In the past, I would generally eat breakfast every day. This follows the standard advice I grew up with pretty well. After all, we've all heard the phrase "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" (which, by the way, was invented by a breakfast cereal company in the 1940s, but never mind that). We've also heard the familiar adage, "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper." Personally, however, I have never been able to avoid some serious side-effects of following this advice. When I tried to eat breakfast like a king, I would inevitably feel tired, often something akin to a 'food coma.' I would feel like I didn't deserve to be eating a good meal that early in the day without getting any work done. I would feel tired and unproductive, not to mention dilatory and late to everything due to the time it took me to prepare food early in the day.
Recently, however, I've been experimenting with gradual changes to my diet. I think as as one matures and one's body and lifestyle changes, it's important to keep abreast of these changes and make sure they are reflected in one's dietary habits. When I was younger, or at times such as several weeks ago when I was training for a marathon, it may have made sense to eat three square meals a day. During the past week, however, I've mostly been staying indoors, practicing a lot. I've been going out for short nighttime runs but haven't been hugely active. I've been eating roughly two meals a day after skipping breakfast and I have to say it's worked pretty well.
Here's what happened. First of all, I felt like other parts of my life became more disciplined. For me it does take some discipline to not eat first thing in the day no matter what, as I used to as a kid, so it doesn't surprise me that this discipline spills over into other areas of my morning. I've felt noticeably greater mental clarity, and found it easier to stay awake. I've personally felt more spiritually disciplined as well. Your mileage (certainly mine) may vary, but I wouldn't be surprised if any reader feels something similar. It's worth noting how far back the tradition of fasting as a spiritual discipline goes in Christianity, as well as countless other religions. Jesus and Moses maintained their fasts for 40 days - I'm nowhere near their level, needless to say!
Physically, I felt healthier - cleaner on the inside, I'd say. My stomach felt more comfortable and less upset. I have no quantitative measurements to back this up, but it is my strong belief that the body needs time to heal itself hard work of digestion. Taking a morning, or even until later in the day to get back to equilibrium until one truly needs to eat again can do wonders for the GI system, particularly if one's stomach has been upset lately due to dietary imbalance, overeating or eating too late at night. It happens semi-automatically - I think of an overheated car radiator system going back to normal after the radiator is refilled, a leak stopped, or a stuck thermostat replaced. The simple analog system will equilibrate naturally given the proper corrective measures and time.
In my relation to the outside world, I've both saved a lot of time and enjoyed the food I've eaten a lot more. No one has time to prepare a continental breakfast every morning, at least with the schedule I have on a typical day. I do enjoy the luxury, however of taking some time later in the day to cook a nice meal. There's time to relax and enjoy the process of cooking and eating. The quality of food tends to be higher too, at least as far my tastes go. I suspect it's healthier, as one can avoid the traditional breakfast food heavy on grains, carbs, and sugar. No matter what you eat for breakfast, you don't want to be like that guy we all know who has to eat every two or three hours and carries around a backpack of protein bars. In fact, reliance on convenience foods for breakfast contradicts another dietary rule of mine - don't eat food your great-grandparents wouldn't have recognized. As much as possible, I try to cook all my meals myself from basic ingredients, and enjoy them as much as possible. Real food is the goal here.
Lastly, this is a perhaps a tangent, but situations like this continually amaze me insofar as how much of what passes for science has no concrete basis in fact. I suspect that anyone who attains a terminal degree comes to a similar realization, regardless of field. Mine was in music, but you don't need a Ph.D in nutrition to understand the process. Even if a study is done rigorously and legitimately free of bias, by the time it reaches the public, it often becomes watered down and distorted into something dangerously close to pseudoscience. Often a determined individual, regardless of pedigree, can become better informed than some doctor in a white coat writing a prescription by rote or doling out nuggets of one-size-fits-all advice. Suffice it to say that better scientists than I have acknowledged that such slogans as "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" are not only meaningless oversimplifications of a complex and nuanced reality, but are actively contradicted by other studies of equivalent rigor.
In summary, if you want to open up new horizons for your health, productivity, and spiritual goals, and have no complicating medical conditions or eating disorders, give intermittent fasting a try. It's done a lot of good for me, and perhaps it will for the reader as well.