I recently read a blog post on Scott Adams’ excellent Dilbert website. Yes, that Dilbert. The post is titled, Breakfast is Overrated. In the post, Adams states that he finds he has much more creativity and energy when he eats very little before noon. He says when he finally eats his lunch, he usually needs to take a nap.
This mirrors exactly my experience. When I wrote my novel, For Want of Knowledge , intentionally skipped breakfast, only drinking coffee until my daily word count was complete. Even now I find that my desire to write at all diminishes when I eat. I usually have to roll out a post before eating, and if I eat while writing a post, I many times will not finish.
I found a book online, called, The Hygienic System: Orthotrophy. A portion of the book, chapter 24, reads:
“Herodotus records that the invading hosts (over five millions) of the Persian general Xerxes, had to be fed by the conquered cities along their lines of march. He states as a fortunate circumstance the fact that the Persians, including even the Monarch and his courtiers, ate one meal a day.
The Jews from Moses until Jesus ate but one meal a day. They sometimes added a lunch of fruit. We recall reading once in the Hebrew scriptures these words (quoting from memory): “Woe unto the nation whose princes eat in the morning.” If this has any reference to dietetic practices it would indicate that the Jews were not addicted to what Dr. Dewey called the “vulgar habit” of eating breakfast. In the oriental world today extreme moderation, as compared to the American standard, is practiced.
Dr. Felix Oswald says that “during the zenith period of Grecian and Roman civilization monogamy was not as firmly established as the rule that a health-loving man should content himself with one meal a day, and never eat till he had leisure to digest, i.e., not till the day’s work was wholly done. For more than a thousand years the one meal plan was the established rule among the civilized nations inhabiting the coast-lands of the Mediterranean. The evening repast–call it supper or dinner–was a kind of domestic festival, the reward of the day’s toil, an enjoyment which rich and poor refrained from marring by premature gratifications of their appetites.”
Anecdotal of course, but in line with my experience. I just watched my cat eat the food I gave him this morning. Afterwards, he immediately went to sleep for an hour. But it does make me wonder if prosperity has a terminal seed planted within it. After reaching its peak, a society has access to lots of food. People begin to eat more and more. Eventually a level of consumption is reached that outpaces the body’s need for nutrition and stunts energy and creativity. The society begins to slow down, and other cultures who lag just a bit behind and don’t have as much begin to catch up.
The Romans apparently ate one big meal late in the day, and supplemented a couple of very small meals earlier. The average Roman soldier was incredibly tough. Few modern elite military forces could beat an average Roman soldier in marching. A Roman soldier would march all day and then build a fortified encampment. The average soldier probably weighed only 140 pounds. Though his caloric intake had to be high, on the order of 5000-6000 calories a day, it’s unlikely he had the time or capacity to eat multiple meals in a day, aside from some bread or dates. Yet he maintained a fantastic physical capability.
Also of interest are recent findings that very old practices, considered mystical and spiritual, actually have very measurable utilitarian value. In America, the religious live the longest. Who is likely to live the shortest life? The least religious women.
Fasting is an ancient tradition, and chronicled throughout the Bible. In the Bible fasting is done along with prayer, usually in preparation for a trying event, such as war or in times of grief. Fasting has legitimate health benefits. It seems to help in the fight against cancer, brain degeneration, and insulin resistance.
I believe the ancients sensed things that we have proven through scientific study. What we need a million dollar study to prove to us, the ancients endorsed simply because they saw it working. While it’s true that ancient people did some things that are obviously wrong, many things they did were intuitive and profoundly effective. In today’s world, many fall victim to the fallacy of Appeal to Novelty.
Could it be that fasting grants “wisdom” ie, enhanced brain activity? Maybe it’s something to fast on.
Yesterday for lunch, I sat at my desk at work eating a Quarter Pounder with cheese and a ten piece Chicken McNugget from Mcdonalds. Several people in the office commented with amazement that I was consuming such an atrocious meal, since I’m known for being knowledgeable and conscientious about food and exercise. I even made a rule for my Soldiers that everytime I see them drinking a soda at work, they have to do one burpee for every gram of sugar in the bottle. The burpee tax began when one Soldier had a 12 oz. bottle of Coca Cola on his desk. I picked it up and read the label: 65 grams of sugar.
As I sat munching my delicious burger, one of the officers asked me how many burpees I was incurring from the McDonalds meal. I told him, none, that sugar is the killer, especially liquid sugar. An NCO chimed in with his negative comments, too. I reminded them to look at my Physical Fitness test scores, and they conceded they couldn’t argue with my results.
I didn’t bother going in to any more detailed explanation of why it was ok for me to eat the meal, but I’ll touch on a few things here. First, calories are the big thing. Calories in, calories out matter, and they matter a lot. There’s are other important issues, but mostly it comes down to energy balance. To give you an idea of my energy expenditure energy yesterday, First, our section did an hour of physical training which entailed the following: 20 minutes of continuous exercise, 5 pullups, 10 parallel bar dips and 20 lunges, rotating through as many sets as possible in those 20 minututes. At the end, we all did a minute of situps. For me that ended up being 47 situps. I lost count of how many sets I did, but I’ll estimate around 20. So that’s 100 pullups, 200 dips, 400 lunges. Next, after lunch I went for a two mile walk. This in addition to walking quite a bit during my normal daily duties. We also spent about 2 hours moving big rolls of razor wire and moving some moderately heavy boxes around. So as you can see, I’m fairly active.
