Today, different regions of the world follow different regimes for the first meal of the day. In Europe, it has become commonplace to start the day with a hot caffeinated beverage, typically a tea or a cafe, followed by a fresh or canned juice, bread, boiled eggs, cheese and meat slices. In certain parts of Europe, baked products such as a pastries are common. Germans are used to Muesli.
Americans had a similar breakfast regime until the 1900s, after which two things happened that changed everything. One was the invention of instant breakfast — cereals, instant oats, instant hot chocolates, granola bars, and the like, urging Americans to work less and go for a packaged food instead. Kellogs is now the most popular home breakfast brand in America. The second was the birth of fast food breakfast meals, iconized by IHOP’s breakfast platter containing pancakes, a huge omelette, bacon, greasy fries and whipped cream. Eating fatty foods was considered a cause for heart disease in the 80’s and thus helped in further increasing the concept of sweetened carbohydrates in the form of cereals for breakfast. Versions of these have evolved in different restaurants, but what is common to all is the high fat and carbohydrate content. Most of the time breakfast remained as a matter of convenience.
Poorer countries typically do not have any unique meal that is earmarked for the first meal of the day. What goes for lunch or dinner holds good for breakfast as well. Most of the time people end up eating what is left of the previous day’s dinner. Kanji is a popular breakfast dish in south India which is left over rice. Most of breakfast items in India are fermented products like Idli, Dosa, vada etc. In north India paratha is a well known breakfast item. It is also a lunch or a dinner item.
In our lifestyle transformation program, we advise our participants to replace breakfast with a nutrient and phyto-chemicals loaded loaded green smoothie. The smoothie is typically made with a fruit like banana or apple as a base to which any green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale or moringa leaves are added. The smoothie energises you and as it is raw and not cooked all the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables remain alive. Wouldn’t that be a best way to start your day.