Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That is, unless you’re one of the nearly 25% of Americans who skip this once-sacred meal. Let’s face it, we don’t always have time to sit down and eat three meals every day. For most Americans, breakfast is the last hurdle to jump before we can start our days.
But the pandemic saw people setting aside time to do breakfast right. And that’s how the “silent breakfast” trend emerged.
The Importance of Routines
While the mundane might seem monotonous and can often weigh you down, routines are integral for our health and well-being.
I love my morning routine. Though I’ll admit, I can sometimes go on autopilot in the morning and let myself stumble through my routine. After my 30-step morning routine is over, it’s noon or one or some time in the afternoon and it’s time to scarf down my breakfast. Sadly, my breakfast isn’t part of my routine and I usually am mindlessly stuffing my face with a buttered bagel as I tackle work. But that’s not how it is for those who have adopted the silent breakfast trend in the past two years.
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Silent breakfasts, while popularized in the shitshow that was 2020, were invented in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The concept seems easy enough: be quiet, eat your food, and be present. But silent breakfasts are about more than just putting both your phone and your brain on ‘do not disturb.’
Silent breakfasts set the tone for your day. They’re a daily meditation and ritual that require discipline first thing in the morning. While there’s nothing wrong with gabbing over a big plate of bacon at brunch with your gals, silent breakfasts force you to focus solely on yourself and nothing else.
The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health explains the importance of breakfast. It’s “the ritual of breaking the fast of the night cycle…the perfect opportunity to commence the day with mindfulness and on an open heart.” The Kripalu Center suggests we maintain gratitude throughout every part of our breakfasts – from the preparation to the eating. Breakfasts are so often inhaled and can almost be seen as a blockade to get through before the day can start. But silent breakfasts are a way to start the day grounded, present, and prepared.
The Benefits of Silent Breakfasts
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This generation is not silent. We’re a community of loud people who want our voices to be heard. To zoom further in, I am not silent. My job is to write and to tell my story. So what happens when it’s found to be better for our health to stay silent?
Silence does have its benefits. It is even said to work better than meditation in some ways. It lowers our cortisol levels and blood pressure.
Mindful eating, a practice that silent breakfasts hinge on, is often cited to have many health benefits, including promoting healthy eating, reducing overeating, lessening anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and stress, and an overall improvement of your mental health.
Silent breakfasts merge both the benefits of silence and the benefits of mindful eating into one. So basically, they’re the magical cure for everything in this world.
Silencing The Fear
I’m not scared of food. That’s big of me to say, considering a year and a half ago my eating disorder was at its worst. Just last week, my partner and I got a huge order from Domino’s and topped it off with a donut and coffee. Food doesn’t scare me. But I don’t know the last time I ate a meal by myself, in silence.
I have a dining room table…I just don’t use it. My coffee table has a great view of the TV and that’s how I like it. Even when my partner comes over, we’ll sit in front of the TV and eat. There’s no silence or sacred moment with food in this house. And maybe if I took the time to finally reflect on my food intake and how it made me feel it would scare me. Or maybe it would let me know just how much I’ve healed in my relationship to food. So this week, I decided to possibly get scared. I decided to silence the noise around me and face how I really felt about eating real food. No TV, no work, no partner, just me.
Silent Breakfast – Day 1
I dreaded beginning this trend. My first problem is that I technically don’t eat breakfast. I practice intermittent fasting, so my breakfast begins at 1 pm or noon. By the time I sit down to eat breakfast, my day is halfway over. I made the stupid mistake of texting my friend before I put my phone on do not disturb, then for the next thirty minutes, wondered whether she responded.
I’m also unsure how long I should sit in silence and ponder my eggs. How long do people eat breakfast? I know brunch dates can go on for hours, but that’s not what I’m doing. So I set a timer for 10 minutes and ate.
One of the most notable aspects of my silent breakfast this morning was that I actually enjoyed my food. I let myself taste everything, chew completely, and enjoy the sensation of being fed and nourished. It felt like that scene out of Ratatouille when he’s tasting all the different combinations and letting them play out in his head. I also was able to stop eating when I got full. When I’m mindlessly eating (or stress eating), I can go through copious amounts of food in less than a minute. 10 minutes dedicated to nothing but smelling, tasting, and eating the food left me very aware of everything I was putting in my body and how it made me feel.
Silent Breakfast – Day 2
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I did not want to stop and eat breakfast today. I thought this challenge would be relatively easy because I usually have the days (and especially the mornings) to myself, but my partner and I were going Christmas shopping and there’s no time for mindful eating when you’re beating the Christmas crowds in Nashville. Everything in me wanted to scarf the food down or even skip it, but I sat and ate.
I shockingly enjoyed breakfast once I sat down. I wasn’t too hungry, but I knew that I needed to eat in order to actually be able to handle all the shopping that was ahead. If nothing else, this challenge is teaching me that it’s okay to stop and give myself just 10 minutes in the morning to do nothing but eat.
