Paleo Plan

Breakfast. It’s Important.

 

I vehemently believe that eating a solid breakfast is THE most beneficial thing you can do for yourself every day. I’ve actually been experimenting with this phenomenon in my own life lately. I eat a hearty egg-based breakfast almost every single day. However, this week, I’ve had 2 instances when I didn’t eat my normal breakfast.

One time I was super late for a morning appointment and I couldn’t make a good breakfast. The other time was yesterday morning when my boyfriend punched me awake at 6 am to do some asinine workout video he told me I had “committed” to doing with him. I never committed to anything. Regardless, there I was at 6 am fighting to stay awake after only 6 hours of sleep. Having never done any exercise beyond a push-up out of bed at 6 in the morning, I was in no state to be embarking on a 60-day “Insanity” workout program. You may be saying to yourself, “6 hours? That’s how much sleep I get every night. Working out at 6am? I do that all the time.” Well, I DON’T. I like my 8 hours of sleep, my late nights, and missing sunrises every morning.

So of course, having told all of my clients that they must eat breakfast before working out in the morning, regardless of what time it is, I had a little bit of sprouted seed and nut “cereal” with almond and coconut milk for breakfast. Really bad idea before jumping around at a psychotic pace for 30 minutes. The moral of the story is that I slept for almost the entire day. I was groggy, nauseous, grumpy and low energy. Maybe this is a bad example, considering the circumstances. The other time it happened this week, though, I felt the same way – I was not myself at all for the entire day. I felt headache-y, super low energy, grumpy and easily agitated.

Some of you are saying to yourselves, “But I’m not even hungry in the morning – I must just not NEED breakfast.” What you need to understand about breakfast is that when you wake up and you’re nauseous and/or don’t feel like eating, it’s because your blood sugar got so low during the night that your adrenal glands started secreting hormones like cortisol. The cortisol stimulated the release of your stores of glucose into your bloodstream so that you could survive the night. The other hormone that was secreted while you were sleeping was adrenaline, because that’s what happens when your body senses an emergency situation (super low blood sugar).

The reason you woke up in the morning nauseous or apathetic about eating is that adrenaline, as you know, does not make you feel like eating. It makes you feel like vomiting. Ever narrowly evade a car crash and immediately say, “I could really go for a Big Mac right now”? No, adrenaline makes your digestion slow down so that the emergency parts of your body (muscles, heart, etc.) can work better and faster. No matter who you are or what health conscious Colorado city you live in, it’s very likely that your blood sugar is so poorly managed by your diet that your adrenal glands have to manage it for you. And you probably wake up in the morning and stimulate your adrenals to shoot out even more cortisol by giving yourself a ritualistic oral injection of caffeine… Do you know what that constant supply of cortisol in your circulation gives you? Among other things, abdominal fat.

Good health starts with breakfast. If you eat a decent breakfast of protein, fat and complex carbs, you’re starting things off the right way, avoiding blood sugar crashes, and thus, cortisol and adrenaline secretion. If you eat something super sugary or full of refined carbs like, let’s see, cereal, bagels, pastries, bars, fruit juice, doughnuts, etc., your blood sugar spikes, then quickly plunges back down and the hormones are secreted again. If, after the good breakfast (protein, fat, complex carbs), you then have a good lunch (protein, fat, complex carbs), a good snack (you get the point) and a good dinner, you will probably wake up in the morning hungry like a normal person would after not eating for an entire night. You should try it sometime. Here’s the recipe for success:

Roasted Pepper & Sausage Omelet

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 Sausages links
  • 1 pepper previously roasted; chopped
  • 2 T fresh parsley; chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 TS black pepper

Instructions

  1. Spray pan with olive oil. On medium heat add eggs.
  2. As the egg starts to set add all the remaining  ingredients.
  3. Fold half the egg over, and cook just a few more seconds.
  4. Sprinkle with black pepper and enjoy!

This meal is packed with protein, good fats (eggs, coconut oil & organic meat fats) and complex carbs (veggies). You could add a few blueberries for that little bit of sweet we all love in the morning. If you’re not an olive oil fan, do this with coconut or palm oil. Whatever you do, just eat your breakfast.

Until next time.

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12 Comments

  1. I always do eat breakfast myself, but for a few months time I experimented with an intermittent fasting protocol which involved skipping breakfast and lunch and only eating during an 8 hour period, for example from 3pm to 11pm.

