My Insolite Breakfast

This month my goal has been to know myself better and I’ve really managed to.
You’ll find some of the tests I did to this purpose in my blog article The numbers in My Food.  

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Photo Emilia Dragne

Time now to start rethinking my meals and the first in line is my breakfast.
I don’t know what other people eat for breakfast, I’d be terrible bored to eat each morning the same meal. I do love the “all-inclusive” breakfasts of my seaside holidays.
This puts another pressure maybe on my lifestyle or… maybe not, with what I’ve recently learned.

 

Q. Do I need a rich breakfast each morning?

Yes I do. I need a daily breakfast for the simple reason that I’m very hungry in the morning. Maybe, this is because my dinner is just a snack and I fast for 12 hours at least. Also, it has to be a rich one as I need more energy than for the rest of the day to exercise, do my house chores, write my blog, do some shopping and other activities. I’m a “morning” person.
If you have a different lifestyle, breakfast might not be so important for you, it’s up to you to decide. Maybe a sandwich and a cup of coffee or a yogurt or milk with some oats and dry fruits, orr just a piece of fruit and a biscuit would suit you perfect.

Q. What shall I eat for breakfast?
Carbs and fats? Protein, fats and carbs? Should I include lots of fibers? Do I need sugar for more energy?

My tests have showed me that if I start my breakfast, after fasting 12 hours, with  a lot of carbs, mostly high glycemic load, my blood  sugar spikes! No matter what and how much else I eat after that at breakfast, in less than 2 hours I’ll  have to snack again.

I need a breakfast that will increase normally my blood sugar, with a difference of less than 40 related to the baseline. In two hours, glucose in my blood should be back to the baseline.
It’s not possible to exclude high glycemic load foods but you can eat smaller quantities and combine them as much as possible with low glycemic or no carbs foods.  It should include fibers and some fats which lower the glycemic response.
It’s not possible to estimate accurately the glycemic load of such a breakfast. I’ll have to test further my glycemic response to some of my most frequent breakfast combinations.

What else? I know for sure, from previous years’ diets,  that more than 4 starch food portions a day do fatten me, also too much fat (more than 35% from total daily calories).

Also, my breakfast should have a low energy density (less than 1.5 kcal per gram) but if it’s around 2,  I’ll accept it for the next moths. No higher than 2 (which is a medium energy density,)  though.

All these mean I’ll have to limit fats and sugars.
Bit tricky, don’t you think?

Q. How much shall I eat for breakfast? 

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If I eat more that 500 kcal, most from carbs, I tend to have a fluctuating blood sugar for hours. I’m not sure how healthy this is, fact is such a breakfast will make me tired  for the rest of the day.
Less than 400 kcal, is not ok either as I’ll need a snack after 2-3 hours to keep me going.
I don’t want to snack in the morning, I have things to do and I don’t think it’s healthy to keep my blood sugar dancing up and down all the day long. Maybe it’s just my opinion, but as I don’t seem to get rid of more pounds with the 3 meals + 2 snacks a day, for the next months, I’ll stick to 3 meals a day.
Of course, if I get hungry I’ll eat a light snack, a piece of not so sweet fruit or a veggie, with  some cheese or other protein,  or a handful of seeds and nuts, something that won’t raise much my blood sugar.

My Ideal Breakfast

I confess I’ve started a new lifestyle  5-6  years ago with what I think has been a healthy breakfast, while following the South Beach Diet.

Pity they’ve killed that version of the SB Diet,  for commercial reasons. It was closest to a healthy Mediterranean Diet combined with a low glycemic load diet and it still suits me somehow, at least I haven’t put on lately.
Their recommendation for breakfast is simple: 1 protein portion, to start with, either of animal or vegetable origin,  half a veggie portion (around 100 g) and 1 carb portion, whole grains or low to medium glycemic load.

I’m trying to improve this breakfast, knowing what I know now on nutrition data.

