Food and Time

I’ve stopped living my life according to the clock and calendar. Retirement does have its advantages with that. But I know many retired people who still get up at 6am and go to bed at 9pm because “that’s the way they’ve always done it.” Or because someone told them that’s how humans have a healthy life. Sorry, I don’t buy it.

Time is a constructed concept created by human beings in order to track the passage of the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. At first, it was just years, months, and days based on where the sun and moon were at any given time.

Then it wasn’t called years, months, or days, but how many times the sun rose and set, how often the full moon showed in the sky and how the seasons changed and came back around again. Fast forward to current times, and now everything is governed by the clock and calendar… when to wake, when to sleep, when to work, when to rest, and when to eat.

And it’s eating which is the bases of this article. Most people eat breakfast around 7am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm, depending on your culture’s traditions, and what we eat tends to be governed by what meal we are eating, again, according to cultural tradition. And most people never wonder why, again, “that’s the way it’s always been done it”. Some people are surprised to learn that breakfast comes from “breaking the fast”…. the fast meaning the time we are not eating and digesting food while we sleep.

According to an article on Bon Appetite (…/why-do-we-eat-eggs-for-breakfast), this is why we eat breakfast, to begin with: “The Ancient Romans ate breakfast, which they called ientaculum, and included eggs, if available. When the Romans were pushed out of Europe, breakfast left with them, and throughout the Middle Ages, Europeans ate two large meals (in contrast to the Roman three).

The Normans had dinner around nine a.m., making a wake-up meal superfluous. Physicians and religious leaders of the time suggested that it would be gluttonous to eat before dinner, and so breakfast was a meal reserved for children, the elderly, and manual laborers, who needed energy first thing in the morning.”

Why do we eat eggs in the morning? According to a medical writer in the early 1600s in England, eating freshly laid eggs was a healthy thing to do. Apparently, it was believed that hens lay their first batch of eggs first thing in the morning and that was the freshest and healthiest.

I started to wonder… who decided what foods needed to be considered “breakfast” foods? The body can’t tell the difference between a pork chop and pork sausage. All it knows are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and sugars. So why did cereal and bacon and eggs become only for breakfast and to eat them for dinner, was considered sacrilege? I decide all of that was pretty silly.

These rules, like most, are ones we make up for society and then expect the whole world to obey. I’ve finally learned to let my body decide what to eat and when to eat it, and not worry so much about what it was I was eating, or how much. I’m learning to stop eating when I’m satisfied or at least when I feel full, which is difficult after being raised with the “clean plate club” mentality of the 50s.

Eating should be an enjoyable process and not just based on “rules”… eating is not just taking in nutrition for fuel, it’s also a time for socialization, and it’s an event meant to be pleasurable.

What we like to eat is dependent on our past experiences, our physical needs, and our emotional memories.

Now the reason for eating eggs for breakfast has medical and historical reasons for it, and for someone that became the idea that they were only for breakfast until someone else had an idea to make them in a different form with a different name, such as deviled eggs for everything from hors d’oeuvres to a side dish for lunch or dinner. Eventually, people started having “breakfast for dinner”… omelets, French toast, waffles… This was perfect for someone who loves breakfast but rarely eats breakfast. Like me. Because I don’t do mornings.

But think of all of the people who like cold pizza and apple pie for breakfast? Or cereal for dinner. I had a doctor that recommended eating cereal and milk before going to bed as both the carbohydrate of the cereal and calcium of the milk can help some people feel sleepy.

So “rules” are… for what? Not much, unless you believe in the idea that rules are meant to be broken. Or you believe rules are meant to be obeyed, and you don’t worry about who created them or why. I don’t follow either one of those ideas.

I don’t break rules just to prove I can. I just don’t follow any that doesn’t make sense to me. As long as what I’m doing isn’t hurting anyone else (and what I eat and when doesn’t harm anyone, not even me), I think I will continue to do what feels right for me.

Feel free to do the same for yourself.



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Cindi Dean Wafstet

Cindi Dean Wafstet

Writer, reader, teacher, student… Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Widow Resident of Washington State