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If We Ate Like Animals, Would We Be Happier?

January 16, 2011

Photo Credit: thills1988 on Flickr

Tom is a good example.

I’m not talking about the way he eats – I’ve seen him eat and I can categorically say he follows the same social etiquette as everyone else when it comes to food, maybe even slightly superior to some people I know. And (with the exception of this) the food he seems to eat looks pretty good too. But, he’s not constrained to the socially constructed meal times, that we adhere to without exception.

In the animal world, there are no set meal times; animals eat when they catch their food. Essentially their meal times are dictated by their hunger, their hunting ability and a bit of luck. If they do eat at a scheduled time, it is because it is imposed by humans, such as the feeding time at the zoo, or meal times for pets.

Humans however have set meal times. Some variation exists between the times zones, different families, or individuals eat at, but on the whole, we eat breakfast between 06.00 – 09.00, lunch between 12.00 – 14.00 and dinner between 17.00-20.00.

Another rule is that lunch doesn’t happen before 12.00, ever! If we consume food before 12.00 it’s ‘brunch’ or ‘late breakfast’. Similarly, dinner doesn’t ever fall before 17.00. That time is ‘late lunch’ or ‘snacking’.

We also, all eat three meals a day, minimum. There may be some people who don’t always make breakfast, or accidentally skip lunch, but when we miss it, we’re very aware that we’ve missed it and it’s like banking. If we miss one of our scheduled meals, we build up a credit, which we can use later in the day…  If we miss lunch, we can feast at dinner. If we miss breakfast, we can have an extra something at lunch.

However, what you may have noticed since Tom added the time to his blog is that he isn’t constrained to these times. And it almost makes perfect sense. Why would we eat when we’re not hungry? Who says we’ve got to eat three meals a day?

I don’t know who makes the rules, but I think as technology continues to change and our work/ life balance shifts with working from home, for longer hours, and within a global time zone, that we’ll gradually begin to follow the ‘Tom Trend’. Thus, as technology develops, we’ll become more like animals.

Feeding times today:

01.10 Onion Rings x 8
11.00 BLC – Bacon, Lettuce, Cucumber on brown bread.
11.15 Clementine
12.45 Tyrrell’s veg crisps – Weird!
15.55 Sun Dried tomatoes, garlic and olives tagliatelle
20.45 Basics noodles and curry sauce.


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