Health Advice Paula Owens

Are you tempted to skip breakfast? Are you like many Americans grabbing a bagel and coffee as you run out the door? Skipping breakfast is a guaranteed recipe to weight gain, insulin resistance and self-induced diabetes.

Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Tufts University says, “When you skip breakfast, you miss out on vital nutrients that promote peak cognition.” Today many kids skip breakfast or are fed a breakfast void of nutrients, and they end up suffering from attention disorders, fatigue, and low performance scores on tests.

Children are not the only victims of skipping breakfast. Adults fall prey to this habit as well. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who missed breakfast consumed more food later in the day, and they had elevated insulin, decreased HDL and increased LDL cholesterol.

People who skipped breakfast regularly are 450 percent more likely to be obese than individuals who eat breakfast.

What you choose to eat for breakfast is just as important, and reflects how you feel and think the remainder of the day.

Consuming a bagel with a sugar-sweetened coffee drink, or sugar in a box (cereal) with low-fat or non-fat milk are not your best bets for breakfast. Although cereal or the coffee/bagel option may be convenient, the high-glycemic load of a bagel or cereal, low-fat or non-fat milk with a banana and juice causes a blood sugar roller coaster, activating an aggressive insulin response — the perfect blend if you want to get fatter, crash in the afternoon, or end up with diabetes.

You can enjoy your morning cup of coffee, as long as it’s not the first and only thing you consume in the morning. Just make sure it’s organic since coffee is highly sprayed with pesticides.

Most boxed cereals are full of processed grains, sugar, chemical-laden dyes, soy, genetically engineered ingredients, and sprinkled with synthetic vitamins. And, the pasteurized milk you pour on cereal is mostly sugar-water because the nutrients are killed off during the pasteurization process.

Solution fuel your brain and body with protein, fat and fiber to prevent blood sugar fluctuations, increase your energy, fuel your brain, elevate your mood, and eliminate cravings. The first 40 grams of protein you eat every day goes to rebuild your immune system. If you are not rebuilding your immune system, you’ll have a hard time rebuilding your brain chemistry to be happy and think straight.

Protein initiates thermogenesis and is rich in amino acids, which help balance brain chemistry by boosting the levels of mood regulating neurotransmitters.

Protein-packed foods, like organic meats, eggs and seafood, provide amino acids to produce neurotransmitters. Below are some delicious, protein-packed breakfast options sure to increase your energy, enhance cognition and boost your metabolism. Remember, there is no rule that says you must eat the typical American breakfast foods for breakfast.

Protein-packed, gluten-free, high-fiber breakfast options:

1. Buffalo burger with salsa, handful of pine nuts, blackberries.

2. Eggs, nitrate-free chicken sausage, sautéed spinach, avocado.

3. Green smoothie: kale, watercress, parsley, cucumber, green apple, ginger and fresh lime juice blended in a Vitamix. Add ice, frozen berries, coconut oil, and Protein Plus, a vegetarian pea and cranberry protein powder to create a balanced meal.

4. Protein smoothie — chocolate coconut milk, chocolate Vital Whey grass-fed protein powder, frozen raspberries, chia seeds and ice blended. Enjoy with a handful of your favorite nuts or seeds.

5. Organic quinoa flakes with coconut oil, cinnamon, pecans and blueberries.

6. Chicken apple walnut goodness — sauté a chopped apple, nitrate-free chicken apple sausage and walnuts in coconut oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Paula Owens is a nutritionist, fitness expert and weight loss coach with more than 20 years of experience. Reach her at

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