Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach


I’m not the best person to write an article on emphasizing the importance of eating breakfast from a health standpoint.  Granted, there are countless studies showing improvements in attentiveness, performance and health from eating something to start the day – and additional studies showing the incremental benefits of actually eating something healthy to start the day.  However, I went my entire childhood and adolescent life without ever eating breakfast.  That’s right, never.  The only thing I put in my body before 12pm between the ages of 8 and 23 was a cup of coffee – which is typically not advisable for those younger than adult age.  I became accustomed to the burning feeling that is a cup of acidic coffee in an empty stomach.  For me, that was the feeling of ‘good morning’.

As soon as I reached thinking age, I decided to introduce breakfast to my daily routine.  This started off small – it would typically be a breakfast bar and a round of the type of cheese that comes with the red wax around it.  I would eat it in a hurry on my commute, sitting at my desk, or in a classroom.  Over time, I started to introduce increasingly better for you choices.  This brings me to today, where I consume either a bowl of Erewhon Raisin Bran with skim milk, or Uncle Sam Original mixed in plain non-fat yogurt, in addition to a banana and coffee.  Neither is particularly complex or interesting, yet it provides me with a healthy start to my day.

But what’s healthiest to me isn’t the fiber, absence of added sugars, natural protein, or 100% whole grains.  It’s also not the comfortable feeling of having healthy food in my stomach, which I lived without for most of my life.  For me, the importance of a healthy breakfast is more subtle and psychological.  To me, it’s starting the day off right – with a good choice.  My days can be so busy, where I inevitably make trade-offs. Perhaps it means not going to the gym as planned, or having take-out instead of a healthy home cooked meal, or getting 6 hours of sleep instead of 7 or 8.  Those trade-offs are common, if not inevitable.  But breakfast is something where I draw a line in the sand.  In spite of the compromises I make in life, I choose to start my day off in the most healthy way possible, from a nutrition standpoint.  To me, the importance of breakfast is the importance of making good choices.  While I know that I’ll eventually get off course at least a bit, I know that I’ll always at least start off right.


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