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Scheduling: Eating

Eating, meditating and exercise all effect one another — you can’t just stack them will-nilly one after the other without regard to order or buffering. In fact, just eating is by itself a scheduling challenge. Different foods may cause you harm if eaten together or not eaten far enough part. Eating after dark is ill-advised — okay once in awhile; but harmful if done over and over again.

Although the Buddha admonishes to eat only two meals a day and not a bite of food after noon, I eat three meals a day with pretty loose timing:

starts no
earlier than
ends no
later than
breakfast 0800 1000
lunch 1130 1500
dinner 1700 2100

Things tend toward the late side, alas. This is, I think, unavoidable; but maybe it’s not unworkable. If I finish eating by six, I can be in bed by ten without trouble. It’s when I start eating at seven that staying up late is inevitable.

As for what to eat those times, I’ve found a breakfast of raw vegetables — spinach and carrots, say — is a surprisingly good antidote to a late dinner. Otherwise, fruit followed by raw greens, maybe with nuts or millet or oats. I rarely eat eggs, meat or milk in the early morning, though I sometimes have a chai tea between ten and eleven. As a matter of fact, I think between ten and two is an ideal time to eat the innumerable poisons — pastries, coffee drinks, french toast, omelettes, pancakes, chocolate milk — that find their way onto the American breakfast table; but never with fruit. In short, I think of the usual ‘breakfast’ as lunch. I think it’s generally best to have meat, fish or cheese at lunch time, too, if you’re going to have them. As for dinner, I think it’s a real hassle to figure it out. Stimulating food keeps you up — thus stay away from sugar or coffee. Foods that take a long time to digest will keep you up, too — so meat, fish, eggs and dairy are ill-advised. Fruit and vegetables seem like the best thing. Oil and beans may be a bad idea, too, since of all vegetable foods they take the longest to digest.

After all that commentary, I feel comfortable saying breakfast and dinner should be the same meal and lunch should be all the heavy stuff. So I’ll try to have my beans at lunch and stick to fruit, salad and steamed veggies at dinner time.


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