For more than 25 years I got annoyed with myself if on a hectic day, with a busy schedule, I skipped breakfast. After all, we have been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We were taught that it sets us up properly for the day ahead; others told us that we can’t function without a good breakfast; while marketers of cereals told us that it kicks starts our metabolism. And then there is the old saying ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’. So, on days when I just couldn’t fit in time for breakfast, I got angry with myself. Now, however, I have learnt that those days of skipping breakfast weren’t doing me any harm – they were making me healthier. Now, low-fat yoghurts, cereals and a large glass of orange juice are no longer seen as the healthy breakfast option. They are in fact, a recipe for disaster.
There are several reasons why breakfast is dangerous. I am only going to touch lightly on the subject, but for a detailed explanation I highly recommend reading Terence Kealey’s book, Breakfast is a Dangerous Meal.
First, it’s important to say that I don’t recommend that you stop eating breakfast until you have broken free from eating CARBS and other sugars. You see the problem is this: when our body is used to eating lots of CARBS, after sleeping for seven to eight hours, there is very little sugar left in our bloodstream, (as it has all been sent to reside in our waistline and other fat stores) and
What’s more, as Terence Kealey demonstrates in his book, any sugar consumed within the first couple of hours of waking cause the body to create an even bigger insulin spike than normal, which of course is highly dangerous, especially for type 2 diabetes sufferers. Breakfast really is a cereal killer.
So, let’s assume you have taken to to the Primal way of living. Your body will become used to burning its own excess body fat as energy, and therefore, when you wake up you don’t need to fill your face with stuff that quickly turns into sugar. Remember, the body treats sugar (or glucose as it is called once it is in the bloodstream) as a poison. It doesn’t matter if it’s sugar in our tea, fructose in our orange juice, a doughnut or a bagel, a bowl of cereal or literally anything made of wheat or grain – it’s all going to be turned into sugar before we reach our school or place of work.
However, once you begin living Primally, you rarely feel hungry in the morning and therefore simply don’t need to eat. For me, since I started to eat this way I seldom have breakfast. I don’t even miss it! Occasionally, when I want to get my children to try out something new (they actually like being my guinea pigs so please don’t complain to the authorities), I might eat with them, but the rest of the time I just love a simple coffee. Pretty much the only other occasion I have anything else at this time of day is when I’m on holiday with my family, and I will join in with their ritual of blending fermented yoghurt with lots of different berries. It’s a brilliant way to get the healthy gut bacteria back on track, and the berries come loaded with amazing micronutrients.
If you want to learn more about how they screw up your breakfast, then read Felicity Lawrence’s insightful book Eat Your Heart Out, which carries the subtitle on the cover, “Why the food business is bad for the planet and your health”. In this book she reveals how Kellogg’s went against government suggestions on labelling and instead pioneered a revolution with other food manufacturers, particularly those who formed part of the Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers (ACFM), to create labels that have mislead us for decades.
So if we are going to skip breakfast and cereals, are we not missing out on a source of fibre? Yes we are. But fear not, we can get plenty of fibre from shirataki, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fibre supplements and certain fruits.
For those who juice, stop right now! Juicing is one of the most ridiculous trends of the last 50 years. When we extract juice from our fruits and vegetables, we lose all of their great fibres, miss out on most of their nutrients (healthy nutrients are normally bound to the fibre) and often end up with a glass full of fructose (sugar). Orange juice is possibly the worst of them all. If you don’t like fruit the way nature designed them, don’t juice the goodness out of them, but instead retain all the benefits by liquefying or blending them. We need to throw the entire fruit into the blender, or we are missing out on the best bits. Sure, we will want to peel the skins off our oranges and bananas, but then it’s essential to throw the whole fruit in our high- powered blending machine.
Take apples. Eating apples reduce our chances of type 2 diabetes, but drinking just the pure sugary juice, the type that is transparent, increases our chance of diabetes.
What is fibre? It’s the rough guys who hang around with macronutrients. They can either be absorbed in water (soluble) or not (insoluble). Fibre is great at making us feel full without taking on lots of calories. In fact, insoluble fibre tends to pass through the system without leaving any calories behind, and even soluble fibre is extremely light in calories. For example, spaghetti and noodles that have been consumed in Japan for thousands of years that have zero calories and zero CARBS! How is that possible? Known as shirataki (meaning ‘white waterfall’) and made from glucomannan which is found in the root of the konjac plant, these transparent insoluble fibre noodles are edible, but not digestible. They absorb water so well that, while what is eaten might look identical to normal wheat noodles, they are actually made of 95% water temporarily suspended in fibre. The great news is they are now starting to become available in UK supermarkets.
Why tell you about glucomannan? Because it’s a great example of what fibre does. It can fill up our stomach, and at the same time be used
as a vehicle to transport micronutrients around our body. There are numerous health benefits for making sure we eat plenty of fibre in our diet, and I felt it right and proper to feature at least one quote from our amazing National Health Service in this book. The NHS website states, “Fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health”. Glucomannan is also the only ingredient recognized by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) to aid weight loss. Recently there have been several slimming products to hit the market based with glucomannan, including my very own Primal