The notion that breakfast is "the most important meal of the day", is one that has been misunderstood for decades.
Many people believe that "hearty" breakfast will help them get through the day. However, as we age and our metabolism slows and we become less active, our choices for breakfast should be consciously linked to what "breakfast" actually means.
The word breakfast means to break-your-fast.
This means, when you wake up, it's important to realise that your body has been in a state of rest and repair for many hours over night.
So, when you decide that it's time to eat, you are actually breaking your fast, which means you need to make smart choices that are light on your digestive system.
Today, more and more people are opting to skip or delay breakfast so that they can stay in a 'fasted' state for longer.
This is commonly known as Intermittent Fasting and this has become very popular because it activates powerful processes in the body, including cellular recycling, tissue repair and metabolic flexibility - all vital for slowing the process of ageing, reducing inflammation and weight management.
However, no matter if you eat soon after you rise or later in the morning, when it comes to your first meal, that is breakfast, there are definitely a certain foods that should be avoided if health and longevity is your goal.
These foods include:
- Packaged breakfast cereals made from refined grains and sugars
- Fried foods such as pancakes, donuts, eggs, sausages and bacon
- Factory Farmed Processed Dairy Products
- Processed Fruit Drinks
- White bread
- White sugar
- Jams and Preserves
Now of course this is not to say that you can't enjoy a Sunday breakfast with family and friends and include these foods every once in a while.
However, it just means that there are far more conscious choices you can make for breakfast, that over the long term, will far better support your health, vitality and body and brain function.
Now, if you do decide to experiment with intermittent fasting by delaying breakfast, here are a small selection of items you can consume and not break your fasted state:
- Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Citrus Essential Oils
- Sea Salt
- Herbal Teas
- Organic Black Coffee
All of these can be great to consume on an empty stomach in small amounts, together with plenty of fresh water when you rise.
Each have their own attributes in terms of replenishing your cells with natural electrolytes, hydrating your body and activating digestion first thing in the morning.
Here, we recommend five of our top recommended nutritious foods for consciously "breaking your fast" for your first meal of the day.
1. Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Fruit is an astringent, meaning it is nature's detoxifying food, that is best eaten on an empty stomach.
This applies particularly in summer, when the water content of the fruits that naturally come forth are at the their highest - think melons and mangoes!
When you eat fresh fruit for breakfast, there is very little stress placed on your body because the high water content supports, rather than disrupts, your digestive system, allowing it to complete its natural eliminatory cycle easily.
Also, since little digestion is required, the nutrients are quickly absorbed into the cells for energy.
Any fruit can be eaten at breakfast time, however in summer, the juiciest, most high water content fruits are best to eaten first, and these include:
- Melons e.g. rockmelon, honey dew, watermelon
- Citrus Fruits.
Other fruits which make for wonderful mid morning snacks on their own or for use in smoothies, include bananas, berries and apples.
2. Fresh Juices & Smoothies
Another great way to break your fast is with home made fresh juices or raw smoothies.
Cold pressed juices are the best way to go, because they're made with a slow expeller-press juicer, that gently extracts the pulp whilst retaining the nutrient rich enzymes in the juice.
Ideal ingredients for preparing your own juices at home include:
- Leafy Greens
Similar to fresh fruit, raw juices are very light, requiring little to no digestion, with the nutrients getting a "free pass" directly to your cells for energy and nourishment.
Learn more about fresh juicing in our blog: Fruit and Vegetable Juicing: What You Should Know
Smoothies are also a fabulous way to go first thing in the morning - light on your digestive system, delicious, energising and super nourishing.
Avoid dairy milk and prepare your smoothies in a Vitamix or quality blender from a selection of ingredients such as these:
- Coconut Water
- Plant Milks such as Coconut, Almond or Oat Milk
- Frozen fruit chunks such as ripe banana, mango and berries
- Pitted Medjool Dates (store in the fridge and add 1 or 2 to the blender as your natural sweetener)
- Spinach, Kale
- Avocado (Scoop 1/2 ripe avocado if making a green smoothie)
- Raw Cacao Powder
- Cold Brew Coffee (can be added to fresh Almond milk, bananas and cacao for a delicious Banoffee smoothie!)
Smoothies are such a quick and easy option for breakfast that will also satisfy you.
If you decide to delay breakfast and extend your fasting window in the morning, you can even prepare a smoothie in advance. Simply pour it into a large glass bottle or mason jar and store it in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy!
