Every wonder what happened to breakfast? The story is suprisingly simple. In 1987, the American medical elite declared a "War on Cholesterol." Simultaneously sugary cereals and breakfast bars were encouraged to pay a fee for a "low fat seal of approval" and record profits began to flow into the refined grains industry. Today, with rates of heart disease, obesity and diabetes still sharply on the rise, organizations are still raising millions of dollars annually for dietary advice, as healthcare expenses grow into the trillions. One thing is for sure: it's time to get back to the traditional foods that breakfast used to be. As a follow up for Recipe Tuesday, we bring you 5 Ways Back to a Balanced Breakfast.
5 Ways Back to a Balanced Breakfast
1. Actually have breakfast
That's right, it is crucial to have breakfast and you cannot make up for skipped meals later in the day. In fact, countless research finds that by depriving the body of the start it needs in the morning throws blood sugar levels awry for the entire day! This practice leads to increased cravings and the inevitable gobbling of sugary snacks. Attempts at low calorie dieting will only slow the metabolism and alter two of the biggest mood enhancers- serotonin and thyroid hormone. Coffee is an appetite suppressant, and can lead people to miss out on the joys of breakfast in the throws of a caffeinated buzz. Many people complain of “not being hungry” upon awaking. Starting with something simple like a favorite real breakfast smoothie will help the body start to adapt to a new morning eating pattern.
2. Make it digestible
Nobody wants to start the day with a big, bloated belly or a thud in their stomach. While we are used to high-carbohydrate breakfast choices because they are quick, refined cereals are full of horribly maltreated, hybridized grains that are extremely high in gluten and sugars, making them difficult to digest. As per author Dr. James Braly of Dangerous Grains, unknown gluten intolerance is responsible not only for digestive malaise, but for autoimmune, neurological, skeletal, pain, fatigue and learning problems. While fiber is inherent in a natural diet, artificial fiber additives found in many manufactured breakfast foods, coupled with rancid oils, create havoc in the digestive system, causing irritating bulking and strain. This is not how you want to start your day! If you decide you must have grains, it is important to soak and sprout them appropriately. Also use finely chopped or even fermented fruits and veggies to kick off your day with enzymatic ease. Broths also make a fantastic breakfast food, especially due to the gentle, digestive benefits of gelatin.
3. Include a healthy protein (this usually means a fat source will follow!)
Proteins are extremely important all of the time, but especially in the morning. The very word “protein” means “of primary importance" in greek. Studies have found that children given a good protein source with breakfast perform better on rigorous academic tests and also have less desire to snack throughout the day. The same goes for adults and the elderly. Along with the energy providing and appetite-stabilizing benefits of protein, Julia Ross, author of The Diet Cure, and The Mood Cure, believes that they set the mood tone for the day. Leaving protein out of breakfast will only cause high stress, irritability, and fatigue in the long run. Unfortunately, low-fat dairy does not count as a well-rounded protein source. When the fat is removed, high sugar, water and fractured protein remains, and oftentimes sweeteners are added to enhance taste. You can also forget those artificial, harmful protein powders- the body doesn't know what to do with them. Instead try pastured eggs, sprouted nuts, and full-fat dairy made from raw milk. Don't be shy with healthy fats as cooking oils and spreads to give you lasting satiety and energy.
4. Keep it affordable
If you take a stroll in any grocery store you will see a medley of fancy, modified gluten-free breakfast products for your gawking pleasure: waffles, muffins or streusels and fancy yogurts with probiotics and fiber added. All of the "healthfoods" options that are found propped up in displays at the grocery store are expensive! They are also often full of nasty additives that are sneakily left off of the label: MSG, soy, GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, and vegetable oils. Instead of buying a measly box of cereal for $6.00, head out to your local farmer’s market and grab some organic produce and fresh eggs that will last you all week. Instead of always having fruit, switch it up and try a veggie saute in the morning to mix sweet and savory tastes.
5. Enjoy your meal- as much as you can anyways
We all get it, time is of the essence in our modern world, and we are all struggling to find a harmonious balance in what we do. While it might just not be realistic for everyone to sit down and have breakfast, bringing mindful awareness to the food that you are eating, doesn’t take up any more time that gobbling it down with one hand on the steering wheel. Try an exercise in mindful eating: note the color, texture, and flavor of your food as you are eating it. It is thought that aroma accounts for about 80% of our sensation-based taste experience. It is also crucial to chew, chew, chew- both to promote mechanical digestion and also to enjoy the full spectrum taste in your foods. Studies now suggest that you chew a bite-full 35 times before swallowing. While this may be on the extreme end, give it a try sometime! You will notice the flavors of real foods unravel themselves in splendor over this time, while processed ones will quickly become bland or even sour.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Morning Nourishment: Bountiful Benefits and Creative Ideas by Jen Allbritton
Cereal Killer by Alan L. Watson
Photo Sauteed rainbow chard with spicy garlic and fried egg by Saucyglo/courtesy flickr