Eat To Live – Breakfasts

The Science Behind Timing and Meal Spacing

When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Your hypothalamus is a part of your brain that controls your metabolism. It controls your appetite, it controls your sleep pattern, and how you respond to light, how you respond to stress. And it’s interesting because the hypothalamus is part of your brain and it’s also an endocrine gland. It has two functions, and we’re going to talk about how the hypothalamus gets involved with all this regulation and how a lot of these timing issues feed back into the hypothalamus, which then affects the secretion of various hormones.

So, we’ve got a list of hormones and we’ve got a list of activities that they control. The hormones are leptin, ghrelin, growth hormones, insulin, melatonin, and cortisol. There are certain times that they’re high and certain times that they’re low by design. When the circadian rhythm gets out of balance, your appetite gets out of balance, your energy gets out of balance, your sleep gets out of balance. Your appetite ups and downs are not just related to how much food you ate at the last meal. It’s related to some of these timing issues and these metabolic imbalances in these hormone pathways.

Breakfast – What is the first thing you do in the morning? Do you grab your phone, check your email, and turn on the TV? Or do you welcome your day with your favourite affirmation, a breath work practice, and an external acknowledgment of what you are grateful for? From your mental disposition to your physical activity and, yes, to your nutrition – your day’s success is set in these first precious hours. Hence, we must make mention of the most important meal of the day, breakfast. Have you ever taken time to contemplate the word breakfast (break-fast) meaning to ‘break the fast’, the evening fast that is.  It is therefore recommended that you eat breakfast 12 hours after dinner. This timing habit maximises the benefit of leptin and growth hormone.

The foods that people grab first thing in the morning tend to be too much or too little – or not at all. The importance of consuming a healthy breakfast is deep-rooted and widespread and affects energy levels, focus, mood, metabolism, weight maintenance, and hunger levels.   While you sleep, your body is still using energy. After waking up in the morning, your body has actually used up all of its energy stores attached to your liver (glycogen), which it needs in order to complete normal daily functions. If these stores are not replenished with food (we’re talking to you, breakfast-skippers!), your body will start to break down your lean body mass (muscle!) to supply it with energy until lunch rolls around. 

In addition to these depleted energy stores you’re also waking up to slow metabolic function and low digestive fire. When you throw something heavy in there (i.e. bagel and cream cheese, muffin, power bar), your body is not quite ready to complete proper nutrient assimilation, resulting in a malabsorption of the nutrients, increased amount of stored fat, and a fatigue that you just cannot shake. When you throw a quick-fix in there (i.e. cereal, fruit, toast), your digestive system rummages through it quickly, absorbing, storing, and eliminating the nutrients at a rapid pace, spiking your blood sugar and leaving you with a grumbling tummy two hours later.  

Start the day with a protein-rich, low-carbohydrate meal in order to maximise the rhythm of cortisol, leptin, and insulin. Eating green food and chia seeds is a great way to begin your day. This combination will cut down on food cravings late in the day and after dinner. The reason that it’s important to avoid the carbs in the morning and eat protein first thing in the morning is because of the cortisol that occurs during the early morning hours. Cortisol’s job is to jumpstart your metabolism for the new day. Part of that involves help to break down muscle in order create new glucose. If within an hour of getting up you give your body protein, then your cortisol is going to feed off that protein and break that down into sugar.

Use the 15-day EAT TO LIVE PLAN and swap some of the ideas we have given you with some of these delicious recipes to switch up your breakfasts.

For information on how to take advantage of the medicinal value of these delicious ingredients, by incorporating them into your daily diet – follow the link to our “Food As Medicine” page or you can read more on the specific Therapeutic Foods, Supplements and Herbs that DBM use frequently in their health programs, on this link.