Rise and Shine

Is a healthy breakfast important

Is a healthy breakfast important?

Starting the day with a good healthy and hearty breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

Many of us are so pushed for time in the morning, that breakfast is simply a cup of coffee to jump-start our engines and a piece of toast.  This will give you energy for a minute, but before long, you’ll be getting that mid-morning slump as your blood sugar drops and you need your second cup. Over a period of time, this puts a lot of stress on the body.


If I were to give you my number one health tip, it would be to get up early enough, so you have time to sit down to a healthy and wholesome breakfast. Studies have shown that a wholesome breakfast that includes fiber rich foods like oatmeal and other grains, fresh fruit or vegetables and protein can improve concentration and boost memory and brain function.   It also supports a healthy metabolism, increases energy and stamina throughout the day, and these fiber rich foods help lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.

It’s important also to have a breakfast that is suited to your unique constitution, metabolism and of course lifestyle.  If you’re a very active person with a high metabolism, who’s working out in the gym or with a strong yoga practice, you may want to include more protein either from vegetarian or animal sources and slow burning carbohydrates like whole grains.  However if you have a more sedentary lifestyle with slower metabolism, you want to keep your breakfast light, perhaps incorporating fresh fruit or vegetable juices.  And remember there are many good quality sources of protein besides animal foods that you can incorporate into your breakfasts.  For example, hemp seeds are 35% protein, as well as having many other nutritional benefits, so you can blend them up to form a nice creamy base for your morning smoothie.

Many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast if they’re trying to lose weight, but this actually has the opposite effect.  Skipping breakfast will make the metabolism more sluggish – we actually burn calories as we’re digesting our foods, so if you’re trying to lose weight make a healthy breakfast part of your program.

I’m aware that time is an issue for many, especially for busy people who have to rush off to work.  Also the challenge of trying to fit in a yoga practice, pranayama or meditation before launching into your day can leave you a bit tied for time, so some pre-planning makes a big difference.  Healthy pancake and waffle mixes can be prepared the night before and left in the fridge.  Oats and dried fruits and seeds can be soaked overnight to make a “Bircher muesli”.

I recently purchased a little grain grinder, which screws onto my countertop and I love to grind up whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and barley to make healthy breakfast cereals that cook up just like porridge, but with all the benefits of whole grains.  You can cook them with raisins, dried apricots or some fresh fruits or with a nice colorful assortment of finely diced vegetables and they’re a delicious and nutritious way to start the day.
If you don’t have time to cook a hearty breakfast, you can always opt for a nutritionally dense smoothie.  You can start with a base of vegetables or fruit and add some of your favorite “power foods” to give you energy and sustain you throughout the morning.

Below I’ve given you a couple of recipes to enjoy for breakfast or at any time of day for that matter.  The smoothie is rich in green alkalizing elements and the savory porridge is a nice twist on an old staple.

Supergreen Smoothie

  • 2 inch piece cucumber
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • Handful fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Several springs fresh cilantro
  • Several springs fresh mint
  • 1 pear
  • 1 heaped Tbs. hemp seeds
  • 2 cups coconut water

Optional extras:

  • Shot wheatgrass juice
  • 1 tsp. maca root
  • 1 Tbs. chia or ground flax seeds
  • 1 Tbs. soaked goji berries
  • 2 pitted dates
  • Shot Aloe Vera
  • Lemon or lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender – a Vitamix is optimum, but any blender will work.   Puree until smooth.


  • You can use any leafy green vegetable such as spinach, kale, arugula.
  • In place of the pear, you can add fresh berries, frozen or fresh banana or apple.
  • For a creamier drink, you can use rice, almond or other nut milk in place of the coconut water or half of each.
  • you don’t have coconut water, you can use spring or filtered water.

Vegetable Porridge

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • Piece cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups porridge oats
  • Big pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds

Small dice the onion, carrot and zucchini and cut cauliflower into small flowerets.  Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the veggies with a big pinch sea salt.  Sauté for several minutes.  Add a little water, cover the pot and steam the veggies for about 3 minutes.  Add the oats and 4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Add another pinch of sea salt.  Cover pot and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with toasted sunflower seeds on the side.

Shades of Yoga is a yoga teacher training company running year-round yoga teacher training courses in Bali and Spain. Details here.


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