In my professional experience what has been the biggest challenge at helping people achieve their results is motivating them to consistently eat clean. So this being my first blog post of 2018 I wanted to tackle the first meal of the day. I believe in focusing on one step at a time rather than staring at the whole staircase. "Never stare at the stairs just step up the steps" is a quote I remember from growing up that I think it is applicable here. And in regards to food, breakfast is the first "step" of your day.
So let's take a look at the first "food" step of the day - breakfast - because mom was right again - breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day. And I have some contradicting thoughts on this mystifying meal.
1. Eat within 45 minutes of waking up. While I believe that the benefits of time-restricted dieting, commonly called intermittent fasting (IF) are great for many people, for most of you reading this do yourself a favor and eat breakfast within 45 minutes of waking up. Why? The first reason is that most people that I see don't eat enough during the day. Yup. I actually instruct most of my clients to eat more. Eating at home is much easier than while on the go so get some food in before you leave the house in the morning. This will put you well on your way to your "protein goal" as well as get your metabolism up and running early in the day.
2. Eat protein at breakfast. Protein has a higher thermic effect than eating fat or carbohydrates. When you eat protein you'll burn up to 25% of the amount of calories you eat just to digest and process the food. So even though your body is much smarter than a calculator you'll burn more calories just by eating some protein in the morning. I would shoot for 20-30g if you're a female and 25-40g if you're a male.
3. Include fat when eating breakfast. The first foods you eat during a day help to set up your cravings for later in the day. You are telling your body what to expect for fuel. So get out of your mind the idea of "breakfast foods". That is simply marketing to try and get us to buy products. In reality, those products are usually horrible for our bodies, terribly unhealthy and only lead us to crave more junk food. Yes, cold cereal, toast with jam, bagels, croissants, all are junk food and promote a junky, unhealthy body. Eat protein, fat and veggies for breakfast. Leftovers are a great option for breakfast! For further reading on why fat is good to eat for breakfast check out the meat and nuts breakfast article.
*Some people feel better eating carbohydrates. These people typically are naturally much leaner. If this is you and you want some carbohydrates with breakfast go ahead. Maybe you aren't naturally lean but enjoy some fruit. I recommend berries as they are lower glycemic and don't contain fructose. But always start with real food. Single ingredient food. Food that nourishes your body, gives you energy and tastes good!
4. I love eggs. Eggs are arguably the most perfect food on the planet. The yolks are a tremendous source of choline, which 9 out of 10 Americans are deficient in. Your body takes that choline and makes the neurotransmitter acetyl-choline. This "chemical messenger" helps us to feel good and stay focused. No acetyl-choline? Short attention span and potentially unhappy moods.
5. Forget the idea of "breakfast foods". When I say the words "breakfast food" what comes to mind? Exactly! You immediately think of cold cereal, orange juice, bagels, toast, pop tarts, english muffins, croissants, should I continue? These are foods that will spike your blood sugar, give you a quick boost of energy and leave you reaching for another coffee around 10:30am because your blood sugar has crashed. If you think ancestrally people ate wild game and picked nuts, seeds and berries. When they woke up they didn't have a refrigerator to run to and get juice and cream cheese. Eat healthy proteins and fats for sustained energy throughout your morning. You shouldn't need a morning snack because you've fueled up at breakfast and have the energy to make it to lunch!! If you're cooking good for dinner eat your leftovers for breakfast!
Here are a few of my breakfasts from early 2018. I take my food seriously and enjoy every bite of what I eat. I have great proteins, fats, veggies and even probiotic foods. Although sometimes I do eat the same foods on back to back days, I definitely mix it up so I am feeding my gut different foods, giving my immune system a break and really just enjoying what I eat!
*Even when you're rushed, it only takes 5 minutes to fry up a couple eggs. It may not look as pretty as the pictures below but you can still get in your protein!
Four eggs. Aidells sausage. Avocado. Olives. Sauerkraut.
Sausage, mushroom & onions sautéed in ghee. Dolmas. Cashews.
Four scrambled eggs. Four pieces of bacon. Avocado. Sautéed mushrooms.
Four eggs. Four pieces of bacon. Sautéed sweet potatoes.
Any questions? Feel free to comment or drop me a line at phil@GephartStrength.com