A few years ago, a professor at Kyorin University in Tokyo performed a series of clinical trials, for which people were required to eat ice cream right after awakening from a night’s sleep. Yoshihiko Koga then had his subjects do mental exercises on computers.
The professor compared the groups of people who ate ice cream for breakfast against those who had not eaten ice cream. Koga said the ice cream group showed better information processing capabilities and faster reaction times. The professor said the ice cream for breakfast eaters exhibited increased levels of high-frequency alpha waves, which enhance alertness and mental clarity.
After I heard about the study, my BS detector went into alert mode. Couldn’t the findings be the result of the subjects eating breakfast versus subjects not eating breakfast? Wouldn’t the high alertness levels of eating ice cream for breakfast soon disappear into dullness due to “sugar crash”? I could find no study that compared eating ice cream for breakfast with eating “Froot Loops” for breakfast. Nor any study camparing ice cream eaters with porridge eaters.
I decided to shelve my curiosity about the scientific basis for professor Koga’s study, and with it, any personal experiment. The last thing I needed was an excuse to buy a carton of ice cream. After all, an ice cream eating habit had caused me to add serious body weight. That habit was finally overcome; why tempt its return? It will be better to just write something about ice cream for breakfast.
An alert announcing “Ice Cream for Breakfast Day” popped up on social media the other day. That’s what reminded me of professor Koga’s experiments. I also remembered that the event promoted a worthy cause for children.
As we might expect, there is folklore surrounding the beginnings of this holiday. The most plausible story claims the event began when a terrible blizzard swept over Rochester, New York in 1966. Several feet of snow fell, and schools were closed. One Rochester resident, Florence Rappaport, heard her children complain that they were bored because it was too cold and snowy, so they couldn’t do anything fun. On a whim, Rappaport decided to say it was Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, so everybody sat down to a breakfast of ice cream.
After the kids became adults they introduced the idea to their college friends and peers. The practice spread far and wide to China, Africa, and Europe. It eventually coalesced into the formal event that is held on the first Saturdays of February.
How “Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day” became linked with its more serious charitable cause is a bit fuzzy.
The friends and family of ten-year-old Malia Grace decided to commemorate her short life in a fun way. The youngster had died in early December of 2010, after a long struggle with cancer. Despite her severe illness, Malia was an enthusiastic child who loved learning new things every day. People who knew her, said the little girl enjoyed going outdoors and lived life passionately.
At first, Malia’s friends, celebrated “Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day” privately. Then more people heard about this touching commemoration and the idea to honor every child who has or has had any form of childhood cancer came about. The commemoration touched many people’s hearts elsewhere and the idea became embedded across the world.
Now you have a good excuse to enjoy ice cream at breakfast time once a year. If you do so, post a photo of your ice cream breakfast concoction onto social media and briefly explain why you are having ice cream for breakfast.
If you’re like me and avoid ice cream for health reasons or just don’t want to eat dessert for breakfast, we can find a worthy childhood cancer charity and donate money. There are also regional health care centers and hospitals that help families who are struggling with childhood cancer. Maybe a local group has already organized an Ice Cream for Breakfast Social event to help out. If not, perhaps this is an event people can help organize for next year.
If childhood cancer is a cause that you care deeply about, you may wish to contact the closest child oncology ward and find out if there is a way you can constructively help the children.