Monday, 30 July 2012

Ask Emilie

Firstly a quick apology if any of you have tried to reply to the blog recently. It was forwarding to an old email address so if you haven't had a reply please resend your message.

I write this blog for the benefit of the readers and so am more than happy to answer any of your questions.

One friend and reader recently sent me the following question which may apply to some of you also.

Q: I don't have a lot of time to eat breakfast in the morning so have something small and find by the time I get to work I'm starving. I then get headaches if I don't eat enough breakfast and I can't shift them once they start. Why is this and what should I do about it?

A: Headaches can have lots of causes but the main candidates are:
Low blood sugar
Food allergies

Given you're getting headaches early in the day, the first two are most likely explanations, although if you're having dairy with breakfast every day that could also be a cause.

Overnight is the longest we go without food or drink during a 24 hour period so we wake up dehydrated and with low blood sugar - not a great way to start the day. As a result we need to start our day first with a big glass of water and then with some food fairly early after waking.

If you don't drink enough water when you wake your appetite will also go up as food is a major source of water which may explain why you are so hungry. So firstly I'd check you were drinking a big glass of water before you have any breakfast. Also avoid caffeine first thing, as it is dehydrating, if you get headaches that are only fixed by drinking some coffee or tea then it means you actually need a caffeine detox.

Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day so you don't build up a deficit before you go to bed.

On waking your stress hormones increase to your highest level in the day to wake you up so balancing blood sugar first thing is very important, especially if you have a stressful job/commute to work.

Start with a low allergy but sustaining breakfast. Some wheat-free sugar-free muesli would be a good quick breakfast but have it with soy or rice milk or apple juice rather than milk.

You can have a more substantial second breakfast when you get to work including some protein, but the key is to eat some carbohydrates within an hour of waking and before you leave for work.

Also if you wake very hungry you may benefit from an evening snack about an hour before bed. Some low GI carbs with some healthy protein would be ideal such as some oat cakes topped with nut butter, a poached egg on wholegrain toast, or a protein shake and a piece of fruit.

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