My food intake for the day, my energy intake, comprised the following:
Breakfast: 3 egg cheese omelet; two pieces whole wheat toast with butter
Lunch: Quarterpounder with cheese; 10 piece Chicken McNugget
Supper: One 6oz filet mignon wrapped in bacon; one ear of corn on the cob; 2 16oz cans of beer; and handful of mixed nuts
Some quick online research on calorie content, and using Fitness Magazine’s calorie requirement calculator (male, 41 years old, heavy exercise, 173 pounds), tells me that my calorie intake yesterday was 2859 and my daily average calorie requirement to sustain my current body weight is 2960 calories. Almost exactly on, but just a little under. My appetite yesterday tells me that this is correct: I felt very slight hunger pangs before going to bed, but nothing serious. The net result is no weight gain. Period.
Many people are familiar with Super Size Me, a documentary directed by film maker Morgan Spurlock. In the film, Spurlock ate only meals from McDonalds for 30 continuous days and “Super Sized” his meals whenever the cashier asked him if he wanted it so. The result was a measurable deterioration in Spurlock’s health and well being. He gained over 23 pounds. Many people attributed this to the evils of fast food. Ignored was the fact that Spurlock consumed over 5000 calories per day, and did no regular exercise during this period. Well, at least his nutritionist in the movie tells him he’s eating that many calories per day, though it’s been pointed out that in order to reach that many calories per day, Spurlock had to have broken his own eating rules, that is, he simply ate more than he stated. And, he has never released a food log showing what he actually ate, only stating that he Super Sized 9 times total in 30 days. The following video explains:
The following video shows Spurlock for what he really is: A Vegan zealot, out to prove to the world the evils of meat, and the healthfulness of celery:
So Spurlock did what every bad scientist does: Set out to prove what he already knew. If Spurlock ate 5000 calories of bananas he would have gained weight and felt awful. If he’d eaten 2500 calories a day of McDonalds and cut out the soda and fries, he would have been fine.
And… this man.
Tim Naughton did an experiment and showed he could lose weight over the same period that Spurlock gained weight, eating only fast food.
Eating fewer calories makes people healthier in almost all measurable ways. Haughton’s blood lipids all improved while eating only at fast food restaurants.
The nutrition professor below ate about 1800 calories a day for 10 weeks, consuming twinkies and snack cakes. He lost 27 pounds and his colesterol went down by 20 points. This is real science. And frankly it drives people nuts. Many people who say they “trust in science, not religion” are lying: They simply believe what they want to believe.
Here’s the Twinkie Diet:
So, my diet strongly focuses on these factors: calories, effects on blood sugar, intermittent fasting. My calories remain reasonable, I stay away from foods that spike blood sugar–especially chronic use of sugary drinks and sugary foods low in fiber, and finally, skipping about two meals a weak leading to a 16-18 hour fast. Pretty simple. I don’t count calories, except when I’m making a point to unbelievers.
Think about it. A Quarter Pounder with cheese has about 510 calories. If someone ate only 3 Quarter Pounders a day, they’d take in only 1530 calories a day. But many Americans are taking in 4000-5000 a day–and that’s why they’re fat and sick.
Try this, three times per week, combined with two days a week of skipping one meal. You’ll lose fat, guaranteed. No whining.
Reps should look like this:
1) 60 Jumping Jacks
2) Spiderman Pushups 10-15
3) Walking Lunges 10-15 for each leg
4) Spiderman Climbs 20 total
5) Squat Hold on Wall 45 seconds
6) Plank Hold for 60 seconds
8 Running High Knees in Place 25 per side
Rest One Minute and then do it 2 more times
That’s what Walter Breuning says concerning his longevity. He’s 113 years old and hasn’t eaten supper in 35 years. In other words, he does the Warrior Diet, like me, only instead of normally skipping breakfast( Remember, I’m not dogmatic about it), he skips supper. So did Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha.
“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean total abstinence from food for one or two days. I speak from experience; starvation has been my cold and fever doctor for 15 years, and has accomplished a cure in all instances.”~ Mark Twain
Yet another study showing that periodic fasting has health benefits. This one studied a group of Mormons. Mormons have lower risk of Coronary Artery Disease than the people surrounding them who are not Mormons. The Mormon faith prohibits known factors of heart disease, such as smoking, and also restricts other behaviors that have possible effects on health, such as alcohol consumption and drinking coffee and tea. This study adjusts for those tertiary factors and focuses on the effects of fasting, which is also part of the Mormon faith.
When it was all said and done, the scientists found that fasting reduced the chances of a person having Coronary Artery Disease.
Don’t listen to those who tell you that fat people just aren’t eating enough meals and that skipping chow will only make you fat. Eating too much makes people fat, plain and simple.