October 20, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
With an overabundance of food readily available, we seem to have things backward today. Instead of greater energy and vitality, more and more people complain about feeling lethargic. Instead of more muscle, we tend to have less muscle and more body fat. Instead of better health and wellness, the rate of chronic disease keeps climbing. Nutrition plays a key role in reversing these trends, and it all starts with a proper breakfast.
We’re told to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Most people, however, do the exact opposite! In fact, what most people eat in the morning is better at night, and vice versa.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, one of the best meals to put you in a deep slumber is a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk and a sliced banana. Drink a glass of orange juice with that meal, and you’ll be in dreamland in no time! The high amount of sugar and tryptophan will surely induce sleep.
Now contrast that to red meat, which contains a high amount of tyrosine that competes against tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier. This high-protein food will make you more awake, alert, coherent, and energetic. It’s a great choice for breakfast, yet we seem to have that backward too!
The Start Determines How You’ll Finish
Protein and fat are crucial in the morning, but most people start their day with a carb overload. Processed, packaged, and refined foods are common for breakfast, and most of these foods are high in carbohydrates. Shortly after eating these foods, blood sugar levels soar then come crashing down and usually bottom out by midmorning leaving people tired, hungry, and unable to think clearly.
Why do we relate foods such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, cereal, toast, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, and even oatmeal as breakfast foods? Because we’ve been programmed to! If anything, these foods are best served at night to help us fall asleep.
Unquestionably, one of the most valuable nutrition tips that I give is to have leftover dinner for breakfast. In terms of efficiency, it makes breakfast easy, quick, convenient, and nutritious. That’s exactly what you need in the morning.
The way it works is simple, just cook more food at night and save some for the next day. A healthy dinner should include some protein and fat from grass-fed meat or wild-caught fish. I usually recommend that you cook enough of these foods for dinner so that you’ll have leftovers for breakfast and lunch the following day.
Remember to store your food in a non-plastic container such as CorningWare or Pyrex. If you’re leaving it out overnight, it’s best to keep it unrefrigerated. Yes, you read that correctly. This will allow you to reheat the food on the stove or in a toaster oven (not a microwave) for a short period of time without altering the composition of the food or stripping too many nutrients from excessive heat. There’s no need to worry about bacterial overgrowth over one night. Quite frankly, food doesn’t taste the same after it’s been in the fridge and reheated.
Too Much Of A Good Thing Can Be Bad
Eggs are a highly nutritious food and a great breakfast choice, but too much of a good thing can be bad! Consuming eggs every day, even every other day, will eventually lead to an intolerance. It’s inevitable. If you’ve been doing it for a while, just have a food intolerance test performed and you’ll see what I mean. For the most part, eggs should be consumed only once or twice a week. This is the perfect breakfast to have when leftover dinner is not available.
Another area of confusion involves meal-replacement shakes. Although these can be quick, convenient, and nutritious, let’s face it, they’re still a processed food! I would prefer that you have a solid meal and “chew” your breakfast, but on the rare occasion that you’re running late, a protein and fiber shake is fine. However, avoid dairy-based proteins, which are best consumed after a workout or at night. Instead, favor an hypoallergenic source such as rice protein.
Also, many people experience uncomfortable side-effects from psyllium- or oat-based fibers. Look for products that contain apple and citrus pectin, sprouted chia, flax seed, and other similar fibers. And always use water for your shakes, not milk or juice. The amount of water depends on how thick or thin you prefer your shake to be.
While I’m on the topic, it’s wise to drink water first thing in the morning before breakfast. Add a pinch of sea salt and squeeze some fresh, organic lemon into a tall glass of filtered water. This practice is useful for hydration, detoxification, and digestion.
As far as other morning liquids are concerned, you may wish to have coffee (add a splash of organic cream), tea (add a cinnamon stick), or my particular favorite, espresso (black with no sugar) along with a handful of nuts to bring out the flavor.
The Most Important Meal Of The Day
Breakfast is just like any other meal. In fact, many consider it the most important meal of the day. Yet, it’s often skipped altogether!
If you wish to have more energy and think right throughout the day, and your goal is to build muscle and lose fat, you need to literally “break the fast” in the morning, not in the afternoon or in the evening, but as close to waking as possible. It may be difficult at first if you’re not used to eating at that time, but have just a little bite to eat every morning. Eventually, you’ll build an appetite for breakfast and actually look forward to it.
Protein and fats contain essential nutrients. They’re crucial at breakfast (and every meal for that matter). Usually, animal sources of protein contain a sufficient amount of fat, but additional sources may be used, such as organic coconut oil, butter, and cream, as well as a purified form of fish oil.
Fiber is also important during breakfast, but many people find vegetables to be unpalatable in the morning and fruits may contain a high amount of sugar. Instead, I recommend raw, organic nuts. Visit nuts.com and realrawfood.com for two excellent online sources of raw, organic, and sprouted nuts.
Bottom Line: It’s time to go against the grain! Start tomorrow right by making more for dinner tonight.