NUTRITION: BREAKING THE FAST WITH BREAKFAST
Are you a breakfast eater? Or are you not hungry in the morning?
To be very honest I used to be of the second camp for a long time - not hungry or only sipping a small smoothie or juice which wasn't enough! I know every body is different, but I truly believe in making breakfast, and lunch your largest meals and keeping dinner smaller, although not too small. This varies though for everyone, and it truly is about finding what works for you.
Let’s get back to basics and revisit the meaning of ‘breakfast’. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and in its truest meaning is ‘breaking the fast’. Our bodies have fasted for a period of anywhere between 10-14 hours depending on meal and waking times so we need to ensure we break the fast and fuel our bodies with essential nutrients to optimize our health and our day. If you wait too long to eat, your body will start to enter starvation mode, this is unavoidable no matter who you are! Your body is a smart, smart machine and will start to protect itself and store fat.
I hear plenty of reasons why people don’t eat breakfast (not hungry and too busy are the most common) but when breakfast goes astray our bodies respond by breaking down other essential building blocks in our health. This includes the break down of proteins, increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels and releasing sugars from glycogen stores in order to provide the fuel we require. Essentially you don't want this to happen!
Without the morning injection of this vital energy, our brain does not function as efficiently, our energy drops and our choices in food are significantly altered. We lean on the quick fix pick me ups – with caffeine and sugar being the most common. I can't tell you how many times I see people with a coffee, chocolate bar and cigarette in their hand. It boggles y mind really! When caffeine and sugar are the first things to go into our body not only do we leach nutrients out, we set ourselves up for putting poor nutrition in too. Pretty rotten cycle isn’t it?
So really, the solution is to find a way to enjoy breakfast. This will look different for everyone. I like to encourage people to have a few breakfast options they rotate throughout their week to keep structure, organization and good diversity in their diet. It's all about finding what works for you!
Here are some go-to breakfasts for that may work for you:
Overnight oats with banana, coconut milk, chia seeds and raw cocao nibs (soak in a bowl overnight and rehydrate with coconut milk or almond milk upon waking)
Sauteed kale, sweet potato and peas with two poached eggs
Oats cooked in water, chopped banana, chia seeds, when finished cooking transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with cocoa nibs, drizzle with pumpkin seed butter and hydrate with a little bit of nut or seed milk of choice
Green smoothie (greens, frozen fruit, protein, hemp seeds, chia seeds) bowl with homemade or low-sugar granola as topping
Berry Superfoods Smoothie - frozen berries, nut or seed milk of choice, protein powder, chia seeds, flax, maca + a greens
Baked oats with carrot and apple drizzled with pumpkin seed butter
Toasted Rye Bread with smashed avocado
The lesson is simple and fundamental to your health. Eat breakfast. Find a way to break the fast with a meal you look forward to. One that is rich in protein, high quality carbohydrates and healthy fats to give your body the nutritional diversity it needs to thrive. IF you struggle to eat breakfast in the morning, play around with different options, quantities, timing, etc.. see what works for you! Personally I've really gotten into the habit of eating a BIG breakfast and I've honestly never felt better. My morning oats have actually eliminated my bloating, and has improved my digestion ten fold.
Listen to your body, play around and see what works!