The holidays are just around the corner, and many of us are giddy at the chance to finally unwind, relax, and let go of the stresses of the previous year.
I say, why not learn an easy but life-changing productivity hack these next lazy days?
With all the free time and lack of responsibility, it’s also the best time to rethink the loose baggage of your daily routine – in order to discover enlightening ways on how to perform exponentially better this 2015. Chances are, simple things you take for granted are holding you back bigtime.
Enter my BREAKFAST EXPERIMENT: an open challenge that I promise will be an excellent learning experience.
What’s in it for you?
A chance to know your body better, discover a life hack that is in-grained in our physiology, never be distracted by ravenous hunger and energy crashes in the late morning, and live everyday with a sense of well-being and stable emotions.
So what do you have to do?
This little challenge of mine involves you doing two easy, eye-opening steps.
- Eat a different prescribed breakfast for 3 days.
- Go about your day normally and be sensitive to how you feel.
It might sound too simple to be useful, but rest assured, if you’re like most people, you’re in for quite the eye opener.
It’s generally under-stressed that what kind of breakfast you eat will have a dramatic effect on your energy levels, hunger levels, and even emotional state for the rest of your day.
Don’t believe me? You will.
Now, I invite you to make yourself a guinea pig for three mornings. All you’ll have to do is plan ahead a bit and eat.
Step 1: Eat A Different Prescribed Breakfast for 3 Days.
DAY 1: CARBY BREAKFAST GOODNESS
The first day of the challenge should be quite a normal task for most people. Shown below are some of the typical “breakfast foods” that westernized countries subscribe to. So get your milk, bowl, and cereal ready – today we’re going to ensure we get a lot of our “primary source of energy” to help us get through the morning grind.
After all, carbs are the most important fuel for an energetic day, right?
What to Eat:
- A bowl of a popular cereal (the kind of sweet yummy goodness you grew up with) or instant oatmeal.
- 2 slices of bread with nutella/cookie butter, or a pancake/waffle.
- You can have some dessert: maybe a lemon square, cupcake or chocolate?
What to Drink:
- A glass of your favorite commercial orange juice, iced tea, or fizzy soda.
- Or feel free to have some hot chocolate.
- 3-in-1 or special coffee mixes are allowed as well.
DAY 2: THE HEARTY MORNING CHOW
The second day of the challenge will have you eating more of a savory plate to greet the day. More protein, more fat, and don’t forget the greens. The catch is, you’ll be ingesting minimal carbs this time around.
Sorry folks, no sweets allowed for this day’s morning meal. The sweetest thing you’ll be tasting is a small sweet potato, or some rice (preferrably red/brown).
What To Eat:
- 3 eggs, however you like them.
- 3-5 strips of bacon (it’s a range because sizes vary) or salmon fillet (or any fatty fish) or a hearty serving of canned sardines in oil.
- a handful or two of nuts/almonds.
- a small salad or serving of green leafy vegetables drizzled in olive oil.
(If you want some carbs, feel free to add a small sweet potato (kamote) or some rice. I’d prefer you minimize the carbs for this breakfast though).
What to Drink:
- a small cup of black brewed coffee. (No sugar allowed. creamer is okay for as long as it has no sugar. Better yet, try putting a tablespoon on virgin coconut oil instead of creamer)
- hot tea is acceptable as well. Just don’t add honey or sugar.
DAY 3: BACK TO THE USUAL
This last day exists to give you some room for comparison with your current every day lifestyle. So start your day with your usual foods of choice.
What To Eat:
- Whatever you normally eat for breakfast.
What to Drink:
- Whatever you normally drink with breakfast.
That’s basically all the physical activity you’ll have to subject yourself to for the duration of the experiment. (It’s not too bad, I’m sure). The only other thing you’ll need to do is think about how you feel. Enter Step 2.
Step 2 – Be Observant as You Go About Your Day.
With your prescribed breakfast in your tummy, I invite you to go about your normal morning activities for those 3 days of experimentation. Do whatever you feel like doing.
Naturally though, it would be a more accurate comparison if you tried to do the same kinds of activities for those three mornings.
A sample template for those 3 mornings:
- Have the prescribed breakfast at 7 am.
- Go on the internet, try to do some productive reading or writing. I suggest doing one activity over the course of the morning that requires you to concentrate.
- Do some errands, light chores, or maybe stroll around the mall for an hour or two.
Now, as you go about your day, be sensitive to your mood, what you feel like doing, and how your body generally feels.
Here are a few key questions you can ask yourself at 3 important times:
- During and immediately after breakfast.
- An hour after breakfast.
- Four hours after breakfast.
- Do I feel like doing any specific kind of activity at the moment? (Maybe exercise, taking a nap, watching tv, reading a book – whatever your mood is leading you to)
- Is my brain clear and efficient? Or is there mental fog such that it’s hard to concentrate?
- How energetic am I feeling? Is the energy erratic and hyper, steady? Am I feeling lethargic, or is there a sense of well-being?
