We’ve all heard people say that breakfast should be considered the most important meal of the entire day. That’s certainly true, IF it’s a proper breakfast. “Proper”, of course, is subject to definition, depending upon your goals. Right now, I’m going to talk about the goal of getting a lean body – in other words, looking great naked!
Several studies and many professionals have recommended the Meat and Nuts Breakfast as the best way to start a fitness-oriented day.
I was at Charles Poliquin’s 5 day Hypertrophy Camp recently, when one of his students asked for his recommendation for the single best diet tip to achieve energy, leanness and maintaining mental focus. Charles’ immediate response was: The Meat and Nuts Breakfast.
That wasn’t the first time I’d heard of it, of course. While I was preparing for the 2011 WBFF World Championship competition, Ben Pakulski, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder who was my contest coach, was the one that introduced me to it. I can definitely tell you that I enjoyed greatly improved mental focus, higher energy and less craving than ever before. And since I stepped on that stage at a personal-best 4% body fat, with the leanest and hardest physique I’ve ever sported… well, you do the math.
Why is the Meat and Nuts Breakfast so Effective?
Meat, high in protein, creates a gradual blood sugar increase, lessening your craving for food for the whole day. A 2011 study published in the Obesity journal, entitled “The Effects of Consuming Frequent, Higher-Protein Meals on Appetite and Satiety During Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Men” is very informative. It documents two groups of obese men, one that ate high-protein diets and the other that consumed normal-protein diets. The subjects of the study reported on such things as hunger, thinking about food and a desire to eat.
The group on the high-protein diet demonstrated lower hunger pangs, less fixation on food and less late-night snacking than the other group. This shows us that a high-protein diet can reduce craving throughout the day.
Nuts are a wonderful source of smart, healthy fats that help your body maintain the blood sugar level stable for longer periods. A study was published in mid-2011 in the Diabetes Care journal, in which they studied the value of 2-1/2 oz. of nuts versus a muffin of the same caloric value. Dr. David Jenkins, a leading pioneer of the glycemic index, conducted the study, which was constructed of three groups of type-2 diabetics.
The first group added nuts (75 grams per day) to their diet; another added whole wheat muffin (a protein-fortified); the third added half of a serving of each to their diet. After 3 months, the first group showed dramatic improvements in their LDL and total cholesterol and ApoB/ApoA1 ratio, in comparison with the other 2 groups. That same group also showed significantly better levels of the HbA1c, the marker of blood sugar. This is convincing evidence that enhancing the diet with nuts supports blood sugar balancing and has a beneficial effect on serum lipids.
The combination of meat and nuts reduces the food sensitivities that can increase cortisol in the system. Food allergies are often born from repetitive consumption of the same protein source, such as beef, whey, eggs, tuna, casein and tuna… all staples of a typical bodybuilding diet. Variety of protein sources is an important technique of lessening the vulnerability to such food allergies. Charles Poliquin suggests avoiding consuming the same protein source for two consecutive days, alternating with other meats.
Allergy testing is a good way to learn how different foods may be affecting you, but if testing isn’t available to you, varying your protein sources may be the next best thing. In the event you do develop a food allergy, it isn’t uncommon for such allergies to cease to exist after 2 to 6 weeks, in which case you may be able to reintroduce that protein source in moderation.
Varying your protein sources can also provide you with an increased energy level and can reduce your sleep requirements. Especially noteworthy is the added benefit of wild meat rather than domestic meat. As an example, a typical 100 gram burger will supply 7.8 grams of protein, while a calorically equal serving of buffalo meat will provide 19.9 grams.
A few meat sources you can rotate through your diet for variety are alligator, buffalo, black bear, elk, kangaroo, ostrich, venison, wagyu, wild boar and yak. If poultry is more your thing, try duck, goose, quinea, pheasant, quail and squab.
So, do you see now why breakfast is the most important meal of the day, when you’re eating the right breakfast?
I find it amusing when my friends look puzzled, seeing me prepare a steak or some chops for breakfast. But everyone that has ever tried it businessmen, athletes and mothers – has admitted that they felt increased energy levels, more mental focus and less craving to eat during the day.
Several studies have also been conducted on employee productivity and the attention patterns of children, which have shown that the energy and mental focus benefits of a high-protein breakfast aren’t only felt in the morning, but through the afternoon, as well.
Here’s a six day menu of a typical Meat and Nuts Breakfast, so you can try it out:
*COOKING TIP: I add a dab of coconut oil, 2 whole eggs (organic, of course), and a big handful of fresh spinach, to a frying pan and cook it up for about five minutes. (Add 5 grams of fish oil to improve your insulin sensitivity.)
I know it may not be practical for everyone to try to find six different meats every week. At least, do what I do – try to find 2 or 3 different meat/nut combinations to rotate through every month.
This is The BEST Recipe Resource: The Muscle Cook, by Dave Ruel. It’s a great online cookbook for bodybuilders and includes dozens of fantastically tasty meals like Salmon Burgers, Sun Dried Tomato Salmon, Turkey Bacon Wrapped Scallops, London Broil, Buffalo (Bison) Burgers, Jamaican Pork and more, all suitable for your Meat and Nuts Breakfast rotation. Just add nuts! You can get Dave’s system, Anabolic Cooking, this week with a $40 discount.
Can I have a whey protein shake instead of meat?
If all I wanted to do was sell you a supplement, I’d say “sure”. But the truth is, it’s not the same.
The British Journal of Nutrition published a study in mid-2011, in which they investigated the differences between whole food protein and protein drinks.
They studied 2 groups of teens, one of which consumed high-protein whole food breakfasts and the other, protein drinks. Four hours later, both groups were offered an all-you-can-eat lunch, and even though both groups had reported equal levels of satiety after breakfast, the protein drink group consumed a full third more calories at lunch than the whole food group.
This is a convincing indication that whole foods provide better control of appetite. It also helps us understand why this article isn’t about the “Whey Protein Shake Breakfast”.
If you’re allergic to nuts, there are other low-glycemic/low-fructose fruits you can put to good use:
Just remember that you should always go for organic fruits, especially when buying strawberries, since they’re more heavily sprayed than nearly any other.
If you’re skinny and trying to build muscle, add one or two cups of carbs to your breakfast, as outlined in No Nonsense Muscle Building. If you’re trying to burn fat and lean out, then you MUST try the rotating meats and nuts breakfast!