The King’s Meal
Hello and a very Happy New Year folks!
Apologies for going MIA longer than usual! I was under the weather and then had a leg injury. So anyway, with all my recovery struggle, I wasn’t able to think straight, let alone keep up with writing. But I figured with all the new resolutions for the year, for the decade, today is a good day to resume!
Food has always been a great conversation starter. Also, great conversations have started over food, plus it’s the survival tool for even the most boring conversations. With that in mind and with all the New Year, New Decade, New me and the resolution spree I found it fitting to talk about ‘FOOD’ or ‘DIET’ (in our case) on the first day of the year. The word DIET has jumped from one crazy definition to another since almost over a decade. It started as a fad of eating less or basically starving and now that we know better we have opted to mindlessly try out every new eating pattern that we come across. Irrespective of what the latest definition of the word DIET says, fact of the matter is that DIET has just become a colloquial expression for basically “the kind of food you eat on a regular, routine basis”. Your diet is the food that you habitually consume. With that, it becomes obvious that your diet should be something that you can and should be able to follow throughout your life. Imagine having to survive without carbs or eating with a gap of 16 hours THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE, such a misery! Your diet should become your lifestyle and to move to a healthy lifestyle, following a HEALTHY diet is GIVEN!
So that kind of sets the context for upcoming topics!
Without further ado, I’m going to jump to my obsession with breakfast dates and why I’m the number one cheerleader for the Breakfast Club. Before I switched to eating cleaner and healthier, I always underestimated the value of a good breakfast in our eating cycle. My breakfast was literally one mug of milk and nothing for another 5–6 hours until my lunch. Breakfast was never supposed to be a ‘meal’ for me. I’m sure most of us have our own conceptions and a different eating pattern when it comes to breakfast and frankly I wouldn’t judge them to be healthy or unhealthy. Instead I’ll talk about how a breakfast should look like, a breakfast that you can cook and eat every morning of every day for the rest of your life because that’s how you build a healthy diet, move to a healthy lifestyle.
Breakfast is known as “The King’s Meal”. A King’s meal is large in portion, rich in all the nutrients with a tempting smell and an exquisite taste. And your breakfast is supposed to fulfil all these requirements. Your breakfast should be like that of a King! We’ll see why — ever wondered why a breakfast is rightfully called ‘breakfast’? Because our body is in a state of fasting for almost 8–9 hours when we are asleep. Your first meal breaks this fast and that’s the deal with calling your 1stmeal as “BREAKFAST”. So naturally, if you have a full meal when you break your fast otherwise, you obviously have to have a King’s meal when you break your fast every morning. And that is why you should eat your Breakfast like a King!
If I were to lay out a healthy breakfast, I’ve got news for all Fruit lovers. The best time to have your fruits is after you wake up, in your first meal. Your liver is depleted of glucose because of all your bodily functions in the night and fruits help normalize those levels without converting all that fruit sugar to fat. BUT, do not drink your solids. Fruit juices are a big no-no as it gives you 4–5 times more fructose (fruit sugar) than the whole fruit and lacks the goodness of fiber. You are good to go with whole fruits before your breakfast.
On the same note, I’ve also got a news for all the chai and coffee lovers. Never start your day with chai or coffee. When your body demands nutrients, you cannot cheat by drinking something that makes the body feel ‘kicked’. Chai and coffee just increase the stress on your body with elevated heartrate and that’s what makes you ‘feel awake’. Body needs real, fresh cooked food in the morning and I hate to break it to you lovers but neither chai nor coffee is real food. If giving up coffee and chai completely seems like an over commitment, start small. Reduce your intake. If you need one cup, cut it down to half and eventually stop having either first thing in the morning.
The reason I want breakfast dates back is because they ensure you eat real food. Maybe not home cooked or even healthy but real food. Once you get into the habit of having a full-fledged meal for breakfast, it’s easier to play with the menu. As opposed to my halfwit self who had a mug of milk, a good healthy breakfast can start with a bowl of fruits followed by eggs (however you like your eggs) and then a cereal. Nothing better than oats, muesli or millets. I wouldn’t say cornflakes but it’s a good option to start as far as the taste is concerned. You don’t necessarily have to go firangi on your breakfast. Even a small paratha/roti made in a spoon of ghee instead of your usual pohe/upma/shira makes a good, healthy breakfast. If you prefer South Indian dishes for breakfast (only the best kind of breakfast, amirite?), opt for steamed dishes like idli instead of the dosa/uttappa, made from Ragi instead of usual batter. There is never a bad time to have sandwiches. Sandwiches can be universal breakfast. They are easy to make, easily available and tasty. For people who are in a mood for exotic weekend brunches/breakfasts, soups and salads are a blessing!
Your breakfast can be oats, upma or quinoa; my point ultimately is, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you can never jump over it. A good breakfast can keep your energy levels optimum throughout your day. You avoid cravings since your body is not deprived of the required nutrients after a good, healthy breakfast. Improving our eating habits is a gradual process. There is no direct way to it and consistency is always the key. You might not start with healthy breakfasts right away but you can always discipline yourself to never skip your first meal. Robert Heinlein quotes, “One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast”; so, I really cannot fixate enough on the fact that skipping breakfast is absolutely not an option. Your breakfast accounts to 25–30 minutes of your day. Your breakfast governs your body’s response throughout the day. I cannot tell you to set ‘eating right and eating healthy’ as your resolution, what I am telling you is, TODAY is a good day to start!