Monday, March 21, 2011

BREAK the FAST-Your Morning Bowl of Vitality (Recipes Included!)

Do you feel vibrant and have abundant energy in the mornings?  Or, do you find yourself heavy-eyed and dragging all the way to lunch?  You know, the kind of tired that has you relying on that hot cup of Joe.  Well my friends, the answer to the morning blues could be as simple as starting your day with a well-rounded breakfast.

Now perhaps a bowl of cold cereal and a glass of O.J. conjure up the thought of the early morning, or maybe its scrambled eggs and steaming hot pancakes (one of my favs).  Yet, most people don’t even eat breakfast at the table anymore.  They just simply grab a coffee and a pastry on the road and call it good.  Unfortunately, cereal, coffee, O.J. and pastries alone don’t necessarily set your day up for success. 

You may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, it is.  Think of it this way—when you wake up in the morning, your body has just experienced a mini-fast and is also in a state of dehydration.  As the sunshine peers through your window and you yawn to welcome the day ahead, your body is crying out for a little nourishment and your cells are begging for hydration.  Hence, you are BREAKing the FAST literally with this meal. 

The benefits of eating a well-rounded breakfast are simple and rewarding: it boosts your metabolism (great for maintaining your weight) and keeps your blood sugar stable (and therefore your mood) all so you can say goodbye to sluggish mornings as you eat your way to increased stamina and energy.  Think of breakfast as the first opportunity you have to nourish your body, mind and soul.  Remember, our bodies are living temples and deserve to be honored in this way.  Plus, skipping meals is the worst choice you can make as it confuses your metabolic clock.

So, what if you don’t feel hungry in the morning?  I hear this constantly from my clients, friends and loved ones.  They say, “I’m just not hungry, so why should I eat.”  Well, you’re not hungry because you have a sluggish metabolism and your body has become accustomed to the rhythm you’ve given it.  Once you start incorporating breakfast back into your daily routine, soon enough you’ll start to feel hungry again as your metabolism starts to pick up.  The trick is to find meals that nourish you, but at the same time can be enjoyed.

What constitutes a well-rounded breakfast you ask?  I like to think of it as dividing my plate into four segments and topping it all off with a special treat.  Protein such as eggs, smoked salmon, beans, or the combo of dairy and nuts fill one of these quarters.  The second quarter is filled with a whole grain or starchy colorful veggie such as steamed millet, quinoa, sprouted whole-grain toast, oatmeal, granola or a sweet potato.  And the remaining half of my plate is dedicated to vegetables or fruit, with at least one of them being a leafy green.  Then, if I’m feeling a little sassy (which you can pretty much count on me for), I like to top it off with something that is literally alive, such as fermented or cultured foods (sauerkraut, kimchee, yogurt, cultured cream cheese).  Stay tuned for a future blog post on these living probiotic-rich foods.  I also like to cozy up to a hot cup of ginger and lemon tea in the morning.  And if you love your coffee, feel free to add it to the mix.  Breakfast is all about abundance and should be filled will satisfying and healthful options.  The foundation to this idea of balanced eating was taught to me by one of the founders of the Whole Foods movement Cynthia Lair and can be further explored in her book Feeding the Whole Family.    

Ok, so maybe you now agree that breakfast is important, but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that you still have limited time in the mornings.  So we need to give you some quick options.  First and foremost, making large batches of food ahead of time is the fastest way I know how to give myself wonderful nourishing options for the week.  I like to make oatmeal, quinoa, millet, sturdy green salads, braised greens, hard-boiled pastured eggs and frittatas all during the weekend so I have them ready to go.  Dedicate just a few hours on the weekends for this purpose, and you’ll set yourself up for success.  Then, pack your breakfast into grab-and-go containers and you’ll have no excuses for missing your morning bowl of vitality.  

To give you some healthful options, here are my top 6 favorite breakfast combos (hit the links for the recipes):
v      My Morning Sunshine:
-Scrambled Pastured Eggs with Arame or Hard-Boiled Pastured Eggs,

v      Yummy Whole Grain Goodness:
-Cardamom Orange Spiced Oatmeal or Granola with organic almond butter,
-Organic Whole Milk Yogurt,
-Sliced Oranges with Cinnamon,
-A side of Kale Salad &

v      Power Protein Breakfast:
-Toasty Buttered Millet &
-Raw Sauerkraut

v      Easy Gourmet:
-Wild Smoked Salmon,
-Whole Organic Cultured Cream Cheese (Nancy’s brand) with fresh dill,
-Served on a Sprouted Whole Grain Bagel or Toast &
-Blanched Broccoli and Cauliflower with lemon juice and organic pastured butter (Organic Valley sells this)

v      Quick Breakfast Solutions:
-A pastured Over-Easy Egg (cooked in organic pastured butter and topped with Kelp) &   -Emerald City Salad

v      Leftovers Revamped
-Baked Sweet Potato topped with organic pastured butter
-Black Eyed Peas,

Honor your beautiful body and nourish it with these amazing choices.  If you are not familiar with seaweeds such as arame and kelp, fermented or cultured foods or pastured eggs, don’t worry we’ll be exploring all of these soon in future blog posts. 
What I’d like to know is how do you start your day?  Do you even eat breakfast?  If so, what do you like to eat?  Be sure to post your reply below.    
Now you’re ready to rev your metabolism and boost your energy by simply kick-starting your day with a well-balanced breakfast.  Remember, vitality can be on your plate! 
Yours In Cooking & In Health,
Siona J