It has been less than a day since I hit “publish” on my Stop Snacking/ Cheap Groceries post, and I’ve already gotten a good bit of criticism. I’m not changing my tune, but maybe I should have put in some resources for why I feel justified in allowing my child to go to school with no breakfast.
It is the popular thing for people to say that they are a skeptic. To not be a skeptic is to be a sheep, and who wants to be that? Still, people have bought the breakfast-is-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day-mantra hook, line, and sinker. No questions asked. It does sound like a pretty good bumper sticker. This is despite the fact that many people wake up unhungry and force food into their mouths because they think they should. Maybe I’m a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help but think that the man, specifically the General Mills lobby up in Washington, has had something to do with this.
My thought is that eating breakfast doesn’t seem to make sense evolutionarily. Only in very recent history would we have been able to roll out of bed and stuff food into our mouths. In fact, we wake up in a heightened cortisol state. This allows us to push through the morning and find food. Heck, if we’re talking about as recent in history as 100 years ago, breakfast would at least need to be prepared. There were just no instant food options.
Luckily, there is an intermittent fasting movement (newly popular, but not new) that has separated the no-breakfast habit from more questionable discourse relating to that of disordered eating (strict dieting and anorexia). Choosing to not eat breakfast and allowing one’s child to not eat breakfast is not living on the brink of mental illness. It is intuitive. I don’t want to eat. She doesn’t want to eat. So, we’re not eating. We eat when we’re hungry, which is later in the morning.
Besides being a common habit for much of human existence, putting off the first meal of the day was popularized in 2003 by Ori Hoffmekler’s Warrior Diet where he describes putting off that first meal as a method for putting on lean muscle mass. More recently this idea has been jettisoned into fitness podcasts and blogs by Mark Berkhan (Lean Gains), Sarah Solomon, Mark Sisson, and Dr. Jason Fung to name a few. Many of these people suggest eating only a grand dinner (and I’m getting criticism for simply putting off breakfast….sheesh).
I know that a good number of people wake up hungry. I used to when I was younger. Every morning at 6:30 am, I would be handed two hot Pop Tarts to start my day. Those were the good old days. As awesome as they were, it set me up for the expectation of early morning food, which did take some time to overcome, but not much. It will take time for people to get used to starting their day with no solid food. It’s just something that we have to overcome and power through. This isn’t so much for the sake of a lower grocery bill as it is for the sake of apoptosis.
A common criticism for shortening the eating window is that one’s metabolism will slow to a halt. In fact, the first recorded sign of a slowing metabolism occurs after three entire days of not eating, not one morning with a late snack instead of a sugary breakfast. Further, this slowed metabolism is miniscule.
Another caveat is that my family isn’t completing a crossfit workout or running any marathons. I lift weights, hard, but not in a competitive environment. That certainly changes things.
Just to knock myself off of my high horse a little bit, I still drink coffee. Yes, I am addicted to that warm goodness first thing in the morning.
Bringing me back to our previous post, we went to the grocery story today. It was $112 for the week. I piled all of our groceries in the image above. We splurged on a $20 tray of steaks instead of one of our $3 trays of chicken. Also, I filled up tiny bags of macadamia nuts for my late morning food instead of almond packets. Wow, macadamias are expensive. Those two switches sent us over $100. I’m still pretty happy with the cost.
My amazing, happy, crazy, not starving child.