When you want to eat whole foods, breakfast can be such a hard meal to get right, don’t you think? I mean for lunch you can do a salad or soup and dinner can always be meat and three veg and you’re pretty right. But breakfast can be a minefield. With so much going on getting ready for work, trying to get a family ready for their day (and potentially trying to squeeze in some exercise), it is way too easy for us to fall back to the easiest options like cornflakes and OJ or toast and coffee (hot dang I love PB on toast though!).
Some days you have more time than others, and that’s just life. But the way you start the morning sets the tone for the whole day – your energy levels, mood, cravings and sleep – so start it clean and that’s how you’ll feel the whole day through.
Here are the top 5 things to avoid if you want a glowing day…
Do not… use margarine. Although margarine was marketed to us as the ‘healthy alternative to butter’, it is now widely accepted that this hydrogenated oil is highly toxic and should be avoided at all times. The process of turning vegetable oils into firm spreads (hydrogenation) is where the trouble lies as it changes the chemical structure and our body’s ability to process it properly. I know I prefer everything about butter and would much rather get my food from cows than laboratories. Check out this article to learn more.
Do not… go near standard peanut butter. Similar to margarine, our beloved PB can be full of nasties that trick our bodies into holding onto things that we don’t want them to. Generally processed with loads of salt, sugar and toxic hydrogenated vegetable oils (often referred to as mono and diglycerides), your standard peanut butter toast is compromising your health. There are lots of brands that do yummy 100% peanuts PB so it’s just a matter of swapping. Check out my absolute favourite, Mayvers, or Sanitarium, which is a bit cheaper (both available from the supermarket).
Do not… go for any old boxed cereals. The first and often only thing I look at on food labels is the ingredients list. The more ingredients something has, the more cautious I am. If it has any sort of number, I tend to steer clear. I have a box of gluten free Weetbix in the cupboard as a back-up for me and the bubba. But even your simple Cornflakes lists sugar as the 2nd highest ingredient and ‘healthy’ muesli options are so full of dried fruit that you might as well eat Christmas pud for brekky (mmm.. Nan’s Christmas pud). So always check the labels first and then decide how that will set you up for the day.
Do not… eat pastries/muffins/banana bread. Refined carbohydrates such as white breads and pastries have a high glycemic load meaning they are quickly broken down by the body. This causes blood sugar levels to increase rapidly which may give you a quick burst of energy but will then leave you feeling tired as blood sugars drop rapidly. This is enemy #1 if you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS or another fertility issue. It also causes your body to crave more refined carbohydrates and sugary foods to get it back up - and you’ll be battling with this cycle all day long! Check out a healthy muffin recipe here.
Do not… skip breakfast. There are a lot of people spruiking the benefits of intermittent fasting these days (where you have a 12hr+ break in eating overnight to give your digestive system a break and allow your body to repair). There can be amazing health benefits with this approach for some people. However, it’s not for everyone. If you are trying to get pregnant, have struggled with weight, blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, stress, poor sleep, adrenal fatigue or hormone imbalances (that cpvers 80% of the population yeah?!), then skipping breakfast is a no no.
It’s all got to do with cortisol – the hormone that manages our response to stress and regulates blood sugar levels – and our circadian rhythm. When you skip brekkie your cortisol levels increase further and if your body is not in peak condition it will struggle to balance this out which can make all of these issues much worse. So for me, I recommend eating every 2-3 hours, avoid snacking in between to give the gut a break, and try not to eat too close to bedtime.
Next week I’ll be covering my top 5 breakfast ‘Do’s’… so stay tuned. And if you want some help with breakfast options to support your health and fertility, you might want to sign up when the 28-Day Preconception Program launches.