Breakfast Is Stupid
Did you know breakfasts do not exist in any native/ tribal culture? There is absolutely no scientific backing to be eating a breakfast at 8 in the morning. It is a by-product of Britain’s Industrialisation. Back in the day workers had to travel into London from the nearby villages for their jobs. These workers would reach London and grab a quick bite to eat before starting their work. At First Street vendors supplied the breakfasts. Then the local pubs picked it up and some speciality breakfast restaurants opened up. The breakfast then became a very social event, where work would unofficially start in the breakfast hall and then move to the offices.
Now that Britain had taken over the world…it’s breakfast culture along with it’s language permeated its territories. The British believed that cultures without a set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner were savages. As they did for the native American Indians. Most tribal and native cultures ate the way humans were designed to eat…when food was available or when they felt hungry. There is mounting scientific evidence that the 3 meals a day concept of food is wrong, especially the time windows for each of these meals.
So the concept of breakfast being the most important meal of the day is stupid. Instead if we look at the first meal of the day as a “break-a-fast”; now that makes a lot of sense. But for that to happen there is a pre-existing condition; we should be in a state of fasting. If dinner was completed at 11 pm and your first meal was at 7 am; there is no fasting window. In fact some of the food is still being digested.
The most recent Nobel Prize was won in this exact field of circadian rhythms and eating windows. Science is showing that being healthy is not that hard if we can eat following the body’s natural clock (circadian clock). No one quite understands how this rhythm works, some say it is caused by the sun (yet in controlled experiments with no solar or lunar indicators the circadian rhythm was observed). We have all experienced this as jet-lag.
There are many forms of time restricted eating, some call this intermittent fasting. One of the simplest and best ways to follow this is to stop eating around 8 pm and have your first meal (break-a-fast) anytime after 10-11 am the next day. This gives the body enough time to digest, heal and dip into our natural fat reserves. In this way we are actually breaking a fast!
This is a difficult concept for most of us to understand. Especially since we have grown up hearing “breakfast the most important meal of the day”, “Breakfast like a king”. These are all true! But we got the timing and what we eat a bit off. What to eat for breaking a fast is a long discussion and can be saved for another post.
Here I want to talk about 3 super simple shifts you can make now to improve your health and performance by simply breaking-a-fast.
1. Stop thinking of being without food as starving. Most of us have never really experienced starving. The rumble in the tummy is not hunger. Hunger is often the mask of boredom. You will not “die of hunger”, we have so much “food/ energy” stored in the form of fat in our bodies. Time restricted eating is a beautiful way to get in touch with our bodies needs.
2. Have a gap of 14 hours between the previous night’s dinner and the break-a-fast. This 14-16 hour gap is what makes all the difference. During this period, eat and drink nothing that will cause the release of insulin (aka increase blood sugar). The only things allowed during the non eating hours are (green tea or coffee, both without a drop of milk or sugar).
3. Drink lot of water. Most of the time, we mistake thirst for hunger. The body cannot differentiate between the two. So the next time you feel hungry drink a glass of water. Do the same thing when you wake up, instead of reaching for that breakfast, reach for a glass of water and see your hunger disappear.
Try this as an experiment for the next week or two. Skip the early morning British breakfast and wait till you can properly break-a-fast.