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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Breakfast of Champions

The first thing I think every morning when I wake up is: How much longer can I sleep? In order to sleep longer, I usually start cutting things from my planned morning. As I have mentioned before, a scheduled run or other exercise is the first to go, but right behind that is breakfast. I've never been much of a breakfast person because I often don't give myself much time for breakfast, so it gets eliminated before it's really given a chance.

But the personal trainer emphasized the other day, as so many nutrition experts have repeated for years, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why? Well, several reasons I guess: One, it kick starts your metabolism -- the sooner you introduce food, the sooner your body starts burning it. Two, if you introduce food right away, you won't be so hungry later and that way you won't over eat at lunch or dinner. And three, if you start your day right by eating healthy you are more likely to continue that pattern throughout the rest of your day.

The trainer really pushed eggs for breakfast because they are obviously high in protein and if prepared effectively, rather reasonable for calories, but they are high in cholesterol and fat. But my relationship with eggs has always been touch and go. When I was a kid, I hated eggs. It had something to do with the color of the yolk; it was so unnaturally yellow. When I asked my mother how the yolk got to be that color she explained that it was the extra proteins and nutrients the baby chick needed to grow that made it so richly colored.

“Baby chick?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said matter-of-factly, “Eggs are where baby chicks grow, but these eggs haven’t been fertilized so a baby never lived in there, but if he had lived in there, he would’ve needed all that extra protein. Instead, you get to enjoy it.”

That was the end of the eggs for me. I was too scared to crack open an egg and discover a baby chick curled up inside. I imagined his closed eyes and matted feathers glued close to his body, little feet tucked into his chest. The thought disgusted and revolted me, and I didn’t eat eggs for years. But in college I decided to give them another go, and I found that I liked them and didn’t really think about the baby chick anymore. I didn’t become a regular breakfast eater with eggs and bacon, but I did come to enjoy them occasionally and always thought of it as something special. But something for everyday? I don't know about that.

Personally, I like to have either yogurt or some fruit for breakfast -- they feel lighter, less filling. Eggs are so rich. And besides, I'm probably not as concerned about adding weight as the trainer is (men are always trying to add weight and woman are always trying to lose it). My brother is the same way; he eats a lot of eggs too -- the baby chick issue never bothered him.

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