This article is based on perhaps my favourite question, ‘Who taught you what to eat for breakfast?’.
After talking to well over a 1000 people about food there are certain patterns that tend to emerge, here in Australia the pattern that has come to pass is one that has set the general population up with the one of the highest rates of heart disease and obesity in the world.
As we grow up we learn about the foods that we eat from mostly our parents, who learnt it from their parents and so on. What this means is that we might end up doing things that may not be the best thing for our health, but we continue to do it because that is what we have always done. At some point we need to stop and take a look at what we are eating because we have gotten further away from what food and fuel our body will run best on.
What this reflects is that we might look at changing the type and timing of the food that we consume on a daily basis. What this looks like is getting to the point where we are having a larger amount of the nutrition and fuel into the body before it needs it, that is earlier in the day.
Consider this, when we have food in our body that is available for fuel it means that we run on energy derived from that food, however what happens if there is no energy from food? This is a common picture with most of the energy demands that we have in our day (mental work, physical etc.) will generally fall into the early part of the day. If there is no fuel available from food that has been consumed then our body will switch to energy made from our hormones.
This is a common picture in those that experience high levels or sustained levels of stress (think adrenaline). In situations like this we experience this flight and flight state our body changes how it generates the energy that our body will function on.
What this will normally look like is someone that says they feel fine (not hungry and enough energy) all through the day and then as soon as they sit down or relax in the evening they are flat and can’t get up again. Often as well this will lead to eating sweets and simple carbohydrates as snack foods in the evening in an attempt to recover the energy deficit.
One of the most simple ways this can be avoided by having a larger amount of better quality food in the early part of the day. By having a larger meal this means that you blood sugars are better balanced through the day which then in turn you make better food choices later in the day.
You might have made the choice to make breakfast a bigger part of your daily routine, the question then is what do I actually eat!?
Think about how to include these three aspects into a meal that will fall into the early part of the day. Protein, good fats and vegetables.
Protein is an important when it comes to balancing blood glucose levels, the rate at which protein is digested means that there is a slower release of energy into the blood stream. What this means is that there isn’t the high highs that might be experienced from a refined sugar which is great because you avoid the low lows.
Some examples are: White meats (chicken and fish) red meats (beef, lamb or kangaroo), eggs, nuts and seeds (cashew, walnuts, macadamia), tofu/temph.
Fats are an essential part of our body functioning at an optimal level and are used as part of celluar membranes as well as the backbone to many hormones. If you have every had dry skin, poor memory (our brain is made mostly from oil) or fatigue, these are all signs that you body might need more oils.
Some examples are: avocado, eggs, any nut/seed oil (almond, flaxseed, pumpkin seed), bone broth, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, ghee.
I was at a conference a few years back on one of the speakers there was talking about vegetable and fruit intake. She was talking about having 12+ serves every day. It seemed like a lot to me when I first heard it, but then went onto explain the benefits of how the phytonutrients all interacted in different ways in order to infer different health benefits. With the message at the end being geared towards eating a rainbow a day.
Some examples are: pumpkin, beetroot, green leafy veggies (spinach, broccoli, kale), onion, herbs (parsley, coriander), capsicum or carrot
Putting it all together.
This is a work in progress as any change of habits can be a bit tricky. But there are ways to make this easier for you, using a slow cooker and batch cooking makes it food changes easier.