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! 🙂

PART 2: Are you eating right on game day?

Last week we posted part one of ‘are you eating right on game day?’ a little nutritional insight to ensure you’re fueling your body with the right things to perform at your best! If you missed out last week check out part 1 HERE

This is part two, touching on protein powders, hydration and post match recovery. Yes beers are allowed but there are a few other things to do to make sure you don’t pull up on Sunday too worse for wear!

 

Which protein powder and when?

Pre and post game: Whey isolate is the fastest and most complete amino acid pool of all types of protproteinein powders. I recommend The Healthy Chef’s Pure Native WPI which is a grassfed whey protein. (visit www.thehealthychef.com) or try Optimum Nutrition which is a 100% natural gold standard whey blend (not grass fed) it has no sweetners or nasties in it. 180 nutrition is a grassfed whey protein isolate that has chia seeds, flaxseed, almond meal, sesame seeds and heaps more amazing nuts and seeds- but it is high in fat so the absorption is slowed down therefore not the best post-training or game it is however perfect to have before.

During the game an option could be to sip on BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) at half time- always get unflavoured because the flavoured ones are loaded with unnecessary artificial rubbish! The BCAA’s are the three amino acids that do not have to pass through the liver to be metabolised- they go straight to the muscles, the muscle fibres can then directly use these amino acids for fuel. They really help with building, strengthening and repairing muscles.

Hydration: water, water and more water. No sports drinks please! While they can be useful in replenishing and rehydrating they are generally full of sugar and additives (this is what makes them such bright lolly like colours, pretty but pointless) I believe there are better sources that can be used for hydration. Coconut water is like nature’s Gatorade – it has a comphydrationosition of minerals that is almost identical to human blood plasma. Another quick way to rehydrate is to use a few pinches of good quality sea salt in water: the sea salt is naturally high in the minerals that your body requires to rehydrate. It is important ensure you are consistently drinking enough water – not just after the game. Aiming to drink 1.5-3 litres daily aids your overall health greatly, ensuring you are hydrated well before training and the game will also aid recovery significantly.

 

Beetroot Juice and Nitric Oxide: Research has demonstrated the dramatic impact beetroots can have on improving stamina and enhance oxygen usage efficiency. These benefits arise directly from raised nitric oxide levels derived from the dietary nitrate found naturally in beetroot. I recently attended the Health & Fitness Expo in Sydney and discovered Beet It (these little bottles of organic beetroot juice concentrate.) Check out their website at www.beet-it.com, which is not only used by athletes but by regular people to increase muscle function and aid in recovery. The effects of the beetroot juice concentrate lasts up to 12 hours and as well as being great for stamina in training or a game, increased levels of nitric oxide also play a role in regulating blood pressure, increasing blood flow to organs, and is great for enhancing immunity. The Beet-It range has only just launched in Australia this month, so they are not widely available just yet. But you can get the same effect from including beetroot in your diet on a regular basis. A great way is to have it in a fresh vegetable juice along with carrot, ginger, celery and perhaps some orange if you need the extra sweetness (this combination is also a winner for boosting your immunity

Post Game Celebration: if you are planning on celebrating with a few beverages post game make sure you refuel your body properly before doing so. A healthy square meal of complex carbohydrates and protein is best. Make sure you are rehydrated other wise the hangover will be ten fold! A great way to reduce a hangover is to pop a B vitamin, zinc supplement and fish oil when you get home and again in the morning.

Of course what you eat throughout the week will also have a significant effect on how you feel come game time. Health is a long term investment not a quick fix so putting in the effort to consume optimal nutrition throughout the week and in the off seasons, ie: eating lots of veggies, quality organic/ grassfed meat, eggs and other dairy, complex carbohydrates, healthy sources of fats rather than transfats, minimising processed packaged foods and refined sugars (this means alcohol too!!) will not only improve your performance on the field but increase your energy every day, aid in recovery after intense training sessions, boost your immunity and reduce your risk of developing chronic health conditions.

A huge thank you to Jess Rutledge for her contributions.

If you would like to read more of Jess’s blogs head to www.madamenourish.com

Happy Monday!!