Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Love/Hate Relationship of Breakfast

Here's a thought that has been on my mind a lot lately--breakfast.  I love it.  I have to have it.  I just am starving after not eating for so long, and look forward to what is in store for me.  Perhaps, it was simply instilled in me by my mom that, "you have to eat your breakfast, so your brain can function."  Well, duh.  That's seems like a legit reason, right?  Well, for some it may, but for others who are looking for some more reasoning--this one is for you.

I attempted to locate a number of reliable sources about breakfast and whether or not it is necessary, beneficial, etc.  I think my most recent interaction with my nutritionist about two years ago, really sets the standard (for me at least) that some with a lot more education than me believes breakfast is good for you, and with the correct portioning and things to eat, it will help you maintain (or change) your health and weight.  My breakfast plan is a carb (a GOOD one, not just a white flour, high calorie bagel smothered w/ cream cheese!), a protein, a fat, and a fruit.  Actually, my breakfast is slightly more calories than my lunch.  Now, what exactly should be eaten may be swayed by the parties funding the research, i.e. Kelloggs sugary cereal.

From the British Journal of Nutrition (1997), 78, 197-198:  "Despite the fact that breakfast follows the longest 'fast' of the day and, therefore, would seem to be an important opportunity for 'refueling', a significant minority of people rarely eat breakfast, and for those who do, breakfast is typically the smallest of three 'main' meals."  And just think, that is from 1997.  Flash forward ten plus years later and where do we stand?  I didn't find any actual statistics, but considering we are noted to be the most unhealthy and obese country, I would say things don't fare much better.

An article titled "The New Science of the Loneliest Meal" may touch on an idea that causes us to avoid the one meal we tend to eat alone.  Amanda Fortini advises that the "national survey data cited b the Breakfast Research Institute indicates that between 1965 and 1991, the number of adults who regularly skip breakfast increased from 14 to 25 percent."  WOW!  Are people really that busy that they don't even have time for a granola bar or a piece of fruit?  Actually,  people noted that they didn't have time, they weren't hungry, or they simply didn't like breakfast because of the idea of eating alone.  The alone factor may certainly present a problem for some, but I know my dog certainly loves sharing breakfast with me (or at least the thought of himself sharing my breakfast with him!).  I never eat my breakfast at home, and always lug various containers fulfilling the wonderful variety of breakfast I eat everyday.  If this is a problem for you, then look for ways that you can possibly make this more enjoyable.  Morning news, weather, dog/cat, or even co-worker chats while your grubbing.  Whatever works for you to get those nutrients needed.....

Overall, it seems the consensus is that we just need breakfast.  But, (yes that's a but!) we need a GOOD breakfast, that will keep us until lunch.  A breakfast that will not cause us to crash from sugar.  We need a balanced breakfast full of fiber, whole grains (yup, those are carbs!), some protein, and good fat--all with as little sugar as possible, which means no crappy (yummy!) kids' cereals.

So...let's visit breakfast with the lovely help of Whole Foods "Breaking for Breakfast" (Accessed 4/26/10

You want to choose yummy whole grains, instead of white, sugary carbs, so that you body will digest slower leaving you satisfied until lunch time.  Check out some whole grain cereals (Kashi Go Lean Crunch is quite wonderful!), breads and pancakes topped w/ berries, fruit, or nuts.  Try oatmeal, but try to find one that isn't completely instant and filled w/ sugar.  I found a great one at Safeway called "Raw" and it nuked nicely w/ some unsweetened fruit pieces.  Then, I ate it with my Greek yogurt for protein! YUM!!!

Try nuts, coconut oil in a smoothie, or even olive oil.  Regardless of what people say, do the research yourself and you'll see, you need some of the GOOD fat.

Whole Foods says that if you add protein, it is "a good way to lower your meal's glycemic index and prevent spikes in blood sugar."  Try eggs (a couple of eggs a week is great for your diet, and there hasn't been research that can sway the results one way or the other), omelets, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt, cheese sticks, etc.  I actually got a hot cereal from the health food store that was loaded w/ a good bit of protein and fiber which I mixed in with some peanut butter and a banana.  (Check out the website if you want the whole slew of ideas.)

Here are some ideas to get you rolling on your (hopefully) new breakfast endeavor!  Let me know your thoughts and ideas.


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