Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Is it? Or, have we just heard the phrase enough to believe it’s true? I used to tell people (with utter conviction) that they should never skip breakfast. Then I looked for the science, and it turns out that our morning meal has become a scientific war zone! The more studies you read, the more confused it becomes. So for the last few years I gave up breakfast. It began as an experiment, and now I just prefer it. I workout in the morning, and often run 5-10km before I eat anything – no problem. So skipping breakfast turns out to be no big deal. So now I must confess to another bit of science-lore that I have often quoted that I want to come clean on.
If you have ever heard me say that “coffee is dehydrating”, then I apologize, it’s hogwash, garbage, totally untrue. As it turns out, even a moderate intake of coffee each day will not produce dehydration.
The study looked at two groups one drinking water, the other caffeinated coffee. The researchers controlled the participants’ activity, food, fluid and coffee intake during the study.
The researchers then measured the groups hydration status. They concluded “there were no significant differences across a wide range of hematological and urinary markers of hydration status between trials.”
So if you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, please disregard any bad advise I may have given regarding dehydration.
The Challenge – Drink 3 litres of water/day for 10 days.
I’m sure you have heard “drink 8 glasses of water each day” rule before. Yet getting all that water in seems like a bit of a chore! You actually don’t need to drink all of that water, because about 20% of that total will come from the food you eat.
Foods that are greater than 90% water by weight:
Cucumber Iceberg Lettuce Celery
Radishes Tomato Green Peppers
Cauliflower Watermelon Spinach
Star Fruit Strawberries Broccoli
Water does more than alleviate your thirst, it regulates your body temperature, keeps your joints nice and lubricated, helps prevent infections and delivers nutrients to our cells. It shouldn’t be too hard to see why dehydration is such a grind on your system.
Your body is roughly 60% water at this very moment. If you have tried some fasting, you know that you can go days, even weeks without food. However, you can only survive a few days, even hours with water.
The temperature in Winnipeg has been in the high 20’s for over a week now, and we are all getting used to being a bit “sweaty”! It’s easy to become dehydrated when more water is leaving your body than going in. It’s not just water that’s making your shirt damp, important electrolytes that are necessary for normal function are also leaving your cells.
Breathing, sweating, urine, bowl movements are constantly pulling water out of your system, as they should. If that water is not replaced, those systems will most certainly be affected. Dehydration may lead to constipation, urine can darken, if prolonged, salt crystals can form in the kidneys causing kidney stones.
Studies have shown that lack of fluids can be a common trigger for migraines. The headaches you get will last longer if you are dehydrated. You may also find it difficult to concentrate, have short-term memory issues, and those around you may notice you becoming a moody, short fused bastard!
When you are properly hydrated, the quality of your sleep will be enhanced (notice that hydration was part of the 10 Day Sleep Challenge!), you will be able to think more clearly, your body will function better, it will be easier to be calm.
Confusion Thirst Dry Eyes Headaches Less Urination
The easiest way to check for dehydration is to check the colour of your urine.
Everyone gets up and heads to the bathroom in the morning, so that’s a great place to start. If your urine resembles lemonade, your doing well, apple juice – not so good, tea – worse. You should also need to urinate throughout the day. Think of yourself like a leaky bucket – it can only be full for a moment, because it is always losing water. You might “be” well hydrated, but without additional water, you will not “stay” hydrated.
I don’t like the taste of water!
I’m of the “suck-it-up” generation, it’s not Buckley’s, it’s water! Just drink it. When most of us older folks were young, drinking out of the garden hose was an every summer day occurrence, that water also had the added flavour of warmed rubber – mmmmgood! If rubber flavouring isn’t your thing, you could try adding some veggies to your water. Cucumbers, oranges, berries, lemons all can give water a nice fresh taste.
That’s not water!
I believe that society is starting to swing towards a healthier lifestyle. It will take a few decades for it to really become apparent, but it’s happening. Most people are becoming aware that high sugar drinks are not healthy, nor are their “sugar-free” substitutes. Drinking soda is not a solution to dehydration, nor is fruit juice! Both are simply adding to the obesity/diabetes epidemic that is crushing our communities. If you feel thirsty – just reach for water. Please also be aware that the world is drowning in plastic bottles – recycle always, and use a re-useable bottle where you can.
