No meal after noon. Yes, that is the way of Burmese monks daily diet in Myanmar. It is one of the rules not only for the Burmese monks but also for all Buddhist monks including novices laid down by Buddha.
Also white-robed acolytes, yogis, the ones who observing sabbath have to follow this rule because it is one of the eight percepts of Buddhists. There are many advantages to follow this rule especially if you are the one who is practicing meditation and looking for enlightenment.
Body weight reduction
Usual Buddhist monks’ diet contain two meals; one in the early morning about 4:00 am and another as lunch in 11:00 am. Result of one of the recent studies is same with this schedule. In that study, a day is divided into 3 intervals containing 8 hours each. You can eat as you want in one interval of your choice and then you have to remain fasting for the next two consecutive intervals. This schedule is proved as non-chemical, non-medical treatment for obesity.
In Buddhist monks’ schedule, 4:00 am to noon is the same as one interval. Noon to 4:00 am of the next day is also the same as two intervals. 16-hours fast with 8-hours eating window is now very popular for slimming. So, if you are reducing body weight, practising this schedule would be very useful.
Calmness and concentration
This diet schedule may be uncomfortable for you at first. But, you will be used to soon and metabolism of your body will change accordingly. Fasting beyond noon will slow down the body’s metabolism resulting increase in calmness. With increased calmness, your work rate, decision making, concentration and inspiration will also increase. This can make you more successful whether if you are an ordinary human or a bussiness man or an artist or a yogi or the one who observing sabbath and meditation.
Health and diseases
One study found that when lab animals were allowed to eat freely on every other day, they actually consumed the same total number of calories as a group that was allowed to eat freely everyday. The difference was that the group that fasted every other day showed longer life, increased resistance to disease and improved insulin sensitivity. In human study also showed the same benefits with increased ability to lose weight and improvements in coronary heart disease risk factors in addition. Another study showed that intermittent fasting reduced proliferation of cancer cells and day fasting led to better chemotherapy in cancer patients and a higher cure rate.
National Institute on Aging found that dietary restriction or intermittent fasting with maintained vitamins and minerals intake can extend lifespan and can increase disease resistance. It can have profound effects on brain functions. It can also protect neurons against degeneration in animal studies and stimulate the production of new neurons from stem cells (neurogenesis) resulting increased ability of the brain to resist aging.
To be logical, we can think about previous times of sickness. During those times, we naturally didn’t want to eat because we were not hungry. That means our body needs a break from digestion for other purposes such as fighting illness and regenerating.