Why breakfast matters

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’

We have all heard it, read it, seen it written somewhere; if you’re a parent chances are you preach it to your kids;  health professionals advocate it; & fitness magazines write about it ALL THE TIME.

So why it is that 1 in 4 people still skip breakfast during the week? Or worse 1 in 6 adults never even eat breakfast?

I have never quite been able to get my head around it because when I roll out of bed at 5:15am every morning my stomach is growling in desperation for SOMETHING TO EAT; and after an hours workout I’m like an impatient toddler lining up for a slice of birthday cake as I wait for my eggs & bacon to cook.

People skip breakfast for a handful of reasons… lack of time; some claim they ‘can’t stomach food so early’; while other are ‘generally just not hungry’; my personal favorite to limit their daily calorie intake. In my opinion these are all terrible terrible excuses. If you have time to blow dry your hair and make sure your scarf matches your shoes & pants then you have more than enough time to prepare something of nutritional value for breakfast. FYI a triple shot latte does not count as breakfast.

The name says it all for you… BREAK – FAST. Quite literally breakfast is the meal that essentially ‘breaks’ the 7-8 hour fast your body has had while you sleep. So the longer you hold out on getting some fuel into your body the longer you are in the fasted state.
breakfastThose in the know will have heard some chatter lately about ‘intermittent fasting’ where people consume their daily calories in a narrow 4-8 hour window and fast for the remainder of the day. I won’t go into the finer details but basically it’s a conscious decision to skip certain meals and often its breakfast that’s forgone. The purpose? During the fasted state the body doesn’t have a recent meal to draw on for energy so it uses up fat stores for energy. This ‘dieting pattern’ works for a select few BUT I’ll discuss this further in an upcoming blog as it’s not something I would readily advocate.

Why do we need breakfast?

To kick starts your metabolism. You have gone 8-10 hours with no food intake. The brain needs energy to function and allow you to walk, talk and generally get your sh*t together; this comes in the form of glucose, a readily usable energy source that we can get from a hearty breakfast. You skip breakfast the brain has to look for another energy source usually by drawing on carbohydrate & fat stores. Meanwhile while all this goes on you are lacking concentration, feeling irritable and being pretty unproductive at 9am on a Monday morning.

A wholesome breakfast with a good source of lean protein & packed with nutrients will leave you satisfied and less likely to reach for sugary snacks mid-morning when you feel sluggish at work. Those who skip breakfast tend to consume a larger lunch and on a whole probably consume more calories throughout the day. Pretty much it can make or break your weight loss goals.

I’m hoping you have all now been convinced, by my words of wisdom :p, that breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. BUT I haven’t yet divulged the most important pieces of information. To actually reap any benefits at breakfast time you need to make sure you make smart food choices. News flash ladies the granola bowl with yoghurt, fresh berries & honey is not the healthiest & most nutritional option on the menu, in fact it’s probably the highest in sugar, contains the least nutrients & trust me you will have your hand in the cookie jar well before morning tea!

Breakfast must include a source of protein… think eggs, bacon, turkey, chicken, steak (if you’re hardcore), smoked salmon. It’s the satiating factor and will blunt your hunger for longer than sugary choices like banana bread & bagels. I personally love the addition of avocado & mushrooms too! Don’t worry coffee can still be the sidekick.

Join the breakfast club & set the stage for the rest of your day. Shake up your wake up.

Happy Monday! 🙂

Are you eating right on game day?

EastSports Physio is very excited to have its first guest blog!

Jess Rutledge is an aspiring Yogi and qualified Nutritionist. She is passionate about helping people become the happy and healthy person they desire to be. Harnessing the potency of food, nutrients and other plants as medicine to treat specific health conditions and increase general well-being. She believes in the magnificent power of nature to heal the body and cultivate health to give you an enviable glow all year round.

Check out her blog at  www.madamenourish.com

Jess shares with us her thoughts and expertise on game day nutrition. What you should and shouldn’t be eating/drinking to ensure your body is working at its optimum level!

” I was shocked to recently learn that some sportsmen and women were turning to lollies to keep their energy levels up on game day. So I’ve put together a list of what to eat and drink to boost your energy pre game and keep you going throughout. What you eat throughout the week and in the 24 hours before the game will also aid your recovery post game (and I’m not referring to the celebratory beers!!)

