How Do You Start Your Day?
Friday, January 29, 2010
We all know by now how important breakfast is. We usually haven’t eaten in over eight hours and breakfast signals to our bodies that it’s time to crank up our metabolism! A healthy breakfast increases focus, causes you to eat less over the day, decreases irritability, helps maintain a stable weight, etc etc etc. So how do you start your day?
(Note I focus on “typical” breakfast foods BUT there is NOTHING wrong with eating nonstandard breakfast food like soups, salads, etc and they are often PREFERABLE to most standard breakfast foods out there. Also you should strive for balance-a mix of carbs/protein/fat- fruit salad is “awesome” only if combined w/ a protein and fat like pb)
Atrocious: Nothing at all or just coffee
Still- Atrocious (something but nutritionally void might actually be worse than nothing): White bagel, doughnut, pop-tarts, white toast, bacon, fried eggs, fried potatos, sugar filled “muffin”
Kinda- Bad (Small amounts of nutrition amongst the junk): Cereal like fruit loops/lucky charms/cinnamon toast crunch (fortified and some whole grain but lots of white flour and sugar, Omelet w/ lots of cheese and sausage (heavy, greasy) , granola bars/ nutrigrain bars
Neutral (about half healthful ingredients and half junk): Standard protein bars, 100% whole wheat bagel w/ light cream cheese (healthy but high cal and not very filling), Instant oatmeal packets(non-plain), standard flavored yogurt (tons of sugar)
Good (Mostly healthy): Cereals like Kashi GoLean original, standard pb and jelly on wheat bread
Awesome (Filling and chock full of nutrients): Larabar, Plain oatmeal with healthy toppings (fruit/nuts/etc), Plain yogurt w/ fruit, nuts, etc, whole grain waffles/pancakes topped w/ berries and natural almond butter or cottage cheese, low fat cottage cheese w/ healthy toppings, egg white or tofu omelet filled w/ veggies, fruit salad, natural nut butters, 100% whole wheat toast w/ natural pb and all fruit jelly
Super-Powered (The ultimate kick off to your day): green protein smoothies w/ fruit, veggie, healthy fat, fiber and protein! Blended for easy digestion and chock full of nutrients and antioxidants.
HOW I FUEL
I start my mornings with 8oz of plain water right when I wake up-already next to my bed. About fifteen minutes later I follow this with 8oz of room temperature water mixed with the juice of half a lemon and cayenne powder. It doesn’t taste great but is well worth it:
• Helps to alkaline the body and disease is less able to develop in an alkaline environment
• On an empty stomach it helps flush the liver and gallbladder (releasing bile- the body’s natural laxative)
• Stimulates the body to produce digestive juices that gets the system ready for food digestion
• Can assist with weight reduction by cleansing the liver as a toxic liver can not efficiently metabolize fat.
• Excellent source of Vitamin C to keep the immune system strong, the adrenal glands functioning, and increases the absorption of iron into the body
• High in potassium and vitamin B1 too.
• The calcium in lemon supplies bones, teeth and the nervous system with basic nourishment
• Lemon also phosphorus and helps to digest proteins.
• Cayenne can rebuild the tissue in the stomach and increase the peristaltic action in the intestines- this means it helps you go.
• Aids in assimilation, meaning it helps us to absorb the nutrients from our food (or in this case the goodness from lemons)
• Helps the body to create hydrochloric acid, which is so necessary for good digestion and assimilation, especially of proteins.
• Said to be unequal for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action
• Can increase peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, helping to increase the rate of delivery and action of nutrients in the body.
• Can enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure
• Cayenne is a counter-irritant; it brings blood to the surface and allows the toxins to be taken away.
I follow this with another 8oz of plain water and start to sip on tea- usually green.
Then about thirty min- an hour after being awake I eat. I also take a probiotic, coq10, and a fish oil at this time (multivitamin, another fish oil, calcium, vitamin D and another probiotic are taken in the early evening, I also take .5tbsp flaxseed)
Typically on the weekends I have a brunch from the “awesome” category. Some of my standards are plain oatmeal w/ banana blended in and then healthy toppings like fruit, nuts, etc. An egg white omelet with tons of veggies and hummus and hot sauce on top, often on half a 100% whole wheat pita, or whole grain pumpkin protein pancakes w/ berries on top.
But on weekdays I have my super powered green smoothie to fuel me through long days. It is stuffed w/ healthy ingredients and holds me over for hours. It consists of:
-5oz unsweetened almond milk
-1 ice cube
-70g frozen banana
- some blueberries if available
-2 cups spinach
-1 tablespoon shredded coconut
-.5 tablespoon carob powder
-1 tablespoon spirulina
-liberal sprinkling of cinnamon
-1.25 servings of unsweetened brown rice protein powder (adds 20g vegan plant based protein)
-8g chia seed (healthy fat and fiber)
-1 teaspoon of agave after tasting if desired
This provides 286 calories with 34g carbs, 6g fat, and 24g protein with 9g fiber; I drink it over about 30min. It is super filling due to the awesome micronutrient balance and fuels me through long mornings of babysitting, class or workouts. It is so full of health that I feel like I am glowing, plus my hair and nails have never been healthier. It just is amazing to start your day with that much nutrient power and already at least 3 servings of fruits/veggies in you!! This is also how I start my weekend mornings if I happened to be drinking the night before. Every ingredient contributes to building health!
don't be, I admit that smoothie is a bit intimidating and you probably don't even have many of the ingredients, plus mine is very "green" tasting. Plus this is very important to me and a priority in my life that I am dedicated to, you may not be so much and this is too high maintenance or you are more concerned with your kids BUT everyone can do one or two things to start your day off better-so what can you do? pick JUST one or two or all! whatever is reasonable for YOU
- start your day with a full glass of plain water or water w/ lemon before anything else
-make sure you at least EAT BREAKFAST!
