There has been a vast amount of controversy as to when to eat, what to eat, how to eat, and how much to eat, and all this controversy is unnecessary, for the Right Way is very easy to find. You have only to consider the Law which governs all attainment, whether of health, wealth, power, or happiness; and that law is that you must do what you can do now, where you are now; do every separate act in the most perfect manner possible, and put the power of faith into every action.
The processes of digestion and assimilation are under the supervision and control of an inner division of a persons mentality, which is generally called the sub-conscious mind, and I shall use that term here in order to be understood. The sub-conscious mind is in charge of all the functions and processes of life, and when more food is needed by the body, it makes the fact known by causing a sensation called hunger.
Whenever food is needed and can be used, there is hunger, and whenever there is hunger it is time to eat. When there is no hunger it is unnatural and wrong to eat, no matter how great may APPEAR to be the need for food. Even if you are in a condition of apparent starvation, with great emaciation, if there is no hunger you may know that FOOD CANNOT BE USED, and it will be unnatural and wrong for you to eat.* Though you have not eaten for days or weeks, if you have no hunger you may be perfectly sure that food cannot be used, and will probably not be used if taken. Whenever food is needed, if there is power to digest and assimilate it, so that it can be normally used, the subconscious mind will announce the fact by a decided hunger.
Food, taken when there is no hunger, will sometimes be digested and assimilated, because Nature makes a special effort to perform the task which is thrust upon her against her will, but if food is habitually taken when there is no hunger, the digestive power is at last destroyed, and numberless evils caused. If the foregoing be true and it is indisputably so it is a self-evident proposition that the natural time (and the healthy time) to eat is when one is hungry, and that it is never a natural or a healthy action to eat when one is not hungry. You see, then, that it is an easy matter to scientifically settle the question when to eat. ALWAYS eat when you are hungry, and NEVER eat when you are not hungry. This is obedience to nature, which is obedience to God. We must not fail, however, to make clear the distinction between hunger and appetite.
Hunger is the call of the sub-conscious mind for more material to be used in repairing and renewing the body, and in keeping up the internal heat. Hunger is never felt unless there is need for more material, and unless there is power to digest it when taken into the stomach.
Appetite is a desire for the gratification of sensation. The drunkard has an appetite for liquor, but he cannot have a hunger for it. A normally fed person cannot have a hunger for candy or sweets. The desire for these things is an appetite. You cannot hunger for tea, coffee, spiced foods, or for the various taste-tempting devices of the skilled cook. If you desire these things, it is with appetite, not with hunger.
Hunger is natures call for material to be used in building new cells, and nature never calls for anything which may not be legitimately used for this purpose. Appetite is often largely a matter of habit. If one eats or drinks at a certain hour, and especially if one takes sweetened or spiced and stimulating foods, the desire comes regularly at the same hour, but this habitual desire for food should never be mistaken for hunger. Hunger does not appear at specified times. It only comes when work or exercise has used sufficient energy to make the taking in of new raw material a necessity.
For instance, if a person has been sufficiently fed on the preceding day, it is impossible that he should feel a genuine hunger on arising from refreshing sleep. In sleep the body is recharged with vital power, and the assimilation of the food which has been taken during the day is completed the system has no need for food immediately after sleep, unless the person went to his rest in a state of starvation. With a system of feeding which is even a reasonable approach to a natural one, no one can have a real hunger for an early morning breakfast. There is no such thing possible as a normal or genuine hunger immediately after arising from sound sleep.
The early morning breakfast is always taken to gratify appetite, never to satisfy hunger. No matter who you are, or what your condition is; no matter how hard you work, or how much you are exposed, unless you go to your bed starved, you cannot arise from your bed hungry.
Hunger is not caused by sleep, but by work. And it does not matter who you are, or what your condition, or how hard or easy your work, the so-called no-breakfast plan is the right plan for you. It is the right plan for everybody, because it is based on the universal law that hunger never comes until it is EARNED. I am aware that a protest against this will come from the large number of people who enjoy. their breakfasts, whose breakfast is their best meal, who believe that their work is so hard that they cannot get through the forenoon on an empty stomach, and so on. But all their arguments fall down before the facts.
They enjoy their breakfast as the toper enjoys his morning dram, because it gratifies a habitual appetite and not because it supplies a natural want. It is their best meal for the same reason that his morning dram is the topers best drink. And they CAN get along
without it, because millions of people, of every trade and profession, DO get along without it, and are vastly better for doing so.
If you are to live according to the Science of Health, you must NEVER EAT UNTIL YOU HAVE AN EARNED HUNGER. But if I do not eat on arising in the morning, when shall I take my first meal? In 99 cases out of a hundred twelve o’clock noon is early enough, and it is generally the most convenient time. If you are doing heavy work, you will get by noon a hunger sufficient to justify a good-sized meal. And if your work is light, you will probably still have hunger enough for a moderate meal. The best general rule or law that can be laid down is that you should eat your first meal of the day at noon if you are hungry, and if you are not hungry, wait until you become so.
And when shall I eat my second meal? Not at all, unless you are hungry for it and that with a genuine earned hunger. If you do get hungry for a second meal, eat at the most convenient time, but do not eat until you have a really earned hunger.
The reader who wishes to fully inform himself as to the reasons for this way of arranging the mealtimes will find the best books thereon cited in the preface to this work. From the foregoing, however, you can easily see that the Science of Being Well readily answers the question, When, and how often shall I eat? The answer: Eat when you have an earned hunger, and never eat at any other time.