Posts Tagged ‘importance of breakfast’

The Importance of Breakfast: Calorie Maker or Diet Saver?

granola web

The word breakfast literally means just that “breaking our fast.” When we wake up in the morning, most of us have not eaten for at least 10-12 hours. While giving our body a break from eating and letting us fully digest our food and elimintate toxins is important, it is equally important to properly fuel our body when we wake up. What we eat in the morning sets the tone for our entire day.

Are you not eating breakfast because you are too rushed in the morning? Are you not hungry when you wake up? Are you not eating breakfast to “save calories.” If you are not eating breakfast for any of these reasons (or excuses), you are not alone! Many clients that come to me have this exact problem!

The problem with not eating breakfast, however, is that your body begins its day thinking you are starving. And, what does our body do when it feels like it is starving? It saves calories! Our bodies don’t know that we are not eating because we want to lose weight. Your body just thinks “help, I need to conserve calories.” When your body conserves energy and burns calories slowly, you end up with what is considered as a “slow metabolism.”

Additionally, when you starve yourself, you will lose fat and muscle! Muscle burns 70 times more calories than fat. So, if you lose muscle then your body will actually require fewer calories to maintain its’ weight and again you will slow down your metabolism making it harder for you to keep off weight.

Lastly, when we don’t eat breakfast, it also makes us ravenous when lunchtime approaches, and we are much more likely to make unhealthy choices and to overeat.

Breakfast does not have to be complicated. Following are some high-octaine options that I recommend for my clients (and have myself!):

  • Bowl of whole grain granola with berries topped with either almond milk or a non-dairy yogurt (make sure that the cereal has no added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup and is sweetened with either agave or unrefined cane juice)
  • 1-2 slices of 7-grain toast (Ezekiel or Manna breads are my favorites) with almond butter and honeyGreen Protein Smoothies (my favorite recipes are below)
  • Cup of yogurt (without added sugar) with fresh berries (my favorite is the So Delicious coconut milk-based yogurts but the Greek yogurts such as Fage are good too if you include dairy in your diet)

Right now I am eating raw and my favorite breakfasts in the morning are either a fresh green smoothie or a bowl of absolutely delicious raw granola by Laughing Giraffe that I top with almond milk.

Having a smoothie (or even a juice) enables our bodies to consume something that is more easily digestible and gives your body added time to cleanse. But, if I know I am going to be going for a run or have a busy day, I will have something a bit more substantial such as the granola. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Just make sure you start your day off with a healthy breakfast and see how much better you will feel throughout your day!

green smoothie

Green Powder Smoothie

1 cup vanilla almond milk (or soy or rice milk)

1 frozen banana

Greens powder (I use Nature’s First Food Powder)
Few ice cubes

1 heaping spoonful Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder

Handful of spinach or kale

Blend until smooth and this smoothie is so rich and creamy and totally addictive!

choc sm

Chocolate Green Powder Smoothie

1 cup vanilla almond milk (or soy or rice)

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder (optional for richer taste)

Handful frozen berries (optional)

1 heaping spoonful Sun Warrior chocolate protein powder

Blend in blender and enjoy! This is another one of my favorites and I have it when I really need a pick me up!!!

Vegan Protein Powders: My Secret Weapons for Powering Up My Workouts!

Excerpted from Digital Running

Our bodies need protein not only to build and help muscles regenerate but protein also plays an important role in the body’s metabolism, hormonal balance, and immune protection.This does not necessarily mean, though, that we need animal protein such as cheese, yogurt, turkey, chicken and fish at every meal!

While animal protein might provide us with short-term training benefits, eating a diet high in animal proteins has been linked to a greater incidence of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and a whole other host of diseases.

The distinguished Cornell professor Dr. T. Colin Campbell in his book,The China Study, has even claims that we can literally turn on and off our “cancer genes” by eating a diet consisting of fewer than 20% and as close to 5% of animal protein.

So, what is an athlete to do?
On one hand protein is especially important for our bodies while, on the other hand, too much can cause long-term disease. Whether you are a meat eater or a vegetarian, here is where the vegan protein powder comes into play! Vegan protein powders are an ideal source of supplemental protein in your diets and can greatly enhance your performance while not compromising your long-term health.

