Bagels, Juice, And Jelly For Breakfast No More
Breakfast is the most important meal in more ways than one. It's our first meal after waking up. How do we we wake up? Besides just our alarm, our brain supplies us with hormones that create wakefulness. So why during this time do we overload our brains with sugars and carbs?
Even though this creates the mid-morning and mid-afternoon crash?
We do it because sugary foods are quick to eat and takes minimal prep time. You can run out the door with something sugary in your hand, or in some cases your mouth. We value convenience over efficiency. But if our brain creates our livelihood; and our ability to have high brain function affects every aspect of our life, including the quality of our life, why are we not maximizing brain function?
I like to tell my clients to eat brinner. Basically dinner for breakfast. You can eat leftovers (which also saves money and time and help keep dinner portions smaller) or make something high in protein like eggs. The idea is to supercharge breakfast to be optimal for the rest of your day. Studies have shown people who eat a healthy breakfast tend to do better with their other meals and also lose more weight. And people who eat protein for breakfast are the champions.
Sugar and carbs makes you sleepy
Sugar has this affect where it overloads our brains. It does give us initial energy but inhibits the neurons that create wakefulness and alertness. Cognitively we won't be 100%. Why start our day with dessert?
Not only that but the decrease in those same neurons orexin-A has been linked with depression. A double whammy!
Protein does the opposite
On the flip side, those same neurons are stimulated when we introduce more protein, regardless of time of day. Helping to keep us awake, alert, and high functioning. Eat what you are: we're protein, fat, and water. It can also improve mood.
The Mental Athlete
Studies have shown a diet which has a higher ratio of protein in comparison to carbs creates better cognitive abilities.
Laborers need their brain to do their job correctly and avoid injury (which can cost them their ability to generate income), just as business leaders need their brain to make the right decisions when there's a lot of money on the line, and avoid burn out (which can cost them their ability to generate income).
We all need a properly functioning brain.
If we eat a diet of carb rich sugary foods that spikes our blood sugar, it's not only our brain and mental health (see Grain Brain) that gets affected. It's also our overall health and waistline. That type of eating leads not only to things like diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, possibly even cancer, but also weight gain.
We've known sugar and carbs has made us fatter for years. Jack Lalanne has been preaching about it since the 50's. The thing we didn't realize was, it also makes us more sluggish, sleepy, tired, and mentally slow. This makes exercise and having an active life less likely. Coupled with poor mood balance and depression, then there goes our motivation.
What do we do when we sit all day at work? We want to come home and rest because we're dead tired. But why? Look at your stress levels and diet for the answers.
The thing that makes us gain weight, also makes us want to avoid the things that can reduce our weight.
There really is one outcome left, our population becomes more sedentary, tired, and overweight.
Break this cycle
Start small. Just change your breakfast and go from there. I personally like to add fats to my breakfast: by drinking BP coffee and taking fish oils, but I'm weird like that.
I also prefer exercise before work rather than after, as night time exercise can affect sleep and appetite.
Now if you over-eat, or eat until you're full, then all bets are off. Always leave room for the expansion of gasses, for digestion to occur. Unless you want to stretch your stomach out of course (which will lead to bigger eating cycles).
Sam Yang writes about efficiency, health, mindset, science, habits, and martial arts to improve optimal well-being. If this resonates with you, join his newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.