It’s been my habit for decades to eat nothing much until late afternoon, even though I start my day early. This goes against the norm 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 things, it isn’t the “what” that matters, it is the “how much” straw that breaks the camels back.
Consider this excerpt from Science News. (Google [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 an essential tool for evolution. What is desire, but imagined hungers? Therefore, I find keeping myself on the hungry side helps moderate the imagined hungers and focus on priorities. The offshoot hungers of desire, lust, and expectations are less likely to draw me in when I’m feeling primal hunger. The weaker those trivial hungers are, the easier it is to Have little thought of self and as few desires as possible, as chapter 19 advises. Then, as chapter 7 suggests, Is it not because he is without thought of self that he is able to accomplish his private ends?
One negative result of civilization is a ready access to food. All I need do is go to the store to feed hunger. The ability to satiate hunger so quickly paves the way for the trivial hungers to take over. Millennia ago, before the agricultural revolution, our ancestors experienced ‘fulfilling’ hunger. Like animals the world over, their hunger was fully utilized in the day-in day-out 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.
Daisy Jackson says
Calorie Restriction really helps in avoiding some diseases like diabetes and heart disease.*;,
Your observations fit the view that humans are essentially the same the world over, and through the millennia as well (which is why scripture is as relevant to modern people as it ever was). It also support the Taoist view: If you would have a thing laid aside, You must first set it up.
Modern cultures are ‘first setting it up‘ now, which must precede a laying aside someday. Only God know when that will be! This view is most comforting view in that it simply state how nature works. Accepting that brings peace. Resisting nature is a life-long no-win. Why did it take me so long for that to sink in? Well… I had to ‘first set it up‘.
Yeah, I’ve often noticed feeling energetic when I missed a meal or two but I’ve never thought to do it on purpose. What does calorie restriction really mean? It must be related to how much the body uses or “burns” in its activities. All my life I’ve been happy to work hard physically in construction or forestry jobs so, for me, exercise has been the key to excellent health. Even more important, I’d say, is good attitude toward life.
There’s little doubt that most of the ills of modernity are caused by overconsumption and inactivity. I admire the people around here who remain lean, sinewy and lively in their old age. Their faces are creased with character and their skin is dark from work in the fields. Generally, though, people here in Thailand have come to despise the traditional agrarian way of life. It’s ordinarily considered far better to be a palid, plump “Dilbert” sort of person who works in an air conditioned office. This unfortunate middleclass shift to a more sedentary lifestyle and western diet has brought with it a lot of obesity, diabetes and other problems even among the kids. Life in a big house with all the amenities, overabundance of food, riding effortlessly in a car rather than walking, all seem so attractive to people who don’t have these things. Hard for them to understand that getting it all doesn’t extinguish the inner hunger.
BTW- Hunting and gathering is still an important part of the economy among our more “impoverished” neighbors. We often see them out in our rice field collecting frogs, snails, insects etc. for dinner. Actually we ate red ant eggs yesterday as part of our meals. There are a few really delicious wild plants in the yard that we eat regularly too.