I’m starting a new series today that you will see pop up on the blog every week or two, called On Wellness: a series of posts on tips and information geared towards helping you be your best self and reach your optimal state of health and wellbeing. As I go through my program studying Holistic Nutrition, I continue to learn so much, and I wanted to establish a post option where I could share the information with you that didn’t fit into any of my regular postings. I’m really excited to start it off today with this post on making the most out of your breakfast! If there’s something you would like to learn about or have questions/suggestions for in a future post, let me know and I’ll do my best to help you out!
Breakfast. The most important meal of the day right? And while it’s true, there’s a few little things about your breakfast and morning that you could change to help improve everything from how you feel physically, to your mental state of mind, to your productivity and your overall health. Here’s 6 tips to a better breakfast to set you up for creating your ultimate state of wellness:
1) Include some protein – You’ve probably all heard of the importance of including protein o it fills you up and keeps you satisfied for longer. But there’s a second good reason to add it into your diet: it doesn’t have the same dramatic effect on the blood sugar, as carbohydrates, potentially preventing it from causing a blood sugar spike (see below). Furthermore, protein at every meal helps ensure you are getting an adequate amount in your diet, an essential component to prevent fatigue, help in muscle building and facilitate workout recovery.
2) Don’t spike your blood sugar – Carbohydrates are the most common and traditional breakfast food, including everything from toast to cereal to porridge to breakfast bars. But consuming carbohydrates for breakfast can actually lead us to crave carbs all day long, as it starts our day off by spiking our blood sugar: we haven’t eaten for several hours, so our blood sugar is low and then we consume carbs, which immediately sends it up. While we want to increase our blood sugar, it’s a better idea to do it via products that won’t spike it as drastically – like whole grains and protein – and just increase it slowly.
3) Consider fasting longer – There’s a reason many people find success doing fasted workouts, and that’s because the extended period of fasting sets them up for a successful eating pattern all day long. Whether you choose to work out or not, waking up and having lemon water and then waiting an hour or so before breakfast, can be beneficial to your digestive system and overall daily health. The lemon water gently detoxes your system and wakes up your digestion (see below), and this takes time! Consuming food immediately after waking doesn’t allow this to happen and can lead to a sluggish system all day long.
4) Drink lemon water – Starting your day off with lemon water has heaps of benefits. It helps gently wake up your digestive system and activate your digestive juices, it helps flush out any toxins and can act as a good first step in balancing your pH level within your body. John Matsen, the father of eating alive, suggests that activating our digestive system before we actually need it to be digesting something allows it time to do a little “house cleaning”, and go through our body removing any toxins that may be building up and repair any areas that may be weak. Personally, I find it a great way to wake me up in the morning, and will typically have lemon water before I run, and coffee post-run as a warm me up drink!
5) Avoid coffee first thing – If you stumble out of bed and head straight to the coffee pot in the morning, you are not alone. But the consumption of coffee first thing, does exactly the opposite of what we are after in number 5 above. Instead of gently waking our system, it abruptly wakes it up with a stimulus, and an acidic liquid. This can set the day off to an uneven start, creating cravings later. Furthermore, coffee suppresses hunger, thereby making you less likely to eat a protein rich breakfast which helps set you up for a healthy day. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good cup of coffee (and drink one 5-6 times a week), but I typically, I’ll opt for it after my lemon water!
6) Have a morning routine – Establish a routine that you repeat every morning. If you are following number 3 on extended fasting, this morning routine will likely end with your breakfast. Just like you are likely more productive when you walk into work prepared and knowing what is happening that day, your body is the same – it knows what to expect when and performs better because of it. Morning routines also help you become grounded mentally, entering your day with a good state of mind, which increases your confidence, makes you feel good about yourself and promotes increased productivity. Try it yourself, and you may be surprised the difference it will make!
In a breakfast kind of mind and looking for some more? Check out these posts:
- 10 Healthy Weekend Breakfast Ideas
- Meal Prep: Breakfasts to Make the Night Before
- Protein Breakfast Bars
- Cinnamon Bun Oatmeal