Monday, May 30, 2011

Clean Eating Challenge: Step 2 -- Eat Breakfast (and make it a good one)

First of all, I have to ask how your week was last week.  Did you do well with your water intake?  I hope so...  And DON'T stop!  Keep it up for this week too.  Each week we'll focus on one more thing to add.

For this week, I really want to focus on the most important meal of the day.  You've all heard that breakfast is the most important all your life, right?  But why?  Did you ever wonder why it's considered the most important? 

Well, let me tell you what I know. 

Breakfast is so important not only for your health but also for your metabolism and your brain.  We all know that kids who eat breakfast do better in school than those who don't as a whole. 

When we eat breakfast, we are breaking a long fast that our bodies have been enduring all night.  It's great for our bodies to take that break for the night, however, if you extend the fast beyond the hours of sleep, your body goes into starvation mode.  For some people, this sounds appealing.  They think that if their body starves it will chew the fat right off of them.  The fact is, when your body goes into starvation mode, it starts chewing on muscle tissue and other areas that you don't want it to.  Then, when you finally give your body some substance at lunchtime or whenever you decide to nourish your body for the first time each day, it holds onto whatever it can from that meal fearing that you will starve it again. 

Simple fact:  Breakfast boosts your metabolism!  Eat it!!

So, what do you eat for breakfast usually?  Nothing?  Cold cereal?  Oatmeal?  Eggs? 

I personally have never had a problem eating breakfast.  The only problem I've ever had is the content of my breakfast.  Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, pancakes with way too much sugary syrup, or a granola bar (the candy bar-ish type), etc.

These days, my breakfasts are much healthier than they've ever been.  I usually have some oatmeal (I really like the steel-cut oats) with a whole banana cut into it and some skim milk to bring it to the consistency I prefer.  That gives me my carb, and a fruit.  To add a protein I usually eat boiled eggs... 1 whole, 1 white only.  

When eating clean, always try to pair a carb with a protein.  A carb could even be a fruit or veggie.  

If you think it sounds bland to eat my oats with nothing on it, you're right.  It was hard for me at first to eat it with only a banana and milk in it.  I've grown to love the flavor of the oats on their own and with a whole banana cut up in it, I pretty much get a sweet flavor with every bite.  Sounds strange but I don't even miss the sugar anymore.  But if that's too bland for you to start with (or forever), you can certainly use a clean sweetener to help you out with the flavor.  Just try to use less of it than you normally might.  

Some options would be honey, agave nectar (try to buy 'raw'), Sucanat (aka dehydrated cane juice),  or pure maple syrup (the real stuff).  You could also use Stevia (use VERY little as this is potent stuff... too much tastes bitter) but I don't like it.  They sell 'Stevia' products by the sugars in the grocery stores but that stuff is not clean.  Highly processed!  The real stuff is in the health food stores.  But there will be more on that later in a future post for our Clean Eating Challenge.  

Of course, you don't have to eat oatmeal for breakfast.  There are tons of other clean options as well.  This is just what I prefer in the mornings.  Anthony loves to eat his whole wheat bagels with boiled eggs and an orange.  

Other great options include Ezekiel cereals, Kashi cereals (look at sugar content though... I like to keep it under 8 grams per serving.  Yes, it's clean sugar but still sugar), whole wheat (or whole grain) toast, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), turkey bacon (which is a protein), fruits, etc.

There are so many options, it's not even funny.  Angie, with your gluten intolerance, I'm not sure what you usually eat.  I'm an avid fan of breads and things with wheat so asking me to go gluten-free would be like asking me to go vegetarian cold turkey (no pun intended ;).  I'm so dependent on carbs and meats to create my meals at this point that I would be lost if I tried to change it up too much.  I would love your insight, however.  The plan is to eventually migrate more into those areas because I know it would improve my family's health but at this point, I'm just working on whole foods.  

And that's really it, everyone.  Just try to find products that God gave us to incorporate for breakfast.  If the ingredient list says something like chlorosnapwnvoams (not real, just made up)... it's probably a man-made chemical or something.  A preservative, a nasty, yucky thing that our bodies don't know what to do with.  If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it.

Don't worry about anything else at this point.  Just keep drinking lots and lots of water and make sure you're eating a good breakfast.  Baby steps, right?  This is not too hard yet is it?  WE CAN DO THIS!!  

In case you missed it, here's Step One
and here's the Intro


LeShel said...

Last week went great. A few days I was doing some serious guzzling to get my water in but most days I was able to remember throughout the day and distribute my water intake. I didn't lose weight, I actually gained weight but I'm not exactly doing this for weight loss. I know that what I eat makes a difference in how I feel and I want to feel strong. I want to fuel my body not torture it.

I'm excited about this week. I've been doing oatmeal for breakfast most mornings. Some mornings I do end up skipping breakfast because I plan to eat and then the kids need something and then we need to get out the door and then I plan to eat when I get home and then and then and then....

Thanks for breaking this down. I'm still very nervous about future weeks but doing a step at a time is helpful for me. In the past I've always tried to do it all at once. I like this slow and steady thing.

Kortney said...

Doing good here too! :) YAY!!!