How much protein does my body need?
An average person who does not exercise much needs approximately 0.4 grams per pound of body weight per day while runners generally need between 0.5-.8 grams of protein per day per pound of body weight – depending on how much they are running. This would mean that a 150 pound runner would need approximately 75-105 grams of protein per day and a 125 pound runner would need approximately 62.5-100 grams.

Considering that a 3.5 oz chicken breast has 30 grams of protein and a cup of yogurt has approximately 14 grams, that is a lot of protein to fit into your diet! Protein powders help us runners increase our protein requirements so that we are adequately fueling our muscles.

What protein powders do you recommend?

My absolute favorite protein powder is Sun Warrior, which is derived from a sprouted brown rice protein. Sun warrior is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids as well as high amounts of anti-oxidants, tocopherols, tocotrienals and other essential nutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, iron and potassium.

1 scoop of Sun Warrior Protein powder contains 80 calories, 16 grams of protein and 20% of the daily iron requirement.

Hemp Protein Powder, derived from ground hemp seeds, is another one of my favorite vegan protein supplements. Not only does hemp contain all 8 essential amino acids,  making it a complete protein, but hemp is also high in Omega 3’s, antioxidants, and fiber. There are many brands on the market, but I buy whole hemp seed, keep it in the fridge, and then just grind them myself for freshness. 4 tablespoons of hemp protein has approximately 130 calories, 11 grams of protein, and 10% of the daily requirement for iron.

Pea Protein Powder, derived from yellow peas, is another vegan protein powder that is high in protein. 2 tablespoons contains 70 calories and 15 grams of protein. I find that I do gravitate towards hemp or brown rice protein, but pea protein is still a good alternative. Again, there are many brands on the market but just make sure that you buy a “raw” pea protein and that there are no additives so that you get a superior and nutritionally sound product.

If one is good, then all must be better!!! Some of my favorite sports products are the Vega products by vegan athlete Brendan Brazier,

the author of Thrive, that contains hemp, pea, brown rice and flax seed protein. One of my favorite Vega products is Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer.

This product has 26g of protein per serving, probiotics, Omega 3s, greens powder, and 100% daily requirements for vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B12, biotin, thiamin, rioboflavin, iron, zinc and a whole host of other nutrients.

This product comes in chocolate, vanilla and a delicious chia. If you are traveling or rushed for time, this is an ideal product to add to your regimen. Another Vega product is the Vega Sports Performance Protein, which contains 20grams of protein per serving.

Vega Sports Performance Optimizer is their other product touted as a pre-workout energy drink. It contains ingredients thought to work synergistically to boost performance – coconut oil, kombucha, yerba mate, green tarhodiola, ginseng extract, devil’s claw extract, turmeric, brown rice syrup, sodium and potassium citrate and palm nectar. (This last product I have to admit I have not tried and this is not a product that contains protein but I do think that it is important to note.)

How do I use them?
There are many ways you can use vegan protein powders. The most obvious way is to add them to a pre- or post workout smoothie!

I use Sun Warrior Protein Powder, Vega Whole Food Optimizer or hemp protein powder in my smoothies every morning and sometimes will even have a smoothie mid-afternoon after a particularly hard run. I also add the Sun Warrior (chocolate or vanilla) to my puddings or yogurts, and even add them to pancakes and waffles! A waffle is a great post workout snack, and I make ‘waffle sandwiches,” which you can read more about below.

When do I use them?
Ideally, I recommend that you start your day with a protein smoothie. Not only will you start you day feeling powered up and light, but you can also make enough for 2 servings and have some ready for an afternoon snack later in the day.

Get creative, though, and add them to muffins, pancakes, cookies, yogurt, really anything! The powders are delicious and add even more flavor and my kids can’t even tell the difference when I add them to their pancakes!

Below are a few of my favorite protein powder recipes:

Chocolate Power Pudding

Waffle Sandwich

Chocolate Greens Smoothie