    It did work pretty well, and a few cups of coffee during the day managed to effectively curb my hunger. While I was studying, though, this didn’t work and I needed breakfast in order to concentrate.

    I think this differs between people, some don’t have an appetite in the morning and I don’t think they should force it.

    I know there is some correlation between breakfast and health, but that doesn’t prove that breakfast improves health, it could be that more health conscious people are more likely to eat breakfast. Correlation does not equal causation.

  2. Rosenblum0202

    if I wake up at 5am to work out at 6am should I eat breakfast before or after I work out? Currently I do afterwards.

    • @Rosenblum0202 – A lot of people do both. They’ll eat a little bit – like half a paleo muffin or a piece of fruit with some nuts or a hard boiled egg – before they work out and then have something more substantial after their workout. It’s important to feed yourself before your workout after an overnight fast for all the reason in the blog post. Good luck!

  3. jonosinger

    I’ve been doing Paleo for a few weeks now, and I work out 5 days a week at 5:30a. I used to a eat a little bit of oatmeal and a banana before and then have a protein shake and breakfast after. My question is two fold, what can I use to replace the oatmeal because I certainly need the carbs for the workout. And second, I switched from whey protein to egg protein and unfortunately the “side Effects” are a bit devastating to the olfactory senses, of myself and those around me! So would it be really bad if I stuck with the whey protein?

    Thanks!

    • @jonosinger – Here, here and here are some carby breakfast options that are also paleo and relatively quick. As for the whey protein, does it bother your stomach, energy levels, skin or anything else? If not, try to get Mercola’s brand of whey protein as it’s from grass-fed cows. However, this post is how I actually feel about protein powders. They’re a waste of money and a highly processed, usually wrecked food. Eat meat instead. Good luck!

  4. You guys rock. I like Paleo Muffins. They are SO AWESOME!

    Felix

  5. @ Kris

    Well put, Kris. I keep a food log and have noticed that when I eat breakfast I end up consuming more (usually too many) overall calories per day compared to when I skip breakfast. Additionally, breakfast makes me groggy and foggy-headed.

    What we eat and how much we eat is infinitely more important than what time of the day we consume our food.

  6. cougarkat

    i just “liked” this blog.makes a lot of sense.thanks!!i usually wake up starving my brains out and immediately take whey.then i make my regular frittata that i love and always look forward to, with spinach and lots of egg whites and all the spices i have in my pantry. turmeric is huge!!top it of with salsa! take my multi pill and fish oil, drink a couple of cups of green tea and i’m ready to rock for the next three hours. breakfast literally saves my life (and my hard earned muscle).

  7. Hi there, having a lot of criticism from co workers about the paleo concept, no carbohydrates…they are almost forcing me to have carbohydrates
    What can I show them?

    • Hi Stella – It’s a myth that there aren’t any carbs on the Paleo diet. Just tell them that fruit, veggies, roots, nuts, and seeds all have carbs in them. The Paleo diet is NOT about having no carbs. It’s just lower in carbs than our OUTRAGEOUSLY high intakes as Americans. I eat about 100 grams of Paleo carbs a day, which is plenty for humans, and more than a lot of Paleo eaters get. Your friends, who I’m going to go out on a limb and guess, are a little overweight(?) are probably getting more like the average 300 grams a day or more. Here’s a blog post on the Paleo community’s freakout about carbs to share with them.

      http://www.paleoplan.com/2012/03-21/lets-all-stop-freaking-out-about-carbs/

  8. Hi, through reading posts on your site, I came across Martin Berkhan, and he seems to argue almost the opposite, e.g. at http://www.leangains.com/2012/06/why-does-breakfast-make-me-hungry.html

    What would your response be?

    I want to adopt IF but struggle with hypoglycemia. I can relate to the ‘getting hungry quickly after breakfast’ symptoms described in Martin’s post. So I might try skipping breakfast to see if is actually better than eating early and getting ravenously hungry again soon after.

    Trying to make sense of it all and work out what works for me…

    • Dannie – I’d say it really depends. Of you’re Paleo already then yeah, maybe give it a shot, but of you’re still on a standard American diet, first switch your diet to Paleo or Paleo-ish. That’ll help with the hungries. I just like to see people get their blood sugar in order before they start skipping a really key meal all the time and the using coffee to get ty through the day and further messing with their blood sugar balance.

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