Pork may be food for a better mood
breakfast pork chop
Credit: Photo by aguirre_mar via Getty Images

There exists a cut of pork sometimes labeled as breakfast chops and I am pleased by it. Breakfast pork has always been here for me, waiting patiently during my seven-year dalliance with vegetarianism, then trotting back into my life in the form of bacon (the first meat I ate after breaking my meat-free streak), sausage, or even leftover barbecue. But recently, I've come to know the wonders of breakfast pork chops and I'm feeling better-fed and stronger and more satisfied than I had in my life before this. I want you to know this feeling, too.

The breakfast chops you might see in your grocery store are simply very thinly-cut pork chops. Presumably, they're so-called because they can cook up quickly in the morning when time is scarce, and this is clever. Toss one in a skillet, make your coffee, flip, and boop—pork served. I personally don't have the wherewithal to contend with raw meat and all the attendant safety precautions so early in the day (thermometers, extra-meticulous scrubbing and whatnot), so I've started to cook an extra pork chop or save part of one for the next day. Just wrap carefully, refrigerate, sleep, de-refrigerate, slice, heat, and enjoy. If morning knife work is too daunting for a weekday, you might even cool and cut them the night before so as to have bite-sized pork chunkage with which to stud your eggs. It's remarkable how fortifying it is to start your morning with a pork chop.

You know who didn't forget? The National Live Stock and Meat Board Department of Home Economics, which in the early days of WWII published Meat in the Meal for Health Defense—a pamphlet geared toward helping homemakers make the most of thrifty cuts of meat. A recipe for Oven Cooked Pork Chops boasts the subhead Pork for Thiamine, the Morale Vitamin—and they weren't just pulling that outta thin air. Pork is a great source of vitamin B-1 (a.k.a. thiamine), which isn't stored in the body and needs to be replaced on the regular. The body needs thiamine to properly process carbohydrates, but studies have also found it to be beneficial in helping temper physiological responses to stress and maintain a positive mental attitude. Folks who don't dig eating pig aren't penned out of thiamine's benefits. It can also be found in beans, nuts, and rice, but pork is a particularly efficient source.

Am I attempting to justify my breakfast pork chop consumption? Possibly! But I'd eat them anyhow. I feel sated, strong, and happy in a way that oatmeal just can't make me. I'll chop, and I won't stop—at least until I find a new obsession.