Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm pretty sure the saying is "Champions eat breakfast"

When did everyone stop eating breakfast? Seriously.

I mean, I remember being a teenage girl and would feel kinda nauseous at the thought of food in the morning, but I was 15. I remember my dad (when he found out about this and that being the reason I wasn't eating breakfast) telling me that he would get me ANYTHING I wanted for breakfast, as long as I ate something. He even offered to bring me a box of doughnuts from Tim Hortons if I would eat it... Which is disgusting, but I love my dad and I appreciated his concern and thoughtfulness more than he'll ever know.

I had this intuition though that I needed to eat something. I mean, I couldn't go my entire life without eating something first thing in the morning. Otherwise my body wouldn't be able to function properly - or at least, that was my understanding. And at 15, this was very philosophical of me.

So I did my best. I tried different things and eventually fell in love with Special K and skim milk. Both of which would make me sick now being Gluten-free/dairy-free, but that was my breakfast food and I loved it every single morning for about 5 years.

The word "breakfast" literally means to "break fast" - as in, we fast our bodies all night while we sleep, which is good and healthy, but as soon as we wake, our bodies need fuel. When we're "fasting" we're resting, but when you get up and go you're now using up energies that you haven't given your body yet. And really, I work incredibly hard to build and maintain my muscle mass, so why on earth would I want to deprive my body and tell it to start breaking down my muscles for fuel? Granted, this only occurs after longer periods of fasting, but it seems incredibly counter productive, and there's no way I want to stress out my body like that. 

Food is magic. I truly believe it's the most amazing thing for our bodies (exercise comes in a close second... or it might be a tie... oh man, it's so hard to decide which one I love more!). What you put into your body can completely change you: your mood, your energy, your body composition, your mental capabilities. So if there's a chance that eating breakfast will give you more energy and make you feel happier, why aren't we all doing it? Why is it such a chore to force ourselves to eat something in the morning, and yet we're all happy to scarf down a huge meals late in the evening when our body needs it the least?

If you're not eating breakfast right now, I want you to experiment. For 2-4 weeks, eat breakfast everyday and see the difference for yourself. Worried about time constraints and actually making something? Here's a list of some of my favourite things to eat for breakfast, though there are so many other dishes you could also choose from:
  • Eggs!
    •  If you're not intolerant, there is sooo much you can do with eggs. Frittata takes 10 minutes. Just scramble raw eggs in a bowl, throw into a heated skillet with coconut oil, top with whatever veggies or met you like, then cover on very low heat for 10 minutes until the eggs have completely cooked.
    • Scramble them, they're delicious. Top with fresh dill or your favourite herbs/spices.
    • Make them over-easy and eat with toast. Food For Life makes my favourite brown rice (GF) bread. 
    • Hard boil them and take them to go!
    • Soft boil them and dip pieces of toast in the nice soft yolk - which is something my mom would do for me as a little kid.
  • Gluten-free toast - really, if you're not intolerant you can have real wheat toast, but I always recommend GF over wheat because the gluten is not friendly to all of our GI tracts. 
    • Smear some nut butter over it - almond butter is my fav! But sunflower butter is equally amazing. 
    • Skip the Smuckers and opt for a sugar-free jam like Crofter's. Again, I'm happy if you eat anything in the morning, but if you're looking for healthier options, always read your labels and choose products without all the extra sugar. I mean, fruit is made of frutose, so why do we need to add even more sugar to it? It just doesn't make any sense people.
    • Heat coconut oil in a pan, slice a banana, and place it in the pan on medium heat until the banana pieces soften and get slightly brown and crispy on the outside. Then put that on your toast. It's the most incredible banana creation where it's crispy on the outside, but soft and mushy on the inside. You could even combine it on toast with almond butter and bacon to make an Elvis.
  • Left overs!
    • Stews, soups, anything hearty that you had the night before, eat it for breakfast! That truly is a breakfast of champions - as long as it doesn't consist of fries or pizza. Though I don't know anyone who keeps fries as leftovers... they get all soggy and gross in the fridge. 
  • Cereals - my mom swears by Quinoa flakes with honey and berries
  • Smoothies - the best part about smoothies is that you can mix anything together and it will taste good.
    • Blend almond milk with some water/ice, frozen fruit and a protein powder
    • Fav protein powders: Sunwarrior (vegan), Provitalex by Cytomatrix (whey - but lactose free), Arbonne protein/meal replacement powder.
    • Add 1/2 banana to make it even thicker and creamier.
  • Ground pork sausage patties - HOMEMADE. Pick up some ground pork from you butcher so you know it comes from healthier and happier pigs. Put it in a large bowl and add seasonings like garlic, cayenne, chili powder, anything you like! Make them into small patties and just fry them (in a tiny bit of coconut oil) in a skillet. Eat them with avocado slices for an incredible breakfast!
Really, nothing here that I've mentioned will take more than 15-20 minutes to make. If you're worried about time (like with the pork patties), prepare everything the night before and just cook it in the morning. And if nothing above appeals to you, just grab a piece of fruit to eat on your way to work/school. Bananas are amazing because they come in their own packaging :)

Remember: Food is Fuel! What you put into your body will determine how it runs. If you have a Ferrari, you want to drive it around - which requires fuel. You also wouldn't fill it up with mud because Ferrari wouldn't like that and wouldn't work properly. Treat your body like a Ferrari.