Lions Don't Nibble

June 29, 2007

They gorge.

And what's interesting about this is they are not fat. Quite the opposite. They are lean, mean eating machines.

The reason? Is it all the physical activity they do all the live long day out on the savanna?

Nope. Turns out that lions are lazy bums. 22 hours out of every 24 hour day is spent snoozing.

It's what they eat - meat - that keeps them lithe and powerful.

Humans share almost identical digestive makeup to the pure carnivore. There are some differences (longer small intestines) but compared to a gazelle, we might as well be lions ourselves.

Gazelles and other herbivores, if you recall from watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, eat constantly - they graze. They need to do this because the type of food they eat has very little in the way of fat and protein so the need to eat all the time to get enough.

Nature has provided them with a completely different digestive system from the shape of the jaw and teeth and how they chew, all the way down to the finish line.

It is not wise to mimic their eating habits or eat the foods they eat. Like omnivore bears who eat berries and some plants, most of our calories should come from animal products. Notice how in the wild carnivores and omnivores usually eat a lot at a sitting - to fill - and then not again until necessary sometimes for many hours.

A post or two ago I talked about intermittent fasting. If you look at the lives of the animals who share our digestive system design, you'll observe that they don't nibble and graze. They eat to fill - in some cases gorging (or what looks like gorging to us) and then not again for many hours, sometimes days.

I believe that we would do best doing the same. Long fasts have an anabolic (body building) effect so long as the food you eat when you eat is correct.

Think of the lion again - if eating to fill and not again for a day or more was detrimental, lions would have never survived. Clearly long fasts (to a point) are healthy and promote strength and vitality in these animals. It should be much the same for us.

Example: I had steak and eggs for breakfast with some berries the other morning. I ate it all and felt very satiated - not bloated or full as after eating the same amount of bread or pasta. I was not in the least bit hungry until about 6 PM and even then I was only mildly hungry. So without thinking about it I fasted for 13 hours. I felt great. I felt lean. I felt energized.

But I hope I don't start growing whiskers!