I am a huge fan of the radio programme Up All Night. On Wednesday nights / Thursday mornings — if I am awake — I like to listen to Dr Karl’s science phone in. The man is smart and enthusiastic. He’s one of those people that can explain everything in layman’s terms.
But one day he said something that I could never agree with. It might be sound advice, but I cannot take it. Something like, say, “try to take five portions of fruit and veg a day” is fine enough advice for me. But what Dr Karl said on this occasion defies all common sense. He said: “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper.” Never will I do this!
Mike Flynn says, Down with breakfast. I agree. I know that breakfast is meant to be the most important meal of the day, because it breaks your fast and all that. But if I must eat breakfast, at least allow me to have a sufficiently small breakfast. Preferably one that won’t turn my backside into a drainpipe.
It’s true. I can’t just get up and eat breakfast then go about my business. I don’t think I have a very strong stomach. Eating breakfast early in the morning makes me a bit ill you see. If I have a free morning then I will almost always leave about half an hour or an hour before eating. This is fine.
But if I have something to do early in the morning I obviously just have to eat my breakfast pretty much as soon as I get up. But I simply don’t have the appetite if I have just got up. It takes at least half an hour for me to feel like wanting to eat something.
Now you smartarse responsible adults reading this will just be thinking, “why don’t you just get up half an hour earlier then?” Don’t be so preposterous. I need every last wink of sleep I can get, particularly if I’m going to stay up all night listening to worthy science phone-ins.
Besides, I once heard on the Thursday night / Friday morning sleep phone in that it is natural for people my age not to get up until about midday. One time, when we were being forced to play some rubbish ball game in the freezing cold at 10am, my PE teacher was obviously concerned at our breathless gasping. She did a straw poll, asking how many of us had eaten breakfast. Less than half had eaten breakfast. Do you know why? Because we need our sleep damnit!
The idea that I need my breakfast in order to function during the day goes against all of my real life experiences. Sure, if I don’t eat my breakfast I might get a rumble in my tummy by about 11 o’clock, but I get that even if I’ve had breakfast. I must have gone to school dozens of times without ever eating a bean until lunch, and look at me — I’m still alive.
I don’t need my breakfast. I need to sleep in the mornings! I don’t want to be forcing fibre down my gullet only for it to be ejected within the space of a train journey (20 pence piece at the ready for entry to the loos at Waverley Station).
This morning I woke up on my friend’s sofa in Dundee having spent the night over. There was no breakfast for me to have. I thought, well I’d better have breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day apparently and I have to breakfast like a king. So I popped into the Spar. I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have to be heated in the microwave.
Knowing that having such an early breakfast would only make me ill anyway, I just hopped on the train home. My first food came an hour and a half after I woke up. Sure, I was starving when I got home. But boy, it was a great breakfast. I appreciated it much more than I would have appreciated any soggy sandwich I might have bought from a convenience store. And there was no need for a sloppy poop toilet trip.
Sometimes I’m lucky in that I won’t need to dispose of my waste following an early breakfast. But I will still have an unsettled stomach. It’s no wonder nobody will sit next to me during lectures because at some point during that first lesson I will have to unleash a gastric gas catastrophe. It isn’t pleasant. I can’t imagine what must be going on in my innards for such foul smells to be created.
Maybe you think I’m ill or I have some sort of allergy, but I doubt it. As I said, if I leave a bit of time after waking up before eating then I have no problems whatsoever. I can wolf down as much cereal as I like during the evening with no dire(-rhoea) consequences. If I have an allergy to anything, it’s to the morning.
I certainly don’t have an aversion to traditional breakfast-time foods. Infact I have at least one bowl of cereal per day — but always at around 9pm. Additionally I had some toast this evening. Yesterday lunchtime I had a bowl of fruity porridge. I’m not averse to the odd afternoon fry-up either. Even croissants are for lunchtime as far as I’m concerned.
So, if breakfast isn’t the best meal of the day, what is? Well, unlike Mike Flynn, I don’t think it’s lunch. Sandwiches might be good, but I’ve had some awful sandwiches in my time. It’s pretty hit and miss. Also, I have to pace myself when having lunch. I’ve got to be careful not to eat too much in case I don’t have enough room for a later meal that must be eaten with the family round the table.
The best meal of the day certainly isn’t anything called “tea”. Tea is not a meal. It is a hot drink that tastes like compost if you leave the bag in for too long.
You’ve guessed it, mostly because it’s in the title of this post: The best meal is dinner. The most diverse of the meals, dinner also usually provides you with the only hot meal of the day. Possibly the only decent slab of meat of the day. A nice mountain of filling carbohydrates. And I don’t care if I’m meant to eat like a pauper at this time. This is the biggest meal of the day. Fact.
Dinner is also a gateway into the evening, a period of freedom. Breakfast is usually just leading up to a hellish train journey and a bleary-eyed morning of work. Even lunch heralds the beginning of more work. Dinner links the end of work to the start of a relaxing, restful evening.
So down with breakfast indeed. Let’s hear it for dinner, the proper most important meal of the day.