Mar 022015
 

Why is it so important to eat breakfast? I mean, what if you’re just not hungry in the morning….or you don’t have time?

Eating breakfast is part of my morning routine every day, and I’m talking about it because it impacts our entire day – our mood, energy levels and our physique.

Here are my 3 Best Reasons to eat Breakfast EVERY day:

1. Eating a balanced breakfast helps stabilize your energy throughout the day.

Photo Feb 23, 07 56 13Your breakfast should carry you through the beginning of your day, but you should be ready to eat again (i.e. HUNGRY) in a couple hours. Notice how I didn’t say starving – but you should definitely start feeling hungry again after a couple hours, so don’t eat until you’re stuffed.

It’s not only when you eat that’s important, but also WHAT you eat. A balanced breakfast should include a healthy complex carbohydrate source, lean protein and healthy fats – from whole food sources.

Have you ever heard of the Glycemic Index (GI)? This index indicates the effect foods have on our blood glucose levels. Foods that are high on the glycemic index (like processed breads, soda, breakfast cereals, tropical fruits) spike blood sugar really quickly, where as low GI foods (whole grains, vegetables, many fruits) have less of an affect on blood sugar levels.

Here’s an excerpt about what happens when we eat foods that contain processed sugar from Eat, Move and Be Healthy by one of my favorite authors and health experts, Paul Chek:

When you ingest processed sugars without adequate amounts of quality fats, proteins, vitamins and enzymes, your blood sugar levels will become elevated. The body responds by releasing insulin, a hormone that rapidly reduces blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, the feedback mechanism that tells the brain that blood sugar has returned to normal is slow, commonly resulting in a blood sugar crash, or hypoglycemic state.

The body must respond to this immediately. If not, your brain will run out of blood sugar to operate on and you’ll go into a coma. This emergency situation results in the release of  powerful stress hormones, one of which is cortisol. In the midst of all this, most people respond to the hypoglyycemic, or low blood sugar state by drinking coffee, soda or eating soemthing sweet.

2. Breakfast gives you more energy and focus for exercise.

Photo Jan 28, 11 48 58Have you ever tried to workout on an empty stomach and felt like you were just “going through the motions”? Eating a healthy breakfast about 1 hour before exercising can really help maximize your time – and keep you energized.

The food you eat is directly turned into the fuel your body needs to go about it’s daily activities – but it also contributes to your energy and fuel for an intense workout. 

Being properly fueled is the foundation of giving it your all – and seeing the results you desire. If you have no fuel (i.e. no energy), you won’t be able to work your hardest during exercise!

I totally get that some of us have to wake up super early to fit a workout in – and that’s totally fine. While it’s not ideal to exercise as soon as you wake up (without the proper fuel), there is still a way to work around it.

If you get up at 5:00 am to work out, at the very least try to eat a piece of fruit or a simple protein shake. That way your stomach isn’t totally empty – and the nutrients can be quickly absorbed and used by your body.

If this is your schedule, PLEASE be sure to have a proper meal of complex carbohydrates and lean protein after your workout. 

My approach is a sustainable way of eating – not a crash diet or a fitness competition diet. While some people may argue that working out on an empty stomach is beneficial, I believe that our bodies need adequate fuel to give us their best.

3. Eating breakfast helps achieve a lean physique.

Photo Feb 27, 09 56 30Not only does breakfast give you energy and keep your blood sugar stable, eating it every day will ensure that you don’t get overly hungry mid-morning and go for something quick (like fast food or donuts) to satisfy your hunger. 

The biggest mistake people make when trying to lose fat is to skip meals – breakfast being the most common. Skipping meals only leads to a body that thinks it’s starving (holds on to fat for survival) and an appetite to overeat later in the day.

Not only that, it triggers the roller coaster hormone ride we talked about in #1 – and elevating our insulin levels over and over causes insulin insensitivity, causing the body to accumulate fat around the midsection. 

If you really want to lose fat FOR GOOD, and have a lean physique, eating breakfast should be a priority for you. Your body will thank you when you put good fuel in!

When you’re eating nutrient-dense foods, your body and brain are communicating freely, so you’ll feel hungry when you wake up. This is completely normal and necessary!

If you’re someone who doesn’t feel hungry and doesn’t like to eat upon waking, it may be because of the food you’re eating daily. Processed foods and sugars really screw up our bodies natural cycles and communication to our brain. Your brain won’t get the proper hunger signals in the morning, which means you probably won’t eat, which leads to overeating later in the day.

Photo Jan 29, 15 44 29This morning I had my favorite Overnight Oatmeal – a super easy and quick breakfast that I include almost every week.

I have those complex carbs (steel cut oat groats) to give me a slow burn of energy in the morning, hemp seeds for a fat and protein source (a plant-based “complete” protein), and cinnamon for flavor and to avoid blood sugar spikes. I make a big batch that lasts for about 5 days so that I have a breakfast I can quickly throw together a couple times a week.

Some other great breakfast options:

When you’re buying protein powder, look for a high-quality sprouted plant protein. Click here to see my Top 5 favorite protein powders.

If you’re new to food prep or want a little more guidance, read this new blog post where I take you through an entire week of eating – with recipes, meal prep and sample daily menus.

What did you have for breakfast? Post below, and share this with a friend!

References:

  1. Eat Move and Be Healthy, Paul Chek C.H.E.K. Institute 2004, p. 76
  2. International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. January 2002.
  3. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for 100+ Foods, Harvard Health Publications. February 3, 2015.
  4. The Effect of Breakfast Type on Total Body Mass Index, Journal of the American College of Nutrition. June 27, 2013.
  5. Is Consumption of Breakfast Associated with Body Mass Index in US Adults?, Journal of the American Dietetics Association. September 2005. 
Dec 172014
 
Pumpkin Pie Tartlets with Coconut Cream (paleo and vegan friendly)

Happy Holidays! Do you have a favorite holiday dessert? Mine has ALWAYS been pumpkin pie! I’ve definitely made some changes to the recipe we had as kids…but it still tastes just as amazing as always. This year, I wanted to do something creative with my pumpkin pie, so I turned it into tartlets…. You’re going [continue reading]