Can you drink water? Obviously you can!
Will you take up the 3 Litre Challenge? Simply – you should!
Have you ever heard that change is hard? It doesn’t sound hard, but damn, if it was easy I’m sure I’d have ripped up abs like Hugh Jackman! So, we can agree that change is tough, but can we also agree that it is absolutely necessary? If you are not happy with some aspect of your life right now, is there any way it will get better without some degree of change? NOPE! Yet some people are able to make these tough changes and a few months later the changes are dramatic. We have all seen the “before and after” photos of weight loss. Many of us are left wanting some of that same transformation but fail to make any changes and therefore nothing changes.
Good habits or bad habits, they make you who you are. Most of the things you do in a day are reduced to habits and most of those you are unaware of! Write down your morning routine, step by step. Most of the time you do exactly the same thing in exactly the same order, that’s the influence of habits. Let’s say that one of your morning routines is to sit on the couch, drink your coffee, and watch a game show. In 10 years will this habit help you, be neutral, or harm you? Sounds neutral to me. Now let’s change it, instead of sitting on the couch, you roll out your yoga mat, and do some stretching while watching the game show. In the same 10 years, will this habit help, be neutral or harm you? I’ll bet that 10 years of stretching every morning will have enormous benefits, like easily putting your socks on!.
Trying to change a bunch of things at the same time can be hellish, and unless you are trying to fit into a wedding outfit next week, why bother. So let’s take the turtle and the hare approach, steady and slow, but relentless and unwavering. Even though you may have goals to lose weight, build muscle, improve your posture, or whatever, the slow and steady approach may not seem like anything is changing. Don’t sweat it! Your real goal should be to change the habits that will transform your life, the goal is actually not that big a deal. So go through the challenges, and print and fill out the HABIT TRACKER as you go. Each day when you complete your task, use a highlighter to trackyour progress. It seems like a small thing, but you will eventually feel quite rewarded for checking a job well done. As you progress use a different colour for each challenge.
We often get excited when we begin a new exercise or nutrition plan. We anticipate big results, and feel let down when 6 minutes in we see no noticeable changes! Don’t expect to see rapid changes, in reality, our goal is to change our behaviour, everything else is a bonus. If you want to run a marathon, you must become a person who runs (and trains for) marathons. Are you ready to make some changes? Here it is, I challenge you! I challenge you to commit to making small, simple changes that over time will have a ridiculously wonderful effect on your life.
Let’s get to it! Did you print off the HABIT TRACKER? If not, do it now. Did you get a notebook or journal? You will want to keep notes and track your progress. We start with:
Are you testing positive for COVID-15? The 15 pounds that have found their way onto your scale over the last few months! Even if you haven’t, would you benefit from incremental improvements in your health? I am going to be forwarding a number of 10 Day Challenges, nothing outrageous, just little challenges. If you choose to participate, these will be minor changes to your lifestyle, but I am convinced that a number of minor changes over time will add up to enormous changes in your health and function. Are you up for the Challenge?
The first phase of the Challenge is foundational, we need a solid foundation to build our future improvements on. Although they are all just tiny steps, they ALL REQUIRE YOUR EFFORT!!! Just do it – no excuses!
Challenge #1 – SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THESE!
We need sleep! Not just a bit of it either, 7-8 hours of good, deep sleep is essential for healing and repair. Most of us are not getting nearly enough of it! Lack of sleep can have an effect on your judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information and possibly increase your risk of serious accidents and injuries. Chronic sleep deprivation can increase your chances of developing diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and even early death! Though we are not doing anything specifically to lose weight, I would like you to hop on a scale before you start this Challenge. Weight is easy to measure, so it’s one thing we can track. You may have a goal of losing weight, which is fine, but goals are only as good as the steps you take to achieve them. This Challenge is the first of many steps to move you to a better state of health and function. It may only be a 10-day challenge, but the idea is to have these steps morph into your daily habits. When that happens, your life will transform into something special!
Here’s the first Challenge:
You know you want more of it, you know you feel like you’re dragging a pallet of bricks when you don’t get enough. Don’t just assume you are sleeping well, and definitely don’t give up hope that you CAN sleep better.
This is the plan to improve your sleep, this is the investment in a little time and effort in your plan, stick to the plan, and do it RELIGIOUSLY for 10 days.
