Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, is one of the most disregarded and often left out all together. There is plenty of data and research done showing the positive effects of eating breakfast on blood sugar control, weight management, intellectual, mood, and emotions. Yes we get it, eating breakfast is important. But what is often completely missed is WHAT to eat for breakfast. The standard American diet breakfasts of cereal and orange juice or low fat yogurt and granola is awful advice and only sets us up for failure (both nutritionally, academically, and physiologically).
So what the heck do you eat for breakfast? Bacon and eggs…… Honestly. The key to a nourishing start to your day is threefold.
- A healthy helping of fat and protein surrounded by some vegetables or fruit. Bacon and eggs (that being MSG free and pastured eggs) is one of the best breakfasts you can eat. Doesn’t that make you happy? It makes me happy.
- A portion of your breakfast should be easily digestible – soaked, sprouted or fermented grains, cultured dairy or fermented fruits and vegetables for ultimate nutrient absorption and easy digestion.
- Do not rush. Eat in a relaxed environment in the morning. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Prep the night before, set the breakfast table and spend some time sitting down and eating (not shoving food into your mouth on the way out the door). You will have to get up earlier but the benefits are worth it because breakfast sets the stage for the rest of your day.
Now that I have gotten you to throw the standard breakfast items out the window what should you eat instead? It is not that radical of a change, just a tiny bit more planning and some thinking. One of the easiest ways to make these changes it to have a daily breakfast rhythm so that you do not spend so much time thinking about it every day. For example, Mondays and Wednesdays you can have soaked oat (or other grain) porridge with butter, cultured cream or whole fat yogurt along with frozen berries and some nuts and seeds. Tuesdays and Thursdays can be a simple veggie and egg scramble with a glass of kefir. Fridays you can make a yogurt or kefir based smoothie (keep it to one fruit to avoid insulin spike). Saturdays you can have a pancake day and Sunday omelettes and bacon or a full English breakfast. This rhythm keeps it simple but nourishing. Other breakfast options include meat and egg muffins, a parfait of cottage cheese, creme fraiche or whole milk yogurt with berries, nuts and seeds, homemade soaked or sprouted flour muffins or sourdough or sprouted grain bread with nut butter and a bowl of whole milk yogurt and fruit.
Nourishing breakfasts do not have to be difficult or anything fancy. Just ensure you have quality fat and protein and limit your carbohydrates and sugars. If you tend to have a mid morning energy slump or cannot make it lunch, experiment with more fats and protein at breakfast and limit or eliminate all carbs and sugars. In order to maintain blood sugar levels, energy and hormone regulation, it is important to eat enough breakfast to keep yourself full until lunchtime, not a small snack that leads to more snacking every few hours. Try this out for a week and see if you can notice a difference in your day! I know I do! Here are two recipes from my favorite cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Weston A Price President, Sally Fallon-Morrell.
For soaked oat porridge:
For 2 servings, the night before, mix 1 cup of oats (rolled or cracked), 1 cup water and 2 tbsp yogurt, kefir, buttermilk or lemon juice if keeping it dairy free), cover and leave overnight. In the morning, bring 1 cup of water to a boil with sea salt. Add soaked oats, reduce heat, cover and simmer several minutes. Remove from heat in stir in ground flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, or other desired nuts and seeds. Serve with plenty of butter, cultured cream, or whole yogurt and berries.
For Soaked Pancakes:
2 cups kamut, spelt or whole wheat flour
2 cups buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt (you can also use 2 cups water with 2 tbsp lemon juice for dairy free)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
Soak flour in buttermilk in a warm place for 12-24 hours. Stir in other ingredients and thin to desired consistency with water. Cook on hot, oiled griddle or cast iron skillet. These pancakes cook more slowly than the usual pancake. Serve with butter and other favorite toppings.
Why soak your grains? This is an entire post in itself, but the quick and short of it is that soaking grains make them easily digestible and allows you to absorb the nutrients. It neutralizes the phytic acid of the grain, the self defense that binds to many vitamins and minerals in your body, pulling them out.