When people tell me their tummies are not ready for breakfast, I simply cannot relate. I look forward to breakfast, everyday. Maybe it’s because breakfast brings me nice memories of my youth, when I would smell coffee brewing as my father waited for any of us to join him for the first meal of the day.
They say that the aroma of coffee that is brewing or the smell of fresh baking bread brings positive memories. Well, I can attest to that. They say one associates a smell with something positive. For me, coffee is always part of breakfast. And part of positive thoughts and memories.
But it is not just coffee. I look forward to bread and cheese, eggs done in different ways and sometimes an indulgent fried rice with longganisa and scrambled eggs.
When I stayed with my sister in her home in Germany, I would go to sleep excited to wake up for a typical European breakfast: Muesli, yogurt, cheese and good butter. Freshly-baked bread and maybe even a croissant. And coffee.
When I am in Japan, I imagine the local breakfast of steamed rice, miso soup, fish cakes and nori or seaweed slivers. And coffee.
When in China, I look forward to going to the street food area to have fried siopao, a mean vegetable crepe omelet and congee with all the fixins.
When in Hanoi, I look forward to a hot bowl of Pho and some fresh fruits.
What is it about breakfast that excites me? I think it is the prompt for me to think of a nice day ahead or the start of a very good and positive day. Lately, I have read that breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. It jumpstarts your body into action. It fires your brain into first gear so you can think better.
So when people say they only have a doughnut and coffee, I worry. That means they will be fired by sugar which will cause their insulin levels to spike and then crash. And then they conclude: “I don’t eat breakfast because it makes me hungrier soon!”
When I try to explain why, people do not bother to find out and instead just skip breakfast altogether.
When people say “I had an energy ball” or “I had a bowl of cereal” I smile. At least they had something like milk or nuts, and not just sugar. And maybe coffee.
Try it yourself. If you are not used to eating breakfast, try making it part of your eating routine or habit. Then observe what happens. Are you making better decisions in the morning? Are you feeling energetic earlier in the day? Are you eating less for lunch and dinner? You tell me how breakfast affects you, especially if you never had the habit of taking it before.
When I go out of town, I look forward to local fare. Be it native sausage or native rice cakes, I try the local breakfast. I was recently in Tawi Tawi and we had local breakfast: Junay which is a steamed rice cake flavored with smoked coconut milk and a little salt, wrapped in banana leaves and a simple hardboiled egg. Very satisfying.
So why am I excited to sleep? Because I am excited to wake up for breakfast. I can almost imagine what I will be having, anywhere I may be. Whether at home or abroad, I make it a point to have breakfast. Call it obsessive, but if I have no choice and have to eat on the fly, I stop for breakfast. Or make sure I have something substantial 30 minutes or an hour after waking.
It is my signal of the start of a new day. Besides, I believe it is a healthy habit. And how I wish more people would be mindful of what they eat at breakfast. It is still the most important meal of the day (even if some doctors disagree).
I usually start with a cup of coffee. Then eggs or any protein source like fish or cheese. Fruits, not juice. Bread or rice. A balanced meal to fire me up all day. Once you have gotten the habit, lunch and /or dinner can be simple meals. They say, “Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess and dinner like a pauper.”
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall and Davao City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.