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The Kitchen Is Now Closed

Restricting our food intake to certain portions of our day has some advatanges

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

The Kitchen Is Now Closed

Intermittent fasting is a thing now.  Basically this diet strategy involves restricting food intake for specified amounts of time.  The most common strategy is to not eat anything after an early, light dinner until breakfast the next morning.  Apparently the latest trend in Silicon Valley is to fast for days which I think is crazy.  Truth be told, fasting is not all that new.  Our hunter/gatherer ancestors and our farmer ancestors had to endure long periods of fasting.  The word breakfast literally means “breaking the fast of the night”.   Wild animals on the prowl kept most of our caveman ancestors inside after dark.  Our farmer ancestors had to deal with droughts, wars, and pillaging.  This meant periods of little or no food.  Even after the 1900s, most homes in America had no refrigeration so food would spoil quickly and had to be eaten at the meal itself.  Cooking food meant pumping water from a well, starting a fire with wood or coal, and using kerosene lamps for light if needed. 

My ammamma (maternal grandmother)

This was what I saw when I went to India in 1975 for the summer.  During that summer, I stayed with both sets of grandparents.  One set of grandparents lived in a house that had electricity to run fans and lights.  The stove was a tiny, portable kerosene stove.  There was no refrigerator.  There was a pump in front of the kitchen where water was collected each day into giant pots.  Each pot of water was boiled on the small stove prior to consumption or use in cooking.  Food was made and eaten at meal time.  After dinner was finished, the kitchen was cleaned and locked shut.  I am not kidding, my grandmother, literally, put a padlock on the door.  

My other grandparents lived in a smaller village.  They had no electricity.  They cooked over a pit using charcoal.  They had no refrigerator as well.  They didn't have a hand cranked pump for water.  They had a well out back.  Each day, water was hoisted from the well into buckets.  These buckets were carried up to the coal pit, boiled and then used for cooking.  The produce was purchased from local farmers who set up small stands outside.  Unlike what I was use to in America, when dinner was done, that was it for eating.  The kitchen was locked and access to food limited.  We didn’t eat anything again until breakfast some 12 hours later.  Some of my relatives also fasted on Fridays which meant they ate nothing at all the entire day except for water.  

My thathayagaru (my paternal grandfather)

The human liver has several functions including helping us get through the night without eating anything.  Our livers can store enough sugar energy to last us about 12 hours.  Once our liver’s sugar stores are depleted, our body starts to breakdown stored fat into energy.  The one catch is that our brains really need sugar energy to run.  Our brains do not work well on the ketone energy from fat breakdown.  For this reason, I think that fasting for more than a day is not a good idea.  But there is a lot to be said for fasting 12-16 hours a day.  In fact, it seems like that is what are body is set up to do.  This means eating food from breakfast until dinner over a span of 8 to 12 hours and then nothing the rest of the day. 

There is a time to sleep, there is a time to play, and it looks as though there is a time to eat.


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