Gettin' down with real food.

Stress-Busting Breakfast

This isn't a recipe so much as a formula for invincibility.  Maybe not quite though.  I won't wax poetic about the power of healthy fats; I won't demonize quick carbohydrates.  I'll simply say that I have way more energy and pep in my step when I eat a morning meal of eggs and healthy fat than one of grains or sweet bready things.  When my breakfast consists mainly protein and fat, my brain just seems to work better and the hunger gremlin (or is it ghrelin?) doesn't start begging for lunch quite so early. 

Hear this: a recent study gave a group of overweight teenage boys one of three breakfast meals: eggs, steel cut oats, or instant oatmeal.  Unlike the egg and steel cut oat eating groups, the instant oatmeal group saw not only sharp rises in blood sugar, but also spikes in norepinephrine (a stress hormone!) following the glucose spike.

On the weekdays, we GO GO GO. We may even skip breakfast (gasp!). The pace of life can wear us down and this kind of intense, sustained stress leaves us craving sugar, refined carbs, and empty calorie snack foods. These foods give us “instant comfort,” but are the very ones that lead to surges and crashes in hormones and blood sugar, leaving us more susceptible to new stresses and usually feeling worse than before. It’s a vicious cycle.  So start the day with a breakfast modeled after the one below and perhaps when the proverbial shit hits the fan, you won't hit the vending machine...

stress-busting breakfast |

Stress-busting breakfast: Eggs + Greens + Healthy Fat

Eggs (hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, fried, etc.) – satiating protein staves off hunger and keeps hormone levels more stable; eggs also provide many essential amino acids our bodies need to function at their best.  Eggs provide one of the highest biological value protein sources, meaning our bodies have an easy time turning it into muscle or using it for tissue repair.

Greens (kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chard, arugula, etc.) – Dark greens gives us a wonderful cornucopia of vitamins and minerals.  They're tasty, nutrient dense, and support top-notch brain function.

Healthy Fat (pumpkin seeds, olive oil, avocado, whole milk yogurt, grass-fed butter, etc.) – Like protein, fat is satiating; of the macronutrients, it takes the longest to digest so hunger won’t strike as quickly and blood sugar levels will stay at an even keel.  Our brains are nearly 60% fat and we know that fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine our brain's integrity and ability to perform.

BONUS: Omega-3s (smoked salmon, tuna, walnuts, hemp or flax seeds) - These amazing fats fight inflammation, helping our bodies to more efficiently manage stressors and making the body’s stress response system more flexible and resilient.  Omega-3s help cells in the brain communicate better and protect neurons against the damage caused by high levels of stress hormones over a long period of time.