I'm supposed to eat a ton of jerky for breakfast and I'm not at all mad about that. I'm in the middle of a diet revamp to see why my guts have gone kablooey, and part of that involves eliminating grains, dairy, sugar, and all kinds of other stuff from my world for the moment. But apparently—and happily—that does not include jerky. In fact, regular and rigorous jerky consumption is a mandate from my nutritionist, and who am I to say no to her? Specifically when she tells me that jerky for breakfast is one of the best ways I can get that all-important morning protein fix without having to dirty a pan or chop anything before I'm fully awake. 

Jerky is patient, jerky is kind, jerky is meat that's ready for me when I need it. I am ashamed that I had not considered jerky as a viable breakfast meat before this. I hope jerky will find it in its heart to forgive me for that oversight. I bet it will, because jerky is just menschy like that.

No, seriously, the jerky prescription was the best news ever and I highly encourage you all to jump on the jerky bus with me. I'm not talking about your standard gas station Slim Jim, but I'm also not going to discourage you from that if that's your jerky ride-or-die. We all must live our personal jerky truth. Mine has turned out to be that I buy cases of coughpaleocough grass-fed beef jerky from a borderline-culty online hippie store because I accept that I have become a ridiculous human being—but one who gets to eat jerky for breakfast because of actual doctor's orders.

I went through a jerky-making phase for a while in college and no, I'm not being all wink-wink about anything here. My mother for some reason came into possession of a dehydrator and I was visiting over winter break and one thing led to another and suddenly there I was with several plastic sandwich baggies full of Spam jerky. It happens. I was a self-serious art school vegetarian at the time, so I gave it all to my friend, Norm, who demolished the entire stash—a good couple of cans' worth—in one sitting. Norm enjoyed marijuana.

So I had some weird associations with jerky, but no more! Not since a medical professional gave me a very clear directive to start my morning with it. Her rationale is that it's packed with lean protein, has no gluten, carbs, sugar, or dairy (all of which I'm avoiding right now), and is pretty minimally processed—if you do a little homework and buy a brand that's very loud about that sort of thing. 

And so many brands are trumpeting their meaty wares right now, which is just marvelous. Maura Judkis of the Washington Post wrote a story called "This is why you’re seeing so much beef jerky lately," which explained that sales of the the meat snack category (which includes jerky and dry sausage sticks) have increased 3.5 percent over the last year to $2.8 billion. Her takeaway is that consumers are sitting down to meals less, snacking more, and increasingly focusing on arguably healthier diets including snacks that are lower in carbs and packed with greater nutritional value. That's led to to an upswing in the production and availability of fancy-ass jerky, and I'm simply tickled about that.

Jerky is a magnificent snack to have at any waking moment (perhaps sleeping ones as well—this is new for me), but knowing that a licensed healthcare provider specifically instructed me to consume makes the morning so much brighter. I have been jerked awake, and for once, I'm actually happy about it.