Breakfast, the Most Important Meal?
Most of us have a breakfast ritual that we go through every morning. It usually involves the same foods day after day. It is a tried and tested routine that makes us feel ready for the day. What do you have for breakfast each day? Is it giving you the springboard you need to fly into your day with energy and focus?
We have all heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many of us, however, choose to skip it and catch up on our calories later on in the day. Could we be doing ourselves a disservice? Recent research has revealed that the more you eat first thing in the morning, the better! The benefits seem to be far reaching and include healthy weight management, improved concentration and a more stable mood. It seems to bring a certain balance into your life that helps set things on a smooth course for the day. I think we all need more of those mornings!
One study included 93 overweight or obese women. Half the women ate 700-calorie breakfasts, 500-calorie lunches and 200-calorie dinners. The other reversed it, with a 200-calorie breakfast, the same 500-calorie lunch and a 700-calorie dinner. After three months, those eating the biggest breakfasts lost an average of 17.8 pounds and three inches from their waistlines. This was 10 pounds and an inch-and-a-half more than the group having skimpy breakfasts and big dinners.
Those who ate the big breakfasts also had better insulin control, and improved glucose and triglyceride levels for the rest of the day than those who ate more of their calories late. This is all important for keeping MS symptoms under control. Too much insulin floating around in the blood stream creates an pro-inflammatory environment. It is important that we keep our blood sugar levels as stable as possible.
My MS Diet Breakfast
I love my morning breakfast routine, it makes me feel clean and energetic at the same time. Here is what works for me:
- When I wake I will drink a large glass of lukewarm water. The temperature is kinder on the body and helps to promote digestion. Remember that your body is desperate for water first thing in the morning. It has gone an entire night without water and really needs it to cleanse the waste products from the healing and repair it has been doing
- Once I am dressed and ready for the day I make up my green barley drink. I use BarleyLife from AIM which is a fantastic product. I can feel it nourishing my cells! I add two heaped teaspoons of cold-milled flaxseeds to my green juice which fills my tummy a little more.
- After the neutral flavour of the green barley, I am ready for some sweetness! So, about thirty minutes later I juice whichever fruits and veggies I have in the fridge and down a glass of raw juice. I feel fantastic almost instantly! I will often have some mixed nuts on the side, especially if I know I have a busy morning and won’t be able to eat until lunch.
Often I will replace the raw juice with a smoothie or a fruit salad in summer. I do try and stick to fruit and nuts in the morning because they balance your blood sugar levels beautifully and give you a clear mind and an energetic body.
Some mornings, I am ravenous and I do eat more in response. Other mornings, I feel that my tummy needs a break and I will only drink water and raw juice until lunch. I try to listen to my body.
Six MS Diet Breakfast Ideas
1. Raw Juice & Nuts
This is a quick, easy, no fuss breakfast. It literally takes a few minutes to gather the fruit and vegetables you want to use, prepare them if they need to be peeled and the zoom them through the juicer. Wonderfully, it is easy to drink on the go if you need to dash out the door. Don’t forget your little container of mixed nuts! Make sure you buy a juicer that can take whole fruits so that you can just pop an unpeeled apple into it without having to spend time chopping it up.
My favourite combos are:
- Pineapple, apple and carrot (sometimes I add ginger)
- Raspberry, pear and carrot
- Kale, apple, cucumber
- Spinach, carrot, apple and ginger
A smoothie is different from a raw juice in that you are blending the entire fruit, not just extracting it’s juice. So, it will be a bit thicker and more chunky than the juice. This is great for fibre but is obviously not as cleansing as the juice. It will keep you fuller for longer though. Try and get yourself a machine such as a Vitamix for smoothie making. It works very quickly and effectively. You can also make it and run if you are in a hurry. There is no shame in drinking your smoothie on your commute!
My favourite combos are:
- Almond, Pineapple and Apple Juice (Raw)
- Strawberry, Raspberry, blueberry & Pear
3. Gluten free oats with maple syrup and cinnamon
This is a great find for mornings that you really just need something more substantial. Gluten-free oats is pretty much the same as normal oats but it has a slightly different texture. You can add whatever you want to it. Banana is a tasty addition and so is apple. Toss over a bit of cinnamon and maple syrup/honey and you have yourself a delicious, nutritious and filling breakfast.
4. Fruit Salad with Nuts
This is a breakfast for summer! I love eating fruit salad packed with gorgeous summer fruits such as strawberries, berries, cherries, mangoes and grapes. I always add in an apple and some almonds for fibre and protein. It takes a little longer to prepare and eat a fruit salad so you may want to reserve it for those mornings that you are not in a rush. This way, you can sit in the sun and really enjoy each morsel.
5. Banana Porridge Muffins
I have only just discovered these little beauties! They are completely MS Diet legal and work so brilliantly as a quick and filling breakfast, especially if you don’t have very much time in the morning. The full recipe can be found on the Recipes page but simply involves throwing together some gluten free oats, gluten free flour, almond milk mashed banana, nuts, honey, gluten free baking powder, vanilla extract and cinnamon. They bake in 10-15 minutes, so you can make large batches and store them up for breakfasts or even healthy snacks. My kids love them!
6. Papaya with Chopped Banana & Pecans
This is such an elegant breakfast. It looks so beautiful! In South Africa, we have this amazing fruit and veg store that sells fruit in bulk for very reasonable prices. In the winter season, they sold large boxes with at least 10 papayas inside. With bulk like this I used to eat two a day! The height of luxury compared with my one measly, expensive papaya that I try and buy each week here in the UK. I feel like I can’t eat it, I have to save it for a special day or something!
You prepare this stupendous breakfast by cutting the papaya in half and taking out all the pips/seeds. Then you simply slice the banana into the juicy craters where the seeds used to be and sprinkle chopped pecans over the top. This doesn’t take too long to prepare but you are going to need some unrushed time (just 5minutes) to really enjoy this meal. It is a fabulous option for a snack as well.
Summing It Up
So there you have it, six stupendous ideas to start your day right! I hope you really enjoy trying them out and feeling great as a result. You need to find what works for you and makes you feel good. This will be different for everyone. Breakfast, in whichever shape or form, is vital to get your metabolism going and energise you to cope with the demands of the day! Make sure you establish a good, nutritious routine. It will set you on a course of good eating for the rest of the day. I’m off to make myself a raw juice right this very minute!
Let me know if you discover any other ‘winner’ breakfasts!