Most of us have been conditioned to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same set times every day, and to avoid food between meals. This is generally how it’s been done since the days of old.
And when I say days of old, I don’t have a specific year in mind, but images of puffy sleeves, neck ruffs and bonnets come to mind. As a side note, THANK GOD neck ruffs aren’t a thing anymore. Talk about some fuckery!
Before people open their eyes to the luscious world of plant food, the typical foods that make up breakfast, lunch and dinner are usually void of nutrients and fiber and high in processed carbohydrates and animal protein.
But as people get more clued up about what they eat, the components of these meals change and they become nutrient dense and health supporting, instead of nutrient void and health crippling.
When this happens, lots of changes take place in a quick amount of time. Blood pressure comes down, bad cholesterol numbers go down, we start shedding weight, we sleep better, we have more energy, we have a more positive outlook on life and we feel better all around.
Another thing that happens is that our hunger patterns start to shift and as a result, the lines between breakfast, lunch and dinner start to blur. This can be a weird transition because we’re conditioned to three meals a day at set times and to a certain extent, this repetition brings us comfort because it’s part of our routine.
And we humans like routine, even if that routine isn’t necessarily good for us.
A long time ago, in the days of old, a really smart man in a neck ruff discovered that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Basically, you can’t change one aspect of something without other aspects changing as well. In this case, you can’t change what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner without changing when you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as well.
Let’s break this down.
Before your love affair with plants started, your breakfast might have consisted of eggs and toast at 8 am and by lunch time you were fucking famished. You may have scarfed down a chicken salad sandwich and potato chips at noon because you couldn’t wait a second longer to eat.
After lunch you felt bloated and full, but weirdly, you were still hungry and you couldn’t stop thinking about food even though you JUST ate. Your mind kept wandering to processed carbs. Donuts, croissants, potato chips, garlic bread – oh yes! You could eat it all.
Maybe you made it until 3 pm and then you caved and bought an iced coffee and a big pastry to hold you over until dinner. You got home from work and ate a huge plate of spaghetti and meatballs at 7 pm and before you even washed your plate, you made your way to the couch with a tub of ice cream and a spoon and proceeded to dig in while you watched TV.
By the time you went to bed you felt sick, stuffed and exhausted. And this is how it went. All day, every day, either feeling starving or uncomfortably full. There was no in between and there was never a time when you weren’t thinking about food or your stomach.
But then you heard about the benefits of eating a Whole Food Plant Based diet. You heard stories about people easily losing weight without counting calories. You heard about people getting off their medications and getting super healthy by simply changing what they eat every day.
You heard about people reversing their diabetes and getting off insulin. You heard about people reversing their heart disease. You wanted to try it out, but you were scared and you had no idea where to start.
One day, you bumped into a friend who you hadn’t seen in a while and she looked absolutely radiant, happy, glowing, and at least 10 years younger than the last time you saw her. You asked her what the hell she did to get this aura of light around her and she told you that she had been eating a Whole Food Plant Based diet for the past six months.
Well fuck! It was time for you to do some research and try this out.
So now you’re eating mainly plants and you feel really damn good and satisfied on a consistent basis. You never crave processed carbs and your mind isn’t constantly consumed with food and your stomach. You’re losing weight and you’re never starving or deprived – a combo that you didn’t know was possible.
You’re feeling awesome – there’s just one thing that’s bugging you. Your new eating routine and the timing of when you eat resembles nothing that you’ve ever experienced, and because you don’t have anything to compare it to, you have no idea if you’re doing it right.
You might have a green smoothie in the morning and it holds you over until 10 am. That’s awesome, but you’ve never eaten breakfast at 10 am. Is that even considered breakfast? And is a green smoothie okay to eat for breakfast or do you need more food? Because 10 am is a weird time to eat, do you eat lunch type food or breakfast type food? You settle on some oats with lots of fruit and some sprouted toast with almond butter.
You go through your day and all of a sudden it’s 2 pm. Okay – are you supposed to eat lunch now? You’re not starving, but you feel like you should eat. You have a wrap with hummus and lots of veggies. Things are good, but you keep wondering if you’re getting enough food. The day winds down and your body tells you that it needs food. But it’s only 5:00 pm.
Well this is fucking dandy – the only people who eat at 5 pm are people in old folks homes and frankly, the thought of eating at 5 pm is depressing. Do you avoid an existential crisis by waiting an hour and a half to eat, or do you face the fact that we all get old and die and eat now? If you’re getting up close and personal with old age, you may as well eat a big bowl of soup just to set the tone.
So you eat at 5 pm and then by 8 pm you’re hungry again – not starving, but you could eat. Hold on – does dinner have two parts when eating this way? You want to Google it but you have no idea what to even ask. You settle on some fruit and tea and you cozy up on the couch and crack open your book. Food is nowhere near your thoughts.
Eventually you head off to bed feeling proud of yourself. Feeling satisfied. And feeling happy. But you also feel unsure if you’re doing this whole eating thing right – which freaks you out, because while you might not be ready to embrace eating dinner when it’s still light out, you thought that for sure that by this age, you would have had a handle on feeding yourself.
If this sounds familiar, I’ve got you! Sign up for our Plant Fueled Meal Plans and you’ll be saying “Fuck yeah, I’m doing this right!” in no time.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that when you eat like this, it’s most important to listen to your body and toss out the idea of three set meals a day. When you eat the right fuel, your body will tell you exactly what it needs, when it needs it and how much it needs. All you have to do is trust the signals that your body is giving you and let it take the lead.
Have you struggled with eating at the “right” time? Talk to me in the comments below.
Today’s recipe is perfect if you’re not convinced that green smoothies can taste good.
Beginner Green Smoothie
Beginner Green Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups water 355ml
- 1/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries 40g
- 1 banana
- 2 teaspoons ground flax seeds grind your own or buy pre-ground flaxseed meal
- 1 packed cup of kale 30g / any variety will work
- 1/4 of an avocado
Place all of the ingredients into your blender and blend until totally creamy and smooth.
If you don’t like kale, use fresh spinach instead.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with being confident in your new way of eating and blissing out from the benefits.