3. Pulse And Yogurt
Pulse Sacred Meal is a complete raw food ground together from raw dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
Enjoy pulse either as your first meal of the day or as a mid morning snack for light weight nourishment that won't weigh you down!
You can eat Pulse straight from the bag, or crumble it on top of your favourite coconut yogurt or organic dairy yogurt for a super delightful, creamy, delicious breakfast.
In addition to the high carbohydrate and protein content, this breakfast choice also provides a healthy supply of probiotics into your gut - something that is incredibly important for cultivating healthy bacteria and maintaining strong immunity.
Something to keep in mind when shopping for yoghurt...
Choose your brand carefully and always look for an organic, “live” or “active cultured” yogurt. In other words, you want to avoid varieties that have food colourings, preservatives, added sugar or gelatin!
4. Rolled Oats
Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth and they're an ideal breakfast food.
Oats are a gluten-free, whole grain and an amazing source of most of the important vitamins and minerals we need; they’re also a great source of dietary fibre and antioxidants!
Numerous studies have shown that consuming oats can help to:
- Lower cholesterol and protect against LDL (Bad) Cholesterol
- Balance blood sugar
- Ease appetite and support healthy weight loss
- Heal constipation and irritable bowel problems
- Reduce heart disease risk
So how is it best to eat this nutritional powerhouse?
Since rolled oats are an easily digestible wholegrain, they're relatively light on your digestive system, making them an ideal choice on those days when you feel you need something more solid to start your day.
Ways to prepare and enjoy rolled oats include:
- Soaking them overnight in the fridge in organic coconut milk or almond milk. Cover 1 cup of oats with just enough milk to allow the oats to soak up the milk and soften over night. In the morning, add dried fruit, pitted medjool dates and/or toasted macadamia nuts or walnuts. Add raw organic honey or maple syrup to sweeten a little extra milk for consistency and enjoy
- Place 1 cup of rolled oats into a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of filtered water and a splash of milk. Bring to a simmer whilst constantly stirring. Add more milk if required, whilst continuing to stir until the oats thicken into a smooth consistency. Pour into a bowl, add your favourite toppings and enjoy.
5. Chia Seed Puddings
Packed with nutrition, Chia Seed Pudding is the perfect healthy breakfast food or mid morning snack, and they're super simple to prepare the night before.
Chia Seeds are loaded with protein, fibre and omega 3's and they're suitable for a vegan, paleo, keto or gluten-free diet. They help keep you regular and support a healthy bowel and they also naturally suppress appetite, keeping you satisfied for longer.
Chia Seeds are also very high in antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radicals that are produced during metabolism - a benefit that helps slow the ageing process.
To make a Chia Pudding, you only need three main ingredients:
- Raw Chia Seeds
- Almond Milk (You can substitute with Coconut or Oat Milk if you'd prefer)
- Raw Sweetener (Choose between Raw Honey or Organic Maple Syrup)
To prepare, take two small mason or empty glass container jars with screw on lids.
Fill each one with 1/4 cup of milk of your choice. Then, gently stir in 2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds into each jar. Mix well to ensure that the Chia seeds are properly incorporated into the milk. Wait a couple of minutes, then mix one final time to smooth out the mix and to make sure there are no clumps around the edge of the jar. This will ensure that the pudding doesn't separate in the fridge.
To sweeten, you can either drizzle the honey or maple syrup on top or gently mix it into the pudding, before placing the lid on the jar and refrigerating.
The pudding will need at least 2 hours to set and will be good for several days if you're preparing them well in advance.
On the morning when you're ready to enjoy your Chia Pudding, add some fresh berries, mango chunks, shredded coconut or cacao nibs on top before eating. You can experiment with different toppings that appeal you you to keep it fun and interesting, but these little pots of nutrition are a wonderful breakfast idea and a taste sensation.
The Main Take Away
Breakfast is an important meal of the day, but that doesn't mean you need to over do it with heavy, hearty or processed foods.
In fact, particularly as you age, one of the best longevity principles you can practice is intermittent fasting, because it helps you to honour your body's natural sleep/wake and digestive cycles.
When you do decide to enjoy breakfast, start your day with liquids and light options that are both nutritious and easy on your digestive system.
By doing this, over time you will notice you'll experience more energy, better digestion and you'll go a long way to supporting your body's important functions and you'll reduce the effects of ageing.
Tolman Self Care.