3 Meals per day? Ha, Ha. Gotch-ya.

How far back in history must you go to find that ancient people (now considered as those of our great grand-parents age) did not regularly eat according to the clock: 6 or 7am breakfast. 12 noon lunch and 6 pm dinner. That’s how it was for me as a kid growing up in the 50’s. You must eat 3 meals a day to maintain optimum health according to the ‘experts’ back then. We had eggs and/or pancakes with a glass of milk and possible orange juice before heading off to school carrying our brown paper sack of a peanut butter sandwich on white bread with a side of chips, possibly an apple and pickle thrown in for added benefit. Then when dad got home, family dinner time at 6 pm of spaghetti and meat balls and slice of bread to swipe the sauce off the plate.  Then homework time and be ready to slide under the covers at 10 after watching the b/w 9-inch TV for local news at 9.  That was life in the 50’s.

And now 60 years later we not only delight in 3 meals per day but snacks in-between. Oh, how I love to snack, to always have a goodie near-by to nibble on while being entertained by others.  Hersey chocolates are my favorite along with jelly beans and an occasional piece of licorice, fig bars or Ritz crackers (a pinch of salt) or a handful of pistachios.  Also, wow, a bowl of potato chips to dip into that sharp cheddar cheese dip between sips of beer while watching a 3-hour ball-game hit it off satisfying the stomach growl.

But, did our great grand-parents eat 3 meals a day when they were growing up? That would have been in the time before the calendars turned to 1900, closer to 1850. Society then was predominately agrarian working the farms, raising cows, goats, chickens, pigs and riding horses to get to the local market. Relaxation was walking to the near-by stream or lake to catch some fish and take a skinny dip. In between the seasons many would head off to the forests hunting a deer, fox, bear, buffalo. Life was not so convenient requiring lots of physical energy. Women were baking bread, feathering a chicken, scrubbing the farm dirt, instructing the kiddies on the realities of life. She was possibly a school mom. Sundays came, time to clean-up, dress up, greet and share news with neighbors at the local church.

The industrial revolution was beginning, and the young workers were moving from farms to the cities to eat lunch in the factories. Go back to 1904 when the first New Year celebration in Times Square and look at the crowd. You will not see any obese folks watching the ball drop. There are many black and white photos of people in the streets of NY in the 20’s to 40’s. No obese. I have hanging in my home office a 1928 photo of my grand-parents congregation of the Auburn Park SW church attending a Sunday School rally day. Lots of slim kids. No overly heavy people.

There were no fast food joints, no drive-ins, restaurants were few and far between, and pushing a cart through the aisles selecting your grocery list was unheard of. McDonalds was not. White castle was not. Nor a Burger King and the rest of the drive-throughs for a what else but a ‘happy meal’.  Yes, the advertisement of a very attractive slim young lady throwing her slim arms high in the air celebrating how happy you’ll be. The trauma of a hard day will end when you down that burger and fries with a diet Coke. We’re open 24/7. Gotch-ya.

Obesity is defined as having your waist size larger than your butt size. Another measurement of obesity is determined by the formula: (Weight in Pounds / (Height in inches x Height in inches)) x 703. That’s your BMI. Anything over 25 is getting close to obesity. A healthy body will be more like the hour glass shape. The US and Mexico supposedly have close to 40% of the population as obese. In the UK two-thirds of men and almost six in 10 women are overweight or obese.

So, here we are in 2018 when farming is done riding a John Deere and trucking the veggies across the country measured in hours for freshness. Chickens are raised by the thousands in large open-air cages. Cows are butchered in factories, and TV’s have 250 selections to choose from, telephones are in hand computers as we drive the free-ways to sit-down office work. Obesity is becoming the majority consuming food 3 times per day and nibbling the rest of the time. There are even voices being heard that smaller meals 4-5 times a day reduces obesity risk by 45 percent. [1] Three-meals per day lowers blood pressure.

So, who do we listen to for sound advice? The advertisers? The government agencies?

Does anyone fast anymore.  For those who may not know what that word (fast) means, I offer this simple definition: Go without food for a self-determined length of time, such as no food at all (water, yes) for a day, three days, 21 or 40 days, or even just a meal or two. Yes, it can be done. It used to be common among Christians to fast during lent before Easter. Oh, to think on that drives me up the wall. I thought that would be considered ‘works of the flesh’, so forget it, I’m saved by faith.

Satan says: “gotch-ya.”

[1] htps://www.alternet.org/story/152486/there_is_no_biological_reason_to_eat_three_meals_a_day_–_so_why_do_we_do_it

Author: Arnold Kropp

About the Author. Back in the days when I was a kid growing up in south Chicago, freely roaming around the neighborhood was common and just a part of life in the late 40's and early 50's. A train track was less than a mile away and a favorite place to walk along the rails. A large city park was a bit closer with areas of dense trees and areas of open grassy picnic grounds. A public golf course was just two blocks away, but the famed 4-lane busy Western avenue had to be crossed to get to it, and we crossed in the middle of the block running between the cars and trucks. We knew the risks. In the winters, we would climb that fence making our way to one of the ponds, we’d push and shovel away the snow and play a spontaneous game of hockey, or bring a sled and slide down the hillside ; no adults, no special padding, just a group of kids enjoying the contest. Dad was at work, mom was home tending to the washing and preparing the family meal for promptly at 6 pm. Life was good. It was fun. Sunday mornings were dress up in suit and tie, polished shoes for Sunday school and the worship service, then to a restaurant. Arnold went on to college immediately after high school, but could not find a subject, a major that was really up his alley, so he enlisted in the Army and served in Germany during the years the Berlin wall was built. Seeing what effects Soviet communism had on the people of East Germany left an impression on him. During those years, he would write many long letters home starting a desire to write more than just letters. Many years later Arnold developed a blog where he posted hundreds of articles on the political side of American life. Some of those are available in the collection named "Ramblings". Today, Society is totally different from that of the 50's, a whole lot different. Today, it has become scary to let the kids roam. Today it has become organized to the hilt with 2nd graders playing organized football. In my present relatively quiet neighborhood, I do see kids walking the streets, but there is a difference as the kids seem to be apprehensive and on guard or intently operating a telephone as they walk, not running after each other. Today, the above freedoms of the 50's are suspect and avoided as being dangerous activities. And that is sad. It's sad that today's kids do not have that freedom, and it may be having a direct effect on their development. Consider, one fact that is readily apparent today compared to yesterday; the preponderance of overweight and obese kids, even pre-school kids are heavier than we were, and this has to be affecting the rest of their daily lives. No doubt about it. But, I'd better hush, can't talk about those things. Yes, in the 50’s there were Semi-trucks, public transportation, murders, rape, robberies, house fires, sickness and diseases resulting in death, and yes, there were deadly vehicle accidents too. There was even poverty and homosexuals too. We went to public schools, and the high school was integrated. This was Chicago, but those events did not make the headlines, as news was only broadcast at 6pm and possibly 10pm nightcap. Days of the cold war kept us together as a nation. We saw the "Victory at Sea" war clips before the main feature at the theaters. And now technology dominates life. A cell phone in every handy pocket posting selfies. A computer saving everything to one of those cumulous clouds. Room size TV’s broadcasting everything 24/7. This is more information than I want. Let me decide something. I think. therefore, I am. I was born a male, therefore I am. I was born-again, therefore I am. I have life within, therefore I am. The news is not my guide. The TV is not my Sheppard.

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