Chemical stress how we start the day

Chemical stress how we start the day

Oct 24, 2019

In my last blog, I looked at physical stress and our lack of movement/exercise in the winter months. I wanted to cover some chemical stress and how a lot of people start the day wrong which can lead to poor energy, motivation, weight gain and sickness.

My mornings like most are very hectic. We often wake not believing it’s that time already. Often a broken night from children and knowing there is so much to do in the next hour or so before I even think about getting to the clinic. We can then often compromise the most important meal of the day our breakfast.

So many people will either skip breakfast completely or chuck down some sugar laden caffeine injection before shouting at the kids to hurry up their going to be late for school!

I touched briefly on stress hormones in the last blog. Cortisol is an important hormone that keeps us alive, it drives the fight or flight response, however too much over long periods of time leads to chronic stress and illness. It’s not a solution to have a high carb/sugar breakfast to give us a boost, the same with caffeine. I compare this to dipping into your overdraft. It will provide you with a short-term boost in energy, but you’re going to have to pay it back later with interest. Therefore, simple carb or sugary cereals, toast and jam, fruit juices etc don’t help you. As the sugar hits your blood stream your brain then sends your pancreas a message to increase insulin production this enables your body to utilise that energy quickly. You will then feel more awake and gives you that artificial boost. Now if this is done on a regular basis to provide energy it can lead to insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue and even type II diabetes. Interestingly this used to be known as adult onset diabetes but is now growing at its most rapid rate in the young of the population hence called type II.

Also as the boost wears off, lucky if it lasts an hour or two you get a sudden slump called an insulin spike, this is where you will feel even more tired/sluggish and then crave more sugar caffeine before its even 10am, hope that’s not sounding familiar.

The other option of skipping breakfast is often worse as this really slows your body’s metabolism down, as the body can go into an almost starvation mode. This can create more cravings and research shows people often gain more weight when doing this and certainly have less energy/productivity at school/work.

A better approach is providing a gradual release of energy that lasts until lunch. To do this it needs to be a varied supply of energy. So, a mixture of complex carbohydrates, protein and fat. This can be in limitless combinations but I’m going to concentrate on what I do on a particularly busy morning when I’m running late, or more likely Jake is!

Scrambled organic free range eggs, sliced avocado and mackerel (usually straight out of a tin is fine try to get it in olive oil). The mackerel can easily be replaced with bacon/sausage or cold meats. It’s fine to have vegetables for breakfast, in fact it’s ideal as it slower release carbohydrates and will keep you full for longer.

Organic porridge oats again I add almond nut butter, tahini for protein. Personally I use coconut milk, chopped banana and add cinnamon, pink salt and either honey/maple syrup for taste.

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