Breaking the fast

Throughout the last month or so I’ve received a lot of requests on what to eat and when to eat it. In this month’s article I’d like to attack this growing concern at the base level, breakfast. Although some may disagree, I strongly believe that breakfast is, in general, the most important meal of the day. Following the longest fast that you’ll undergo in a 24 hour period, breakfast plays a very important role to the human body as it sets the stage for further meals throughout the day. You see, eating after a night’s sleep primes our body to effectively maintain proper glucose levels. The controlling of these levels is a key facet in managing weight gain, maintaining healthy arteries, up keeping cognitive responses, and optimizing energy levels. In general, it’s recommended that eating breakfast within 2 to 3 hours of waking will have a positive impact on the way we metabolize glucose. So why is glucose management so important?

Well, here are the basics. Blood glucose (sugar) levels rise every time we consume food. To metabolize this extra glucose, the pancreas produces and secrets insulin to transport the glucose into our cells where we use it for energy. If we skip breakfast however, we’ll see an increase in ghrelin (a hormone that transmits hunger signals to the brain) which may lead to overeating at our next meal. This will cause massive fluctuations in both blood glucose and insulin levels. This puts a high demand on the pancreas as it is constantly producing and secreting insulin to manage glucose levels and when the pancreas is exhausted, diabetes develops.

This infographic shows the drastic affects that skipping breakfast has on controlling blood glucose levels throughout the day. As you can see, skipping breakfast can cause a massive fluctuation in blood glucose levels…not ideal!

graph

 

Although timing is important, what you eat is just as critical. Consuming a cup of coffee and a breakfast pastry isn’t going to do us much good. Instead, we should focus on eating a well-rounded meal consisting of quality proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. The breakdown of macro nutrients will be hit in another write-up, for now, I’ve included a real good breakfast recipe to kick start your day.

Courgette and Sweet Potato Frittata

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. butter (Ghee) or coconut oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in slices
  • 2 courgettes, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Heat a pan over a medium-low heat;
  • Add the oil and sweet potato slices and cook until soft, about 8 minutes;
  • Add the courgettes and red bell pepper slices and cook for another 4 minutes;
  • While it cooks, whisk the eggs in a bowl, making sure to incorporate a lot of air in the mixture;
  • Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper and add to the cooking veggies;
  • Cook on low heat until just set, about 10 minutes;
  • Finish the frittata until golden under a heated broiler;
  • Cut the finished frittata into wedges and serve with fresh parsley, or fridge/freeze until tomorrow morning!

Coach Justin

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