influencing and moulding the way we think and approach food, celebrities and social influencers pushing their go to diet, couple these with our sedentary lifestyle no wonder there is an epidemic of metabolic disorders and conditions.

Now more than ever, there is a clear need for us to reconsider our eating habits. Learn from the core wisdom of ancient dietary habits and practices and use modern science and technology to explore, understand, validate these practices. With our current understanding of how the human body works, use the best of both the worlds to come up with the most optimal way to lead our lives, especially when it comes to our diet and lifestyle.

Having said that, just because a dietary practice existed in ancient times, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is good or healthy for us today. It does not mean we blindly follow something just because it says in some scriptures, some anecdotal evidence, our ancestors were following it or our ancestors had some kind of wisdom, which may or may not be the case. Fasting or any other ancient practices for that matter may have potential benefits but we should not be trying it because we think our ancestors had something figured out health-wise. What worked for them may not necessarily work for us. We are not the same as the people who lived on this planet 10,000, 100,000, half a million years ago.

So which diet is healthy? Well that depends on what the end goal is. Different goals might need a different approach. If your health goal is to lose weight, stabilize your blood sugar, for longevity or to increase your health-span and potentially protect your brain and body from disease, then practicing some sort of fasting routine coupled with well balanced meals should take you a long way towards that goal.

So what does this fasting routine or well balanced meals look like? That’s for another blog.

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