The Ideal Eating Window

Why do we eat between 12 pm and 6 or 8 pm?

We are told by a chronically sick society that we need a balanced breakfast early in the morning.  

From the mainstream article “What Does a Healthy Breakfast Look Like?” 

“We asked Charlotte Furman, a registered dietitian and Technology and Wellness Manager in the Department of Food and Nutrition at UW Medical Center, to help us understand what a healthy breakfast should look like. Furman loves breakfast—it’s her favorite meal of the day. The goal is not to feel like you are depriving yourself of anything, but instead rewarding yourself—with new patterns, new flavors, and hopefully renewed energy and improved mood and health.” 

Firman is already not starting with a good understanding of eating to live, her focus is on “rewarding yourself” through the poisoning of your body.   ?

The article goes on to tell us to stuff ourselves early in the morning by combining every type of food into a single meal that will take hours to digest and will create both ammonia and alcohol in our system as the proteins and carbohydrates both fail to digest quickly and efficiently: 

“What foods make a nutritious breakfast?

For the most nutritious breakfast, try to choose whole, unprocessed foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Try to include proteins from foods like yogurts (look for varieties with less sugar added), eggs, nuts and seeds or legumes. Also try to include complex carbohydrates such as whole fruits and vegetables, and whole grains (i.e. oatmeal) that provide fiber and will help you feel full longer.”

They then go on to provide us with a list of examples of a “healthy breakfast”: 

“Oatmeal with fruit and flax or chia seeds

Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana

Whole wheat toast with pesto, avocado and egg

Whole wheat crepes with yogurt and fruit”

Yikes ? 

Things have changed a little from the recommendation of “Eggs, whole grain toast, orange juice, milk, and cereal that I grew up with, but I cannot say they have improved at all.   

Aside from the food combining disasters, this dietitian, and nearly all others, recommends an early meal well before noon. So what’s wrong with that? What are they ignoring about our physiology when they recommend breaking the fast early in the morning?

Digestive Phases

Our body has three natural stages that the digestive process goes through. These are digestion, assimilation, and elimination.

The digestive processes run from approximately noon until around 8 PM. 

Assimilation processes run from about 8 PM until 4 AM.  

The elimination process is run from 4 AM until 12 noon. 

When we force our body to digest at 8 AM or 9 AM when the body is still in the elimination phase our digestion will be sluggish and our elimination will be impaired. 

This has a double negative effect on the body. First, sluggish digestion does not efficiently digest food thereby creating more waste and more fermentation in the system. The second is the early shift away from elimination means the body is eliminating less.  

When you combine these two factors the result is far more waste being trapped in the system, leading to disease conditions.  

One way we can witness this for ourselves is in the gas and bloating that often results after an early morning fruit meal.  The cleaner your system becomes, the more you will become aware of this. 

When we eat only during the digestion window we find that our mind is clearer and we have more energy early in the day to get through our tasks.   We have less energy drain and we also allow the repairs to the digestive system to be made, so we have less of the pains of false hunger and are less likely to overeat later in the day.   

Another way we can see this process in action is all of the people who are awoken at or around 4 am, often with a nightmare, anxiety, or some other form of distress.  As the body shifts into elimination, the harmful substances irritate the nerves of the digestive tract and the body’s response is to reflect that discomfort.   

Clinical Studies

Recently studies on the gut microbiome have confirmed these natural rhythms of the body:  

“Many microbes in the digestive tract do not maintain a constant level of their relative abundance but show daily oscillations under normal conditions. Recent evidence indicates that chronic jetlag, constant darkness, or deletion of the circadian core gene can alter the composition of gut microbiota and dampen the daily oscillation of gut microbes.”

“External light-dark cycle shapes gut microbiota through intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells” Chi-Chan Lee et al.

“Researchers noted that the basic rhythmicity of the gut microbiota is described by an increase of Firmicutes during feeding periods followed by its decrease over time during the day. Although some gut bacteria such as Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Verrucomicrobia are more present during fasting periods, bacteria that feed on fiber grow at night as food residues reach the colon. Polyphenol and some prebiotic fibers such as GOS (galactooligosaccharides), found in plant sources and breast milk, respectively, are able to consolidate the circadian rhythm by increasing gut microbiota diversity.”

“Gut microbiota rhythmicity is expressed through the secretion of molecules at specific times of the day. At night, genes related to energy metabolism, DNA repair and cell growth are enacted, while during the day, bacteria produce molecules that consolidate their own colonization of the gut.”

“The Gut Microbiota Clock: the close connection between gut microbiota, dietary patterns, and the circadian rhythm”

“Indeed, over the past 3 years, evidence has emerged revealing compositional oscillation of the fecal microbiota during the 24-h light-dark cycle – the gut microbiome exhibits compositional and functional structures at different times of day (Thaiss et al., 2014; Zarrinpar et al., 2014; Liang et al., 2015).

Thaiss et al. (2014) reported the time-of-day–dependent composition of the murine fecal microbiota (Thaiss et al., 2014) (Figure 2a). More than 15% of detected OTUs (Operational Taxonomical Units) undergo daily oscillation in their relative abundance, including Lactobacillus reuteri, Dehalobacterium spp., and other species belonging to Clostridiales, Lactobacillales, and Bacteroidales. Additional support was added later by another 2 groups: Zarrinpar et al. (2014) reported that 17% of OTUs are cyclical (Zarrinpar et al., 2014), and we reported oscillation of the relative abundance of genera belonging to Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria (Liang et al., 2015). In addition to the fluctuation in relative taxonomic abundance, the total biomass of the gut bacterial community in mice is higher during the dark phase when the animals are active(Liang et al.,2015). The discovery of microbial oscillation in the gut was detectable despite the dramatic variability of microbiota composition from different cages and animal facilities (Deloris Alexander et al., 2006; Rausch et al., 2016).”

“Timing the Microbes: The Circadian Rhythm of the Gut Microbiome” Xue Liang* and Garret A. FitzGerald†

Why do people feel compelled to eat early in the morning?

This habit of early eating is more likely a result of the “hunger” pains caused by the ingestion of harmful substances. True hunger is never evidenced by pain. Pain is part of the healing process. However, if we are stuffing our bodies with harmful substances and mis-combing foods creating fermentation and putrefaction inside our digestive tract there will be a need each morning to make repairs, which triggers pain in the stomach. Feeding temporarily stops those repairs and stops the pain, reinforcing the false idea of hunger.

When we return to the natural diet of raw fruits, tender leafy greens, raw nuts, seeds, and tender vegetables we remove the substances from our diet that are injuring our tissues, and as the body heals we see these hunger pains disappear. Instead, we are free to choose to eat only when the body requires fuel and we become free of the cravings which enslave us and keep us trapped in unhealthy cycles of eating.

Have more questions? Want to get answers about your specific health issues or concerns? We offer consultations here:

Ready to make changes but not sure how to begin? Need some motivation or accountability? Why not join our 30-Day Terrain Model Diet Support and Education Group: New Groups start on the 1st of every month!

Eat fruit and be well my friends. ?