One girl’s expedition into the uncharted territory of being a fully functioning member of society

Eating three meals a day just might be an arbitrary societal construction

More stories from Faith Hultman


For the past week I have been eating three meals a day, and for the past week I have begun to question the very base American society is built upon.

Why do we eat three meals a day? Did someone just wake up one morning five hundred years ago and decide that three meals is the way, the truth and the life?

In a normal day I have class until 3 p.m. I don’t wake up on time to make breakfast, and I forget to grab food on the way out the door, so I have to survive on coffee until I get back home mid-afternoon. Then, upon entering my house, I eat one giant meal and am not hungry for the rest of the day.

I’ll be the first to say this probably isn’t the healthiest way to live, but as a college student who is struggling to walk the line between child and adult, as so many of us are, following tradition when it comes to my food consumption patterns is the least of my concerns.

Normally. This week I made it a priority.

I have a few recipes I make like a pro, but my greatest culinary strength is probably an egg sandwich. Microwave an egg, toast a bagel, and wham, bam, thank you ma’am, a perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Add any cheese you have floating around (and believe me, I have a lot of cheese floating around) and even some vegetables if they haven’t gone bad sitting untouched in your fridge, and you might as well be Gordon Ramsay.

I ventured into foreign waters this week by making chicken, a rare endeavor, and baking vegetables, an equally rare feat. I also ate a lot of canned soup, because really, who has time for homemade soup?

The results? I burned multiple just-add-water pancakes and set off the fire alarm. I dropped raw chicken on the floor, broke a plate and found a three-week-old bagel in the pantry that could’ve been used to cut diamonds.

A tip: as it turns out, lemon, thyme, garlic and pesto don’t work all that well together as a flavor pallette.

I also gained seven pounds. I’m still confused as to how that happened. One pound of weight gain is approximately 3,500 calories, and to have gained a pound a day, I would’ve had to consume an excess of 3,500 calories per day.

There’s no way I ate that much in tortellini and pancakes.

Is eating three meals a day the key to having it together? The jury is still out on this one. There’s no doubt eating healthy, sustainably produced foods is something people who are functioning members of society do, but do they have to do it in a set pattern of three meals a day?

I’m going to say no but make an effort to be an ethical consumer instead of being focused on the timing of my food consumption.

Next week I’m wearing eyeliner every single day. This might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but believe me, it is. Eyeliner equals time spent on appearance, which equals a semi-nice outfit, which equals a put-together vibe.

The vibe I normally transmit is probably something more like “angry girl who woke up ten minutes ago and threw on a sweater that may or may not have been pulled straight off the body of an elderly man,” so anything is an improvement.

Does it work? Is this the week I turn myself around for good? We’ll find out. It’s a desperate world out there folks; stay on top of it.