If you really think about it, the food that traditionally fits under the breakfast umbrella is not that varied. Eggs, granola, smoothies, oatmeal, and toast seem to be the main things on the menu — and that's about it. My mom is Korean, so I grew up watching my family eat things for breakfast a lot of people would scoff at, like leftover soup or veggies with fish and rice. It made me wonder whether we have the whole breakfast thing totally wrong.
My breakfast usually consists of a plant-based protein smoothie or a tofu scramble with toast (but usually a smoothie because it's easier). But recently, I took a step back and looked at my overall diet, and I decided I wasn't eating as many vegetables as I would've liked. Greens are a vital part of our diet, and personally, I feel much more vibrant, light, and clear-headed when I eat a ton of veggies every day.
So I decided to switch it up. Rather than relying on my protein powder (which I recently discovered is full of arsenic and lead!), I decided to go the whole-foods route when it comes to the first meal of my day. Here's what happened when I ate salad for breakfast every day for a week.
I Was in a Fantastic Mood All Day
Call it the placebo effect, but I swear my daily salad was full of mood boosters. I felt so energetic and clear-headed after a bowl full of fresh greens, fiber-rich veggies, and whole protein. An Australian study did show that people who eat more veggies are generally happier than those who eat less, so I suppose this result wasn't really that surprising.
I felt so energetic and clear-headed after a bowl full of fresh greens.
Having an unprocessed, totally clean breakfast every morning also made it much easier to concentrate on my work for the day, so I felt more productive. Plus, starting off each day with such a healthy meal was a great motivator to keep eating healthy all day long rather than reaching for unhealthy snacks or just eating out of boredom.
I Had No Bloating Whatsoever
A healthy amount of fiber is known to reduce bloating, and I saw this come to fruition within a couple days of sticking with my breakfast salads. I didn't actually realize it, but all those protein smoothies were actually making me a bit bloated in the morning. At the end of the day, protein powder is a processed food, so it makes sense that it would cause a little discomfort in my belly.
I Felt Like My Breakfast Had More Variety Than Ever Before
With my breakfast salad, I suddenly had more choices.
My smoothie or tofu scramble looks the same every single morning. But with my breakfast salad, I suddenly had more choices. I could choose from any of the following toppings: tempeh bacon, crispy tofu, chipotle black beans, roasted sweet potato, sauteed mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, fresh basil, toasted pistachios, cashews, etc. I could also choose between miso ginger, lemon tahini, or cilantro avocado dressing.
You get the gist. Breakfast felt more fun in general, and I enjoyed putting together a different meal every day.
It Required a Little More Prep Time
I won't lie. Salad for breakfast isn't a grab-and-go kind of situation. I had to prepare the whole thing the night before so I could toss the Tupperware into my bag on the way out. I don't mind meal prepping, though, so I made a big batch of salad dressing and roasted veggies on Sunday so putting everything together each night wasn't such a hassle.
I Pooped Every Morning Like a Champion
All that fiber in my system paid off! I was going to the bathroom like clockwork every morning, and I never felt constipated. You'd be surprised at how much of an effect regular bowel movements have on your mood. You can't help but feel light and airy when you've just taken the world's best dump.
Since this experiment ended, I haven't had a single protein smoothie. I'm still having my fair share of protein and veggies every morning instead. Sometimes it's a salad, and sometimes it's a tempeh or bean hash with sauteed veggies. But whatever it is, I make sure protein and greens are the priority — and I don't think I'll be going back to the smoothies anytime soon.