Does this picture of breakfast food look healthy? It may look appealing and tasty, but it provides little to no nutritional value. If you are like many people, your morning time does not allow for the preparation of a healthy meal that will satisfy your hunger and provide the nutrients you need for starting your day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because you are literally breaking a fast from not eating since the night before. Your body has not eaten in quite a few hours – perhaps 10 or more. So what you put in your body is of critical importance.
Many people start off their day with coffee and something processed with a lot of carbohydrates in it and little protein such as toast with jam, a cinnamon roll, pop tart, blueberry muffin, or bagel with cream cheese. Even fruit is of little help when it is produced from a conventional source and accompanies the likes of such processed, sugary foods.
Sound familiar? A breakfast like this will fill your body with toxins and wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. Over time, consuming this type of breakfast will cause weight gain, mood disorders, insulin resistance and eventually Diabetes and heart disease.
By contrast, traditional, whole foods are just what nature ordered. They contain the right amounts of fats, proteins, cholesterol, and other vital nutrients to help balance out our weight, mood, blood sugar, blood pressure, and organ system health. Fat soluble vitamins only found in whole foods with fat help the body to properly absorb and use nutrients for good health. If you are suffering from health problems, making a switch to whole, traditional foods can help you to eliminate sugar cravings, hunger, mood swings, weight problems, headaches, and other problems that lead to chronic disease and illnesses of all types. And the perfect place to start is breakfast!
Ask yourself this important question…what do you normally eat for breakfast in the morning, and does it satisfy your hunger and keep you going until lunch? Or, does it leave you hanging and feeling hungry in an hour or two…or even worse, sick and jittery?
Why I changed my breakfast habits
Years ago I used to eat garbage for breakfast. My typical eating choices were a cup of tea with a slice of processed bread and peanut butter. Sometimes I’d eat cereal and milk or a sugary yogurt (my favorite brand was Yoplait…one of *the* most unhealthy yogurt products you can eat) with my cup of tea. I never felt satisfied but I didn’t think I had time for anything else. By 9:30 or 10 a.m. I’d start feeling shaky and sick. I couldn’t understand what could possibly be the matter. Usually I was at work, so there was nothing else to eat until lunch unless I had brought something from home (which I hadn’t), or if someone happened to bring bagels or muffins into the break room to share. Invariably, I’d be starving and cranky by lunch. And most of the time my lunch wasn’t nutritious either. So by the time dinner came, I was starving again and hadn’t really eaten anything substantial all day.
When I discovered how different I could feel by preparing a nutritious breakfast, I finally made the connection that making those choices to eat garbage all those years had damaged my health and made me feel lousy. Now I eat a nutritious meal each morning.
What’s nutritious and what’s not? Here’s how to transform an unhealthy breakfast into a healthy one:
Breakfast 1: cold cereal and milk with orange juice and toast becomes:
- organic grains (soaked overnight) such as oatmeal or millet, cooked the next morning with
- real butter melted on the top and mixed into the cereal
- organic whole milk (raw milk is a plus!) or organic, plain whole milk yogurt (home-made from raw milk is a plus!) poured over cereal
- organic fruit of your choice (blueberries, blackberries, bananas, strawberries)
- organic, freshly ground flax seeds (optional)
- a bit of raw honey or real maple syrup
Breakfast 2: a bagel and cream cheese with coffee or orange juice becomes:
- sprouted, organic whole grain bagel or bread (we use Ezekiel or sprouted grain bread from Silver Hills)
- real organic butter (we use Kerrygold or Organic Valley Pasture Butter – grass-fed Irish butter)
- raw organic melted cheese (we use Organic Valley raw cheeses from grass-fed cows) or spreadable fresh goat’s cheese and cow’s cheese mixture (we use Sno Frisk)
- scrambled eggs from pasture-raised chickens (optional)
- your choice of organic fruit
Breakfast 3: frozen breakfast sandwich from your freezer, local coffee house, or work kiosk becomes:
- sprouted, organic whole grain bagel or bread with real organic butter
- raw organic melted cheese
- over-easy or scrambled eggs from pasture-raised chickens
- real bacon, or ham, or sausage from pasture-raised hogs or grass-fed beef or game (we use Organic Prairie products)
Breakfast 4: pop tarts or toaster strudel, orange juice, and milk becomes:
- Fancy French toast made on sprouted grain bread dipped in egg mixture from pasture-raised chickens, cooked with plenty of butter
Put on a plate and serve with:
- plain, whole milk yogurt
- your choice of organic fruit
- freshly ground flax seeds (optional)
- a drizzle of real maple syrup and a glass of organic, whole milk (raw is a plus)
Breakfast 5: scrambled eggs and toast becomes
- omelet or scrambled eggs with real butter
- chopped broccoli and avocado slices (vegetables for breakfast? Yes! Get used to the idea of incorporating these colorful, nutrient-dense foods in with your breakfast meals and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good you feel!)
