My Breakfast Enigma

Something amazing happened yesterday.  Take a look:

(For the American folks, that 5.8 mmol/l is a 104 mg/dl.)

Can anyone guess what I had for breakfast?  I’ll tell you at the end of this post…

This is amazing because every every morning I eat a pretty low carb low GI breakfast, and every every morning I spike within the first two hours and then come down hard.  I’m doing everything I can insulin-wise, including an aggressive bolus (a superbolus, in fact) followed by a major decrease in basal to 0.05 u/hr for the next three hours.  Ideally I’d pre-bolus, but with 2 kids to feed and clothe in the mornings, I’m worried about the impact a delayed (or worse – forgotten!) breakfast would have.  Safety first!

When I was pregnant, I ate balkan yogurt (high protein, high fat) with berries and walnuts for virtually every breakfast, and it worked pretty darn well.  But it also made me pretty darn sick of balkan yogurt and walnuts.  (I’ll eat berries any day, any time!)  So that’s off the table, literally.

Low GI dry cereals are a disaster.  Low GI hot cereals are better, but still far from ideal.

It may be that a further reduction in breakfast carbs is necessary to eliminate that spike and reduce my insulin such that it doesn’t cause a crash, but I’ve been nervous to go below 20g of carbs.  This is partially because I’m breastfeeding and less comfortable with messing around with my nutrient profiles while doing so, but also because I haven’t yet wrapped my mind around how to get over that morning liver dump hump (why does that sound so gross?) with less insulin.  (To be fair, my version of an “aggressive” bolus at breakfast is 2-3 units for 20-30g of carbs, otherwise the mid-morning crash is even bigger.)

Maybe I’m missing something, though.  Maybe I just need to try lower carb.  But what does one eat for an uber-low, or even zero-carb breakfast that will stick with you until lunch but does not contain artificial sweeteners or involve eggs every morning.  I like eggs, but if I eat them every morning, I won’t anymore.  Also not interesting to me is “dinner for breakfast”.  No chicken breasts, thank you.

I’ve even tried a few meal replacement options – drinks and bars.  You know, Martinis and chocolate!  (Kidding.)  To be honest, this is where I’ve had the most luck.  They’re also really quick, which is great!  The downside is that I don’t recognize about 80% of the ingredients in either.  I’ve been able to avoid artificial sweeteners, but it’s hard to say for sure what else I’m not avoiding.

So I’m looking for breakfast options, preferably of the low-carb, low-GI variety.  Something really quick (or make-ahead) and healthy (including low-sodium).  I’d also play around with some zero-carb (or almost zero-carb) ideas…  Anyone?  Suggestions (of either food or food-related resources) are welcome!

So what was the breakfast that gave rise to this lack of a rise?  What perfect food was it that made me almost flatline (in a good way)?



8 responses to this post.

  1. Would you believe that I get the smallest AM spikes when I’m running late for work and end up picking up a Sausage McMuffin value meal (complete with hash brown) at McDonalds? Maybe the high fat content slows down the high carb absorption, or maybe it’s so toxic that it puts my liver-dump in “suspend” mode. It’s not a meal I particularly enjoy, but I’m always pleasantly surprised at the results. Most regular breakfasts give me a traditional gigantic spike, followed by a correction and then a low.


    • I’ve never tried McDonalds for breakfast, but I’ve always found that I need to bolus for only about 1/2 the carbs when I have it for lunch or supper (which is rare). It’s not even that I need an extended bolus – I just need a much lower bolus. It’s weird. (I think maybe it’s not even food…..Maybe it’s “food”.)


  2. Posted by Katie on November 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    My breakfast 95% of the time is an English muffin. I think it’s the high fiber flavor, but for sure I know it’s 100 calories and 25 carbs. I toast and add chunky peanut butter, which brings the total carb count to around 33-35. My trick is bolusing 10 minutes before I let the food touch my mouth. Also, my blood sugar needs to be below 120. If it’s over 120 and I eat carbs for breakfast I’m soaring into the high 200s within 30 minutes and no amount of insulin lowers me until at least 4 or 5 hours later. On days when I wake and I’m above 120 I scramble eggs, nuke turkey sausage or don’t eat breakfast at all. I feel ya on this post because I have the exact same questions and can’t really find any great options/variety for breakfast. Good luck.


    • You know, I’ve noticed it makes a HUGE difference what my BG is at breakfast and also what direction it’s headed. Maybe I need an approach like yours where I only eat carbs if I’m in range and headed the right way. Something to consider. Thanks for commenting!


  3. I think it’s because McDonalds isn’t really food…. LOL!!

    And yes, I’m totally jealous of your post-breakfast flatline.


  4. Posted by Courtney on November 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve also struggled with breakfast for a long time, which, I will admit was because I would grab a Tim Horton’s muffin on my way to the bus. I kept telling myself that with all this fancy pumping and extended boluses it should be possible, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I know you said you weren’t keen on eggs, but my answer was a hard boiled egg and a full avocado (ya, I just eat it with a spoon…). I love it because with no bolus it keeps me perfectly stable (just a tiny rise in BG) and I can still pack it easily. Amazingly, it actually keeps me full until lunch time too!


    • Thanks Courtney. I actually love eggs, but I’m afraid if I eat them every day I won’t love them anymore. I like having them as a lunch option. I really enjoy avocados too – even with a spoon. I’m starting to lean more towards finding some sort of no-carb breakfast options. Thanks for the suggestions!


  5. Posted by Alex on March 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I’m late to the thread but I only just discovered your awesome blog!!! I usually have a smoothie for breakfast – it’s quick and light and I can take it with me if I’m running late. 1/2 cup frozen berries, scoop of whey powder (Jay Rob has only 1gram of carb per serving), almond milk. Optional extras: handful of spinach leaves, tablespoon of almond butter. Total carbs = 12-15, depending on your serving size.


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