Laird Hamilton’s Nutrition Secret: Three Breakfasts

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Photograph by Peter Bohler

It blows my mind that people skip breakfast. The day's first meal should be treated as the fuel that kick-starts your body's engine. And depriving that engine is every bit as bad as gumming it up with a heavy meal that sends you into a food coma.

That said, it's not enough to wolf down a bowl of cereal or drink a smoothie. I like to divide breakfast into multiple mini-meals. Parsing out fuel over the course of several hours not only provides sustained energy — essential when my day starts at 5 a.m., either in the water or at the gym — each of those mini-meals meets my body's needs at that moment. So my first breakfast includes fats, which fuel my workout and provide mental clarity; the second is protein-based for muscle recovery; and my third "meal," turmeric juice, gives me the energy to make it to lunch. Here's how these mini-meals break down.

Meal 1: Supercharged Coffee

I start the day with a mug of coffee with two scoops of a creamer I developed. It's a mix of coconut powder, red palm oil, and other healthy fats. It's brain fuel: The caffeine wakes me up; the fats provide a few hundred calories to help me push during my workout. Make a similar recipe by steaming these ingredients together. (If you can't stomach coffee with butter and oil, have a handful of nuts instead.)

  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp MCT oil
  • 1 tsp red palm oil

Meal 2: Lots of Protein

Within an hour after I train, I make a recovery meal. I match what I eat to how hard I went in the gym. If it was an intense day, that may mean basted eggs, bacon, and quinoa oatmeal. Lighter days, it will be yogurt with almond butter, honey, and cinnamon.

Meal 3: Energy-Boosting Juice

An hour or so after meal number two, I'll juice turmeric root. Turmeric has been shown to lower inflammation and help you recover faster from a workout. I get mine shipped from a friend's farm in Hawaii, but you can find the root at most organic markets, or just buy the juice ready-made. My recipe:

  • ½ cup turmeric juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 4 drops pepper extract
  • 2¼ cups water

Your typical morning may not resemble mine. But I think even guys heading straight to an office can benefit from a sustained-energy approach to eating: a fat-based snack first thing to kick-start the metabolism, some protein when you get to your desk to curb hunger, then later, a pick-me-up like my turmeric juice. I guarantee the strategy will help you feel more alert, clear, and focused than a big breakfast all at once or, worse, nothing at all.