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Monday, May 9, 2016

Breakfast of Champions

 
So did you have a Mother's Day Brunch yesterday?  We didn't, because as Big A once told people when she was about 3, "We don't celebrate brunch in our home." Like it was some religious thing, ha ha!

In reality, I think Adam and I look at like, "Why would we eat only 2 meals in a day, when we can have 3?"

If I had to identify one thing in common most of my clients with food or weight issues have, its not eating enough quality food at breakfast.  They either don't eat at all, or they don't eat enough, or they just eat some sort of high carb item like a bagel.  The result is that at some point later in the day their body retaliates for failing to fuel it properly and they get cravings, mood and energy dips and/or extreme hunger and inevitably end up indulging in high calorie, low nutrition foods like chips, candy baked goods or chocolate.  It then becomes a vicious cycle as they end up full of shame and guilt, and wake up the next morning without much appetite, which steers them away from eating a good breakfast, and, hence, the pattern continues.

I know some people just don't feel like eating when they wake up, and that isn't a problem.  Despite what some people say that you must eat within an hour of waking, research doesn't support that.  If you have to wait a bit, they do so.  Bring your breakfast to work and eat when you get there if you must.  The problem is, too many people get caught up in the belief that skipping a meal will ultimately help them lose weight, but as you can see from the troubling pattern that often develops from that, you'll see it usually does just the opposite.  If you have to wait until 10am to eat, fine.  Then eat lunch at 2-3pm, and dinner at 7pm (the theory that eating after 7pm with make you gain weight is also BS).  This style of eating is often purposefully adopted by individuals practicing intermittent fasting.  Just don't binge on ice cream at 11pm!!

Personally, I have to have a good breakfast every day, but probably anyone like myself that does early morning workouts is the same.  I do my workouts on an empty stomach, so afterwards, I'm ready to eat (following my coffee, which I have first).

For many, many years, breakfast for me has been oatmeal, which I love.  The only exception was during my 2 pregnancies when just the thought of it made me projectile vomit.  Pregnancy hormones do weird things!! 

But as my workouts have become more strength based, my craving (need) for protein has surpassed my love of carbs.  I started finding that no matter how much oatmeal I ate, and what I added to it (protein powder, egg whites, chia or flax seeds, etc.), it doesn't keep me full long.  This is problematic with my job because as a psychotherapist, I can't just pull out a snack during a session, and if I have several back-to-back sessions, I don't even have a chance to shove a single thing in my mouth for a few hours.  So its really important I have something that keeps me going for a while.

For this reason I've started switching it up at breakfast time to see what works best.  For months I just whipped up a batch of my high protein chocolate mousse.  Its very filling, but come winter, I was craving something a bit warmer.  Another winner is a couple of fried egg sandwiches.  I just take 2 flat buns and top them with cheese and fried eggs.  Yum! 

Using bananas and sweet potatoes to make grain-free pancakes, served with fruit and nutbutter is another favorite, but I don't always have time for this.

These are banana pancakes made with egg whites, cottage cheese and konjac powder:


These sweet potato pancakes also had vanilla protein powder, egg whites and konjac powder (topped with peanut butter and cinnamon!)

 
I also love omelets because they provide a great hit of protein and they are so versatile and a great way to get veggies into your breakfast, either right in them, or on the side.  The sundried tomato, herbed cream cheese variety is awesome!
 

Here is my latest favorite:


 
Yogurt I flavour myself, swirled with homemade fruit compote, or konjac powder jam.  In this case, lemon yogurt and raw konjac blueberry jam (recipes below).  Oh, and a side of chicken sausages.  Man, this kept me going for hours and is so yummy!!  It also gets me eating a few superfoods I don't eat tons of: fruit and yogurt.  I usually eat only apples, and rarely just eat yogurt on its own, despite its benefits.

Honestly, another mistake I see among my clients with disordered eating or obesity, is that they are fearful of trying new things, or give up making positive changes too quickly.  They will try eating something new (or eating something at all!), and decide it didn't work for them (didn't enjoy it, made them feel bloated, etc.) and immediately go back to their old habit.  I urge them to keep trying new things.  Experimentation is something most health-conscious people are always doing with their cooking and with their diets: looking for new healthy foods to try, new flavour combinations, seeing how different foods and meals affect how we look and feel.  Just because you try broccoli and hate it, don't assume you hate all green veggies.  Or just because you don't like steamed broccoli, don't assume you won't like it cooked a different way.  Keep an open mind and always be open to trying new things!

This week I am going to experiment with breakfast salads.  Yes, seriously! If there are any keepers, I'll let you know.

Okay, now for the recipes...

Lemon yogurt is a personal favorite, but only a few brands make it and all are either full of sugar or artificial sweeteners and tons of additives.  Making it yourself is simple and delicious, and I urge you try it.  If you don't like lemon, there are so many other options.  Its easy to find pure flavour extracts in vanilla, maple, almond, orange, and many more!!  You can leave it entirely unsweetened, or add some no-sugar sweetener of choice.  If you aren't concerned with calories and sweeteners that affect your blood sugar, use maple syrup or honey. Coconut sap will give you a lower glycemic index.  For lower cal options, xylitol, erythritol, monk fruit or stevia are good choices.

 Homemade Lemon-flavoured Yogurt

750ml container plain, unsweetened yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
1-2 tsp pure lemon extract (or other flavour) (don't add lemon juice because it will curdle the yogurt!)
2 droppers full of lemon stevia liquid (optional)
1/2 tsp pure stevia powder (or other sweetener, to taste)

Mix yogurt with the other ingredients.  Keeps in fridge up to 1 week.

Raw No-Sugar Blueberry Jam

600ml frozen blueberries, thawed
1/4 cup water
Sweetener, to taste (optional)
2 tsp konjac powder

Toss ingredients well and refrigerate overnight.  Keeps for up to 5 days.

I have submitted these recipes to Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday Linkup.

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