Last week, after my horrible whey protein breakfast experience, I decided to actively partake in a Breakfast Experiment. The Breakfast Experiment was first brought to my attention in the "warm-up" classes for my Institute of Integrative Nutrition program. We were all asked to record what we eat for breakfast each day of the week, and record how we feel two hours later, and then in the evening. We were also encouraged to experiment with different types of breakfast foods.
I'm kind of stubborn when it comes to breakfast: I love me my eggs. I usually eat one egg and two or three egg whites every morning with some fruit. When I first read about the experiment, I wasn't really in the mood to switch things up, because I know that this breakfast works for me. Last week I was hit by a sudden urge to try something different...and it went terribly wrong. As a result, I decided to experiment with types and amounts of breakfast food to see what really holds me over and gives me energy...
Wednesday, May 12th
Breakfast (8:00am): Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein, one scoop with one cup almond milk, almond butter, spinach and flax seeds. (A Green Monster gone bad)
10:00am: UGH...I hate whey protein...and I secretly knew this would happen: I felt sick to my stomach all morning.
5:00pm: Even after lunch and my delicious snack, I still felt hungry and a little sick. I ended up having a headache...and taking a nap on the commute home (don't worry...I wasn't driving).
Thursday, May 13th
8:00am: One egg and three egg whites & a large Dunkin' Donuts Coffee with cream and splenda (I usually have something in addition to the eggs...but we're due for a grocery store trip aka out of everything.)
10:00am: Hungry! Breakfast was not substantial enough to hold me over until Lunch.
5:00pm: Doin' good...probably the bowl o' Boloco I had for lunch...
Friday, May 14th
8:00am: One egg and two whites scrambled with 1 cup spinach, strawberries and coffee with milk and stevia
10:00am: I can't tell if I have my morning snack out of habit...or if I'm actually hungry. I think this time it was truly hunger...I had an apple and 1/2 of a Cinnamon Roll Larabar.
5:00pm: I'm starting to think that lunch is my most important meal of the day...I usually don't need an afternoon snack after a good lunch. Does this mean I'm eating too much for lunch? Or that because I need a morning snack, I'm still not eating enough for breakfast?
Saturday, May 15th
9:30am: Ditto yesterday, but this time...WITH BACON!
11:30am: Weekends are tough...I lose track of time...I was fairly satisfied all morning long. Was it the bacon? Or that my brain was occupied instead of sitting in front of a computer watching the clock?
5:00pm: Doing pretty well...forgot to eat lunch...which probably means my breakfast was AWESOME.
Sunday, May 16th
10:00am: Pink Lady Apple with 2 tbsp Almond butter, coffee (a couple of fork fulls of M's eggs and guacamole...YUM). I didn't feel like making a huge production with the breakfasts...so I went for something simple. I was going to be home all day anyway, so I didn't need to hold myself over for anything.
12:00pm: In the middle of an intense clean and jerk Crossfit workout-- I guess my apple helped me through.
5:00pm: Still going strong (with the help of a turkey burger lunch)
Monday, May 17th
8:00am: Two eggs and two whites scrambled, with a leftover steak tip from Doms!
10:00am: Feeling pretty good. The extra fat and protein from the steak tips helped tide me over until lunch.
5:00pm: I still gots to have my afternoon snacks! I needed a little kick to get me through the afternoon...maybe I need to do the "Great Lunch Experiment of 2010"
Tuesday, May 18th
8:00am: I gave the Green Monster another shot-- this time, without the whey protein. Spinach, flax seeds, 1 Tbsp almond butter, one cup almond milk and 1/2 a banana.
10:00am: Woot! I'm not hungry! Even better: I'm not sick to my stomach...'twas definitely the whey.
5:00pm: Hungry for dinner! I ate a little less protein than usual at lunch...so that's probably why.
Wednesday, May 19th
8:00am: Back to the usual-- one egg, two whites scrambled with spinach and a large coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.
10:00am: Still feeling pretty good...
Conclusions: After recording my breakfasts for the past week, and really paying attention to how my body felt after each meal, I've decided that the best breakfast for me is one high in whole food protein. I also feel most satisfied mentally when I have a "food" breakfast, like eggs, as opposed to a "drink" breakfast like the Green Monster.
My egg and spinach breakfast has about 17g of protein according to The Daily Burn, which, for me, is a great way to jump start my day.
Even though the Green Monster is nutritious, I found myself wanting to eat more (even though I wasn't so hungry) after having it for breakfast. I'm pretty sure it's a mental thing: I feel like I didn't eat anything...because I drank my breakfast. I do, however, really like experimenting with the spinach shakes and I plan to try more tasty recipes...I'll just need to remind myself that I am getting nutrients...and that using a straw for breakfast can be as satisfying as using a fork.
I've also discovered that (duh) lunches are pretty important for me. Breakfast might help me start my day, but a well rounded lunch can hold me out for much longer than my breakfast...maybe I need to eat more breakfast...I probably should have varied things a little more...oh well, I'm done with the official experiment for now, but I plan to keep trying new foods and different quantities of food.
Has anyone else ever done this kind of experiment before? What kind of breakfast works the best for you?