Turbo-Charge Your Day With A Brain-Energizing Swedish Breakfast

by Dina Eliash Robinson

Getting ready for an important meeting? Planning a fast-paced, over-scheduled trip? Or are you fighting the usual Monday morning blaahs? Nothing kick-starts your energy and cerebral synapses than a breakfast rich in brain-foods and stamina boosting complex carbs.

On my first assignment in Sweden during my earlier career as a globetrotting journalist, I discovered that a traditional Swedish Smörgåsbord breakfast always helped me hit the ground running. In fact, some of the items in that feast kept me going from dawn till midnight without any danger of my dozing off at interviews or running out of steam while sightseeing at a pace that would have worn out an Olympic marathon runner.

This breakfast of champions has long been an open secret among frequent travelers and members of the high-octane business and entertainment worlds. The Smörgåsbord (translation: sandwich table) which had helped me survive that first Swedish tour of six cities in six days, also taught me to include, whenever possible, some of its key ingredients in my breakfasts during countless other turbocharged trips.

Whether your marathon or sprint is on the road, at home or in the workplace, the following tips will greatly enhance your chances of staying sharp and fit on days that demand your sustained, top-of-game performance:

Focus on Caviar:–This precious food, high in protein and Omega3, is worth its weight in gold and even small portions of it tends to power up both your thinking process and physical stamina. If you don’t like fish eggs, try to disguise them with lemon juice or a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with chives, pretend it’s a dip and scoop it on crackers.

Fuel Up With Fish–Improve your focus and concentration with assorted portions of skin-on and bone-in herring and sardines. Low on the marine food chain, these small fish are least contaminated with mercury–although quite rich in Omega3, calcium and other nutrients. Wild-caught salmon—fresh-cooked or smoked—is the Omega3 king of fish, as long as it is ‘Wild-Caught’ and not only designated with the misleading ‘Wild’ alone, which means it was basically farm-grown but in nets kept weighted in the ocean. Farmed fish should be avoided when possible, or consumed in moderation.

Shellfish In Moderation—Shrimp has protein and is high in phosphorus and other essential minerals (good) but also high cholesterol (bad). The large size deep sea scallops are low in cholesterol and contain good nutritional value—but my advice is to stay away from the smaller bay scallops that live in polluted coastal waters. Various species of squid (calamari) are great sources of brain food and energy, although their home environment (not always known or revealed by those who serve them) determines the amount of toxins they contain. Same goes for crabs and crabs’ legs.

(See more information about Fish & Seafood at http://freerangeclub.com/kitchen-shrink-columns/fish-waterdwelling-delicacies/)

Lighten And Energize Your Body—Fresh salads and whole grain (organic, non-GMO) cereals, breads and sugar-free baked goods will give you the vitamins, fiber and long-lasting fuel for the longest day and most arduous work.

Liquid Needs And No-No’s—Drink as much water as your size and age requires. Increase the amount by the level of physical activity you are engaged in and the level (or lack) of humidity and temperature of environments in which you find yourself at any given time. If you must drink juice, water it down by half. Smoothies and other high-calorie drinks are best taken without sweeteners and limited to such potassium-rich fruits as bananas, oranges and strawberries—or vegetables ranging from carrots to (the liver-cleansing) beets. Best to stay away from hard spirits—especially when in stressful or tiring situations, or when concentration and focus are required. (Don’t be tempted by the ever-present Aquavit on Smörgåsbord tables. This Swedish distilled spirit is tasty but powerful enough to set you on your ear.) Sipping wine is a relaxing pleasure with meals, in moderation and preferably after work.

Finishing Touches—A few squares of dark, semi-sweet chocolate, one—but preferably not more than two—cups of coffee or tea tend to lift the spirit and send you on your way with a good dose of optimism.

4 Comments on “Turbo-Charge Your Day With A Brain-Energizing Swedish Breakfast”

  1. Elizabeth Hansen ( award winning travel writer) commented on “Turbo-Charge Your Day.”

    Elizabeth wrote: “I always travel with Kashi Go Lean cereal in little ziplock bags. Most hotels provide Rice Crispies or some other nutritionally useless cereal. If I eat Go Lean in the morning, I’m not hungry again until lunch. Corn flakes? I need to eat again in about 20 minutes.”

  2. Eiko Stefanko commented on Elizabeth Hansen’s comment

    Eiko wrote: “I love Kashi Go Lean too!”

  3. Elizabeth Hansen has commented on Elko’s comment.

    Elizabeth wrote: “I’m hooked on the protein. I’ve eaten Go Lean for breakfast around a campfire in Zambia, in Vietnam, in Costa Rica. I just never leave home without it.”

  4. Hi Dina,

    I enjoyed checking out your website, by the way. My daughter recently went vegetarian and I decided to join her in solidarity, so I might have to try out some of those recipes.

    All best,

    James Hebert
    Theater Critic
    The San Diego Union-Tribune

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