I’m a big fan of breakfast smoothies – especially this rejuvenating mango smoothie. Smoothies are a wonderful way to pack in lots of energy boosting nutrients and are easy on the digestion too. They are also so handy because they take literally seconds to make and are great when you don’t have much time or need to make a breakfast-to-go. If you have a thermos flask then you can use that to tote your liquid breakfast around and keep it nice and cool – there’s nothing worse than a warm smoothie!
It has often been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree, although with caveats. I have worked with many people who think that you simply cannot miss breakfast, as if there’s some breakfast police who will hunt you down if you do! Well, as with most things in life, this is partly true and partly a load of (insert your choice of plosive here). This largely depends on our individual metabolism, which in turn is partly due to our chemistry and partly due to our lifestyle. If you struggle with blood sugar issues then missing breakfast can set you up for mind-body meltdown by about 10am or so (not to mention the afternoon foggy-headedness/ irritability/ energy dips that you will be oh-so familiar with). Lacking the ability to switch to fat-burning mode (a natural state where our bodies start to breakdown our fat stores to release energy) your blood sugar will quickly crash as you go about your morning having missed the external input of energy that your struggling metabolism requires.
However, if you are metabolically flexible – meaning that your metabolism is able to switch to burning your fat as an energy source – then missing breakfast is not such a problem. You will not struggle with energy dips and poor concentration because your fat stores are providing you with a highly efficient and stable energy source that will keep you going until mid-morning or lunch time. The thing is that one of the best ways you can really teach your body to become metabolically flexible is by fasting, yet the people who really need to do this the most are the ones who find this so hard.
Three is a lot of evidence to show the health benefits of fasting, from longer lifespans to decreased incidence of chronic diseases to improved blood sugar control. I have personally found that since introducing intermittent fasting into my life (so skipping a meal – usually breakfast – about 2 times per week) I rarely get ‘hangry’ anymore (that’s the medical term for anger induced by hunger for those not in the know and I used to have a serious hanger issue). My energy levels have gone up and it has given me a sense of liberation to know that my mood is not at the mercy of my stomach.
So if you struggle with blood sugar regulation and a touch of ‘hanger’ like I used to, here are some tips
- Ensure that your meals are providing you with a stable source of energy – so a good balance of healthy fats, protein and complex carbs (like this rejuvenating mango smoothie!)
- Drink green tea every day – it is full of amazing antioxidants that help to balance blood sugar and improve our sensitivity to insulin. (If you are on-the-go you could try Vivid Drinks iced matcha cartons – I recommend the Lime, ginger and honey – it’s delicious!)
- Incorporate more cinnamon and ginger into your diet – both are wonderful plants and help with maintaining stable blood sugar levels
- Try skipping a meal one or twice a week, or even just having a late breakfast after an early dinner – this is the easiest way of fasting I have found. For example if you had dinner at 7pm then breakfast at 10:30am, that’s 15 hours of fasting. In time you will notice you have more energy, greater focus and improved mood as your body learns how to internally regulate its own energy
1/2 fresh mango
2 tsp almond nut butter
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp buckwheat flakes (preferably soaked for at least an hour)
1 tbsp ground linseeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
200ml almond/coconut milk/water
Handful ice cubes (or less if you don’t like your smoothies so cold)
Simply add all ingredients to your blender (I use the Optimum 9400 and I love it!) and blend on high for about 20 seconds. Enjoy every rejuvenating and energy-lifting mouthful!