There was a time, some would argue, when we ‘had time’.

Family crowded round the oil based table cloth, devouring lashings of thickly buttered toast and rashers and hot tea. It looked like a scene out of an Avoca catalogue.

Fast-forward 50 years.

Most people are on their way to work before the sun rises. Kids are hurried off one arm in jumper with the other grabbing a bit of toast. Mum in the meantime is grabbing a bit of lippy and providing a gentle but firm kick up the backside to get out of the door.
Yet we all know and rightly so – breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Skipping it altogether will tee you up nicely for fat gain. Particularly around the mid-rift.

Sumo wrestlers cottoned onto this years ago. They deliberately skip breakfast and have the largest meal of the day just before they head to bed.

Through years of looking at eating habits and body fat distribution patterns I can firmly say that whose who skip breakfast consistently end up looking like a pear.

In same light using a cereal box as your method of starting the day has also had a large part to play in keeping people erring towards the muffin top shape.

If you find that you are slim and follow this pattern then unfortunately you are not free from this label either.

As Dr Barry Sears writes in his book, Toxic Fat, this method of eating causes ‘slient inflammation’. A lot of the nutrients you may eat are rather than stored as fat are converted into destructive ‘free radicals’ wreaking havoc elsewhere.

Most of us are familiar with the food pyramid?

Well try the reverse food pyramid in the sense that make your breakfast the largest meal of the day and taper off your calorific intake as the day progresses.

IN fact your dinner should be about half the size of your breakfast and lunch. If you find your self eating too much at night it is because of choices made throughout the day.

Better blood sugar management, leaner physique, no hunger, better moods, more food to eat (!!) and so on. What is there not to like about this?

You see instead of perpetuating a cycle of sugar cravings by leaving gaps between meals (longer than 3-4 hours) we are actually feeding our bodies regularly.

So what’s the big deal with breakfast?

What you eat first in the day will determine your hormonal and energy levels. Try this practical experiment. Drop some fish and a little salad into your breakfast. Over this drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil, hemp or avocado oil.

See how your energy levels are for the rest of day. Then go back to your cereal based breakfast and compare.

I will guarantee more energy and certainly less sugar cravings. It is unsurprising that your dopamine levels will increase providing you with extra ‘get-up-and-go’ to face the day.

Some other options for breakfast can be leftover dinner, homemade patties with a side salad or chicken breast with salsa or home-made guacamole.

Typical comments I have received in the past are ‘I felt like gagging’ and ‘where am I going to find the time?’
All I can say to this is – ‘try it, you won’t be disappointed’
So what then do you have for dinner? Try something light like a salad with cold meats or a Vegetable Omelette.

In fact Eggs are quick and easy to knock up alongside the fact that they are rich in choline, a nutrient geared towards optimal brain health. Not a bad food to have on your side if you are in the middle of a feeding frenzy at the zoo.

Most of my female clients have settled into the swing of cooking up their breakfast whilst knocking up dinners.

For the males this is a bit tougher. For most of them, reading the instructions on a Pot Noodle is as far as it goes.

Although one athlete I used to room with at college was caught emptying the contents of one a pot noodle into a saucepan before transferring it back into the pot to eat.

This is the same guy who assembled a flat pack bed downstairs.

So can you see how important your nutrition is to your brain health?

Start your day with a power breakfast, not some dehydrated excuses of fruit with an empty cereal. Prepare your food the night before whilst you cook your dinner. At worst have left-overs. Your brain, waist line and energy levels will thank you with open arms.
John Lark is a Health and Performance consultant combining nutrition, training and supplementation for tailored results. John works with Olympic Level athletes to cancer patients to Global Multi-National Companies across Europe consulting on health and nutrition for performance. Download his free report at www.spherecorporatefitness.com or call 00 353 1 5052131 for more information

John Lark is a personal trainer and bootcamp owner in maynooth

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