-If you do eat cereal choose a high fiber/ high protein variety so that you stay full and satisfied, choose 1% milk for reduced calories with a little fat to add satisfaction and staying power
-granola is not actually a healthy choice unless low sugar and used as topping
-not ready to switch cereal, try mixing half of your favorite with half of a low sugar healthier variety
-swap bagels for 100% whole grain english muffins
-banana can top toast/oatmeal/cereal/yogurt anything and as a bonus adds sweetness
-use natural pb instead of traditional to eliminate sugar
-have AT LEAST one full servings of fruit/veggies in your breakfast, two is better
- if you take supplements put them somewhere you will remember to take them
-add tea to your morning, green if possible, decaf if desired
-choose whole grains
-nothing wrong with a sandwich for breakfast instead of lunch- build a healthy one with 100%whole grain bread, lean meat, veggie burger, or hummus, veggies, mustard, and avocado.
-eat whole fruit over drinking fruit juice, the fiber ensures the sugar hits your bloodstream slower and its more filling
-skip the drive through or office bagels by planning ahead
-avoid sugar and white flour which will start your day on the wrong foot and cause you to crash mid-morning
- if you lack protein add a small side of plain low fat yogurt (with drizzle of honey or all fruit jelly mixed in if desired) or cottage cheese
- eat HEALTHY dinner leftovers from the night before if it works for you!
-try and have some kind of carb/protein/fat mix to stay satisfied
-plan the night before and get things ready if your mornings are rushed
-add spinach to your smoothies- any smoothie you may already make but try and have banana if possible which makes it sweeter and gives you potassium, frozen chunks of banana are a great way to thicken smoothies w/o making them icy. The spinach will make your smoothie green but doesn't do that much to the flavor! A great way to start is just 4oz milk of choice, 4oz water, 1 banana frozen in chunks, and a cup of fresh spinach. Blend the spinach and liquid to liquefy the spinach and then blend in banana. Add any other healthy ingredients you like!
****Edited in response to some comments*******
NO I DON'T SIT HOME!!! I DO THIS ON THE GO! I get up 30min before leaving the house to babysit and manage to get up, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, get dressed, do all of this, do something with my hair, and throw on a dab of makeup before leaving. The key is planning. I get everything ready the night before including clothing, lunch (make your lunch w/ dinner the night before), water bottle, gathering everything for my purse, books for classes that day, gym clothes, putting out everything I might use in the morning- it takes about 15min before I go to bed. And this is for a full day since I often leave at nine in the morning and don't get home until nine at night b/t babysitting, multiple classes, gym, errands, etc that all require different things be brought along.
I wake up and drink my first water down (already next to my bed!!) and start getting ready. I go drink down the lemon/cayenne in about 30sec- the lemon was juiced the night before and is sitting out next to a glass of water the the shaker of cayenne- about 1 minute TOTAL. I put the water for my tea at the same time and grab another glass of water and supplements while I keep getting ready. The water and tea bag go in a stainless steel to go mug (already out). Right before leaving the house the smoothie gets mixed in about two minutes- the blender is already out. The dry mix is done in batches and stored in little glass containers. In the morning I just throw in the dry mix with banana, spinach, and milk and blend for a few minutes while fishing out the tea bag and doing any last minute things (like finding my phone and getting shoes). Dump it into a sealed to go cup (already out). I usually drink my tea in the car and bring the smoothie to sip on at school/babysitting whatever. EVerything is ready so it goes like clockwork- very doable.
Like I mentioned above this is something I am passionate about and that I make a priority. I don't expect it to work for the majority of people! I am simply sharing since I get soooo many questions everyday about my diet and because I want to encourage everyone to make one or two simple changes that can work in your life and help you start your day off healthy!!!
*I will try to answer all questions in the comment section after this*
Banana, fresh, 70 grams 64 16 0 1
Spinach, fresh, 1 cup 7 1 0 1
Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Unsweetened Original, 5 oz 25 1 2 1
Carob Powder, 0.5 tbsp 10 3 0 0
Jarrow Brown Rice Protein- Vanilla (2.5 TBSP- 16g), 1.25 serving 69 3 0 15
Spirulina (powder) by Source Naturals 1 Tbs=9 grams approx., 1 tbsp 35 1 0 5
Unsweetened Coconut Organic Reduced Fat (4 Tbsp=1/4 cup), 0.06 cup 17 1 1 0
Agave Nectar 100% pure, 0.33 tbsp 20 5 0 0
Chia Seed, 8 gram(s) 39 3 3 1
Breakfast TOTALS: 286 34 6 24
given as calories/ carbs/ fat / protein
I am thinking of cutting the spirulina serving in half to reduce the grassy taste while still getting benefits which would allow me to eliminate the agave.