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.