Do you skip breakfast? Most nutritional experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but some argue that breakfast is indeed no more important than any other meal in the day. If you’re the kind of person who skips breakfast, feels great, is fit and energetic and generally eats a healthy diet, stop reading now. This article isn’t for you. You seem to be doing just fine without breakfast.
If however you belong to the group of women who feel sluggish in the morning, are concerned about their weight, have sugar cravings during the day, and feel hungry when they wake up, keep reading! Because I’m about to share some tips and ideas with you on how to make breakfast healthier whilst giving you the energy and stamina to go through to lunch without a large coffee in between.
Discover what breakfast works best for you
Diet is a very personal thing. No one diet is right for everyone and as a health coach and raw food teacher it is my job to help my clients discover what works best for them. I work with people from all walks of life but they all have one thing in common. They want to make better dietary and lifestyle choices to gain and maintain health and to improve their chances of longevity without the usual health issues that come with getting older. So when I work with people we often start with breakfast. The time when we break our fast of not eating, which is something around 10 to 14 hours after our last meal the night before. I ask my clients to record a food diary for 5 day so we can determine where the diet maybe needs to shift a little.
Interestingly while most of us look for variety in our meals, breakfast is one of those times when we tend to eat exactly the same thing every day. If this something is something that doesn’t support our health, then we actually do our health a disservice by eating the same unhealthy food every morning, all year round. So what do you eat? Jam on toast; eggs and bacon; porridge; muesli, a banana or rice crispies? What ever your current choice, I suggest you take a moment to assess whether it’s serving your health and wellbeing. Next time you eat your breakfast, check in with your body and see how you feel after eating it… immediately, half an hour later, one hour later and two hours later. If at any of those times you don’t feel great, then it might be time to make a few adjustments.
Do you eat eggs and bacon with white bread and butter? Try leaving out the bacon and maybe reserve it for a special treat at the weekend. Use nut butter instead of normal butter and replace the white bread with some whole grain bread. Add a little spinach or watercress and you’d even be getting one of your 5 with breakfast.
Is muesli making you feel bloated?
Do you eat muesli? Have you ever looked what’s actually in your muesli? Most varieties are heavy on sugar, if not processed sugar then from dried fruit, which can give you a blood sugar spike followed by that familiar low later in the morning. A good alternative is to mix your own muesli so that you know exactly what your eating, stick to oats and seeds and use dried fruit and nuts sparingly. Add a spoon full of plain, live yoghurt, preferably organic and top it with some fruit if you can tolerate mixing oats and fruit. Some people struggle when their digestive system has to deal with fruit and grains at the same time. So if you tend to feel bloated after your fruit and grain muesli, try eating the fruit half an hour before your muesli and see if that makes a difference. Another tip is to soak your muesli in water the night before. Use half a cup of muesli and cover with water. You will see that the muesli will double in size over night. This is exactly what happens in your stomach if you’re eating muesli (or any cereal) that hasn’t been soaked beforehand. So you’re eating a cup full of dry muesli with a bit of milk on top and in your stomach it doubles to 2 cups of food. Not only does your stomach have to produce the liquid to soak the dry ingredients, it also has to deal with twice as much food as it actually needs. Keep this in mind if you’re trying to lose weight!
|Muesli before soaking||Muesli after soaking|
Do you love jam on toast as your morning starter. If your toast is from white processed flour and your jam is high in added sugar, then you might want to review this option too. Neither of those two items has much of a nutritional value but both contain sugars, and sugars make your blood sugar rise and drop. At the very least change to whole grain bread and find a low sugar jam full of real fruit.
Or do you pour yourself a bowl of Frosties, just toast a Pop Tart or grab a Nutri-Grain bar before you head out the door. Did you know that Nutri-Grain bars contain high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavours and a host of chemicals? And have you every actually read the label of Pop Tarts or the box of Frosties you put on the breakfast table? Have a look and if sugar is one of the first three ingredients listed, you might want to seriously review these breakfast options.
What you really want from your breakfast is high quality fuel full of nutrients, micronutrients and phytonutrients that your body needs in order to get you through the day without blood sugar drops and with enough energy to sustain you.
So why not try something new! I often start my day with a green smoothy. If you like that idea, read my blog ‘Beginners guide to smoothies’ .on this site.
But for a little more variety, try some of my delicious raw breakfast options below. A raw ‘grain free’ muesli, a fruit salad with buckwheat and cashew yoghurt, a chia cacao pudding and a cinnamon banana porridge. All these recipes are free of gluten and free of refined sugar. Try them out and let me know how you like them and how they make you feel. And remember, the key is variety… don’t just eat the same thing every day.
NB. I have included dairy yoghurt as an option for these recipes. Yoghurt is not raw and not strictly part of a raw food diet. However, if you like yoghurt and you feel good eating it, then it makes for a good alternative to the non-dairy milks and yoghurts.
Raw ‘Grain free’ muesli
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp almonds or walnuts
2 tsp goji berries
2 tsp dried mulberries
cover with water and soak over night
In the morning add: almond milk or organic yoghurt and chopped apple or fresh berries
Fruit salad with buckwheat
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup of raw shelled buckwheat
Soak the buckwheat in ½ cup of water while you prepare the fruit.
Chop the apple and pear into small pieces. De-seed the pomegranate and add to the bowl. Add the lemon juice. Rinse and drain the buckwheat and add to the bowl. Mix well with the fruit. Sweeten with a little raw honey or maple syrup and top with organic yoghurt if you like.
Chia Cacao Pudding
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup of dried fruit (mulberries, raisins, goji berries or dates)
¾ cup water
1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
1 tsp of maca powder
1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
¼ cup of organic blueberries
½ cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk (make your own or buy from the health food shop)
Soak the chia seeds and dried fruit in the water over night. Stir well, as the chia seed has a tendency to clump together. The next morning add the cacao and maca powder and mix well. Gently heat in a saucepan to no more than 46ºC/115ºF and serve immediately. For extra luxury top with a tablespoon of cashew nut yoghurt or organic yoghurt.
Cinnamon Banana ‘Porridge’
¼ cup of raw gluten free rolled oats
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of linseeds
¾ cup of water
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
½ cup of almond or coconut milk
Soak oats, chia seeds and linseed in the water over night. Stir well to mix the seeds with the oats. In the morning, add the cinnamon, coconut oil and almond milk and heat gently in a small saucepan to no more than 46ºC/115ºF. Meanwhile slice the banana. Serve the porridge immediately and top with sliced banana.
Cashew Nut Yoghurt
2 cups cashew nuts, soaked for 20 mins, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups water
¼ tsp lactose/dairy free probiotic powder
Blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Fill into a clean glass jar with srew top. Leave at room temperature for 12-16 hours (the longer you ferment the stronger the flavor). Thereafter this yoghurt stores in the fridge for 1 week.
1 cup of almonds
2 cups of water for soaking
3 cups of water for blending
Soak almonds overnight in 2 cups of water. The next morning rinse well and drain. Blend with 3 cups of water until the almonds are completely broken down. This may take 2 or 3 minutes depending on how strong your blender is. Strain the milk through a nutmilk bag or jelly bag. The milk will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can use the left over pulp as a defoliating face mask or use them to make raw crackers and biscuits.