‘What should I eat for breakfast? ‘ is one of the most common question I hear and I know it represents a real problem most of us struggle with. Is breakfast indeed the most imported meal of the day? Should we eat a light or full nutritious breakfast ? High in carbs? Or rich with proteins?
Let’s think about it for a moment, the word breakfast consists of two words; break and fast meaning literally breaking the fast. That is good because in order the break the fast you need to fast first and then eat, right? When we evolved as a species, food was not available 24/7, when we found or hunted something, we ate and then perhaps had to fast for hours, days or even more. Our physiology has evolved to deal with these conditions, hence the whole mechanism of hormonal production, secreting insulin to remove excess glucose from the blood to keep it ‘for later’ and leptin to manage energy storage in fat cells and releasing it back to the blood when needed (when there is no food available). Now, our bodies still work exactly the same, only we don’t really stop eating all day long…
The more the nutrition science develops the more we look into understanding our ‘manufacturing manual’ in order to understand what is the optimal diet and lifestyle for us and this principle of ‘intermittent eating’ proves to have a lot of health benefits; regulating hormonal production, natural weight balancing, leveling blood sugar, regeneration of cells and natural healing processes and many more. For most of us, who live busy life, working, taking care of families, it is practically impossible to stop eating for a whole day or more and therefore shorter fasts on a regular basis e.g. narrowing the eating window is a perfect solution.
So I say, fast first and then break the fast; try fast for at least 12, and even better, 14 hours before you start eating again. For example, if you finished your dinner around 7 or 8 pm, stop eating until 7or 8 am and if you ate later then start eating later. Some of us are naturally not hungry in the morning and some of us can’t start the day without breakfast. The only golden rule I suggest here is to listen to your own body and needs. If you have to leave the house you can always pack your breakfast to eat later. The nature of your breakfast should also take into consideration the type of work or activity you do. Is your work physically challenging or do you sit the whole day in from of a computer?
And now for some practicality. For most of us, midweek mornings are hectic as hell and not much time at hand and therefore the ultimate quick yet super nutritious breakfast can be a smoothie. You can throw in fruit, green leaves, nuts and seeds, good fats like coconut oil or avocado, your favorite super foods like green powder, maca, cacao or protein powder. As liquid you can use any nut milk, coconut water, green veg juice or herbal tea. The possibilities are endless and there are so many recipes out there, experiment a little and find your favorite. You have a whole nutritious meal in a glass and you can easily pack it in a flask or a jar and take it with you. Remember though, smoothies are food not drinks so drink really slowly as if you’re eating them rather drinking.
Here’s another dilemma, most of us tend to eat a very sugary and starchy breakfast thinking that all these carbohydrates will get us going and fuel us for the day but in fact what happens is that our blood sugar level shoots up and come mid morning we start feeling peckish and perhaps experience an energy drop (especially if you had refined carbohydrates like cereals or white bread for breakfast). So make sure to pack your breakfast with vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, good fats and proteins) and minimize the sugars.
Other breakfast ideas could be:
yoghurt with some fresh fruit, nuts and seeds
Egg of your choice with cut vegetables
A rich (miso) broth with some greens, sprouts and tofu, just like they eat in the Far East (cook the broth in advance and reheat in the morning)
Whole grain crackers with avocado, sprouts and fresh cut veg
And here is one of my favorites:
Chia seeds pudding with all the trimmings
Chia seeds pudding is absolutely the ultimate breakfast for me, easy to make and ever so nutritious. Rich in the precious fatty acid omega 3, minerals, fibers, essential amino acids and more. They promote good digestion and stabilize blood sugar level. What more could you ask for?! This dish will boost you with energy and will keep you going for a long time
Makes 1-2 portions, depends on how hungry you are in the morning…
1. 4 spoons raw chia seeds
2. 1 cup coconut milk (or other nut nut milk)
3. ¼ cup Goji berries soaked in water over night
4. a handful of fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries etc.
5. a generous handful of raw nuts
6. 1 spoon cacao nibs (optional)
Mix the seeds and milk well by using a whisk to make sure there are no lamps. Let it ‘rest’ and thicken for 10-15 minutes, wile you’re busy with other morning tasks. You can prepare this in the night before and keep it in the fridge for the next morning. Spoon the soaked Goji berries on top of the pudding and top it up with the fresh fruit, nuts and cacao nibs. Here you can play with it and add any topping of your liking.
Enjoy! Your body will thank you…