I’ve received some feedback from my last blog entry that indicates further clarification is needed on the topic of breakfast eating. It has been pointed out to me that people all over the world eat first thing in the morning! Apparently this is thought by some to constitute evidence that breakfast eating is a natural and healthy habit. In truth, all it reveals is that unhealthful habits that are practiced universally will have the same bad consequences among people everywhere. All smokers feel the discomfort of withdrawal when they go too long without a cigarette, and food addicts, even those who are 100% raw, similarly suffer the pains of withdrawal when they don’t get a timely fix. This is particularly true in the morning when the body’s cleansing efforts are heightened.
In addition, we humans have a natural propensity for copying each other’s behaviors, healthy or otherwise. Watching and learning from each other served us well for most of our development as a species, as it allowed our early ancestors to avoid wasting their energy and resources on perpetual re-invention. When destructive habits are as rife as they are in modern civilization, however, this tendency only causes the consequent harm to continue unabated and even unquestioned.
On the whole, civilized humans tend to have very little awareness of their bodies’ true needs. They misinterpret their feelings, generally, and adopt habits and behaviors that bring temporary relief from bad feelings at the expense of long term health. Breakfast eating is a perfect example. Since the body cannot simultaneously cleanse, heal, and digest food, the bad feelings that come with cleansing must stop when we give the body the task of digesting food. When we eat instead of just enduring the bad feelings, cleansing is postponed, just like in the caffeine addict who drinks coffee when he has a headache. Thus, the cycle of addiction is perpetuated.
It should be pointed out that we’re talking about regular, habitual breakfast eating. Even the healthiest, non-addicted person will eat in the morning occasionally. If insufficient food was eaten the previous day, legitimate hunger may be experienced in the morning. This will be a rare occurrence, however, because people who are not addicted to food learn how to read their body’s needs very well and in our culture food is almost always abundantly available.
When the freedom from breakfast eating is achieved, it can be a real eye opener. One of the benefits is the ending of morning ‘hunger’ pangs, thus revealing that these sensations are symptoms of earlier self abuse, not hunger. Personally, although I do still regularly eat before noon, I have made a great deal of progress toward my goal of giving up breakfast. On those occasions when I’m too busy to eat or don’t have access to food before noon, I’m no longer plagued by feelings of weakness, light headedness, stomach tension/growling, irritability or desperation to eat. I used to mistake these feelings for hunger, and always had to eat first thing in the morning to be able to function. Nowadays I can wait till 10:30 or 11 before eating without discomfort. In fact, morning before breakfast is the time when I feel my most content, patient, energetic and clear-minded. Delaying eating in the morning, among other healthful habits, has allowed me to experience a reversal of the symptoms that previously compelled me to eat in the morning. It should be noted that genuine hunger is not a symptom, it is a gentle, not-unpleasant reminder from the body, a bit like mild thirst or the desire for fresh air. It is not painful or uncomfortable, despite popular conception to the contrary.
For many people, the morning eating habit is fairly easy to overcome and is a nice stepping stone towards learning about and gradually overcoming other false habits. For others, it requires a good deal of effort. Getting off the breakfast habit does not need to be done suddenly. Employing the strategies below, it can be done quite gradually as a person learns to eat simpler and later, and consequently experiences fewer uncomfortable feelings in the morning.