EPISODE 27
What to eat and drink for breakfast?

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Jenna asks:

I’d like to know what you think about 5 Hour Energy supplement that are on the market. I’ve never used it, but can’t help thinking there’s got to be something not- so-good about a product that claims to be the same thing as Red Bull, Monster, and other energy drinks.

5 Hour Energy, it’s an interesting thing. It’s really gotten popular. It’s all over the world now. And essentially what it is, is a very high dose of vitamin B12, and why this works is not fully understood, but vitamin B12 is particularly helpful for nervous system health, it’s really important for all kinds of different metabolic processes, and for whatever reason, it tends to lift your mood and lift your energy, especially if you use it irregularly. So, if you haven’t taken something like that in a while and you take it once, a lot of times it will give you a really natural lift in energy, and what I mean by that is it won’t keep you up at night, but it will give you a natural lift in energy.

Now, the only thing I don’t like about 5 Hour Energy is that there’s all kind of other junk in the actual liquid itself, so they’ve added all these fillers and flavors and kind of gross additives and things. But in theory, it’s definitely better than a Red Bull or a Monster or these other things that contain caffeine or guarana or other things like that, although you have to be careful because some of these 5 Hour Energies also have – they do have ones with caffeine in them as well.

We have a nutritional supplement called Liquid Energy B, which is just pure methylcobalamin. It is pure B12, and it’s naturally flavored with just a little cinnamon flavor and tastes great, same idea. So, if you are interested, they do work. Again, it’s not the same as taking five shots of espresso, but most people realize that that’s got some serious downfalls as well.

Jeff asks:

You talked on your last episode about how eating cereal for breakfast is bad. I am in love with cereal, but what about cereal that is supposed to be healthy, like granolas, multigrain stuff? Are those better to avoid? What are good alternatives to breakfast?

Jeff, I made a video about this a couple years ago, like breakfast being the stupidest meal of the day. It’s really a ridiculous meal. I don’t know why breakfast food is different than any other food. It’s as if for some reason when we wake up in the morning we need a bunch of sugar and dairy products to get us going. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s so ingrained though, that a lot of people really can’t get it out of their system. It’s just crazy for them to eat real food for breakfast, so they have to eat some variation of wheat. The only country where I’ve really seen – well, countries where I’ve seen that really be different is in Asia, like in Thailand. They eat the exact same thing for breakfast, more or less, as they eat for lunch and dinner, and same thing in parts of China where I’ve been. And it’s much, much healthier. It’s such a great way to go.

In terms of multigrain, it’s one of these things, is are there more health benefits to a multigrain as opposed to a refined grain? Yeah, sure, there’s some B vitamins in there, there’s some extra fiber in there, there’s also some more digestive irritants in there. So, it’s one of these things where a lot of people think that moving from a white bread to a whole wheat bread, from a mass market cereal to a homemade grain cereal is going to make a huge shift in their health. I think it’s a good idea, like if you’re going to eat a breakfast cereal, sure, go for a multigrain cereal, but in terms of making a big difference in your health, it’s not really going to happen.

The real challenge there, of course those additives and preservatives and stripped out fiber is not great, but the real challenge is that it’s very, very high glycemic-load food. What that means is, as soon as you eat it, wham, your blood sugar level rocks up and then your insulin levels rock up to deal with that blood sugar spike and it leads to this kind of incestuous up and down up and down of your energy that never goes away, and you get in this cyclical thing where this is why people at 10 a.m. they have these food cravings.

So, a good alternative for breakfast, I always have people eat the leftovers from dinner before. Make a whole bunch of food at dinner and eat that, but basically real food. If you’re going to make something from scratch, salads, nice high-quality fats and high-quality proteins are a good idea. Anything that’s not wheat-based is going to be better for most people, and I know you don’t want to hear that, but again, there’s no reason your body wants a whole bunch of sugar or really high-glycemic food in the morning. Just the opposite, it wants to sustain balance, blood sugar-balancing foods.

I am a soccer player and I recently, 1 year ago, started yoga/stretching more seriously after visiting the physiotherapist. I am more flexible than I was before, but I have noticed that my hamstrings are kind of bulging and they are very hard. Should this be any concern or are my muscles just strong?

I don’t really know. That’s an interesting thing, Jeff. I would guess that’s more related to your strength training, but it could be a combination of your strength and flexibility training. It’s normal to have some sort of over-developed or overly developed muscles and things from whatever you’re doing, so I wouldn’t worry about. As long as you’re feeling strong and flexible, it sounds good.

Bill asks:

The only place I’d be able to hang the Yoga Trapeze (the Yoga Trapeze, if you don’t know, we have an inversion tool that we use. It’s like a cloth sling with handles and you can do all these inversions and stuff) is from is a chin-up bar in a narrow doorway, in my very small apartment, and I can’t put hooks into the ceiling. The bar is 80 inches off the ground, 5 feet off the ground, and the doorway is about 27 inches wide. Do I have enough vertical and horizontal clearance to hang it?

Okay, good question, Bill. So it’s high enough for sure. You don’t need much height at all. Your width is a bit of a problem. 27 inches is just over 2 feet. It’s a really narrow doorway. Can you do it? Yeah. You’re going to feel a little bit restricted and you’re not going to have as much fun, but you could certainly do it. So the answer is yes, but with some limitations.

Lenny asks:

I have very tight quadriceps. Could you recommend a good stretch for them to loosen them up?

Lenny, we teach a pose called the Lightning Bolt. It’s also called Vajrasana in different classes. Basically, you sit with your knees together and then sit on top of your heels. Sometimes it’s called a Japanese-style meditation. I don’t know if that’s really true or not. I guess that is true. In some Zen meditation practices, they’ll sit like that. Or, yeah, I guess it comes from also martial arts, like if you think of martial arts seated stance, where they’re sitting on their knees, that’s a good one, and the next step of that is to separate your feet and sit your bum down between your feet, again with your knees together. You’ve got to be careful with your knees here. It’s great for your knees, but just make sure that you’re not pushing too far, too fast.

