Is eating three meals a day a healthy or a dangerous habit? OSWALD PEREIRA analyses the issue
Do we need three meals a day to live a healthy life? For the vast majority of people, the answer would be an emphatic yes, as this is what our brains have been wired to think for aeons.
A hearty breakfast, a sumptuous lunch and a grand dinner is apparently linked to a person’s health and prosperity. Families that eat well or dine together are considered embodiments of health and happiness ― role models for the rest to follow.
However, few of us would believe or really know that the three-meal-a-day habit may actually be the cause of many health problems like obesity and diabetes. The human body doesn’t really need three meals a day as is commonly believed.
Personally, I have been healthier and happier ever since I switched to two meals a day. I feel livelier and more energetic to follow my exercise routine of over hundred minutes a day, ever since I sliced away one meal from my daily intake of food. Now I have more free time to exercise without having to bother about an impending meal.
I feel lighter without one meal, almost like being free from a burden or life-long bondage. I believe kicking off the three-meal habit has been a great blessing for me, as if I have averted possible danger to my life.
“Eating three meals a day is a dangerous habit,” says the great yogi and sage Paramhansa Yogananda. “Many are led to their graves quickly because they eat at the sound of the dinner bell,” he believes, and advises us to “ignore its ominous call,” especially if one is not hungry.
The formula for eating, is, indeed, simple. Eat moderately, if you are hungry; eat less if you are a little hungry; nothing if you are not hungry at all ― in other words don’t eat just because it happens to be meal time.
By eating three meals a day out of sheer habit is rather taxing to the body and mind. It taxes the cells, heart, nerves, and stomach, overburdening them with work that could have been avoided with a little bit of intelligent thinking.
One can eliminate either breakfast, lunch or dinner, whichever is convenient. Those doing laborious work may need three meals a day, but for others working at desks, two meals is adequate to keep body, mind and soul in good shape.
Our stomach is our friend. But when we penalise it because of our greed and lack of will power, we make it our great foe. An abused stomach is very unforgiving and even God can’t save us from its wrath.
When we eat judiciously and sparingly, always keeping a decent part of our belly ― upto 20 per cent empty ― to efficiently churn the digestive juices, our health will change for the better, ushering in an era of happiness.
But reducing one meal a day alone is not enough for a healthy life. Be calm, peaceful and joyful at meal time, putting aside all worry and stress. Above all thank God for every meal that you eat, and His gift of a healthy body.
Oswald Pereira, a senior journalist, has also written eight books, including The Newsroom Mafia, Chaddi Buddies, The Krishna-Christ Connexion, How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Life and Crime Patrol: The Most Thrilling Stories. Oswald is a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, and practises Kriya Yoga.
Oswald periara jee! Adequately important discussion.
Regularity in eating habit is the preliminary need. If there is regularity in time, one gradually estimates one’s food intake needs.
I have lost my youth in the most bizarre manner. Remained empty stomach with only tea. Irregular timing in taking lunch and dinner. Thus creating a big opportunity to become a fat or sick person.
Some how I could manage as I rarely took outside / hotel food. Recently I got a table of eating… when & what from a reputed dietician for my daughter and wife.
I saw her recommendation is like starving. But I am going to observe for a month with her advice and see for myself how that helped my family.
As a matter of fact in our ashram we use to take tea at 5am, breakfast at 7 am- little upma or 2 idling with a banana or some fruits & a cup of milk, juice or herbal tea, then moderate vegetarian food in lunch mostly boiled or little masala by 12noon.
A cup of coffee tea, or juice or coconut water some biscuits or some snacks at 4 pm and dinner – 2 roti or little rice with some sabji by 6.30pm.
When in Ashram for my irregular food habits I use to keep some fruits / mixture/ biscuits etc which I take sometimes in middle of night…
But I have seen, that food routine keep most of the inmates on long term seva, in perfect health and cheerful.
I am not an expert but now as I am growing young, I find taking little less than what I need in lunch and dinner and fruits non-oily snacks in breakfast often keep my health right. Breakfast by 9 lunch by 2pm dinner by 10pm – once a week or in two weeks one non-veg dish – and sometimes a very light snacks in the evening keep me full and satisfied.
Of course Swamiji as you mentioned, must have advised rightly but basically one needs to practice taking less food with growing age.
Irrespective of what model you discussed in this blog, you reminded me to be conscious in eating, for my own well-being.
Thank you and good morning. Today is the annual sradha of my parents. 32nd death anniversary of my great father & 4th death anniversary of my mother.Miraculously there sradha falls on the same day.
I worked overtime with my attendant to fix the hall and arrange things so that sradha rituals shall happen in the morning. All my brothers are reaching tomorrow morning. A small kirtan party shall also join to offer kirtan for two hours. So prasad for 70 people os being arranged.
Looking these arrangements it was delayed so took dinner late at 1.15am and while relaxing saw your blog and started pursuing it.
Nice read Oswald jee! Have a great day.
Manas Das Jee, love your expression, “now as I am growing young.” It shows your positive sense of humour.
Your parents are resting in eternal bliss. Sradha ceremony will help in remembering the beautiful life you and your brothers shared with them and the unconditional love they gave you all.
Your ashram diet is good and conducive to health and happiness.
You are right, Consciousness in eating contributes to our wellbeing.