How Many Meals a Day?

How many meals a day?

Some people ask: How many meals a day should I eat?

Some advocate three meals a day. Some eat two meals a day. Some eat ONE meal a day….all day long!

How would your body feel at the end of the day, eating at every whim, giving your stomach no time to complete digestion before eating again?

Some doctors say it is healthy to eat five or six small meals a day, especially if you have diabetes.  If you have diabetes, consider finding a doctor willing to work with you on fasting and meal changes.  Some maintain disease; some seek to eliminate disease!

Even doctors disagree! Who is right?

Who is right on health?

I can understand the confusion with all the ideas that float in society.

May I share My thoughts? My reasoning? I am not a doctor; nor do I believe every doctor, which could tie your mind in knots!

You don’t have to believe me, either; but you would be wise to experiment on yourself. Try a concept on your own body. How have you been eating? How do you feel in a few days? in weeks, a month? After Years? Some experiments should be given up when the results are not good!

I know a lady doctor who is very healthy herself. She says, “Listen to your body!”   Many people listen to her.

Here are health principles I live by. I read about human physiology, and observe the effects of lifestyle practice in living people. I once worked where doctors reversed the cause of illness, to reverse disease and improve health. Many people improved their health by making simple lifestyle changes. Removing the cause of illness, they feel better and live well again.

This post is about, How many meals a day should we eat? Here are some basic concepts to start with:

NOTE: Every person’s body is different, yet, the same.

There are no hard, fast rules that apply to every person. I am not your standard of living. You yourself may try a concept for yourself for a day, a week, a month. Make notes and purposely experiment with your own body. See the results for yourself. One day is too short. Your body needs time to adjust.

NOTE:  Eating is not an addiction, nor an option.  How often and what we eat, MAY be an addiction.  .

Experimenting on myself, I learned that some of my food patterns were addictions. I felt that when others ate, I must eat. “I want some!” But I do not need everything my eyes tell me I want. Sometimes I must tell myself, “No. You do NOT need that!”

How do you care for your car?

EXAMPLE: A diesel car does not work well on gasoline, and the reverse is also true. So if you get a diesel car, do not put gasoline into it just because that is what you have habitually used in your previous car. You will ruin the engine.

Being creatures of habit may be good – if you have good habits! So, How many meals a day?

Living with certain habits just because that is “what we have always done,” may be the very reason we feel BAD. It may be the cause of Heartburn, stomach pain, intestinal gas, burping, indigestion, ulcers, and many illnesses.

Some people practice what is called “intermittent fasting” — which can occur two different ways:

A. Two Daily meals eaten 5-8 hours apart, with a 16-hours fasting period of no food until Break-fast.

B.  Not eating for a 24-hour period once or twice a week.

I prefer daily fasting, from afternoon into night, eating again at BREAK-FAST.

Here is the virtue of this lifestyle:
1) The body has time to rest. Going to bed with a full stomach, sleeping the sleep of stupor, does not let the stomach rest. The brain, which brain tissue is partly around the stomach and heart, as well as in our skull, does not rest.

2) Body healing and detoxing occurs during rest between 9 pm and 2 am. (Circadian rhythm). What good do you receive from watching the final one or two TV programs of the evening?  What good do you miss by missing vital sleep??  Do you enjoy being sick or in pain?

3) Too many meals in a day promote poor digestion, partly from overload. Our bodies cannot handle the glut of food. Fasting helps a person feel refreshed. FASTING is good for the body system. It is helpful to fast a whole 24-hour period at least one day a week. But intermittent fasting works well for those who have jobs and physical exercise demanding more nutritional support.

4) Interrupting the digestion process by even a bite of food before next meal, stops digestion, and does not resume where it left off. There is a process that begins in the mouth, moving food to the stomach, to be released into the intestines. What science has learned is that additional food introduced after digestion begins, must start at the beginning again. This delays digestion of the first and second loads, allowing fermentation to develop in the warm body environment. Eating between meals is a harmful habit! Five to six hours between meals has great benefits to our health.

4) I personally have feel best eating two meals a day.  When I routinely eat three meals a day, I start to feel bloated.  I have a slower metabolism.  I know someone who tried to eat two meals a day, but they feel better on three meals.  They have a fast metabolism and did heavy work.

