Friday, February 18, 2011

Eat Right, Whoever You Are!

In January, Whole Foods was offering little slips of paper with a code to become a member of and take the "Eat Right America 28-day Challenge". Did I sign up? Yes. Did I get on board with the challenge? No. Have I found individual days of the challenge particularly irritating and against my dietary needs? Yep, otherwise I would hardly have mentioned it.

I just started writing in my little food & exercise journal the following. "Here's what I don't want in my healthy diet: excessive instructed consumption of blended foods like smoothies or--ick--"blended salads." A smoothie can be fine as a quick delivery system on occasion, but 1) I don't have the ingredients, especially bananas, 2) I don't have a high-powered blender, and 3) I get hungry soon after, so I'd like to chew my food. I don't want any dietician warning me about the horrors of olive oil. 120 calories per tablespoon! Egad! Hide the children!" I plan to go on and say that I don't want to be assigned an eating plan that tells me at the same time to:

1) Eat only when I'm hungry.
2) Eat only three meals a day.

Spouting that the digestive system needs to rest, without citing any actual medical info to support this, the chief medical officer of the Eat Right America website states that six meals a day is utterly wrong and horrible for you! Three are the number of meals you should eat in a day, and the number of meals you eat shall be three.

I've been keeping track of when I'm actually hungry--when I feel actual uncomfortable pains gnawing at my belly.

6:45 Wake up, hungry.
7:20 Eat a reasonable breakfast, like coffee w/ soymilk and happy oatmeal, or PB&J
9:30 Hungry
11:00 or so Eat a reasonable lunch, consisting of a filling portion of vegetarian protein, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables
3:00 Hungry
3:30 Have a snack, such as nuts & fruit, or a salad of lettuce & beans
5:30 Hungry
6:30 Eat dinner, such as kale & hearty
8:30 Hungry. Eat dark chocolate.
10:30 Hungry. Go to bed.

I am literally stomach-growling, belly-gnawing hungry every 3-4 hours. More frequently as the day goes on. Eating a reasonable amount (i.e. doesn't make me feel stuffed) of food at a meal only lasts to hold me for this amount of time. There are magical people out there who don't feel hunger the way I do. They don't lose focus because of the fact that their stomach is growling. They can go all day without feeling the need to eat, until it hits them in the evening. They can eat three meals a day.

I will continue to eat five. And maintain my healthy weight and fitness levels.

Is there any peer-reviewed medical evidence that snacking or mini-meals causes pathological damage to the digestive system? If so, please pass it along for my consideration.


  1. Personally, I've found eating five meals or 3 meals and 2 snacks per day to be exactly the right amount of food for me. The snack keeps me from having a huge, blood-sugar-tanking meal because I'm staaaaaaaaaarving, and the frequency of the nomming has actually sped up my metabolism (which is to say, for the first time in my life I actually wake up hungry).

  2. I've eaten five meals a day for my entire life. When going through growth spurts as a pre-teen, those meals were a little bigger, and now that I'm pregnant I find that they are bigger again. The only times I've stayed at 3 meals per day, those meals ended up being too big, and I gained weight!

  3. I'm diabetic, so several small meals and/or snacks to even out my blood sugar is the best way to go. I have a slow stomach and don't do well at all eating large meals.

  4. I too eat 5 to 6 meals a day (even when not pregnant). I've done it for years, and feel much better keeping my blood sugar stable this way. (I'm hypoglycemic.)