No ancient cultures or tribes have breakfasts as part of their culture. When we study tribes, they eat at random times in the day, whenever they feel hungry. But almost never first thing in the morning.
More importantly, traditional cultures don’t have names for their timed meals. For example while English has Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hindi has Naashta and Bhojan. Which translate to snacks and meal. Many other languages are similar.
In fact the idea of breakfasts came about during the time of the industrial revolution in England. This was the time when people were coming from all across England to be a part of the labour force.
Many stayed on the outskirts of London and travelled in. So a breakfast was had just before their shift began so that they did not have to take a break.
Working conditions were appalling and they did not have a chance to take a break once started. So a breakfast was what the mill workers had on the streets before going in. Soon the white collar office workers picked it up and started having breakfast in a few restaurants before heading to work.
The British of course took over the world and with them spread breakfasts. There are records that show the british being aghast at the native Americans for not having set meal times. They called them savages who ate as they chose.
So before the British took over, most people ate their first meal pretty late in the day, close to 11 or 12 o’clock. Work started very early on farms and they could only take a break much later on.
By now you are either agreeing with me or think I am mad. You are thinking “But people say”, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Or Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper. Most of the breakfast propaganda was started by companies trying to sell you their breakfast cereal.
The truth is that the morning is the worst time to have something starchy or full of sugar. This is because the body’s biology is designed to increase the sugar levels naturally in the morning. We all have a 6 am-ish spike of sugar, brought about by the release of cortisol.
When we wake up and eat something our sugar levels do not get a chance to self-regulate. The body is already giving you the energy needed to start your day! Because remember as cavemen, we didn’t have refrigerators. We had to wake up and search in the jungle for our first meal. Now we have to search in cardboard boxes.
When we wake up and eat breakfast, we aren’t giving the body enough time to heal. Nor are we giving the body enough time to use all the energy it has stored. Fat ultimately is stored energy. It’s the body’s way of saving energy for a rainy day.
So how do we get out of this societal induced breakfast routine?
Let us start with the first step to intermittent fasting. There are so many different kinds of fasts. 16/8. 18/6. Alternate day fasting. 36 hour fasts. 48 hour fasts etc.
So while the real magic of fasting takes place post the 16 hour mark. We start with a simple 12 hour fast.
For most this is also very hard. Because if your last meal was at 10 at night. You eat breakfast at 10 in the morning. Which is 2 hours later than normal.
12 hours should be your minimum time between dinner and breakfast. If you find 12 hours easy, progress to 14 and up to 16.
So your simple habit, for starting your journey on the road of intermittent fasting, is to stop eating completely after dinner, not even a tiny chocolate or grape enters your mouth.
Once you wake up, don’t eat anything till those 12 hours are over since dinner. Remember 12 hours start from the time you finished dinner, not from the time you start eating dinner. During your fasting window, you can drink green tea, black coffee, apple cider vinegar and water.
Let’s stop fighting our biology and instead start working with it again!