Most Americans use the phrase hearty breakfast to describe what they believe is a healthy first meal. Let’s take a look at a typical hearty breakfast consisting of 2 eggs, 1 potato, 2 ounces bacon, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons strawberry jam, 2 slices toast, 8 ounces frozen orange juice and its nutritional profile:
Total calories 1511 C
Total fat 116 g
Saturated fat 34 g
Calories from fat 69 %
Cholesterol 546 mg
Carbohydrate 78 g
Dietary fiber 3 g
Protein 43 g
The mainstream notion of what constitutes a healthy breakfast is skewed. Recently, a friend who describes herself as mostly raw + vegan commented on how much energy I have. She thinks of me as a dynamo and said she could never hope to keep up even though she is half my age. I asked her what she eats for breakfast, and she answered, “a Lara™ Bar and a cup of coffee.” I told her there were better choices to be had, and she then asked, “what about a Raw Revolution™ bar? Is that any better?” without understanding the important of fresh, ripe, organic produce for starting the day. I explained that snack bars are great for occasional treats or something to take when traveling, but certainly not adequate as a daily breakfast.
Skipping breakfast: a losing proposition
Even though breakfast is considered by most nutritionists to be the most important meal of the day, four out of ten Americans skip it. Some believe it will help with weight loss; however research indicates that skipping meals – especially breakfast – can actually make weight control more difficult. Several studies suggest we tend to accumulate more body fat when eating fewer large meals than when eating the same number of calories in frequent smaller meals. Additionally, eating first thing in the morning may help stabilize blood sugar levels which in turn regulate appetite and energy.
When skipping breakfast, the body runs lower on resources, making one more likely to be tired and less productive. One is also more likely to snack on high-calorie snacks to ward off hunger and make unhealthy choices at lunch, such as eating a larger than normal meal, thereby defeating the purpose of skipping breakfast.
People who eat a nutritious breakfast are more likely to maintain balanced weight, be more productive, and make healthier food choices throughout the day. That’s because skipping breakfast keeps your body in starvation mode, while eating a good meal gives your metabolism a boost. If your last meal is at 7 p.m. and you don’t eat again until noon, you have been fasting for 17 hours.
Not eating for this extended period of time can cause your metabolism to slow down. If the goal is to lose weight, one must keep the metabolism fast to burn fat.
What makes a healthy breakfast?
A healthy breakfast should contain carbohydrate, fiber, some protein, and only a small amount of fat, comprising about 25% of daily nutrient requirements. Whole grains, vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits fit the bill perfectly.
At Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, students and staff are served a healthy breakfast to keep them mentally alert. On occasion, sprouted oatmeal or buckwheat cereal is served, and everyday begins with one ounce of E-3 Live™ Blue-Green Algae, followed by a green smoothie with kale or other leafy greens and Vitamineral™ Green, a green powder supplement. Midmorning brings second breakfast: green juice packed with dark leafy greens, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon. This keeps students energetic and productive and easily carries them until lunch at 1 p.m. This breakfast provides a minimum of 18 grams of protein, nearly half the daily requirement for calcium, plenty of fiber and very little fat.
Children also need a good breakfast
While eating breakfast is important for all ages, breakfast is especially important for children and teens. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast are more likely to better behave, concentrate, solve problem and have improved hand-eye coordination. They are also more likely to be alert and creative and less likely to miss school. Studies show that kids who skip breakfast are tardy and absent from school more often than children who eat breakfast on a regular basis.
Steer clear of sugary cereals, syrups, pastries and white breads which are digested quickly and will leave the body hungry and tired in a couple of hours. Whole fresh fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit juices which contain mostly sugar. Carbohydrates, protein and fiber satisfy hunger and keep one feeling satisfied until lunchtime. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach also provide a substantial amount of important micronutrients.
Here are a few of the positive results one can expect from eating a low fat, produce-rich breakfast:
Mental clarity: A healthy breakfast refuels the body and provides better concentration and higher productivity throughout the day. Researchers believe this is due to replenishing glucose, the brain’s main energy source.
Weight control: Researchers suggest that eating breakfast may reduce hunger later in the day and that it may cause eaters to choose less-dense foods at later meals. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast every day are a third less likely to be obese compared to those who skip the meal.
Strength and endurance People who eat breakfast have higher energy levels, allowing them to engage in more physical activity than people who don’t eat breakfast.
A sample Living Light breakfast
This powerful, nutrient-dense juice is especially valuable as part of a weight-loss program. It provides 200 mg of calcium per serving (as much as 2/3 cup 160mL of milk), 9 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat. In fact, the calcium present in kale is twice as bio-available to the body as that in cow’s milk. Juice all ingredients and serve immediately.
1 bunch kale, including stems
or about 8 ounces / 220 g
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise
4 stalks celery
1 lemon, peeled
Cherie Soria is the founder and director of the internationally known Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and author of 3 books, including Raw Food Revolution Diet. She has been teaching raw + vegan culinary arts to students and teachers from around the world since 1992 and is known as the “mother of gourmet raw cuisine.” Additionally, Cherie and her husband Dan Ladermann also own three award-winning green businesses: Living Light Café and Cuisine To Go, Living Light Marketplace and the eco-friendly Living Light Inn in Fort Bragg, California. Visit www.RawFoodChef.com for more information
Vol 29 Issue 3 Page 13