Saturday, March 12, 2011

UnDiet...Week Eleven

Good Morning UnDieters! 

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? A bowl of Special K? A slice of leftover pizza? A banana? 
What? You didn't eat breakfast? Let's talk...

Your mother was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why? Because you just fasted for a good 6 - 10 hours. Your body is working overtime to ensure a constant stream of glucose for your brain via an increase in stress hormones to help liberate stored energy. You need to help your body out and give it something good first thing in the morning. Within 2 hours of rising is best. If you do, you will be rewarded with more energy, fewer sugar cravings and less of an affinity for weight gain. Seems to good to be true doesn't it?

The reason why this occurs is because when you eat breakfast, you help your body shut of the anti-starvation machinery. It needs protein, fat and slow burning carbohydrates to help shift your hormone balance into neutral. Do this and your hormones will stay balanced, putting less strain on your pancreas and keeping you energized all day long. Run out the door, cup of black coffee in hand, and your body has to kick into high gear to keep things running smoothly (and ensure that you don't run out of steam mid commute) but it will also start sending really strong signals for you to eat as much as you can to store energy for the next fast. And what will your body want? Quick energy. Like donuts. Which will only spike your blood sugar and leave you scrambling for more sugar an hour later. 

So what constitutes a good breakfast? Here it is on a sliding scale from horrible to excellent:

1. Nothing
2. A bowl of Special K or similarly rapidly digested cereal and some black coffee.
3. A donut or "muffin" from a cafe
4. A piece of fruit and a large skim latte
5. A bowl of instant oats and some fruit or a slice of leftover thin crust veggie pizza
6. A bowl of steel cut oats 
7. Any of the following: a big bowl of steel cut oats with hemp seeds, berries and a glass of skim milk; scrambled eggs on sprouted grain toast with a sliced apple; greek yogurt with high fibre cereal, berries and hemp seeds.

Your mission this week? Move yourself at least one notch on the better breakfast scale. Not hungry in the morning? Start small and get your body used to getting nourished. Want to go all the way? You need some combination of protein (plain yogurt, skim milk or soy milk, eggs), slowly digested carbohydrates (sprouted grain bread, steel cut oats, super high fibre cold cereal) and some fruit (your choice). That is the formula for sustained energy. 

Mid morning slump, be gone!

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