Why I don't eat "the most important meal of the day"

 Sorry, breakfast, I'm just not that into you...

Sorry, breakfast, I'm just not that into you...

Okay for those of you with a short attention span, I'll get right to the point: I don't eat breakfast because I don't want to. I don't feel like it. I feel better when I don't eat it. 

But what about the fact that we SHOULD eat it!?!?! What about the fact that it boosts the metabolism and we can't concentrate in our jobs or at school without it? And all the other stuff we're told about why breakfast is so important? 

Well...my answer is: who says? According to who?! 

It's just like the idea that we should eat 3 meals a day, or that cereal is for mornings and sandwiches for afternoons. It's the same as the idea that you have to go to university to get a good job. That a "good job" is one that your parents and teachers approve of because it fits into society's template for what's "normal". It's really no different to other ideas we subscribe to as a society, some of which are changing now, such as the idea that women should do all the childcare while men have a career.  Ideas like this are simply that: ideas. 

So like so many other ideas, the concept of breakfast is just something that we've been taught, so we go along with it, and don't question it. Or that was the case for me.

I always ate breakfast because I was actually fearful of what would happen if I didn't! I actually worried that I wouldn't be able to function properly without it. I had a story in my mind that I NEEDED breakfast. And that story was so powerful that if I didn't get breakfast, I would convince myself that my whole day was going to be off kilter.

But I've since learned to be a rebel, especially about food. There are an overwhelming and endless number of articles out there telling us what we should or shouldn't eat, how much, in what order, what time, and even how we should consume our food. (Juice vs smoothie debate anyone?)  To all of those, I say, "Thanks for the info, but I'm doing my own thing."

Our bodies are intelligent and wise. Our bodies know what they need. We just tend not to listen to our bodies. When I started to listen to my body, I realised that I was thirsty in the morning, and a 1/2 litre of water first thing was all I needed to feel satisfied, energised, and awake. We wake up dehydrated, you see. Unless you're waking up throughout the night to sip on water, you've gone several hours with no liquids, so your body doesn't need food, or coffee, nearly as much as it needs water! 

Then I discovered intermittent fasting. This is the idea that you intentionally give your digestive system a break of at LEAST 12 hours every day. The easiest way to do that, of course, is to fast overnight when you're probably not eating anyway. The benefits of fasting increase with every hour that passes, so 13 hours is better than 12, and 14 hours is better than 13.  I personally find that 17 - 18 hours is good for me right now. 

I usually eat within the hours of 11a.m. and 6p.m.  My typical day might look like this:

11:30a.m.: superfood smoothie (my favourite time of the day!) full of fibre, good fats and vegetable proteins such as flax, chia, spirulina, chlorella, almond butter, and hemp protein, as well as maybe a handful of berries and some celery. 

2:00p.m.: a snack if I feel hungry, such as some carrots with hazelnut butter or celery and hummus

6:00p.m.: a salad made of whatever organic veggies I can find, topped with nuts and seeds and olive oil, and probably some sort of protein like fish or eggs. 

And then my fast begins again. 

I began about a year ago with 14 hour fasts, and over time it was no problem at all to extend to 15, 16, 17 hours. I sometimes go 19 or 20 hours depending on how I feel.

Like anything in life, you have to find what works for YOU. Not just copying another person. I know people who eat just 1 meal a day and fast for 23 hours, or others who regularly do 80-hour fasts, or go a full week with just water! That works for them. 

It's not about trying to break some record though, or push or punish yourself. It's about giving your digestive system a chance to rest and fully clear everything out. It's also about learning the difference between low blood sugar and simply WANTING to eat, and being ACTUALLY hungry. 

Because they are two different things: there's appetite, and there's hunger.  The desire to eat, and the need.

Of course you can eat breakfast and fast. Or you can skip breakfast and not fast. But for me, the two go together. It's because of intermittent fasting and the benefits I've seen from that (improved energy, appetite control, better digestion) that I don't eat breakfast anymore. 

I'm in no way telling you to stop eating breakfast. But I am asking you to be a rebel when it comes to things that we've always been told by society. I am asking you to question anything that asks you to go against what your body innately knows and feels. I mean, it's considered "normal" to eat foods wrapped in plastic that were created in factories, but does that mean it's what our bodies want? Probably not.

I hope that's some food for thought for you!