Before you start:
Get a blank notebook, you will be using it a lot! PRINT THE HABIT TRACKER!
Weigh-in, if you can, use a scale that gives your body fat, lean mass, and visceral fat percentages. Write it down!
Measure your waist right at the belly button line. Write it down!
If you have a glucose tester, test your morning blood glucose levels before eating. Write it down!
Just for fun, and not to share…. take a picture of your face in the morning to compare with the morning of the 11th day. Once with eyes open and once closed.
DO THIS FOR 10 DAYS:
1. No caffeine after 3 pm.
2. Drink 3 litres of water per day. Know what a litre of water looks like!
3. Add EXTRA sea salt to all food you eat. Not table salt!
4. De-clutter your bedroom.
5. Make sure the room is as DARK as possible.
6. Stop all electronics at LEAST 30 minutes (60 is better) before you lay down to go to sleep. (YES, that includes your phone, iPad, and TV!).
7. Take a cold shower in the morning.
8. Wear comfy pajamas.
9. Keep the room 19.5° Celsius or lower at night.
10. Drink a warm herbal tea (Chamomile is my favorite….and no caffeine) one hour before bed.
11. Take 3 minutes, just 3 minutes and breathe in for a 5 second count and breath out for a 5 second count in a quiet place while sitting and calm…..suggested 2 hours before bed.
12. Add one whole avocado to your daily food in any way you like.
A. Grounding. Use a grounding mat while sleeping and getting ready for bed.
B. Magnesium. Take it throughout the day, not just before bed. Be generous with it….if it affects your bowels, back it down a bit.
C. Lavender Scent. Use a natural lavender scent (oil, cream, candle) in the couple hours before bed.
Take one day to plan, prep, start a journal, and make sure you set yourself up for success and start fully ready. DON’T OVER PLAN – ACTION IS WHAT CREATES CHANGE!
Do this no matter what for the next 10 days. NO MATTER WHAT!
Report back to me here (email@example.com), or in a private message what the outcome is.
Oh, and the cost for this challenge is $0.00, the investment in your time is minor, yet the reward may be significant. There is NO downside, so just do it!
This sleep program has been modified from one shared by Dr. Don Clum who can be found on Facebook.
Having a few go-to recipes makes life much MUCH easier! One of the biggest problems with eating healthy, is having to think of what to eat. Try these quick and tasty recipes to make your mornings tasty and easy!
1. Egg-and-Vegetable Muffins
These muffins are a great way to add in some extra vegetables. Plus, they’re portable and easy to make in advance.
To make them, mix eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl and add chopped vegetables of your choice.
Divide the mixture evenly into greased muffin tins and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 12–15 minutes or until done.
2. Spinach-and-Cheese Frittata
Frittatas are an easier version of omelets. Simply beat 1–2 eggs per person with some salt and pepper and pour into a frying pan with some avocado oil in it.
Top it with chopped spinach and grass-fed cheese, then cook on medium-high heat until the eggs are set.
No flipping is required. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve.
3. Scrambled-Egg lettuce wraps
For a fun and portable twist on lettuce wraps, scramble 1–2 eggs per person and serve in lettuce wraps. Plus, scrambled eggs can be cooked a head of time and served cold.
Top with avocado, cilantro, black beans, cucumber and chopped olives.
4. Chocolate protein pancakes
Make your favourite paleo pancakes more satisfying by adding a scoop of chocolate NaturePRO protein in the batter. Add a bit of extra non dairy milk if the batter is too thick.
You can also put a different spin on pancakes by adding grass-fed yogourt, pumpkin seeds, or chia seeds to the batter.
5. Smoothie Basics For a healthy breakfast smoothie, use 1/4-1/2 cup of frozen berries. Add a handful of leafy green vegetables, a spoonful of nut/seed butter for a healthy fat or 1/4-1/2 avocado, and either non-dairy milk, coconut cream, or a serving of soft-cooked legumes for protein (I’ve never personally tried the legumes, so if you do, let us know what you think!).
6. Coconut Cream smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowls are a cool, refreshing breakfast. Pour an extra-thick smoothie into a bowl and top it with fruit, nuts, seeds, hemp hearts and chia seeds. Coconut cream makes an excellent base since it’s thick and creamy.