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A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. - Proverbs 17:22

Friday, December 9, 2011

Breakfast: How Important is it?


I realize I haven't done a health post (or any post for that matter) for some time now. When I was 18 I joined my first gym, fell in love, met a boy, fell in love and then we lived happily ever after working out together. The happily-ever-after part, obviously, is an exaggeration on my part to make a simple story sound cute. But it's all very true. So my first love was not crafting, or DIY'ing, or recycling old bikes, and my first love was not even my husband. My absolute first love was wellness.

Which is why, after one week of not writing, I have chosen a post on breakfast. And not the syrup-ey filled kind. People are always saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day."  I thought of the multitude of times I had left home this past year without breakfast. This is the second year I have been living in Texas and any weight gain I had experienced, I attributed it to that simple fact. Everything is bigger in Texas, obviously, so my food portions or my steak or my overall eating habits must be bigger (or so I thought). Or I attributed weight gain to the weather. Winters were now harsh. I was no longer living in sunny California with 2 days of rain a year. I was living in muggy, humid Texas, with rainfall 1-2 days a week! I found myself reaching out for all sorts of comfort foods. Since I was running on empty, having skipped breakfast, just about anything would suffice.for.the.rest.of.the.day.

The reason breakfast is so important is because it sets the tone for the rest of your day. Food is fuel. Often times we abuse this fact and assume we were placed here on earth to eat. We live to eat seems to be the overall mentality of mankind. Our true role in life is actually to reproduce.  Food, then, is simply fuel for our bodies to go about searching for a mate to reproduce with. We eat to live. The key is in eating something healthy. For example, let's compare a bowl of oatmeal and an egg on the side versus a stack of pancakes, a side of sausage, a cup of o.j. and a cup of coffee. Oatmeal tends to fill you up, and while a stack of pancakes might do the same, the quality is not the same. A bowl of oatmeal has not been processed. A stack of pancakes has been heavily processed and much nutrients have been lost along the way.  What you are essentially eating is a ton of empty calories.

Another reason breakfast is so important is because it wakes and revs your metabolism. According to Katherine Zeratsky over at Mayo Clinic, fasting increases your insulin levels, increasing fat storage. I like to compare this to the hibernating bear.  A bear, although he eats only berries and such, eats and eats and then sleeps away all winter long. His body stores his food as fat to help him survive the long winter. When you deprive your body from eating, it assumes it is going into hibernation and reverts to packing on the fat. So, why don't people who fast gain weight then? Because when people fast they do not trick their body by feeding it only once or twice a day, they don't eat at all for a matter of a few days or weeks.

My recommendation:

1 cup of cooked oatmeal with a dash of salt (optional: Splenda)
2 egg whites
1 cup of water

You should strive to drink about 10 cups of water per day. Water helps to flush the body and it will more than fill you up.  Eat abuot 2-3 hours later with plenty of water in between.  We need to strive to achieve a diet as close to nature as possible in order to feel our absolute best.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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