What is the first thing you consume in the morning? Is it something to hydrate, nourish, stimulate, or something that smells good, looks good to you along your daily commute? What do you consume and why?
It was a busy morning rushing around getting the dogs walked, cleaning up little messes, getting to the grocery store, and my fridge was bare to the condiments. I knew I needed something soon, least my cranky, unfocused, and unmotivated empty tummy monster emerges. I grabbed some left over green juice from the night before. WOW! It has been a while since I’ve had blended greens for breakfast. I had forgotten how much of a punch they pack in the energy department. The punch is way more potent than what coffee ever gave me, and it lasted much longer.
Why is this meal so darned important? It’s important, so very important, because it sets up our metabolism for the day. It helps feed the adrenal glands (these puppies work hard to help us deal with stress of all kinds) and strengthen our cortisol output (this naturally rises and falls throughout the 24-hour day). If we give the body what it needs at the start, it can function exponentially better the rest of day (&/or better deal with whatever junk we toss it later, food or stress). If we set up our metabolism so the organs (brain included) have the nutrients they need to function well, cravings diminish, excessive weight drops off, moods improve, afternoon slumps dissipate, and our hormones are regulated. All this is from good nutrition, good day-starting nutrition.
What is the best way to start the day: pack in the greens, good fats, protein, and carbohydrate from a vegetable/fruit source (sweet potato, beets, carrots, apple, pear, peach, etc.). With a nutrient dense breakfast the body is ready to roll with the fuel it needs most. If you give it sugar and caffeine only, you’ll have problems later in the day. The mid-day crash will be hard, food cravings will increase (especially for quick boosting, and consequently fast energy dropping, foods such as refined sugar and processed carbs, caffeine), and likely sleep will be disrupted from the blood sugar and hormonal imbalance from the sugary and caffeinated ‘pick me up’ foods.
Ideally we should replenish the body within an hour of waking up. If you work out first thing in the morning, have a small snack before your workout, and a full meal after. If not, your body will quickly go into ‘starvation mode’ and the cravings can get out of control, fat can be stored and muscled burned for energy. I’ll write more another time on athlete nutrition and how to turn the body into a fat burner instead of muscle burner.
Greens/veggies, protein, fat, vegetable carbohydrate. I start each day with some eggs, greens, or left overs from dinner the night before. Dinners usually have a lot of good breakfast components, so don’t be shy in digging in to the yummy goodness of last night’s chili. Soups are also a quick and easy to-go breakfast. Boiled eggs, or a salad are also an easily packable breakfast. Here are some egg combinations I love.
My favorite egg dishes are usually two eggs and left overs (over yesterday’s chili, or roasted veggies, or salad). Here are seven of my favorite combinations. Note: I cook them in butter (more good fats), but I also recommend coconut oil for cooking. You can see more here about eggs.
- 2 eggs over medium, half an avocado, Celtic sea salt, dash of hot sauce
- 2 eggs, spaghetti squash, spinach, salt
- 1 egg over green chili, 1t goat cheese, roasted butternut squash
- 2 eggs, spinach, ½ avocado, lime juice, salt, dash of hot sauce
- 2 eggs, kimchi (or other fermented veggies), avocado, spinach, sea salt
- 2 eggs, 2T onion minced, 1/4c yellow squash (or any kind), ½ avocado, lime juice, turmeric, sea salt
- 2 eggs, mixed greens (lettuce, kale, chard), shredded raw (or cooked) beets
Blend it. Is that still too much work for what you have time for? Skip it and juice it all up! See my post on Green smoothies 101 for some blended goodness you can toss in your to-go mug and hit the day. Just make sure that you get some fat for the fat soluble vitamins in your greens: toss down a handful of nuts, or add some chia seeds (good omega 3 fatty acid!) or flax seeds into the blender.
What will you make for breakfast tomorrow?