It’s been my habit for decades to eat nothing much until late afternoon, even though I start my day at 7am. That goes against the belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Sure, this may be a little stressful to my body, but that turns out to be a good thing. As with most everything, it isn’t the “what” that matters, it is the “how much” that breaks the camels back.
Consider this excerpt from a recent article in Science News, Anti-aging: A little stress may keep cells youthful.
The study focused on individual cells, but for whole organisms, the finding could shed light on a link between stress and life span. “A little bit of stress can actually prolong life,” says molecular biologist Richard Morimoto of Northwestern, a study coauthor. Mild stress activates the heat shock response but does not harm the cells, he adds.
One mild stress that can activate the heat-shock response is a calorie-restricted diet, which has been shown to extend the life of all species tested so far, including mice and dogs. Calorie-restricted diets increase the levels of Sirtuin 1, or SIRT1, an aging-related protein. “
In her wisdom, Nature employs hunger as a primary tool for progress. What is desire, but imagined hungers? I’ve found that keeping myself on the hungry side helps focus my priorities. The secondary hungers of desire, lust, or expectations are less likely to draw me in when I’m feeling primary hunger. The less trivial hungers pull me in, the easier it is to Have little thought of self and as few desires as possible, as chapter 19 advises. Then, as chapter 7 hints, Is it not because he is without thought of self that he is able to accomplish his private ends?
The main difficulty I face living a civilized life is the ready access to food. All I need do is open the fridge to feed hunger. Being able to satiate it so quickly paves the way for the secondary hungers to rush in and fill the void. Millennia ago, before the agricultural revolution, our ancestors had no such void to fill. Like wild animals the world over, their hunger was fully utilized in the immediate and ongoing daily pursuit of food. Ah, those were the days! Then again, medical care was scant back then. As always, something lost, something gained. The loss is less troublesome when I allow myself to feel hungry.