The Importance of Breakfast

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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 two 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 oil. Whatever you do, just eat your breakfast.