“What’s for breakfast?” my daughter asked me one recent morning as she wiped the sleep out of her eyes.
I looked down on her and said to myself, “That’s a loaded question.”
In my mind, she is saying are you going to give me the essential fatty acids I need for my developing mind?
Are you going to give me the protein my budding body needs?
Are you going to send me into a hyperglycemic crash only to make me exhausted right about the time I open my books at school?
Ahh, breakfast. It is indeed the most important meal of the day.
I believe it is the meal that should take the most amount of preparation and dedication for several reasons.
First, your body has had no fuel for at least eight to 10 hours and it is running on empty.
Second, it is the most influential meal of the day. It is during this meal that your body sets your entire day’s metabolic rate for the rest of the day.
In physiological terms, this is called insulin receptor sensitivity.
Our first meal of the day is important because if we eat junk, or for that matter if we don’t eat at all, the human physiology gods will be angered and before you know it you are on Oprah crying about your addiction to Count Chocula.
Mom was right; breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day.
Unfortunately it comes at one of the most demanding times of the day.
You are getting ready for work, the kids have to get to school, the dog needs a walk—oh wait, he doesn’t anymore because he just peed on your carpet so now you have to clean the carpet—you have to iron your clothes, your son is still in his pajamas five minutes before you need to go, and you can’t find your car keys? It goes on and on.
It is hard to set time aside for the proper meal you need.
Give your physiology the same attention you will the freshly whizzed on carpet.
Here are some do and don’ tips for a proper breakfast.
Do not give into the quick fix genre of breakfast. By this, I mean no breakfast cereals.
They are all overly processes and overly refined. Even if they are the nonsugary types, they still have too much sugar.
Don’t have a bagel or just toast. Juice should be avoided because of their enormous sugary content.
Don’t make it a small meal. In fact, your breakfast should be the bigger, if not biggest, meal of the day.
Do include proteins and fats in your morning ritual.
Eggs are fantastic, steak or chicken in a breakfast burrito is a good move as well.
The left over salmon from last night in an egg omelet is OK, too.
Cook up some large rolled oats and sweeten it with maple syrup and berries. Drink your water and if you are going to have fruit make it one with a lower amount of carbohydrates.
Any type of berry is OK; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and the like are just fine. Try mixing your berries with natural, organic yoghurt.
I routinely ask my patients, “What did you have for breakfast today?” I am amazed that they are still standing, based on most of their replies. “Doc, why am I so tired by 10 a.m.? Why am I still hungry a half hour after I eat?”
My answer is you had too much sugar this morning and your body is wiped out. If you put a good amount of protein and healthy fat in your diet in the morning, your body will take longer to digest it and you will be fuller longer. As my son would say, this is “more better.”
These basic tips will help you burn fat, fuel your body better and put much less stress on your body in an already stressful time of day.
By the way, don’t forget to feed the dog.