It was a far more substantial affair: porridge was a staple, perhaps with some fresh or stewed fruit. Eggs and often bacon or sausages also appeared, sometimes accompanied by mushrooms, tomato, toast, butter. And, of course, the teapot in its glorious knitted cosy.
Besides the higher nutritional value, sitting down for a defined meal had emotional benefits too: The day began in a calmer, slower fashion. Family relationships were strengthened by eating together. Admittedly, one family member usually had the job of ‘home maker’ who worked at home and could wash up afterwards But they didn’t have electric dishwashers in those days either. We do now.
Over just a couple of generations we’ve come to perceive breakfast as a bowl of sugary cereal, eaten standing up. Or a meal replacement shake. Even as takeaway balanced one-handed on the commute to work. The outcome may be contributing significantly to our collective poor health, increased sugar consumption and mood swings as well as, I suspect, adding to stress and eroding relationships.
What that old-fashioned better breakfast did was re-feed the body after a long fast overnight. Bolstered by a combination of protein, fat, slow release carbohydrates and fibre, blood glucose level rose gradually. Slower digestion meant this steady blood glucose was sustained for a few hours before declining in time for lunch. That stability didn’t just prevent energy slumps and sugar cravings, it promoted a more even tempered mood.
We can’t turn back time, but we can certainly use what we’ve learnt. Care to take up the challenge to a better breakfast? You’ll notice within a few days that your mid-morning sweet cravings are diminishing, as is the mid-afternoon energy slump. Your mood is more stable and you get home with more energy to enjoy your evening relaxation.
That better breakfast can be as easy as eggs on toast; but have a plan to make your good intentions reality: List your breakfasts for the week and paste it to your fridge door. Enjoy your better day from a better breakfast.
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