As I’ve often written about before, fitness and weight loss involves something simpler yet more complicated than a fancy fad diet or weird food restrictions. And contrary to what some people still believe, crunches and sit-ups won’t do anything but firm up your ab muscles and likely won’t do much to melt the fat in front of it. You need a healthy combination of consistent exercise and proper diet, which includes eliminating unnecessary sugars, excess fats, carbonated beverages and alcohol as well as junk food in general. That sounds pretty simple in print but to someone who has unhealthy habits built into their daily routine, change isn’t without challenge.
One of those big changes for me, in recent months, has been the inclusion of breakfast into my daily routine. When most of us were kids we always heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I was never fond of breakfast, since eating a massive bowl of cereal before school without the proper amount of fast-acting insulin to deal with it, meant I would spend my morning classes groggy and struggling to stay awake. It led most of my teachers to think I was lazy or unwilling to learn. To their credit, I didn’t understand what was going on myself, so how could I have articulated it to them? But I digress…
My point is that even in adulthood with an insulin pump and a control over my Diabetes that’s better than what in was in my youth, my morning routine usually involves forcing myself out of bed, grabbing caffeine in whatever form I can get it and getting ready for work before rushing out the door. The concept of that first meal is usually the farthest thing from my mind until I’ve been at work for an hour or two and my stomach starts protesting at the lack of tenants it has. This will usually result in my purchasing something quick and less than healthy during my morning coffee. Not so great a habit to maintain and it contributes to one’s gut.
As a reasonable alternative, I’ve been using my Blendjet to carry my breakfast to work with me. I posted about this device before Christmas and as much fun as I was having with it, I haven’t been using it QUITE as much as I should have or for its intended purpose. In fact, I think my wife has been using them mostly to make smoothies for our kids, which isn’t a bad use but my intention was to have a low-carb, easy to manage breakfast. So on Monday of last week, I buckled down and started including the mini blender into my daily routine. Once I’m up, my first stop is to the kitchen, where I prepare Nathan’s lunch for school. While I’m in there, I’ll put all my ingredients into the blender and bring it downstairs with me where I shower and prepare for work. I’ll run the blender once to mix the ingredients then store it in my work bag until my arrival at work. Then, I’ll blend it again as the ingredients settle and I can gulp it down at my leisure as I work.
It’s been working pretty well. It hardly adds five minutes to my morning routine, provides me with something that keeps me filled and prevents hunger until I make it to lunchtime and the mini blender is convenient and easy to lug around as opposed to packing a meal or ordering out, which does nothing good for one’s overall weight loss and fitness goals. Granted my weekends are still reserved for a more traditional breakfast with my family. For example, this morning will likely see me preparing bacon and hash browns for my wife and I, and toast for the boys. My toddler enjoys a strip of bacon but my 7-year old absolutely hates bacon. I know, I know… I’ve failed somewhere. Moving on!
As great an addition to my morning routine as a shake may sound, it’s important to recognize that what you put INTO the shake is almost as important as including breakfast into your routine. If all you’re doing is tossing bananas, milk and chocolate syrup into your blender, you’ll be lacking some key components to your nutrition and health. I mean, eating a banana at breakfast is inherently a good thing, but you want to make sure that you’re giving your body some good stuff to help it along as well as fuel it. Normally, my shake includes half a banana, a dozen or so blueberries, a tablespoon of flax seed and a cube of frozen spinach. The frozen spinach is nice because it not only provides me with all the good stuff that spinach does, it substitutes for ice, which allows more room for the key ingredients.
I was basing all of this with water at the start, but I found the taste left something to be desired and I was still getting hungry during my morning. So I started using milk instead. This isn’t a bad thing, you know, calcium and all that jazz… Diabetics just need to remember that one cup of milk has enough carbohydrates to require additional bolusing. Plus, you can use skim or 2% milk to cut down on the unnecessary fat. If you find that your overall shake is a little bland, you can BAM it up a notch with a small squirt of maple syrup or honey. I occasionally steal a bit of chocolate syrup that my wife uses for the boys’ smoothies but again… carbs!
I know that when most people think of weight loss, their thoughts immediately go to either exercise or eating less. But it’s important to remember that your body needs rule in order to function. So eating less can only be done so much. And when all is said and done, it’s not the amount so much as WHAT you’re eating. But it’s another chicken or the egg scenario… If you eat less, you have less fuel and won’t be able to burn at your workouts as efficiently. You gotta feed the machine! But I find that having a shake, especially one loaded with fibre and good stuff, eliminates the problem of skipping breakfast, doesn’t affect my overall morning routine and is helping to get me healthier. Food for thought… (pun intended) ☯️