  1. Cut the refined sugar. We want to avoid any sugar highs – and the subsequent lows. When your blood glucose levels are spiked suddenly with a sugary food the body works rapidly to use up all the sugar. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy and the body will take what its needs from the food source replenish supplies in the brain, muscles and liver then what is left over is then converted into fat. The problems with refined sugar foods and processed flour products (cakes, muffins, croissants, white bread, pastries, lollies, biscuits, chocolate etc) is they are so high in sugar, and lacking in nutrients and fibre, that it causes an “all hands on deck” response to clear the glucose from the bloodstream hence the sugar high and the crash!
  2. Choose your carbohydrates wisely. As I mentioned above processed flour/ refined sugar foods lack nutrients and fibre. Without the nutrients and fibre the energy from the food is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a spike in energy and then dropping it quickly. With nutrients and fibre included in a carbohydrate source there is a steadier release of energy and the nutrient rich foods leave us feeling satiated so we don’t need to eat as much. It is best to eat a complex carbohydrate meal the night before the game, this will not only help you get a good nights sleep (carbohydrates lead to an increase in serotonin which helps to make you sleepy) but will allow for your glycogen stores to be replenished thoroughly for the next day. The best sources include rice, sweet potato, quinoa, whole grain pasta, quality sourdough/ spelt/ rye bread.
  3. Pre training or game it is best to avoid eating for about an hour before so that the food will have time to digest- the ideal meal is to have some lean protein with some form of healthy fat to slow down the absorption of the protein and keep you sustained throughout the game. Eggs or chicken breast plus some avocado is a great option or try a protein smoothie with coconut water (great for hydration), almond nut butter (healthy fat source) plus a protein powder (see below for my recommendations) and some bbananalueberries (a low fructose/ high antioxidant source).
  4. Half time energy boost: if you haven’t by now realised that I am not going to advocate lollies at half time then I will just clarify that for you – NO lollies at half time, you are really only doing yourself a disservice. If you feel the need for something at half time you need an easily digestible source of energy: a banana is ideal. Bananas are great source of glucose (for energy) and are also high in potassium and other minerals. You might like to have a banana smoothie made up ready for half time (include 1-2 bananas, coconut water and a BCAA powder). Frozen orange quarters are also a great energy booster and provide some sweetness, while cooling you down. Ensure you rehydrate as well, often we misplace thirst for hunger, try drinking water at half time rather than reaching for food, having something to digest in your stomach will only slow you down in the second half.
  5. Post training or game it is super important to have protein and carbohydrates and avoid fat because you want the absorption to be as fast as possible. Protein is going to repair the muscles and the carbohydrates will replace the depleted glycogen stores. A protein powder is a good idea post workoutas it will be absorbed fastest. Another alternative is just having a banana, rice, sweet potato, quinoa or quality sourdough/ spelt bread

Jess’s nutritional words of wisdom don’t end here… Part 2 comes next week so watch this space for info on what protein supplements to choose and why, a little on hydration and some tips to ensure your post match celebration doesn’t leave your body too worse for wear!

Confused about Coffee? Don’t be!

Ok so I’m fully aware this isn’t a ‘physio’ related post. But anything health related works is somewhat relevant! So Please read on 🙂

I’m a huge coffee drinker; one of my favourite things of a morning is that aroma of freshly brewed coffee that wafts through my house. (Yes my nespresso machine was the best investment EVER)

Coffee is something constantly making headlines in health magazines and among health profesisonals… is it good or bad for you? Can you drink too much? Should you cut out coffee to lose weight? And like most of these hotly debated ‘health’ topics there are a thousand different opinions and theories and most of us feel like we are on a merry-go-round of mixed messages.


Let’s ponder this for a brief moment. The controversy behind coffee is of course rooted to the caffeine it contains. Many may say our society is fueled by coffee… for 95% of us our morning ritual involves  a visit to your favourite barista who knows your order, exactly how you like it brewed and exactly what pattern to pour into your froth to ensure you have a fabulous start to your morning!

The scary thing is most people are not even aware of their caffeine intake; they are just adhering to the cultural norms of arriving at work coffee cup in hand.

Now ask yourself why? Do you enjoy the taste? Is it a social thing?  (you can’t possibly bethat guy that orders a hot chocolate or peppermint tea at a client meeting) , do you need the pick me up?

For many it’s the latter, coffee is a physical stimulant that you need at 730am, and most probably again mid afternoon when 330itis kicks in. It unfortunately seems to be the compromise we all make to deal with our chaotic lives full of last minute deadlines, excessive workloads and high stress levels.

So lets explore the facts a little.

What is caffeine? An invigorating, arousing little stimulant found in coffee (duh) , energy drinks, cola etc. This substance affects all of us slightly differently, for some a decaf can leave you feeling like you’re bouncing off the walls, while others only get that same jitter from a double shot espresso. On average a person can around 200mg-300mg  of caffeine daily without causing too many problems. (100mg is in a typical cup of coffee) Bearing in mind that this shouldn’t be ingested too close to bed time (swap this one for green tea)

When you find yourself on your 4th  or 5th coffee for the day you put yourself at risk of developing a spectrum of problems from heart palpitations to muscle tremors and anxiety.

Caffeine and weight loss?

Yes caffeine being a stimulant can elevate your metabolism via its affects on our adrenal system BUT these effects are relatively short lived and no-one in their right mind should be using coffee as a weight loss tool.

Caffeine actually raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol within the body. This little sucker is responsible for storing fat deposits around the abdomen. Want flat abs?? Cut the caffeine consumption… and remember this includes soda and energy drinks too.

On top of this for those serious about wanting to lose weight, it may not only be the caffeine that’s curbing your results, but the amount of sugar and calories you’re also consuming as you sip on your 4th latte. (It’s much more fun to eat your calories than drink them) Why not try swapping one of your coffees for a long black?

Caffeine and performance?coffee 12

There is alot of talk around this topic at the moment, and study after study is being done on various sporting teams about pre-performance caffeine intake and how it can affect performance. The general trend in the result is that yes ingesting caffeine in one form or another (coffee, energy drinks) can actually improve performance allowing athletes to train for longer. It does this by stimulating the nervous system and promoting the utilisation of fats as an energy fuel whilst sparing our glycogen stores.

Please bear in mind I’m not advocating every man and his dog start taking a caffeine supplement before your regular gym workout, these studies are performed on elite athletes doing high intensity training on a daily basis.

So what’s the take home message?

  1. Yes you can most definitely continue to indulge in your morning coffee ritual because no amount of research or reading will deter me from my morning coffee. Its WAY TOO DELICIOUS.
  2. Yes you can have too much caffeine. 200-300mg (ideally I would recommend lower) is ok for the average person. 500mg plus and your putting yourself at risk of developing certain health problems. MODERATION MODERATION MODERATION
  3. If you are watching your weight. Cut caffeine intake it will do wonders for your love handles.
  4. Athletes yes studies do show that caffeine can give you a leg up BUT If you are not a regular caffeine drinker you don’t by any means need to suddenly start.