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April 2022

Post image for The Myth of Three Meals a Day

DISCLAIMER: Obviously this is not medical or professional advice of any kind. These are my thoughts and you can read them if you like. I make no recommendations about what you should do and I take no responsibility for your choices.

The other day a friend shared what I thought was a profound observation: bananas are not yellow. At least they’re mostly not.

The yellowness of bananas happens only for a week or so out of their entire lifecycle. Most of the time they’re green or brown. But human beings are fixated on that fleeting yellow phase, so we think of bananas as intrinsically yellow things.

I had a similar epiphany the other day when I told someone I feel better when I skip the first meal of the day, something I’ve been doing for a few months. It occurred to me afterward that I’m not actually skipping anything — there is no morning meal in my life, so there’s nothing to skip. Despite how normal this feels for me now, it’s difficult to shake the idea that a day still has three meals as an intrinsic property. Days have three meals, and bananas are yellow.

After I published a post discussing diet and eating in 2020, a reader told me that he doesn’t eat at all on Tuesdays. I was immediately intrigued by this idea – something about its complete disregard for tradition, its promise of freedom from imposed structures. When I said might try that, he recommended not telling anyone, because people are extremely attached to the notion that days must have three meals, not just for themselves but for everyone else.  

I’ve finally begun to do this sort of regular fasting -– eating only one meal some days, and occasionally zero meals. And I have decided to tell people I’m doing this — partly for accountability, but mostly because I’m fascinated by how strongly people resist the idea.  

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