When you see that stack above….what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
You know what I think of? Going into a coma and sleeping for hours after I eat it.
I imagine huge brain fog and needing a pot of coffee to stay awake for the day. I picture getting nothing really done but taking all day to do it.
Breakfast….the illusion for health and weight loss as sold by the general public.
Think of the name….”Break” Fast…..you break the fast. If I am doing IF (intermittent fasting) I don’t want to break the fast first thing in the morning.
“But how will I ever survive? Will I lose all my muscle by skipping one meal? Will my metabolism pack up it’s bags and leave? I mean….without breakfast how will I ever get anything done all day…I need energy right?” (note some sarcasm used)
Does this sound familiar? Well luckily it turns out most of that is nothing I really to stress over too much.
While we are talking about it, I came across this great read from Ori Hofmekler (author of the warrior diet). It actually goes very nicely with the Why Workout Fasted post and the Why Stress is Making You Sick and Fat post. Here’s the article (seen here):
When you wake-up, your body is already in an intense detox mode, clearing itself of endotoxins and digestive waste from the past evening meal.
During the morning hours, when digestion is fully completed (while you are on an empty stomach), a primal survival mechanism, known as fight or flight reaction to stress, is triggered, maximizing your body’s capacity to generate energy, be alert, resist fatigue and resist stress.
This highly geared survival mode is primarily dominated by part of the autonomic nervous system known as the SNS (sympathetic nervous system). At that state, the body is in its most energy-producing phase and that’s when most energy comes from fat burning. All that happens when you do not eat the typical morning meal.
If however you follow what “normal guys” do and eat your morning bagel and cereal and egg & bacon, you’ll most likely shut down the above energy producing system.
The SNS and its fight or flight mechanism will be substantially suppressed. Instead, your morning meal will trigger an antagonistic part of the automatic nervous system known as the PSNS (Para sympathetic nervous system), which makes you sleepy, slow and less resilient to fatigue and stress.
Instead of spending energy and burning fat, your body will be more geared towards storing energy and gaining fat. Under this state, detox would be inhibited. The overall metabolic stress would increase with toxins accumulating in the liver, giving the body another substantial reason to gain fat. (Fat tissues serve as a biological storage for toxins)
The overall suppressing effects of morning meals, can lead to energy crashes during the daily (working) hours, often with chronic cravings for pick-up foods, sweets, coffee and tobacco. Eating at the wrong time, would severely interrupt the body’s ability to be in tune with the circadian clock. The human body has never adapted to such interruptions. We are primarily pre-programmed to rotate between the two autonomic nervous system parts: the daily SNS and the nightly PSNS.
The SNS regulates alertness and action during the day, while PSNS regulates relaxation, digestion and sleep during the nightly hours. Any interruption in this primal daily cycle, may lead into sleepiness during the day followed by sleeping disorders at night.
Morning meals must be carefully designed not to suppress the SNS and its highly energetic state. Minimizing morning food intake to fruits, veggie soup or small amounts of fresh light protein foods, such as poached or boiled eggs, plain yogurt, or white cheese, will maintain the body in an undereating phase, while promoting the SNS with its energy producing properties.
*Note: Athletes who exercise in the morning should turn breakfast into a post-exercise recovery meal. Such meals should consist of small amounts of fresh protein plus carbs such as yogurt and banana, eggs plus a bowl of oatmeal, or cottage cheese with berries.
An insulin spike is necessary for effectively finalizing the anabolic actions of GH and IGF1 after exercise. Nonetheless, after the initial recovery meal, it’s highly recommended to maintain the body in an undereating phase by minimizing daily carb intake in the following meals. Applying small protein meals (minimum carbs) every couple of hours will keep sustaining the SNS during the daily hours while providing amino acids for protein synthesis in the muscle tissues, promoting a long lasting anabolic effect after exercise.
In conclusion, breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day. The most important meals are post-exercise recovery meals. Saying that, for a WARRIOR every meal is a recovery meal helping to recuperate from either nutritional stress (undereating) or physical stress (exercise). It’s when you eat that makes what you eat matter.
I personally have never had so much mental clarity and consistent energy as when I decided to do IF daily and skip morning meals….and have never looked back.
No need to worry about starving yourself if you skip breakfast or thinking that will crush your metabolism. That’s not how it works in the bigger picture as your metabolism requires many many days of low intake to even start to slow down.
To think one meal can cause your metabolism to come to a screeching halt or all your muscle will be destroyed, is a gross exaggeration (most often publicized by too many fitness magazines or diets who “may” profit off that idea still needing to be used, aka with all their shakes and bars).
Having breakfast is only hailed as the weight loss king because some people may just end up over eating later on from not being able to handle a little hunger and think they are wasting away. In the end it’s still total calories in the big picture, whether 6 meals, 3 meals or only 2.
So in a sense I do have breakfast everyday…but it happens usually after 2pm.