Break (the) Fast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It not only sets the stage for the rest of the day, but it is also like making a first impression with yourself.  How you do breakfast might even be a reflection of how you do the rest of your day. If you take time to nourish yourself, eat slow and enjoy your breakfast, you likely carry presence, focus and gratitude into your day. If you rush through breakfast maybe you speed through your day. If you skip breakfast you may be forgetting other important things and putting other people’s needs before your own. If you eat breakfast in the car, or at your desk or standing up while doing other things, perhaps your day is scattered, lacking energy and attention. If you don’t care about breakfast or can’t be bothered to eat, maybe you are complacent about other things in your life.

Eating breakfast is breaking the long fast that your body has been taking throughout the night. Ideally you stop eating from about 8pm-6am (depending on your schedule), so it is essential that you eat breakfast and gift your body with new energy, new nutrients and thanking it for a job well-done for detoxing, healing, recovering, regenerating, manufacturing, and all the other internal-house keeping it has done for you throughout the night.  If you haven’t eaten for approximately 10-12 hours, what would be the first you would want to put in your body? Do you want to thank it and reboot it with refined, processed, packaged or fast foods or does it deserve fresh, vibrant, vital and whole foods? Do you want to shock your body with a huge coffee and sugar or do you want to gently awaken it with green tea and fruit? Every day we get to wake up and write a new page in our life's book, and every day we get to wake u p and decide how we want to nourish ourselves.

We often don’t take the time to consider all our body does for us, especially the things we don’t actively control. But when you really think about all that you body does throughout the night, it is pretty amazing. Have you ever gone to bed with a cut, headache, stomach ache, cold, fever or injury and woken up the next morning to see how it has healed? It is those little things that we need to be grateful for and the best thing we can do is say thank you by offering our bodies a beautiful, nourishing, meaningful and energetic breakfast.

So, my friends, how do you want to start your day? What do you want your breakfast to say? How do you want to reintroduce food into your body every morning? Over the summer, I encourage you to re-establish your breakfast. Take time for it and care about what you are putting in your body. Know that what you eat for breakfast and how you eat it, really matters.

Here are some breakfast ideas you can enjoy:

  • Egg and veggie omelet (tomato, spinach, mushrooms) with fresh seasonal fruit
  • Organic full-fat yogurt or cottage cheese with hemp seeds and fresh berries
  • Breakfast sausages (Spolumbo’s or organic chicken sausages) with sliced tomatoes
  • Long-Cooking gluten-free oatmeal with cinnamon, hemp seeds sliced banana and berries
  • Amy’s homemade granola (see Summer Recipes tip in my book) with fresh fruit and yogurt
  • Smoked wild salmon (lox) on sprouted toast or sourdough spelt toast, lined with spinach, tomato and pea shoots
  • Fried eggs on toast sourdough spelt toast, lined with pea shoots and sprouts and seasonal fruit
  • Protein shake (protein powder, water, coconut milk, ground flaxseed, banana and frozen berries)
  • Sprouted toast or sourdough spelt toast topped with 100% nut butter, sliced banana and raspberries
  • Chia Goodness or Holy Crap (available at Superstore, London Drugs or Health Food stores) topped with seasonal fruit
  • Tofu Greek scramble (non GMO tofu) or scrambled eggs, scrambled with olives, peppers, tomato and feta cheese

Chocolate - The Love Drug

For many, especially women, chocolate is truly a soulful pleasure. Researchers have even reported that the number-one craving for women is chocolate. According to Doreen Virtue PhD.D and author of Constant Craving, “love and emotional attachments are so important to women, and chocolate creates the feeling of being loved, cherished and understood.” Phenylethylamine (PEA) is a compound that naturally occurs in chocolate. When consumed, it releases endorphins in your brain that produce a mild feeling of euphoria, mimicking the sensation of being in love. So chocolate really is a love drug! 

In my practice, I differentiate between physical, emotional and soulful cravings. On the physical level we may crave chocolate because we are not receiving enough essential fats in our diet or because magnesium or certain amino acids and neurotransmitters are low (the feel-good hormones). Chocolate contains  serotonin, theobromine and anandamide which all help to elevate mood and feelings of calmness. Our physical cravings are often about releasing our “hormones of happiness.” Often correcting our macro and micro-nutrients within our diet can help alleviate our physical cravings for chocolate.

Emotionally we may crave chocolate because we are unfulfilled in our love life. Feelings of disappointment, boredom or anger with your relationship can trigger the need for chocolate. These feelings can overtime lead to sadness and depression, so the chocolate offers the temporary feeling of happiness that one is not receiving in their relationship. Dr. Virtue believes, “ chocoholism is a cry for love, intimacy and romance. It is the perfect antidepressant for the love sick.” Chocolate fills the void and then becomes a constant craving. In this case, if you want to overcome your chocolate cravings the work would be to resolve the issues in your relationship. I can assist you with this by using The Demartini Method® - a series of scientifically proven questions that  help shift your mental perceptions and remove your emotional blocks which bring you to a state of love and gratitude. When you are fulfilled, grateful and feel in love, phenylethylamine is naturally released and the need for chocolate subsides.  It is often never about the food we are craving, it is about what the food represents and offers us that we need to explore. The chocolate opens the door to a deeper exploration of what is happening in your inner world.

If it is not a physical or emotional craving, then the desire for chocolate can simply be a soulful one - a pure love and joy for chocolate. Being present and in the experience of eating that square of high quality, dark organic chocolate. The smell, the taste, the texture, the antioxidants, the joy and the pleasure. These cravings are much more controlled than the physical and emotional cravings. They occur occasionally and truly come from a place of “I would love to have some chocolate” vs “I need to have some chocolate.”

Chocolate is a perfect example of how powerful a food can be. It truly has the power to alter your mood and help you feel love. For some the relationship to chocolate is simple and for others it is more complex and may need to be explored so that it does not sabotage your good nutritional intentions. Whether your desire for chocolate is for the antioxidants, the pick-me-up, the hit of love, to curb a sweet tooth or for the mere joy and pleasure, always choose a high quality certified organic dark chocolate (70% minimum – I prefer 85%). The greater the content of cacao found in chocolate, the less sugar is used. Read ingredients to ensure you are receiving pure cacao and there an no binders or fillers added. A lot of chocolate brands contain an emulsifier called soy lecithin. Soy is the number one genetically modified crop, so you don’t want that to taint your chocolate. Vivani is a brand I recommend which is available at Market 17, Vitamins First or Community Natural Foods, or you can order it on-line.

So this Valentine's Day (and every other day), enjoy some delicious high quality dark chocolate and consider is this a physical, emotional or soulful craving?