Learn how skipping breakfast can result in a multitude of health problems.
Recently I saw Dr. Oz on a TV show proposing that we skip breakfast and not have our first meal of the day until 11 AM. He explained that this intermittent fasting of around 16 to 18 hours will boost metabolism and burn off excess fat.
He’s right. Not eating will increase the metabolic fire and will cause the body to burn fat. However, you must first ask yourself one simple question:
At What Cost?
One of the things that I love about Ayurveda is the deep insight it reveals about not only how our body works, but also how we relate and integrate with the environment around us. It doesn’t just give rules to live by. It explains in simple logic why those rules exist.
For example, when I first started working with my Ayurvedic teacher Vaidya Mishra, I told him about a problem I was having with morning headaches. In passing, I mentioned to him that I would get a headache every morning around 8:30. With a little knowing smile me said, “what time you take breakfast?”. My habit in those days was to get up around 6AM and rush out the door to start seeing patients at 8. I wouldn’t bother eating anything until after the usual 8 AM rush of patients.
He then explained to me that the energy from the morning Sun stimulates our digestive fire resulting in the production of stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes. However, if there is nothing for the acid to digest, then it moves into the colon.
The stomach is an acidic environment. However, the colon is much more alkaline in order to support the friendly bacteria that live there. When the acid moves into the colon, it kills the friendly bacteria (the basis of IBS, SIBO and Leaky Gut) and then absorbed into the blood stream.
He further explained that the next step in this cycle is for the acid to move to the liver causing the liver to heat up and dilate. This results in the liver dumping acidic toxins into the blood. In my case they traveled to the blood vessels in the head inflaming those tissues enough to create a headache. However, they potentially could wind up anywhere in the body. He said that Ayurveda has a saying, “Wherever the clouds go, that’s where it rains”
Almost all health problems we see today are related to inflammation somewhere in the body.
Skipping or delaying breakfast or any meal for that matter sets the stage for inflammation to increase. The problem is that the inflammation is not always immediate as was the case with my headache. Sometimes the acidic toxins travel into deeper tissues. Those tissue may show no symptoms in the initial stages. So, no alarm, no problem, right? Wrong!
Case History of Anal Fissures
A few years ago, one of my patients told me of his history of Anal Fissures. The fissures had become so painful that he was forced to have surgery to correct them. After seeing his pulse, I observed that his Liver was very inflamed, and the blood was carrying a lot of Ama Visha (acidic toxins). I asked him about his eating habits and found that he was skipping breakfast and often not taking lunch until about 2 or 3 PM. Therefore, the Liver was dumping a lot of acidic toxins into the blood which were accumulating in the rectal tissue. Despite the surgery, the cause of his Anal Fissures was still present. Correcting his diet and routine along with other measures disrupted the pathological process and prevented more fissures from developing.
What To Eat For Breakfast
Ayurveda suggests early to bed and early to rise. So, breakfast in the early morning hours should be light and easy to digest since the digestive fires are low. Here is the recipe that I recommend to my patients:
Stewed Apple or Pear:
- Use a sweet apple or sweet pear.
- Cut into pieces, no need to peel.
- Place the fruit in a pan with a little water and 3-4 whole cloves.
- Boil out all the water and eat.
Raw fruit in the morning is too heavy and sweet for the low digestive fire. Boiling the fruit adds the heat element (Agni) making the fruit lighter and easier to digest. The clove opens the digestive and circulatory channels (typically closed in the early morning) to allow better absorption and delivery of the nutrition.
You can also add some cinnamon if desired. If you need protein early in the morning, then add some quinoa flakes.
Have the fruit when you first arise. This will negate acid build up and support the digestive fire. You may have a larger breakfast such as oats or cream of wheat a little later as you feel hungry.
One last point. Our physiology is very intelligent. It tells us when to eat, when to drink, when to sleep etc. However, Humans are very adaptable. If we ignore these messages, then they become less and less obvious to the extent that we don’t feel them at all. That’s where the trouble begins because the entire physiological feedback loop is disrupted and little by little toxins accumulate and eventually some disease crops up.
Prevention is always the easiest and best prescription. Remember what they say about apples and doctors, enjoy your breakfast!
To Your Health,