- How hungry am I? If hungry – is the hunger ravenous and grumbling, or is it manageable?
Don’t forget to also drink water regularly over the course of the 3 mornings. Try and keep the amounts and intervals the same.
I suggest keeping a small notebook or your Evernote App at the ready to record observations.
You probably won’t be able to remember accurately everything interesting that you observe over the course of the 3 days. So I strongly believe in writing down your experiences.
“So What Can I Expect to Feel During Each Day of the Breakfast Challenge?”
I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun. Try them out for yourself and you’ll see.
I will say this though: there will always be a variance between experiences – everybody’s body is different, and years of calibrating it to a certain kind of eating methodology will yield different reactions. (If you have any special medical conditions, I suggest consulting with a doctor before making any dietary changes).
So if you try it out together with friends, expect a few differences in opinions.
However, I’m pretty sure I know what 90% of people who undergo the challenge will experience the same observations.
The whole point of the experiment is to discover the best fit for your body, to keep it running like a well-oiled machine.
I’ll be writing a post about my predictions in the future, along with a number of explanations and suggestions to better make sense of your experiences. When it comes out, be sure not to read it until after you undergo the challenge yourself.
Spoilers aren’t fun, and the whole point of the experiment is for you to feel it for yourself. It becomes a stronger learning anchor that way.
So yes, again, I challenge you to take a few mornings of your Holiday season to potentially improve the quality of your life for decades to come.
Not a bad trade off, if you ask me.
Live curious, and take the plunge.
With all this said – I’d love to hear all about your experiences with the BREAKFAST CHALLENGE. Send me an email about what you felt, and what you learned. 🙂
P.S. If you want a hint of the science behind all this, I’ve provided below some great peer-reviewed studies for you to pour over. Happy reading!
(Paoli A1, Bianco A, Grimaldi KA, Lodi A, Bosco G.) Long term successful weight loss with a combination biphasic ketogenic mediterranean diet and mediterranean diet maintenance protocol – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24352095
(Ballard KD1, Quann EE, Kupchak BR, Volk BM, Kawiecki DM, Fernandez ML, Seip RL, Maresh CM, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS.) Dietary carbohydrate restriction improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, microvascular function, and cellular adhesion markers in individuals taking statins – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24176230
(Westerterp-Plantenga MS1, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. ) Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23107521
(Scholl J.) Traditional dietary recommendations for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: do they meet the needs of our patients – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22482040
(Soenen S1, Bonomi AG, Lemmens SG, Scholte J, Thijssen MA, van Berkum F, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. ) Relatively high-protein or ‘low-carb’ energy-restricted diets for body weight loss and body weight maintenance? – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22935440
(Marwan A. Maalouf, Jong M. Rho, and Mark P. Mattson) THE NEUROPROTECTIVE PROPERTIES OF CALORIE RESTRICTION, THE KETOGENIC DIET, AND KETONE BODIES – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649682/
(Ros E1, Martínez-González MA2, Estruch R3, Salas-Salvadó J4, Fitó M5, Martínez JA6, Corella D7. ) Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health: Teachings of the PREDIMED Study. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24829485
(Sergiy M. Nadtochiy, PhD and Emily K. Redman) Mediterranean diet and cardioprotection: the role of nitrite, polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117983/
(Paul A. Davis, Vihas T. Vasu, […], and Wallace Yokoyama) A high-fat diet containing whole walnuts (Juglans regia) reduces tumour size and growth along with plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate model – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3513713/
(Rainer J. Klement and Colin E. Champ) Calories, carbohydrates, and cancer therapy with radiation: exploiting the five R’s through dietary manipulation – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3988521/
(Ho VW1, Leung K, Hsu A, Luk B, Lai J, Shen SY, Minchinton AI, Waterhouse D, Bally MB, Lin W, Nelson BH, Sly LM, Krystal G. ) A low carbohydrate, high protein diet slows tumor growth and prevents cancer initiation. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21673053
(Ng TP1, Aung KC, Feng L, Feng L, Nyunt MS, Yap KB.) Tea consumption and physical function in older adults: a cross-sectional study. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24522468
(Hu G1, Bidel S, Jousilahti P, Antikainen R, Tuomilehto J. ) Coffee and tea consumption and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17712848
(Carman AJ1, Dacks PA, Lane RF, Shineman DW, Fillit HM. ) Current evidence for the use of coffee and caffeine to prevent age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24676319
(Cao S1, Liu L, Yin X, Wang Y, Liu J, Lu Z. ) Coffee consumption and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24343360
(Pietrocola F1, Malik SA2, Mariño G3, Vacchelli E1, Senovilla L4, Chaba K3, Niso-Santano M3, Maiuri MC3, Madeo F5, Kroemer G6. ) Coffee induces autophagy in vivo. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24769862
(Bhupathiraju SN1, Pan A, Manson JE, Willett WC, van Dam RM, Hu FB. ) Changes in coffee intake and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes: three large cohorts of US men and women. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24771089