A.  Healthy Nutritious Breakfast starts my day, including adequate vegetarian protein to keep energy levels up during the typical 10-11 am “mid-morning slump.”

A good breakfast can prevent that lack of energy during the mid-morning slump. A typical coffee and doughnuts “breakfast”lets you down about 10 am, then comes the need to  grab a sweet treat for a quick burst of energy between meals, masking the fact that their meal provided inadequate nutrition.

B. The Second Meal, 6 hours later, eating a quality meal can sustain to the end of the work day. Variety is KEY.  See post, Eat the Rainbow.

C. Breakfast (fruit/whole grains/nuts), or Dinner (whole grains/vegetables/nuts), may easily switch roles to support nutrition and work schedule situations. Breakfasts may be simple meals, while Dinners take more time to prepare.  Which works best for your schedule?

D: Grains, nuts and vegetables, (a typical dinner) may be eaten in the morning, switched out for fruits, grains and nuts (a typical breakfast), as the energy needs decrease toward the end of the day.

5). The principle is, when do you need the energy? at the end of the day? or at the beginning of your day? Simple question: When does your car utilize fuel: During the journey? Or, After the journey?

6) Your latest meal should be no less than 3 hours before your rest begins, to get the best rest. That would suggest optimum dinnertime is not later than 6 pm, but could be earlier.

7) A second meal should not be supplied until the first is digested (usually within 5-6 hours), based on time to digest the meal, and allowing the stomach a chance to rest.

When a person eats between meals, the new food introduced STOPS the digestive process, and the stomach has to start over with the new food to prepare it for the next stage of digestion, thus delaying the first meals digestion process before the first food can leave the stomach. This gives time for the first meal to sour in the warmth of the body. Repeating this interruption promotes sour stomach and stomach pains.

8) Washing food down with drinks, cold or hot, likewise is not the best way to eat.

We should drink one to two glasses of warm to TOLERABLE HOT water 30 minutes before the meal,  preparing the stomach for digestion. Chewing food thoroughly before swallowing removes the need to wash the food down. Forgetting,  or not being able to drink beforehand, may leave a person too dry to digest food, so a LITTLE water may be required during the meal. A component of digestive saliva is WATER; but too much water during the meal dilutes the digestive juices and hinders digestion.

9) Drinking water after a meal should only happen an hour after the meal, to not interfere with the digestion process, diluting stomach acids.

8) There is a story from the past that has been used to illustrate what happens when meals are supplied too frequently.

Little Maid was given the task of making butter….a process of churning cream into butter, resulting in the separation of butter from buttermilk. A butter churn was a wooden barrel tapering from the top to the bottom. and a long handle with a “dasher” at the bottom. This fit into the wooden barrel, and was pumped up and down to churn the cream into butter.
The maid churned away until the butter clumps were beginning to form. Her arms were tired and her back ached; but she stayed by the task. She was happy that she would soon be done as the butter begn to clump.
Just then, the Lady of the house found more cream and hastened to ad it to the buttermilk and forming butter. With a sigh the maid resumed pumping the dasher up and down, up and down, but as she worked, her motions started to slow as her arms were so tired. Nearly through, in alarm she heard the Lady coming her way—MORE CREAM! She was almost through with the butter! Tears began to form in her eyes; but she did not dare show the Lady her frustration. Slowly she pumped, up and down, up and down, up – and – down until exhausted, she could not force one more pump. Her tired arms, just quit….

So also the stomach gives out when over-worked with more and more food, or over-eating.

9) Final Point: The people who advocate 6 small meals a day for diabetics, are usually the same people who advocate that diabetes cannot be cured; only maintained.

But the question remains: How many meals a day?

With the above information, with experimentation, you may be able to answer that question for yourself.

Wishing you success in whatever your heart and hand find to do. Your success interests me. I welcome your comments.

Surely Healthy

surelyhealthy@healthymyself.com

11 thoughts on “How Many Meals a Day?”

  1. This was the exact argument I had with my mother some days back, we argued on the number of healthy meals an adult should eat. While she advocates for 2 daily, am of the opinion of eating three times daily. But all you rightly pointed out our body systems are different. The best approach is to listen to your body system and eat healthy 

    Reply
    • Hello Parameter,
      Thank you for your comment. As parents we often want to control outcomes in our children because we are sure we know best! (Right?) Sometimes we do, (smile.) But as children mature, we, they, need to “Listen to our bodies” and learn what is best for ourselves. That is part of growth and development.

