With This One Simple Plan, You Too Can Avoid Eating Terrible Food for Breakfast

If you're one of those people who has eaten the same thing for breakfast everyday for the past ten years.  Stop reading.  You win.  You've figured out something that works for you and aren't overthinking it. Awesome. 

If you're not, keep reading and we can do an experiment. 

I love breakfast and also I love shiny new things.  For a long time, I tinkered with the perfect breakfast formulation.: low in calories, rich in flavour, cheap and super easy to make.  The closest I came was a handful of cashews and coffee.  Not cheap.  I gave up on that formula.  Then I spent many years just avoiding breakfast altogether.  I fell prey to the theory that the morning is a time of elimination and that the body should be cleansed between the hours of 10pm and 10am.  This is absolutely bonkers. I drank the raw foodist kool-aid. 

Now, I have some breakfast parameters. What I choose to eat for breakfast must:

  • make me feel good. 
  • taste really good.  Like, get-me-out-of-bed good. 
  • be make-able in less than 5 minutes.  That's a hard cutoff.  I've got stuff to do, like check Facebook.  Also, I want to actually have a second to sit and enjoy my morning so less cooking = more mindfulness. 
  • contain some sort of fat, like nuts or something. 
  • be scalable.  One day, I will have to feed other humans and they will have stuff to do also.  

Today, I had this:

The granola was homemade.  I have no idea what the recipe is because it was made by a friend's sister as a bachelorette party favour.  This friend was raised among a delightful crew of forest-dwelling granola whisperers so I trust it.  The Flaxy is from this awesome Ontario company.  I met the owner, Praveen, at my grocery store and he convinced me to buy some.  Use it all the time.  

The granola was homemade.  I have no idea what the recipe is because it was made by a friend's sister as a bachelorette party favour.  This friend was raised among a delightful crew of forest-dwelling granola whisperers so I trust it.  The Flaxy is from this awesome Ontario company.  I met the owner, Praveen, at my grocery store and he convinced me to buy some.  Use it all the time.  

 
President's Choice Greek Yogurt + Granola + Vanilla Flaxy + 2 shots of espresso.  Pardon the picture quality. 

President's Choice Greek Yogurt + Granola + Vanilla Flaxy + 2 shots of espresso.  Pardon the picture quality. 

And then sometimes I go for brunch with people that are fun to be around, like my friend Blair, and we have eggs benedict.  Because it's awesome and life is short. 

I do try to avoid meat in the morning.  There are so many ways to eat meat in our society that I just don't think breakfast needs to be one of them.  I would rather save the money and have one good piece of high-quality, ethically sourced meat than three pieces of questionable meat.  If you feel like you need meat to make it until lunch, then giv'er.  It's your life.  

As for the whole "saturated fats will ruin your heart" line, it is becoming clear that saturated fats can contribute to risk factors for heart disease but not really to actual heart attacks.  Even though the 80s were all about "no fat, never" this conversation started happening 30 years ago.  Here are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, articles about this topic that I will expand upon at another time.  It's essentially important to eat whole foods that your grandmother would recognize as food.  Don't overthink it.  However, processed meat consumption increases one's cancer risk, especially for colorectal cancers, and obesity itself is linked to the development of 10 cancers.  

This brings me to the morning burger.  

It's a meal that I rarely eat but love how salty, spicy, fatty and warm it tastes, especially on a winter's day.  It's the sausage breakfast sandwich from Starbucks and it's just awesome.  It doesn't make me feel very good though and it's like $5.  It is processed meat between processed bread, egg and cheese.  If it's a rare indulgence, fine.  If I find myself craving it, then I need  to figure out what's happening inside - what am I actually craving?  Why do I want heavy food right now?  That kind of work is clutch to having a good relationship with food.  

The Breakfast Experiment, courtesy of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's coaching program.  I have done this with a few clients, before medical school, and I've done it myself.  It's a good piece of work. 

As a way of tuning into your body and learning to listen to its messages, explore eating a different breakfast every day for a week. Jot down what you eat and how you feel, both right after eating and again two hours later. Sit quietly after you eat and reflect. Note how your energy level, your moods and your physical symptoms are affected by the food in your body.
— IIN

The meals they recommend trying are listed below, but you should try whatever you like or want:

  • Day 1: Eggs
  • Day 2: Scrambled Tofu
  • Day 3: Oatmeal or other whole grain
  • Day 4: Boxed breakfast cereal
  • Day 5: Muffin and coffee
  • Day 6: Fresh fruit
  • Day 7: Fresh veggies

Then create some sort of form on your phone or notebook to track what you had, how you felt immediately after and then again 2 hours later.  Here is a form that you can use to do that tracking on a daily basis.  Just come back every day, jot down what's going on for you.  Obvs, no one else will read what you write. 

Name *
Name
You can use a fake name if you want, just use the same one everyday so I can see the patterns.
i.e. Day 1/Monday, etc.

The goal is that the experiment might tune you into important insights about how you want to feel in the early morning.  Nutrition and health aside, feeling how you want to feel is the goal of a life well lived.