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Photo Emilia Dragne

All questions answered, my ideal insolite breakfast pattern should be like this:
– between 400 – 500 kcal and less than 2 kcal/ g energy density
– a protein portion like 1-2 eggs, 25 g of soft cheese or 50 g of Bulgarian cheese, a piece of lean ham or 2 tbsp of hummus
– half a portion of veggies (100 g), like a salad, a tomato, a pickle, 2 tbsp of zacusca
– one portion of carbs like a slice of bread, half a cup bulgur or rice, a few biscuits or a handful of pasta. Carbs should not exceed much 50 g (not so sure about this, just trying to limit the daily carbs, it seems too much carbs add to my weight).
I won’t limit to whole grain as I already combine carbs with veggies.
– I’ve given up, long time ago, almost all added sugar, be it artificially or not. However, I still eat from time to time a tbsp of jam or honey, but not daily.
– a cup of tomato juice, kefir, yogurt, tea or mineral water, depending on calories and what else is included in my breakfast
– coffee, can’t do without, one of my little pleasures.

All of these should be eaten over 20 minutes – half an hour.
Bit of advice, do take time to eat your meals. Swallowing your food like a wolf won’t do,
it’ might raise too quickly your blood sugar.
If still hungry, wait 15 minutes before eating anything else. Give your brain time to decide if you still need more. This really works!

Here are some of my most frequent breakfasts

Food Quantity (g) Calories (kcal) Carbs g Fats g Proteins g Energy Density
Bulgarian Cheese 50 149 1 13 7 2.98
Spaghetti al dento 100 213 43 1 8 2.13
1 hard boiled egg 50 75 1 5 6 1.51
Tomato juice, 1 cup 250 41 10     0.16
Coffee, 1 cup   4 1      
TOTAL 450 483 56 19 21 1.07
1 hard boiled egg 50 75 1 5 6 1.51
Spinach cooked with 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, 4 tbsp 100 156 5 14 4 1.56
Bread, wholegrain, 1 slice 25 75 13 1 4 2.98
Kefir 3.5 % fat 200 101 10 5 5 0.51
Coffee, 1 cup   4 1      
TOTAL 375 411 29 24 19 1.10
1 hard boiled egg 50 75 1 5 6 1.51
Oat bran, 2 tbsp 28 111 19 2 5 3.97
Yogurt 3.5 % 140 87 7 5 5 0.62
Chia Seeds, 1 tbsp 9 43 4 3 1 4.82
Avocado, 1/4 50 81 8 5 1 1.62
Honey with lemon juice 1 tbsp 12 32 8     2.67
Coffee, 1 cup   4 1      
TOTAL 289 434 46 20 18 1.50
Canned fish in tomato juice 50 121 8 5 12 2.43
Little Broom Salad with lemon juice, no oil 193 76 16 0 3 0.39
Bread, wholegrain, 1 slice 25 75 13 1 4 2.98
Honey with lemon juice 1 tbsp 12 32 8     2.67
Yogurt 3.5 % 140 87 7 5 5 0.62
Coffee, 1 cup   4 1      
TOTAL 420 395 52 11 23 0.94
Hummus, 2 tbsp 100 234 20 14 7 2.34
Bread, wholegrain, 1 slice 25 75 13 1 4 2.98
Coffee, 1 cup   4 1      
Little Broom Salad with lemon juice, no oil 193 76 16 0 3 0.39
Yogurt 3.5 % 140 87 7 5 5 0.62
TOTAL 458 476 56 20 18 1.04
Bulgarian Cheese 50 149 1 13 7 2.98
Olive oil, 1 tbsp 14 122   14   8.68
1 tomato 120 23 5   1 0.19
Bread, wholegrain, 1 slice 25 75 13 1 4 2.98
Coffee, 1 cup   4 1      
Almonds, a handful 20 113 4 9 4 5.65
TOTAL 229 485 24 37 16 2.12

Keep in mind that this is my ideal breakfast. Don’t follow me, I urge you not to.
If you find some useful ideas here, help yourself, make them your own. Make my karma happy.
However, build your own personal breakfast pattern based on your body response to food and your preferences and lifestyle.

 

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Cauliflower, cottage cheese, leek, eggs baked for half an hour. Photo Emilia Dragnne.

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