Have you ever put a forkful of broccoli in your mouth only to then think, maybe I don’t like broccoli, after all. It’s a little dispiriting. And even worse when you repeat the experience several times in a row, before 7 a.m., and several days running.
See, for the last week and a half, I’ve finally been doing something that for 32 years previously I never really bothered with: eating breakfast. No, wait, that’s not entirely true. I mean eating a healthy breakfast, at home. Instead of a $2 pastry from Penn Station at my desk at work, an almond croissant one day and a sweet cheese Danish the next. This week, to be exact: I’ve been eating cheese and broccoli omelets, with a side of marmalade on toast.
And coffee. Yep, coffee – that’s what got me into this sorry situation in the first place. Now I don’t know about you, but I absolutely CANNOT drink coffee on an empty stomach. Never mind a cup, a mere sip of Joe without any food in my belly and I’m liable to faint – my body, in the meantime, no longer a comfortable fit, woozy and trembling. (Like I just said, I really don’t know why.) But, nor can I start the day in any useful way without drinking coffee.
All of which, until the beginning of last week, was self-evidently ruinous. At my desk at work, I started every weekday drinking cheap coffee ($1 from a kiosk in the lobby) and eating a $2 pastry. How do you stop such a thing? I never really liked the coffee, and I never really wanted the pastry. But for the sake of being halfway awake, I was willfully engineering (at a cost of roughly $780 per year) the long, slow process of becoming a fat person. (Danny Baker likes to say of himself, with self-deprecating candor, “behold the ruins of a once great beauty.” Since moving to America nine years ago, I’ve come to feel the same way about my gut.)
Well, I really am asking: how do you stop such a thing? Surely not, my friend, with forkfuls of broccoli? Don’t tell me I’m setting my alarm a half-hour earlier (6.25 a.m.) for that. Or the toast I’ve been eating… Someone said it’s important to eat more protein in the morning. So what did I do? I got the kind of bread that’s plain bursting with protein: 1g more of the stuff, per every two slices. It sure doesn’t taste very nice – my god, I need all the energy that extra half-gram can give me, to summon sufficient willpower to eat a single fucking slice. (What is protein, anyway? Is it sort of grey and chewy?)
I’m new to eating breakfast. But don’t you dare try telling me there’s any such thing as a cereal worth getting out of bed for. Or that any day can recover from the shock of choking down some oats. Urgh. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say: a sentence that lapsed into cliché even before the first person to ever say it actually finishing saying it. Taxes are important, and so is cutting off your toenails.
How bad of a meal – objectively, I mean – is breakfast? In closing, I ask you to consider briefly McDonald’s. Famously, McDonald’s advertise their food with the scantest possible regard for depicting it accurately. You know. You buy a McDonald’s burger and it looks as though someone threw it at a wall then sat on it. See advertisements for the same burger, however, and it looks a fine, plump, and succulent delight. Now, though, cast a weary eye over this:
The McDonald’s breakfast menu is so bleak, so barren, so utterly bereft of all human warmth and feeling, that even promotional photographs of it cannot help but tell the truth. Before lunchtime, just about any food is, at best, a forkful of broccoli and, at worst, an actual waking nightmare.
Today’s post soundtracked by: