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Tune Your Eating Schedule To Your Daily Routine

It’s an intriguing idea. That we can fine-tune our daily eating schedules to dovetail with our other activities. A nutritionist suggests a method by which we can feel better during the day, and sleep better at night..

HHGG - Drink Up -© BBC“Three Pints as lunchtime?”
– Arthur Dent – The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so!”
– Ford Prefect – The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Calculate your optimum mealtimes

Nutritionst Dr. Naheed Ali is a Harvard-trained practitioner of naturopathic and lifestyle medicine. And he has some definite opinions about when we should eat, to optimize our overall heath and well being.

The principles are simple:

Ali recommends rising at 6 am and retiring no later than 10 pm. That keeps you in synch with your body clock – your circadian rhythm. Your system just functions better when it’s in-synch.

He says we should eat breakfast within the first hour after we get up in the morning.

And we should arrange to eat supper no later than 3 hours before bedtime. Ali explains, that gives our bodies time to digest the meal before our metabolisms down-shift into sleep mode.

What about Lunch?

I’ve previously asserted my personal belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And I stand by that. But I’m also a big fan of lunch. It’s what gets you through your active afternoon, before you shift your system and your psyche from ‘work’ to ‘play’.

It’s interesting to note that Ali doesn’t seem to have an opinion about lunch. But I think he’s wrong, not to address the issue.

I firmly believe you should eat a light, high-protein, high-veg lunch which will fuel you up for the long stretch through to supper. But not weigh you down through the remainder of your working day. Digestion draws blood away from the brain and the extremities to the abdomen.

And ‘coffee’ breaks?

Ali has nothing to say about these institutionalized ‘snack-outs’. They’ve long been a part of the working day. Today, they’re routinely entrenched in union contracts and corporate operating schedules.

The problem with ‘breaks’ comes – and this is just me talking, albeit from decades of experience – from not eating a proper, balanced, nutritious breakfast and lunch in the first place.

Too many of us – kids included – stoke up sugar and carbs at breakfast. Some adults rely on a sugary pastry and a coffee, often scarfed on the run. We should be consuming more protein and fresh fruit, which would give us the kind of nutrients we need to meet our day. That sets the scene for a mid-late morning sugar crash. But I guess that’s what morning break is for. No surprise that most folks have another coffee with something sweet for break, too…

Next, a poor, or even skipped lunch sets the scene for an afternoon crash. And the second break sees many consuming more coffee and sweets to see them through to supper, still many hours away.

All that caffeine and sugar…

Simply produces a succession of quick energy boosts with no substantial nutritional value. Coffee and a doughnut is more like a dose of stimulants than a meal.

And let’s not forget that sugar and caffeine are both known to be highly addictive. In the same way that opiates are addictive.

My take

Thanks, Dr. Ali, for your mealtime recommendations. But it seems to me that you only did half the job…

~ Maggie J.