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Breaking Down Breakfast

Some of you may already know that Swerve Sweetener is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. We’re Southern folks and our Mamas have taught us many great Southern virtues like saying “Ma’am and Sir”.  And in the South, nothing is more important to us than relationships.  That being said, we’re super excited to introduce you to someone we’ve formed a new relationship with – she’s so great we simply can’t keep her to ourselves.  We just have to share her excitement and enthusiasm for healthy food choices, personal empowerment and her message of being the very best you – that you can be! We welcome Carla Birnberg ( to the Swerve Family. Carla will be contributing monthly to our new Swerve Blog – we hope you will enjoy, as much as we do, her honest approach to learning from our past, enjoying our present and preparing for our future.


Hello, my name is Carla (Hi Carla!). I was an avowed, committed breakfast skipper for the first 18 years of my life (smattering of horrified applause).

Finally, at age 44, I’ve realized not only does the morning meal set my day up for success—the inclusion of breakfast over the past two decades has helped me set my life up for success.

I’ve learned—first through myself and now through my child—the morning meal is so much more than a clump of calories we ingest after we wake.  It’s connection.  It sets the tone for our entire day.  It’s a healthy habit we gift ourselves and make time for because we know we’re worth it.

Allow me to back up.

I skipped the morning meal the first eighteen years of my life.

Sure, I’d take the piece of toast my mom thrust at me as I hurried out the door—but I’d typically toss it to the birds as I rushed to the school bus.  It was too early in the morning for me to eat…or so I thought.  I wasn’t in tune enough with my body to know I was, in fact, ravenous and desperate to break the fast.

Later I passed on breakfast because I was lazy.

My college dorm was far from the dining hall. Making myself a priority and finding time for breakfast also meant having to get ready for class earlier.  And, if I didn’t have a morning class, there was virtually no chance I’d be motivated to leave my room.  I wasn’t yet in tune with how eating breakfast set my brain up for a successful day.

Later still (freshman forty pounds later) I skipped because I subconsciously believed skipping breakfast was the key to rapid weight-loss. 

I falsely assumed the later in the day I started eating, the fewer calories I’d consume overall.  Not surprisingly, I was incorrect. I more than made up for my ‘noon-start’ late at night.  I wasn’t yet in tune with what my body needed to thrive and succeed.

It took years of trial & error for me to learn the morning meal was key to my success both mentally and physically.  It’s something I never skip now and which I look forward too immediately after waking.

As a result, breakfast is a non-negotiable for my family.

When my eight year old asks why?–I BREAK it down for her into three reasons.

  • It breaks the fast.  We eat dinner early and often play for a while before bedtime.  As a result, by morning it has easily been 12+ hours since we’ve eaten.  Whether my daughter is in touch enough with her body to realize it yet or not—she’s famished.  Her growing body and developing brain needs nourishment to thrive.
  • It breaks the isolation.  Studies show families who have dinner together each night raise more successful, healthy children.  I agree it’s important to come together once a day, but contend it doesn’t  matter when.  My husband works late and is rarely around at bedtime.  As a result, breakfast is when we reconnect and gather as a family.  It strengthens our family bond as well as our bodies.
  • We break the mold.  I’ve always been a non-traditional breakfast eater.  Salmon & rice? Chicken and broccoli? Very likely on my plate at the morning meal.  Not surprisingly, I’m raising a child who gravitates toward a nontraditional start to her day.  Leftover teriyaki chicken? Yes please!  Up early & eager to play in the kitchen? Let’s snack on baked oatmeal while we make a sweet treat for afterschool.  I’ve also learned the hard, blood sugar crash way, even healthy carbohydrates won’t sustain me unless accompanied by a smattering of protein and good fats.  Neither of us can sustain our needed energy levels if we’re constantly experiencing blood sugar highs and lows.  There’s no breakfast normal here, but there’s always breakfast.

I’m a big believer in the power of community.  It lifts us up and allows us to learn from others and avoid mistakes they’ve made along the way.

Learn from me.

Don’t let it take two decades for you to realize the power of the morning meal.  However you choose to break it down—set yourself up for mind/body success with breakfast.

3 thoughts on “Breaking Down Breakfast

  1. Arlene Laskowski

    What is that breakfast “casserole” photo @top of this page.? It looks like oats, but I’m not sure what else is in it.


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