Breakfast, the most important meal of the day
Some time ago I wrote an article: 21 steps to more energy. I’m writing follow ups to each individual steps. Let’s talk breakfast.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It has a huge effect on how your day will present itself. Decisions of what you put in your mouth in the morning matters. It can decide if you’re going to have a great day, a regular day or a bad day.
Morning is the best time for your body to absorb the building blocks it needs. The long fasting state during the night primes your body. Morning is the time to enjoy the nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, water, fats and proteins (+enzymes, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds).
Do you know what you body does not need? It does not need carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are not the building blocks of your body. Carbohydrates are useful (not necessary) in human nutrition, but you probably do not need them in the morning. This post will elaborate this concept further in chapter Insulin and tiredness.
To breakfast or not to break fast
Funny thing is that you may not want to consume any breakfast. Choosing not to eat breakfast one day does not mean that you can’t do anything that morning. Not at all.
Your body is full of glucose and another energy source called ketone bodies. You’ll have an abundant amount of energy to do things. Even if you’re a thin person, you still have a lot of body fat to burn for energy. If you’re trying to lose weight, fasting in the morning might be that one trick that works.
There’s a great BBC documentary (Eat, Fast and Live Longer) about the 5+2 diet in which you don’t eat for 2 days of a week. I don’t advocate not to eat for a whole day, but not having breakfast time to time might actually be very beneficial for you health.
Insulin and tiredness
When you’re having a breakfast, ask yourself the following question every morning from now on.
“Why would I feed my body with things that…?”:
- does not contain any real nutrients
- have empty calories that in the end just make me tired
Foods that are falling into above categories are thing that we often like to consider as breakfast foods. Bread, skimmed milk, orange juice, cereals, pancakes etc. Foods like granola, fruit and juices can feel like really good foods to eat in the morning but they really are not. You really do not need these foods in the morning! As written earlier, all foods containing high amount of carbohydrates are not good food for the breakfast. Here’s why:
Your body has an amazing ability to create its own carbohydrates called glucose! During the night your liver is at work. In the morning your muscles, liver, brain and blood contains just the right levels of glucose (carbohydrates). You absolute need no more sugar or other carbohydrates in your system. Your liver never stops making more glucose from your stored fat and dietary fats and from protein. You’ll be better than fine for the whole morning with no bread, granola, skimmed milk, orange juice, cereals or pancakes.
The problem with consuming carbohydrates during the morning is that it leads to a terrible energy yo-yo for the whole day. The scenario is following:
- Your body’s glucose levels are optimal when you wake up ->
- You eat an American breakfast with pancakes and maple syrup ->
- Now your body has way too much excess carbohydrates to process ->
- Your liver is yelling “HELP!” it has to process all this carbohydrate to glucose (this consumes energy) ->
- Your blood is now filled with glucose (remember, your glucose storage’s were full to start with) ->
- Your pancreas starts to create huge amounts of insulin ->
- Insulin drives all that glucose to your fat cells ->
- Fat cells can do one thing great. They turn glucose into fat ->
- Pancreas made too much insulin. Now your perfectly good blood sugar levels are below normal. ->
- Your muscle and liver glucose levels are fine but you CAN’T THINK and YOU’RE HUNGRY. ->
- Eat more and REPEAT…
This all took just a couple of hours to happen. Now it’s 10 AM and you’re swaying at your work desk with no energy to think and hungry.
Long lasting energy from fat and protein
It’s easy to avoid that crash you may feel during the mid morning and after lunch. Enjoy most of your energy from fat and protein. Fat has a minimal effect on your insulin levels. Protein has only a moderate effect on it. You really should leave your insulin undisturbed during the work day. This way you can experience the most steady energy for the whole day.
This does not mean that you should only eat eggs, bacon and sausages for the breakfast. You should always accompany your fats and proteins with high amounts of dark green, above the ground and watery vegetables. This way you’ll get good fiber to slow down the metabolism and bio available water to hydrate your body and to escort water soluble vitamins.
Greens and pickled foods like sauerkraut have prebiotics that are food for probiotics and enzymes. That is also something that a healthy body needs.
What to eat?
Eat real food for breakfast. The morning is the best time for your body to ingest all the best nutrients it needs. Have foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Foods like dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds, good coffee or tea are good. Eat high quality fats like free range eggs, avocado, organic butter, coconut oil, olive oil. Eat pre- and probiotic foods like pickles, sauerkraut, garlic, cabbage, tomatoes, raw carrots and dark green vegetables.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Quality meat (organic pork belly)
- Himalayan red salt
- Quality coffee
The smiley factor
It’s a good idea to add something to the breakfast that make you feel mentally good. It can be simple as good quality coffee. It might be a pancake or chocolate for somebody.
When your mind yummy is a pancake or similar, try to find a way to have it with as little sugar as possible. If you like chocolate, have dark 80% chocolate or try almond flour pancakes sweetened with stevia. Little sugar will not destroy you or your energy.
Breakfast for the champion Take-away:
- Highly nutrition dense foods
- Your body has enough carbohydrates in the morning
- Energy from fat and proteins
- Real foods and REAL FOOD
- Have a little of something that make you feel good