Silent Breakfast – Day 3
My life got a little crazy and somehow, breakfast was the icing on the ‘my day is too busy to go out’ cake. My friend texted me to ask if I wanted to go to Target with him and I really thought about skipping breakfast today, but I knew I would regret not taking the time out of my morning to be present. I decided to still eat my breakfast, feed my little foster kitty her breakfast, and relax. Yes, the 10 minutes ticked by slower than they probably should have, and I got up a time or two in order to control my wild kitten, but it was a really nice beginning to my morning.
Silent Breakfast – Day 4
Okay, I think I like this trend (famous last words). In every challenge I’ve done, I usually fall in love with it or despise it halfway through. I’m starting to look forward to my slow-paced mornings, especially when I don’t have anywhere to go.
My thoughts come in waves during these breakfasts. I’ll sit down and regret not bringing a pen and paper (I’m not sure if that’s against the rules) and writing out a to-do list. All my thoughts come crashing down when I first sit down for breakfast. But then I slowly and methodically go through my food, enjoying it, gauging if I’m full or still a bit hungry, and then I go from there.
There’s an episode of Gilmore Girls in which (spoiler) Richard leaves his job for a bit. He talks to Emily about all the little things he’s enjoying and noticing. I am Richard. I’m noticing things that I couldn’t see before because I was so focused on getting through breakfast that I didn’t think about what it was actually doing.
Shockingly, I ignored the 10 minute breakfast today and went for 20 minutes. I had nowhere to be, a ton to do, and 500 thoughts swirling in my head. But I was hungry after one bagel, so I decided to toast another, pour some coffee, and take another 10 minutes. Let’s see if I jinxed the trend.
Silent Breakfast – Day 5
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I didn’t jinx myself, thank goodness! While I would have rather worked and gotten things off my to-do list this morning, I was still able to actually enjoy my breakfast in silence. It took me a minute to get in the right mindset for breakfast. Every time I sat down, I thought of something I needed to fix. 10 minutes passed and I hadn’t even touched my food. I realized this and quickly sat down, putting all my thoughts to the side and fully enjoying my breakfast.
I made a new rule that anytime I got up to do anything, I would reset the timer. My butt was glued to the chair for the entire 10 minutes. I’m not sure how practical 10 minutes in silence is. I’d be interested to do a Headspace mindful eating meditation and see if that’s more successful. Unless I’m making a feast for myself, 10 minutes does seem like a lot of time to eat a bagel. I was very mindful and slow, but still had about three minutes left on my timer.
All in all, it was still an amazing and refreshing way to start my day and I still look forward to my forced quiet time every morning.
Silent Breakfast – Day 6
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I decided to really dedicate my morning to my second-to-last breakfast today. I made waffles (in total silence). There’s something about baking that eases any worries I have. I also was completely alone today because my cat has decided to set up shop in my bed and take a full-day nap. So no kitten whispers today.
The 10 minutes did seem to go slower this morning. I cooked, so my kitchen was a bit of a mess. I’m the kind of person who can’t do anything when there’s clutter or messes. So while I was trying to enjoy my amazing waffles, I was also thinking about what cleaning solution I’d use on my countertops after I was done.
I truly started thinking about if I would continue this trend after this week. I know I’m always free to do whatever and I often take small bits of each trend I find, but this trend, in particular, makes me so happy. Yes, my breakfasts have yet to last 10 minutes and they usually stop at seven, but I really enjoy the silence before the storm. My silent breakfast times give me the chance to be still before anyone can come into my head and alter my feelings. It’s a grounding exercise and I’m falling in love with it.
Silent Breakfast – Day 7
Benefits of mindful eating 🤓 #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #plantbaseddietitian
We did it! Seven days, seven breakfasts, 70ish minutes. I loved this week. It helped me start my days slower, eat more mindfully, and really care what was happening in my brain as I ate. Yes, it did get tedious some days, and I was kinda ready to get up early today, but I successfully did at least 10 minutes every day!
I think the biggest victory I had was, even though I’d check my timer every now and then, I’d often stay a minute or two later than when it went off. I would be slightly restless, but the second I knew I was ‘free’ to get up, I didn’t feel like it anymore. This week really taught me the importance of staying silent and still, even when the world tells you to get up and do things.
Take a moment and have a calm morning with me. #silentbreakfast #silent #mindfuleating #mindfuleatingpractice #eatingmindfully
Would I do this again? Absolutely. I loved my silent time in the morning. We rush so much in today’s world. We rush out the door and then back in the door. We rush meals and quality time with others. We rush self care and we rush breakfast.
While I wouldn’t say that this week transformed my personality and I often scrambled a bit after my breakfasts, it did help me start the days off slowly and with intention.
I would recommend this trend to anyone and everyone. It’s rather doable, especially if you have a partner helping you out with the little ones. It’s so nice to silence any chance of disruption, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter what happens before or after the 10 minutes – all that matters is having that time of silence.
Have you ever heard of silent breakfasts? Are you going to try them now? Comment below!
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