As over-used as it may be, the old saying of breakfast being the most important meal of the day has a lot of truth to it. Even though this saying is very common, I have met numerous people that choose not to eat breakfast. Mostly their reasoning is that they either aren’t hungry, or don’t have time to make breakfast in their rush out the door in the morning. It’s been my experience that skipping breakfast has many negative effects on the rest of my day, and if you regularly race out the door with an empty stomach, I recommend changing that approach.
There is a great article discussing the importance of breakfast on sciencedirect.com that was written by Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist and gastrophysicist working out of Oxford University. This long-form, and extremely well-researched and cited article dives into some of the current and former trends at the breakfast table, and discusses the possible impacts of skipping your first meal of the day. Dr. Spence had this to say in regards to the impact of your breakfast.
“The general advice from the health experts is to eat a substantial well-balanced breakfast, one that delivers its energy slowly over the course of the morning.5 Indeed, the failure to eat (a well-balanced) breakfast has been documented to have a deleterious impact on cognitive performance.”
As cut and dry as this comment is, I’m sure some of you are wondering if your daily productivity really suffers from a lack of morning nutritional input. I would argue that as musicians, we need as much cognitive support as possible to get us through our day. Speaking from personal experience, I definitely feel when I don’t have enough fuel in my body. When this happened, I begin to notice my energy level drop while teaching and practicing, activities with which I normally have no issue staying engaged.
Besides the cognitive support, starting your day off with a healthy breakfast improves metabolism and can even generate some weight loss. I have been following the Slow Carb Diet from Tim Ferriss over the past few months, and one of the main tenets of this program is a protein-rich breakfast everyday. (You can find out more about his diet here) Ferriss states that by committing to 30 grams of lean protein every morning, you can start to see measurable results in fat loss. I will provide a more in depth analysis of my experience with this diet in a later post, but if you’re interested I have lost about 20 lbs of fat since starting it, thanks in large part to my commitment to a daily breakfast.
For one week, commit to having a good breakfast everyday. Shoot for the mark of 30 grams of protein, vegetables, and some legumes (beans or lentils). Or if this seems too much for you, just try for a well-balanced breakfast that has no added sugar, and stay away from too much carbohydrates (no oatmeal, toast, or cereal). The point is to eat something that will slowly release energy into your system, not spike up and down within an hour or two. I am willing to bet you feel more sustained energy and alertness throughout your day.
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