      I think I am writing for the purpose to reach those who live day to day without any thought why they have pain and problems with health. If we are aware that we have options we may improve our situations.
      I would like the whole world to be healthy; but the whole world might not want to be healthy! Just a thought.
      Thanks for your comment!

      Surely Healthy

      Reply
  2. Thank you for very interesting article. I was always told from childhood that I should have 3 meals a day, but recently I started to look for better option for my body and health. Non eating for 24h is too extremely for me, but daily routine with 2 daily meals seems interesting concept which can work for me. It seems healthy and give organism time to rest. Looking forward to test this option in practice.

    Reply
    • Excellent Cogito,

      I am glad my post was helpful.  The key to its benefit to yourself, is learning to “Listen to your body.”

      It seems by your comment you are already listening.  I wish you well!

      Surely Healthy

      Reply
  3. Some valuable information here. I like my breakfast otherwise my low blood pressure kicks in at around 11 am. I tried the fasting thing till lunchtime but didn’t suit me. 

    I think I will give the late afternoon fast until the next day a try, as this looks like it will suit me better, as most of your fast happens when you sleep, and at least you have had a meal in the morning.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Michel,

      We are all unique.  If you have problems, try something else.  We can learn to “Listen to our bodies.”

      Surely Healthy

      Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing a very informative post.  I think we were conditioned to think that one must have 3 meals a day.  Our  ancestors and forefathers thought it was healthy and it became the norm.  I agree that everybody is different, nobody should be forced to eat because others had made the rules.  In my life breakfast, lunch and supper does not exist,  I eat when I am hungry.  About 10 years ago I developed an intolerance to gluten, it left me no choice, I have to read every label when I buy food, I used to be a lacto vegetarian but became a vegan because this is what suits me best and this is what my body tolerates best.  I have learned to bake my own flourless health breads, they are better and healthier than any gluten bread.  

     Great post!  keep up the good work.         

    Reply
    • Carola,
      What a great post! I appreciate your thoughts. Eating when we are hungry will work, if we learn to know the difference between hunger and the tired feeling. Food addiction can make us think we are hungry when it is tiredness.
      Oh, I feel for people who have gluten intolerance issues. It does make shopping so much harder. Going whole-foods, natural, avoiding processed foods, may make life both easier and more healthful.
      If you have developed some great GF foods, and care to share a recipe or two, I am sure there are other readers who would be interested in the multiple options available. It is difficult to find good GF foods.

      I have no experience with GF issues; but I have heard that SPROUTING the grains make them more tolerable. Do you know?

      I currently work in a Vegan Bakery-Deli, but we are not Gluten-Free.

      Thank you for your thought contributions.

      Surely

      Reply
  5. Carola,
    What a great post! I appreciate your thoughts. Eating when we are hungry will work, if we learn to know the difference between hunger and the tired feeling. Food addiction can make us think we are hungry when it is tiredness.
    Oh, I feel for people who have gluten intolerance issues. It does make shopping so much harder. Going whole-foods, natural, avoiding processed foods, may make life both easier and more healthful.
    If you have developed some great GF foods, and care to share a recipe or two, I am sure there are other readers who would be interested in the multiple options available. It is difficult to find good GF foods.

    I have no experience with GF issues; but I have heard that SPROUTING the grains make them more tolerable. Do you know?

    I currently work in a Vegan Bakery-Deli, but we are not Gluten-Free.

    Thank you for your thought contributions.

    Surely

    Reply
  6. Hi, thanks for your post full of good information. I believe in the benefit of intermittent fasting. I really appreciated the story you gave of the butter maid. Sitting there churning butter and never getting done the job. It makes sense to finish the first task before beginning the next one. I also liked your way of explaining the reasons for drinking water before a meal. You have a well thought out article. Thanks.

    Reply
  7. Carolyn,
    Thank you for your comment. Understanding basic physiology can help us make better decisions, if we want to correct health problems. I neglected to say that the reason to drink 30 minutes before, or waiting at least 1 hour after eating, is because drinking WITH the meal dilutes the stomach acids, hindering good digestion. It sounds like you may already understand this principle.
    Thank you,
    Surely Healthy

    Reply

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