My mother always told me that breakfast was the most important meal of the day – I’m sure yours probably did too. Of course we never questioned her, why would we, mum knows best right?
Well, maybe, maybe not.
There are a couple of things you have to understand about breakfast, breakfast foods, and our own individual biochemistry that may help you decide whether you should actually be eating breakfast or not. So lets start with point number one;
1 – Meal timing. I’m not sure who decided that it was an essential component of health that we MUST eat our first meal of the day immediately after waking up, but is this really what we should be doing? I know from working with hundreds of clients that not everyone wants something to eat first thing in the morning – some people just aren’t hungry then. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s ok! Yes really! There is just a small ‘but’ here though. What happens if you are hungry at, say 9, 10am, 11am? Can you go right out and grab a meal? If you are like the majority of people (those who have jobs) the answer is probably not. So, what’s the best solution? Should you force yourself to eat immediately upon waking, or hang on til lunch time, by which time your stomach is making noises so loud you start upsetting the neighbours? Here is my school of thought on this. 1: <strong>Yes, you should eat when you are ‘ready'</strong> but if you are unable to get easy access to food, when you ARE ready then ensure you take something suitable with you to work. See below for suggestions.
2: Breakfast is just another meal! There is no requirement that your first meal should be any different from the rest. By that, I mean that your first meal does not have to come from a box with Kellogg’s written on it, nor does it have to contain dairy products! Try some left overs from last nights dinner and notice how you feel after! Typical breakfast foods tend to be very high in processed refined grains, have a high glycemic index (raise your blood sugar very quickly and therefore raise insulin), contain poor quality oils, and are ‘fortified’ with low quality artificial vitamins.
3: It Is Better To Wait For quality then rush and eat badly. Many people think that they HAVE to eat immediately upon waking. What often happens when they are in a rush, or get up late? They reach for the first thing in the fridge or in the cooler at the coffee shop on the way to work! This is not the best idea! Here is the important bit…
Your first meal of the day, whatever time that may be, will set the standard for how your body reacts (on a hormonal level) for the rest of the day! This will effect your mood, energy levels, concentration, digestion, elimination, and ultimately HOW YOU CHOOSE TO EAT AT YOUT NEXT MEAL!!
I cannot stress this enough; Your choices at each meal affect your future choices!
4: Ask yourself this question; Are you simply not hungry or are you suppressing your natural hunger with caffeine or tobacco? Rather than heading straight for the coffee (just wait an hour, drink a small glass of water with fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Rather than staving off your hunger, this will help to stimulate and improve your digestion! (To read more on the importance of digestion, read my previous blog on Digestion here…)
5: so what do you eat? Well, this depends on your own body, but the best place to start would be one of these options;
- Greens smoothie with some added ground flax seeds (a good vegetarian option and a good way to kick start your digestion and also get your 5-a-day in one fell swoop!
- Soft boiled eggs with carrot stick soldiers (or veg of your choice)
- Small piece of grilled fish or chicken with avocado, cherry tomatoes, and cooked, sliced beetroot
- Last nights leftovers. This may be similar to the above suggestion. Of curse, you may just want to set aside some of the protein from dinner and modify it slightly to suit your taste at breakfast time. For example, you may not want to eat Beef curry for breakfast but you can simply set aside a few cubes of diced beef (cooked or uncooked) and turn this in to a healthy breakfast burrito with some peppers, mushroom, tomatoes, avocado, and wrap in a large lettuce leaf (rather than a tortilla which is more likely to spike your blood sugar and may also contain gluten (if its a flour tortilla). These are so good I want to go make one right now!!
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If you would like to consult with Paul Smethurst about your own health challenges you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org