Monday, October 11, 2010

The Breakfast Experiment - Days 6 (Cereal) and 7 (Ultra Meal)

Day 6: Saturday morning I was up early. We were to drop our son off at the high school by 8:00 and then we headed straight to the Pontiac Silverdome for a day of Regional Marching Band competition! It’s always fun to see the different shows the directors come up with and this year was not a disappointment. But the toughest part was not heading home until 11:00 at night! Our kids got back to town about 2:45 am!

Knowing I would be in a hurry to leave Saturday morning I planned the quick and easy breakfast of boxed cereal and milk for the experiment. I don’t remember the last time I’ve had cold cereal for breakfast, but it’s been at least a year and a half. Same for dairy – I haven’t had milk in ages. I don’t like it, but I also use very limited dairy products and milk isn’t one of them.

I had a tough time standing in the cereal aisle trying to figure out which cereal to choose for my experiment. Did I want a sugary cereal or a more nutritious one? How nutritious did I want to be? What ingredients was I willing to ingest?

I opted for the breakfast of champions, Wheaties. It’s touted as a healthy cereal (champions eat it, right?) and I was ok with the ingredient list: whole grain wheat, sugar, salt, corn syrup, trisodium phosphate, BHT added to preserve freshness and then a list of added vitamins and minerals.

I decided that the average American doesn’t eat the serving size suggested on the nutrition facts panel, so I doubled it and ate 1 ½ cups of cereal and ultimately about 8 ounces of milk. (I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t hungry on the 3 hour ride across the state!)

I ate at 6:40 and felt full, yet sluggish. I’m usually up that time of day, so I can’t attribute the sluggishness to not enough sleep, but I was quite unmotivated to move. I wished I could’ve sat for awhile when I was done, but could not.

We dropped our son off at 7:45 and I was hungry and craved toast. (Interesting that I craved carbs.) But since we weren’t home, I just had to be hungry. By 8:40 (the two-hour mark), I was still hungry but we had stopped for Starbuck’s so that helped a little.

Day 7: I changed day 7 from scrambled tofu to Ultra Meal. I slept most of the way home from Detroit and crawled in bed by 1:30, so I got a decent night’s sleep. I woke up about 7:00 and decided I could make it to church.

I didn’t have a scrambled tofu recipe ready to go, so I decided to try my experiment with my usual breakfast of Ultra Meal made with 2/3 cup frozen fruit, from the farmer’s market, of course. I used blackberries and blueberries. (Ultra Meal is like a smoothie.)

Ultra Meal 360, the version I use (from Metagenics) is ‘medical food’ for “nutritional support for the management of conditions associated with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease”.

My doctor has had me on Ultra Meal for almost 2 years and it’s loaded with quality vitamins and minerals to start my day. I feel really good knowing I’ve had a great start, but this experiment has raised some questions I’d like to ask Doc next time I’m in.

I drank my Ultra Meal about 8:45, on my way out the door. I felt satisfied but not over full or stuffed, and the berries tasted fabulous!

I noticed that after drinking it, I had to clear my throat quite a bit. You know, like when you laugh too hard and then have to cough? Kind of like that. And thinking about it, I do that every time I have Ultra Meal. It makes me wonder if there’s something in it I might be allergic to.

And looking at the label just now I see there is ‘hydrogenated soybean oil encapsulate’ in the ingredients. What? Hydrogenated? I wonder if Doc is aware of that? Hmmm…notes for my next visit.

By 10:45 I was hungry and ready for a snack.

So, to recap the week, I think my best days were the Coconut Multi-Grain Crockpot Oatmeal and the fresh fruit as they didn’t leave me hungry or searching for snacks an hour later. My worst day was the muffin as it was too sweet and not at all filling.

I highly encourage you to try your own breakfast experiment. I was surprised by what I found and happy to discover what works for me. And what works for me may not be right for you.

If you would like a copy of The Breakfast Experiment form, please email me and I will send it to you.

But whatever you eat, be sure to eat a healthy breakfast. Mom was right – it IS the most important meal of the day!