Saturday, March 16, 2013

Let's Talk about Breakfast!

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

Bet you've heard that one before.  You're trying to eat healthy so you think, I'm going to start my day off right!  You know donuts aren't the best choice, so instead you start your day off with a big bowl of cereal, it even says heart healthy on the box!  Or maybe you have some whole grain toast.  What about some oatmeal, that's healthy right?  How about a big glass of OJ on the side?  Don't have time in the morning?  Just grab a granola bar.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  Do you also feel hungry around 10 am?  Do you experience a burst of energy (sugar rush) right after breakfast, but then feel like you're dragging again soon after?  Maybe it's time to rethink your breakfast!

But my box of cereal says it's "heart healthy!"  Cereal is a processed food!  Even "healthy, natural" cereals like Kashi have long ingredient lists.  Cereal is loaded with sugar (and so is your tall glass of OJ).  Any sugar that isn't used as energy is stored as fat.  Got 3 minutes?  Watch this:

If you can't get over the fact that something with "heart healthy" on the box could be bad for you, maybe you should take a moment to consider that the point of food advertising is to make money off you, so they are going to tell you just what you want to hear.  You may also consider that there are a ton of politics involved.

So what should you eat?  How about some eggs!  I know what you're thinking, what about cholesterol?! 
Heart disease took off in the early part of the twentieth century, and doctors frantically searched for the cause throughout the next several decades. Tests in the fifties initially showed an association between early death by heart disease and fat deposits and lesions along artery walls. Because cholesterol was found to be present in those deposits (of course it would!) and because researchers had previously associated familial hypercholesterolaemia (hereditary high blood cholesterol) with heart disease, they concluded that cholesterol must be the culprit. In fact, what happens is that in response to an inflammatory situation, the body uses cholesterol as a “band-aid” to temporarily cover any lesions in the arterial wall. In the event the inflammation is resolved, the band-aid goes away and repair takes place. No harm, no foul. Unfortunately, in most cases, the inflammation proceeds, the cholesterol plaque is eventually acted on by macrophages and is oxidized to a point at which it takes up more space in the artery, slows arterial flow and eventually can break loose to form a clot. And all this time the cholesterol was just trying to be the good guy! Blaming cholesterol for all this is like blaming a cut finger on all the band-aids you have lying around your house.
So it all boils down to inflammation and what causes inflammation?  Sugars, grains, legumes, and processed oils.  Want to know more about cholesterol?  Click here!

Eggs are an excellent source of protein that will keep you full throughout the morning.  They are a whole food, no weird hidden ingredients!  Egg yolks are extremely nutrient dense containing magnesium, B12, omega-3's, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and much more!  Add some veggies to your omelet and you'll start your day off with a wealth of nutrients!

Eggs every day might be a bit much for some people, so what else can you eat for breakfast?  Make a green smoothie, grab a Lara bar in a pinch, or start thinking outside of the box!

And one last thought, are you actually hungry in the morning?  I know we've been conditioned to think breakfast is required, but you don't need to force yourself to eat breakfast.  If you're not hungry, don't eat.  It's that simple.

Again, please click on all the links!  There's a ton of information and research to support the points I've presented.  I know I'm asking you to reconsider a lot of things that we've been conditioned to know as truths.  But since more than one-third of all US adults are obese, it might be time to rethink what we know!

What's your favorite way to eat eggs?
I love them scrambled up with onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and some cheese.  I like them a bit wet, so they are sorta gooey... I hate overcooked eggs, no browned eggs for me!


  1. I like "dippy" eggs, or omelets filled with veggies and salsa. Actually, hard boiled are also perfect for on-the-go protein, too!

  2. Any kind of protein, whether it be eggs or last nights leftovers like salmon, chicken, grilled tofu, all make great breakfasts. Add some veggies, green tea, and you are on your way to a great day! Great post, Amber.

  3. I like the question you pose about whether breakfast is necessary. All through childhood I skipped breakfast no matter what my parents tried to do to force food down. As I've become more involved in health and nutrition in adulthood, I started forcing myself to eat in the morning - oatmeal, smoothies, juice, bars, etc. But, what I've come to realize is that I'm not a 7 AM meal sort of gal. My body feels best with a cup of tea, some raw almonds around 10am, and an 11:30AM breakfast with a snack around 3 PM. Since moving to this schedule, I've shred a significant amount of weight, evened out my energy for the day, and find myself less hungry and less tired towards the end of the work day. It's incredible how we are all such complex unique systems. Thanks for keeping the door open with this post!

  4. great post, amberth! i have been eating egg & cheese on a bagel for years and although i still enjoy them every single morning, i am trying to do fresh smoothies in the morning as an alternative.

  5. I'm a big believer of intuitive eating (eating only when you're hungry and not just out of habit). Great post!

  6. I love eggs for breakfast! I have an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich almost every day, and it's totally true. Keeps me full all morning pretty much. Plus it's delicious!

  7. I have wavered a lot in my feelings on breakfast: I used to be a staunch "everyone must eat a big healthy breakfast!" advocate, then I went through a period where I skipped it in favor of coffee and an early lunch, and now I'm back to breakfast. I've read some interesting material on the Whole9 forums about how a lack of hunger in the morning indicates out of whack hormones. It really encouraged me to get my body used to eating a meal about 30 minutes after waking up. If I need something quick, I fry two eggs and throw them on top of some raw spinach or arugula, maybe topped with homemade kimchi or sauerkraut. If I know the week is going to be busy, I make a paleo spanish tortilla (using sweet potatoes in place of white) so there is a complete breakfast just waiting to be sliced in the fridge. Yum!


Every comment makes me smile, so keep 'em coming!

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