Taking time to eat something healthy for breakfast in the morning is another important morning habit for starting the day off on the right foot. Though continuing to fast for several hours upon waking up can be beneficial for certain lifestyles, it is important to consider how we are feeding the body for the first meal of the day, regardless of what time it is. Though your time of eating breakfast may vary, here are some considerations and benefits relating to your morning nutrition habits:
Vitamins: Typical breakfast foods tend to contain a lot of calcium, fibre, iron, folate and vitamin B. According to shakeupyourwakeup.com, if these nutrients are missed at breakfast they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day.
Energy and blood sugar: Eating breakfast provides your body with fuel after fasting during sleep. This fuel can be particularly helpful if you typically exercise in the morning. Additionally, it can help to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Cravings and eating habits: Research suggests eating a wholesome breakfast can reduce the risk of overeating later in the day as it helps curb cravings. Additionally, it makes you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods as you get hungry leading up to lunch time.
According to traditional ayurvedic principles, it is ideal to practice yoga in the morning on an empty stomach. However, if you find that you need to eat for an extra energy boost before practicing, it is recommended that you stick to simple foods that you know your system can digest easily. This will ensure you avoid bloating, gas or any other form of discomfort that may distract you from your yoga practice. If you wake up with enough time to wait 2 hours between your breakfast and your yoga practice, then having a full meal is a good idea. According to Yoga Journal, if you do eat within the 2 hour window before your yoga practice, try to have a snack rather than a full meal. A good rule of thumb is to focus on eating simple carbs for energy with small amounts of fat or protein (for example- a banana and peanut butter). Here are some great pre-yoga meal recommendations from food blog Spoon University:
Whether you do eat before a yoga practice or not, what you eat afterwards matters. According to zenagoy.com, the body is most receptive to receiving nutrients within 2 hours following physical activity. This means you have a great opportunity following your yoga practice to nourish the body with healthy, wholesome foods. Yoga Journal recommends eating a meal with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein (for example- scrambled eggs or tofu with veggies and whole grain toast). This will help restore your energy after an invigorating yoga practice and fuel you until your next meal!
Hydration is an important aspect of nutrition as well. We all know how good it can feel to take a refreshing sip of water at the end of a Bikram yoga class. Hydration is just as important if you are practicing at home, or even if you take a day off from your yoga practice. Water improves muscle and joint function as it is essential for lubricating joints and helping muscles absorb nutrients and remove waste. Being more hydrated also improves the blood’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the cells, which will help you hold challenging postures for longer. Water has been shown to have a significant impact on performance, and losing just 2-5% of your body weight in water can decrease performance (in sport, yoga, etc.) by up to 30% according to Manna Hydration. There are many more benefits that make it clear that hydration in the morning will have a significant impact on your energy levels in your yoga practice and throughout the day. It is a well-known fact that drinking water is important for your health, so why not start off the morning by hydrating with a big glass of water?
Did this post inspire you to do something good for yourself in the morning? Keep your eye on the MYKW blog for more information about self-care in the morning in the coming weeks. Every week will feature a different topic relating to self-care in the morning, as we prepare for the CAMH Sunrise Challenge, which asks participants to rise with the sun and do something positive for their mental health every day for a week from May 31st-June 6th 2021. The donations raised from the challenge will go toward the CAMH's research and treatment for individuals struggling with mental health. Find out more or donate to the MYKW team at: http://give.camh.ca/site/TR/Events/2021SunriseChallenge?team_id=4631&pg=team&fr_id=1180