Meal Eating Times
I have so many patients who come in and do not have regular set eating times. I always emphasise, even if they do not eat any meals, breakfast is a must and must be eaten between 7-9am when the Stomach receives the most Blood for digestion and the sun has risen as our digestive function is aligned with the sun movements. Our optimum critical thinking time is between 9-11am which is Spleen time and Spleen is responsible for thinking.
In TICM, what and when you eat can be your greatest form of medicine or on the other side of things, a cause for a system imbalance and illness. In the Spiritual Axis (Ling Shu Jing in Chinese), it is said that If no food is eaten for half a day, energy is weakened, if no food is eaten for a whole day, Energy is depleted. Energy is our body's vital life force, an invisible substance that forms in all living entities. One is only as strong as their energy. TICM places a large significance on dietary habits for this purpose, to invigorate our energy, Blood and support our organs properly. The TICM body clock, similar to circadian rhythm, says that Blood and energy enters certain organs in 2 hour intervals and moves through the 12 meridians daily. So not only what we eat, but the consistency of when we eat, has a huge impact on our vitality.
Breakfast must be your biggest meal, but I am not telling you to over eat. Please follow the hadith's on eating in moderation and 1/3 hadith please. Morning is the rising of our sun/warm energy as it duplicates the Sun's journey. Our digestive system is similar to the sensitive one of an infant. The simplicity, textures, and nutritional make-up of infant food or mother's milk are most in harmony with what the body needs. When broken down nutritionally, whole-grains have a protein to carbohydrate ratio and sweet flavor that virtually duplicates human mother's milk. Warm oatmeal, porridge and congee, are wonderful between the hours of 7-9am, when the Stomach is in focus. The Stomach likes warm, moist and sweet foods and dislikes dry foods like toast or crackers. Sweet potatoes are wonderful to activate the workings of the Stomach and Spleen as well. You can make your breakfast savoury or sweet, adding ginger powder for extra warmth, cinnamon, spring onions, warm fruit and so on. From the hours of 9am-11am, our Spleen works to transport and transform food into energy.
Lunch should be between 12-2pm and a smaller meal than breakfast but must must be warm.
Dinner should be between 4.30-6.30pm and no eating after sunset or 2-3hrs before bedtime. Must be the smallest meal of the day and no carbohydrates if possible. I personally opt for broth, small soup or congee.