Mounting evidence shows your grandmother was right: breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. A 2014 study reported higher insulin levels and insulin resistance in non-diabetic children who don’t usually eat breakfast. A recent study showed, as others have, that in type two diabetics, skipping breakfast raises blood sugar levels 30 – 40 percent for the rest of the day. The right breakfast could be key to curbing the epidemic of diabetes and diseases related to insulin resistance such as Alzheimers and osteoporosis.
In 2011, 31 million, or 1 in 10 Americans skipped breakfast. The most commonly cited reason was lack of hunger. This could be a sign of poor blood sugar regulation and adrenal issues. When the blood sugar dips just before waking, the liver will correct the situation by releasing stored sugar into the bloodstream. If the liver overcorrects by releasing more sugar than needed, then hunger will be delayed. These folks really need to eat this kind of breakfast. It may be difficult at first, but it is critical to restoring proper blood sugar regulation, adrenal function and preventing diabetes and diseases related to insulin resistance.
Many of us are still eating the breakfast Saturday morning cartoon advertisements promoted. This sugar and carbohydrate blast is the worst way to start your morning and with no better choices, it may be better to skip breakfast. The sudden rise in blood sugar causes the pancreas to overshoot the body’s need for insulin, leading to mid-morning hunger or even a crash in energy, mood and cognition.
Instead, I recommend saving the carbs for lunch and dinner and making breakfast the low carb meal of the day. The simplest way to accomplish this is to eat leftovers from dinner, a protein source, two fist sized servings of veggies, including green and white ones, and a good quality fat source such as avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil or ghee. If this sounds weird, try putting those thoughts on hold long enough to try it. Most people experience even energy until their natural hunger kicks in at lunch time. Can’t give up the eggs? No problem. Enjoy them with steamed greens or a big salad topped with nuts or seeds, avocado and a drizzle of olive oil. Save the bread and potatoes for lunch or dinner.
Many people like to exercise in the morning but not on a full stomach. It’s still important to eat or drink something before exercise. A few pieces of celery with sunflower butter, a handful of nuts or seed, 6 – 8 ounces of almond milk or 1/4 of a smoothie calms the body’s cortisol and adrenaline response by signaling the body to stop using its stores as a primary source of energy and to use food instead. Follow the workout with a low carb breakfast. Those who work out vigorously may benefit from a little more carbohydrate with their breakfast.
Rather have a portable breakfast? Try this smoothie for two. It’s my weekday breakfast along with a glass of cold-pressed veggie juice. It just sets me right.
All Morning Energy Smoothie
2 cups water
2/3 cup hemp seeds
2 tsp – 2 TBSP spirulina (it’s an acquired taste, but the benefits are worth it!)
1 handful (about 3/4 cup) cucumber, cut into chunks
3-4 big kale leaves, stems removed
1 tsp cinnamon (optional, but can improve insulin sensitivity)
1 handful (about 1/3 – 3/4 cup) frozen berries
2 TBSP flax oil (one for each serving)
Two large glasses or 20-ounce blender bottles.
Place all ingredients except the oil in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Put the oil into each of two glasses or blender bottles. Add the smoothie mixture. Stir or shake. Enjoy!