Another great pose we teach is called Blaster. It stretches the whole top of the back extended leg. We have some tutorials for that on the website. Either of those stretches would be really great. If you have tight quads, they’re a really big muscle group obviously, big and strong, so you’ve got to do long stretches, like work up to five minutes as soon as you can.

Debbie asks:

I am interested in easing into a vegetarian diet. I would like some tips from you as the best way to go about it. I am concerned about the high-carb content of most vegetarian foods and weight gain. It seems that some people gain weight and others lose weight. Why?

This is a great question, Debbie. It’s very, very true. What will happen is a lot of people will become a vegetarian or a vegan or a raw foodist in their 20s, and as they eat this way longer and longer they do gain weight, and this is why if you go to any kind of vegetarian festival, a lot of times you’ll find people who are not in very good health condition. The real challenge, where people always ask when you go vegetarian is where do you get your protein. It’s a relatively valid question, but the real question is where do you get your calories.

So if you’re getting rid of animal proteins, what’s going to replace that? Is it going to be plant-based proteins? Is it going to be plant-based carbs? Is it going to be plant-based fats? The challenge here is that the easiest, most convenient, most common thing you’ll find at restaurants, takeout, whatever, is going to be carbs. So, a lot of people become what I call “breadatarian.” So, they stop eating meat, everything is just dairy and bread. They’re just eating cheese sandwiches and bread and this and bread and that.

In the short-term, any kind of change in your diet can often lead to weight loss, so this is why you’ll see people become a vegetarian, and just by becoming a vegetarian, doing nothing else, they might lose 10 pounds. Some people might even lose 20, 30 pounds, pretty dramatic. Now over time, if they’re doing the vegetarian thing the wrong way, wrong way being high glycemic way, a lot of people will become insulin resistant and eventually they’ll start to put on a whole bunch of weight, because they’ve got all this extra insulin in their body, and insulin as you might know, is the fat storage hormone. So, the more sugar you eat over the longer period of time, the more efficient your body gets at storing fat, so that’s the real challenge.

So, if you want to do it right, the real question is where do you get high-quality protein, and where do you get high-quality fat? And emphasis on the fat, because really, if you’re looking at people who are doing vegetarian, vegan, raw foodism long term who are healthy, they’re eating a very high-fat diet, and this is fairly controversial. But if you take a look at the research and you take a look at people who are really doing well on these diets, they’re eating a very high-fat diet, and that’s like 50 to 60 percent of dietary fats coming from plant-based fat sources. And in order to do that, you really need to eat, in general, a lot of nuts and seeds and seed oils and fatty fruits and things like this.

So, your concerns are 100 percent valid. If anybody tells you that your concerns are not valid, I’m telling you, just go to a vegetarian convention and you’ll see what happens to vegetarians who are over 50. Most of them are pretty round, and they’re suffering from insulin resistance because they’ve had really, really high glycemic-load diet for a very long time. And while there’s lots of great things about being on a plant-based diet, the biggest challenge, the big, big, biggest challenge is not where do you get your protein, it’s how do you make sure that you’re not eating high-glycemic foods all the time, so great question, love to talk more about that in the future.

I’d also love it if you would give me a great juice tip to make for breakfast. I have a masticating juicer, an Omega. (A masticating juicer, if you don’t know, there’s an auger, which is kind of like a big screw that kind of screws and chews your food into juice, and they’re really the best kind.) but I don’t see many recipes for morning protein. Can you help?

In terms of juices, the best thing, especially it sounds like, Debbie, you’re concerned about your weight, which a lot of people are. If you’re juicing and concerned about your weight, you want to eat your fruit, drink your vegetables. So don’t juice any fruit at all. Maybe use a little bit of apple, little bit of beet root to sweeten a very bitter juice, but focus exclusively on green juices. So cucumber, celery, all of your different greens, as green as you can handle them, some of them are pretty intense, like if you juice kale, but you can mix them in with other things, spinach juice, all these are really, really fantastic. But definitely focus on green juices. Eat your fruit, drink your vegetables and that’s a really good policy for you.

Henry asks:

How long should I practice the splits every day? What do you recommend?

If you’re looking to improve your splits practice, Henry, five minutes is what you’re looking for. Both sides, and then if you’re doing the side splits, again at least five minutes. The splits are as much of a nervous system thing, especially in the splits. There’s like this psychological thing because you’re exposing your groin and your body does not naturally like to do that. Your heart and your groin are the two areas your body natural – the stretch reflex is the strongest in those areas, so you really need a long, long time, not to mention there’s a whole big bunch of muscles involved in those poses, you know, 17-plus muscles when you’re doing side splits. So, try for five-plus minutes and use the timer, try to relax.

Don asks:

We have high ceilings with exposed wood beams which are 10’ high, 6’ wide. The top of the beams are 8′ and 10″ off the floor. Would I need any additional hardware, longer rope, etc. to hang the trapeze? (Okay, we’re talking about the Yoga Trapeze again here.) I’d like it to not be too high off the floor.

Dawn, you shouldn’t have any problems at all. This is a perfect setup, 10’ high, 6’ wide, yeah, this is awesome. You’ll have no problem at all. You’ll be able to set this up in a matter of minutes, and you’ll be swinging and having fun. Sometimes you can put – there’s real simple ways you can play with the length of the rope with the allotted ropes that you’ll have, but I think you’ll be just – those are actually perfect dimensions. I don’t think you could ask for a better setup in your home.