Monday, September 27, 2010

The Most Important Meal?

Conventional wisdom, in the US, says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In other parts of the world, this isn't necessarily so. Breakfast, in a great number of places is coffee, some type of bread and maybe some fruit. If you reported this as your breakfast to your physician or a health-conscious friend you would probably be on the receiving end of a lecture. Who is correct?

In some countries it is tradition to eat dinner very late (by US standards), even during the week. There are places on this fabulous and diverse Earth where eating dinner at 8 PM is considered early with the typical dinner hour closer to 10 PM. We (as in those from the US) have been told not to eat so late in the evening. It is best for our body and our sleep to not go to bed on a full tummy. So... how does the rest of the world do so and what is the "right" answer?

Well, the right answer is there is no right answer. How disappointing and exciting at the very same time! If you are one of those people who needs to be told precisely what to do and you've lived your entire life in the US, you are probably best to not eat late at night and start the day with a good breakfast. If you are following that advice and you're not feeling energized and healthy each day, perhaps you could try something new. Consider your family heritage... are your ancestors from a place where late dinner was the custom? If so, you can do a little experiment all in the name of health. For a week or two, adopt new eating habits. Have a late dinner and eat a wee breakfast. Or, have a substantial lunch and a very light dinner. Experiment!

The real secret to sustainable health and lifelong wellness is for you to find your own best plan for eating, exercise and sleep. Sure, it may take a little extra effort for a few weeks, but what a great investment in your life. Start with keeping a 7-day log of your current habits, then change things around for the next 7-days. In your log, record what you change and how you feel. Keep trying new things and then, adopt what makes you feel the best.

Let's face it, an investment in yourself is the very best investment you will ever make.

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