Fast

September 18, 2021

I have been practicing an intermittent fast almost two years.  This was originally Melissa’s idea for us to do together, but she dropped off when she became sick last year.  While we began our fast as a form of diet, it is more correctly described as an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.  The fast doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. Common intermittent fast methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours twice per week, but other intervals of fast are also used.  We chose the 16-hour fast and decided our fast would be from 8 pm to noon the following day.  The initial problem I had with the fast was that it cut out my favorite meal of the day, breakfast.

When I looked online, I found breakfast is the first meal of the day eaten in the morning after waking from the night’s sleep.  The word in English refers to breaking the fast period of the previous night.  While there are “typical”, or “traditional”, breakfast menus in different countries, their composition varies widely from place to place, and this has also varied over time.  While breakfast is commonly referred to as “the most important meal of the day”, some contest the positive implication breakfast’s “most important” status.  Some epidemiological research indicates that having breakfast high in rapidly available carbohydrates increases the risk of metabolic syndrome.  While professional opinion is largely in favor of eating breakfast, skipping breakfast might be better than eating unhealthy foods.  The influence of breakfast on managing body weight is unclear.

Even though I have practiced the intermittent fast for nearly two years, I am not always strict in my adherence.  In part, this is due to my love of breakfast.  I often eat breakfast when I go out to eat, especially when I travel and choose one of the roadside dives to grab a meal.  My thought has been that breakfast is the hardest meal to screw up.  Melissa and I also have a tradition of making Saturday morning breakfast since we first got married.  This involves bacon (or sausage), eggs (me over easy and Melissa scrambled), potatoes (preferably home fried), and toast.  Occasionally I will break down and fix a meal to break the fast on a Saturday morning.  That is what I did today.

Thoughts:  The fast has been a practice throughout human evolution.  Ancient hunter-gatherers did not have supermarkets or even available year-round food, and sometimes they could not find anything to eat.  This allowed humans to evolve to be able to function without food for extended periods of time.  Scientists tell us that fasting from time to time is more natural than always eating 3 or 4 (or more?) meals per day.  The fast is also done for religious or spiritual reasons by practitioners of the worlds four major religions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism.  While dieters or religious practitioners may practice the fast, many with food insecurities fast because of a lack of food.  Around 811 million people in the world still go hungry.  After a steady decline for a decade, world hunger again affects 9.9% of people globally.  This resurging crisis is driven by conflict, climate change, and the pandemic.  Humans have the ability to make a positive change in all three areas.  If we want to.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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