- diced onions
- garlic (optional)
- shredded raw cheese
- topped with salsa made from organic ingredients (home-made or store bought)
- sprouted grain toast with real butter
So what’s the secret to making these breakfasts a success? Budgeting, planning, and a little research. Decide where you’d rather spend your money – on cheap, industrial food that is quick and convenient and then pay later with poor health, low energy, doctor bills, and missed time at work or school, or making an effort to prepare home-made versions of some of these foods or locate good, wholesome foods that are locally produced or sold at your health food store, farmer’s market, or from a local food grower or farmer.
Other ideas for healthy breakfasts items: Try plain, whole milk yogurt with organic fruit and freshly ground flax seeds, or hard-boiled pasture-raised eggs with sprouted grain toast spread with real butter and raw almond butter, or home-made pancakes with sprouted organic whole-grain flour spread with plenty of butter and organic fruit with plain whole milk yogurt and perhaps a bit of real maple syrup or raw honey. Left over grass-fed meats or poultry are fantastic with eggs or in omelets and hash-browned potatoes.
Don’t forget the vegetables in your egg creation – whatever you have around – zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, or mushrooms. If you find that big breakfasts are just too much, limit your portions to smaller servings. You can still eat a healthy breakfast with good foods that isn’t too overwhelmingly large.
Don’t forget to cook with healthy oils such as real butter, extra-virgin olive, coconut, and palm oils. Good lard from pasture-raised hogs is amazingly healthy and tastes great, too.
With a little bit of planning and variation, in no time you can create a menu of delicious and nutritious breakfast choices to switch around so you are not becoming bored with meals and you are giving your body the best there is to offer for optimal health.
Once you have located the sources for your healthy food and worked into your personal routine, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without healthy food – especially when you discover a new sense of energy and well-being. Some of the foods you’ll have to spend extra money on up front; in general, healthy, organic food tends to cost more than processed, industrial food. But the money you’ll save on your health care costs later will be worth it. If you are diligent, you can save money on organic and local foods by clipping coupons, watching for sales, bartering, volunteering to work at farms or make deliveries in exchange for food, and supporting local agriculture by purchasing from your neighboring farmers. Local foods travel less distance so that part of the cost is normally reduced for selling the food (and it’s better for you and the environment).
Some of these foods can be made more healthy just by a few minutes of advance preparation such as soaking your organic grains overnight in filtered water and a bit of whey from real milk or yogurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. These substances help break down phytic acid activity in grains that renders them indigestible and damaging to the digestive tract (think IBS, Crohn’s disease, grain intolerance, and allergies). Many people who are allergic to grains find that they can consume soaked and sprouted grain products with no problem at all.
What’s the bottom line?
Budget your finances and make time for your health! These makeovers really pack a nutrition punch..not to mention, they are delicious! With a little bit of planning and variation, in no time you can create a menu of delicious and nutritious breakfast choices to switch around so you are not becoming bored with meals and you are giving your body the best there is to offer for great health. Next time you go into the kitchen to make breakfast, consider these alternatives to the boring, nutritionally-bankrupt foods you’ve been eating…and make healthy eating the new order of the day.
This article is part of Cheeseslave’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival. Please visit this site and read the other great real food articles there.