Niagara Gazette

October 9, 2012

BREAK THE FAST! The first meal of the day should nourish body, mind

By Ami Patrick
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — For most people, breakfast time comes at least eight hours after their previous meal.  In essence, while sleeping, you have been “fasting.” The word itself, when broken down, means to “break a fast.”  When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar may be low, and you may feel hungry.  

Eating a breakfast that contains a balance of protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates will allow your blood sugar to rise at a steady pace throughout the morning and provide your cells with the energy they need to carry out your morning activities. 

Proteins might include organic local eggs, plain Greek yogurt, raw nuts and seeds; healthy fats include coconut, cold-pressed oils, raw nuts and seeds and butters, and chia or flax seeds;  while healthy carbs includes whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

This way of eating allows you to think, move, and carry out the varied activities of your day with increased vitality and stamina.

Breakfast can even help with stress. There are measurable reductions in stress hormone levels when people have breakfast compared to when they skip it. Therefore, you are more insulated against emotional eating/snacking that stress can often induce. Breakfast eating also boosts concentration throughout the day.

However, if we enter our day with an empty stomach, we actually end up overeating throughout the day. Over the next few hours, your blood sugar will drop, and you may begin to feel sleepy or fatigued.  By the time lunch or your next meal comes, you will be ravenous and it is much more difficult to select healthy foods as you are interested in grabbing something quick to satisfy your body’s immediate hunger needs. 

In addition, if you don’t give your body some fuel first thing in the morning, your brain senses your stomach is empty, it sends a message to your cells to conserve energy in case another meal doesn’t arrive.  In other words, your body holds onto the fat stored in your cells instead of helping you burn it off. 

Nutritional advisers for sumo wrestlers suggest to


breakfast in order to help add weight by slowing their metabolism. 

Studies have shown that eating breakfast regularly was a common characteristic of people who had lost weight. 

However, if we fuel our bodies with a breakfast of highly refined carbohydrates (bagels, muffins, pastries, most cereals), we send our blood sugar too high, crash and enter the roller coaster of cravings.  Keep in mind that 44 packaged cereals marketed to children contain more sugar than three chocolate chip cookies!

Many people say that they are not hungry first thing in the morning, which makes it difficult to eat breakfast.  Begin the habit of eating breakfast by eating something very small, such as half a piece of sprouted bread or a whole grain frozen waffle toasted and topped with a coconut oil or almond butter.  As your body gets used to digesting food in the morning, you will likely notice a bigger appetite for breakfast.

It is valuable and beneficial to incorporate a fiber-rich meal at breakfast time.  It has more staying power.  An example is regular rolled oatmeal versus instant oatmeal.  They both have the same number of calories, but differ in the amount of fiber.  With the instant oatmeal, it is more processed and broken down to cook quickly.  Therefore, it digests more rapidly, releasing natural sugars into the blood stream too quickly.  Hunger returns.  The natural fiber in rolled oats digests slowly and therefore, avoids rapid changes in blood sugar, creating a natural resistance to overeating.

Experiment!  Break out of your breakfast rut by trying some new breakfasts.  Think outside the box!  Build a foundation of health, including a balanced breakfast, and notice how you bound through your days!


IF YOU GO WHAT: Delish Nutrish 2. WHERE: Available at two locations: First Presybterian Church of Youngstown Oct. 2, 9 and Niagara University, Oct. 23, 30 and Nov. 2. WHAT: A 3-week wellness series to learn about incorporating more whole foods into your life and kitchen MORE INFORMATION: Call 523-9965 for more information.


Ami Patrick is a holistic health coach from Youngstown and owner of Embody Health and Wellness, who supports individuals in reaching their health goals through whole foods, balance and lifestyle. Contact her at