Is this your typical morning? You’ve hit the snooze button several times and now you’re up and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. You grab your usual go-to breakfast: cereal, toast, bagel or muffin. Heck you may have even chosen sugar-free, gluten-free, or high fibre, but before lunch time you’re starving or out of energy or feeling tired in the afternoon. Why? Because your morning meal choices are causing you to crash.
Many North Americans choose refined foods as their first meal of the day. This sets us off on a poor start to our day because refined grains (flours) even those labelled whole grain (sorry whole grain is not flour… nope you lose out on vital synergistic effects – say goodbye to fibre, nutrients and phytochemicals.The worst of the culprits are the cereal grains, especially wheat. All you are left with is mostly starch, sugar starches – glucose.
Glucose is a sugar, and more than ever before research is showing sugar equals detrimental health effects. Our bodies need glucose to function efficiently, however, we can easily go overboard with the wrong choices and send our bodies and brains crashing, literally, if we’re not careful. Too much sugar, and in the wrong form, leads to inflammation and inflammation equals chronic disease, pain and obesity, all in a vicious cycle of addiction. We get that lovely high, we are happy, then we run out of that sweet glucose or it’s stored in our body and we crash. We feel tired and moody and look for the next high, which, sadly, is more sugar in the form of unhealthy food choices, or even worse, cigarettes or alcohol. Why would you want to do that to yourself?
To add to this, flours are not digested well, which can lead to gas and bloating. Let’s be realistic. Once grains are processed into flours, they are processed foods, processed grains/refined carbohydrates, no matter how they are labelled (wholegrain, multigrain) are all the same. Our bodies don’t recognize processed foods the same way as whole foods, so it’s easy to overindulge and overwhelm our bodies.
If you are going to eat something made of flour, choose healthier choices and limit them. Sprouted flours, although milled, are easier to digest and still contain a good number of nutrients, fibre and phytochemicals. Nut flours and pseudo cereal grain flours like quinoa and millet don’t have a hard-crash effect because of the proteins and fats. It’s best to mill these yourself to prevent the fats from going By Dana Clark, CNHP, CHN Cut the braindrain breakfast rancid and to prevent losing out on nutrients.
Whole grains (colourful rice, quinoa, oats that are not processed/milled into flours) are wonderful and important to our health. Please don’t be silly and ditch the grains - just eat them as whole foods and control those flour based foods. Whole grains are a wonderful source of fibre and resistant starches that regulate blood sugar levels as opposed to sugar starches that send them all over the place. They are a great source of nutrients and phytonutrients, including antioxidants.
Now that reality has set in, what to eat? Eat based on your lifestyle. If you are not going to be super busy till the afternoon, break your fast by starting off with some fruit, then work your way to a more nutrient-dense/caloric dense meal and eat it before you go into your busiest time of day.
If your morning is going to be intense, go for more traditional breakfast foods such as whole grains like oats, oat bran, quinoa and millet and make your own homemade hot cereal. Pump up your grains with some hemp hearts, ground chia or flax seeds and enjoy.
Eggs are also a nice treat, just don’t make it a daily indulgence. Eggs are a great source of protein, and local eggs from properly fed chickens are a great source of Omega 3, but don’t kid yourself, eating them daily is not good for you. Although cholesterol does not directly cause heart disease, high amounts, especially when combined with long-chain saturated fats, leads to inflammation in the body and this does increase your risk for heart disease and other chronic illness. As humans, we are designed to eat a balanced diet of various foods. Eating the same foods, especially one’s that are common allergens, puts us at risk of developing an immune response. Eggs are one of these foods, as is wheat. The inflammatory effect of this food makes us more vulnerable to this autoimmune response.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to rehydrate in the morning. A nice coffee/tea (not loaded with refined sugar) is fine, but stick to one. Too much caffeine has a crash effect as well (again, don’t do that to yourself).
Quit hitting that snooze button and get up and take charge of your day by starting off right by taking care of your needs in the form a whole foods breakfast that are appropriate for your needs.
Dana Clark, CNHP, CHN, CHC owner or From the Roots Holistic,
Published in the Alive + Fit Magazine, Spring 2017 page 4
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