I thought it rather fitting that my first blog post be about my favourite and first meal of the day – Breakfast!
Breakfasts seem to be one of those hit and miss meals these days. If we have time for them, we eat, if not, no big loss. I often hear people saying they don’t have time for breakfast, or it makes them feel nauseous to eat so early in the day, or some completely mis-informed comments like “it speeds up my metabolism”. I will tell you right now, you will be doing your body and mentality a very big favour if you eat a good breakfast.
I just love my breakfasts for so many reasons. Firstly, it sets up a good foundation for my day. It makes my stomach feel all warm and harmonised and helps me poo if it hasn’t come already (you’ll get used to this talk if you keep reading this blog). Two very good stand alone reasons to eat breakky.
Secondly, there are so many good things to eat at breakfast time! I’m not talking about a bacon and egg muffin, dry toast or sugary cereal drenched in fridgid milk from another species. Once you get your pre-conditioned mind wrapped around it, give me a good lentil and vegie soup, tofu scramble, porridge made from different grains (quinoa, brown rice, millet and oats are favourites of mine) with a variety of awesome nutritious additions either cooked in or added on top. I have a plethora of ingredients in my pantry to choose from such as agave syrup, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamias, linseeds, sesame seeds, goji berries, raisins, dried apricots, virgin coconut oil, maple syrup, bananas, apple, cinnamon and a splash of soy or nut milk. Not only are these items great tasting and you can mix and match to find a combination that suits your mood, but very valuable nutrition-wise.
As the self-dubbed Madame of Breakfasts I’ve taken it upon myself to coach those around me (namely my wonderful housemates – guinea pigs and probably subjects of many posts) not only on the importance of breakfast, but how to have a good breakfast. There are a couple of dimensions to this point; the preparation of a daily nutritious breakfast and once you’ve prepared it, how you go about consuming it. I will not lie to you and say that’s it’s easy to get started. It takes a bit of coordination and organisation initially. You need to make sure you allow enough time to make it, however many of the breakfasts I prepare can be made the night before. Often people aren’t thinking about what they’re going to eat for breakfast the night before, so this can take some getting used to. However, findings from my guinea-pig trials (I must find another term for my agreeable house-mate subjects) that once you start having these breakfasts you’ll be in the mindset in no time – you will be reaping the rewards from the energy and goodness you feel from starting your day right.
The second point might seem like a no brainer. Everyone knows how to eat! Well not really. Yup that’s right, I’m telling you right here and now that you don’t know how to eat. This is a point that I will keep drilling home to you over and over again: Chew. Your. Food. This is such a fundamental point in the process of eating and digestion, yet in our society we’re too busy, in a rush, watching telly, reading, surfing the net, working, arguing that remembering to chew thoroughly often gets overlooked. A very famous Chinese Medicine saying is “Drink your food and eat your drink”. Keep this in mind when eating, always. When you are ‘drinking’ your food you have enough beneficial enzymes swimming around copious amounts of saliva. This liquid-y environment sets your meal up to be received by the stomach – a warm, moist environment for effective digestion. It is often the case that we can be putting the most pure, nutrient rich, organic food in our body, but if we’re not extracting the nutrients efficiently then you may as well be eating chalk for all of the nutrients you actually utilise. While on this point, Digestion 101; there are very important enzymes contained in your saliva and only your saliva. For all you model wannabes out there one of these enzymes digest lipids (aka fats). The only way these will not go on your bottom and be used in their proper course of action in our human biology (because good fats are necessary) is if they’re properly assimilated, digested and what’s not utilised is excreted. Fact: I have actually lost weight by chewing my food. I wont digress further on this path since it’s a whole other blog post in itself. But you get the point. Chew, mix, swallow.
Another point fundamental to a good breakfast is not really a part of the main event itself but is so integral to the process that I group it in. It is important to prepare your stomach to receive food. And it’s quite simple really; drink a glass of warm water before you consume anything else. It has to be warm and no it can’t be juice. Warm means it feels warm going down your gullet which is equal to your body temperature or warmer. Our bodies are at 37 degrees celcius, anything we put in there that is cooler than that takes energy to warm it up. It is another fallacy that consuming cold food/drinks speeds up your metabolism. All that does is stop your digestion and deplete your other organs of much needed energy to perform their own important functions. I am also not a big fan of the lemon in water thing because I personally find that it fires up my liver making me irritable. I am prone to a bit of Liver-Qi stagnation especially while studying. Sour is the flavour of the Liver and too much of sour flavours will have the opposite effect of soothing it. I find that drinking 3/4 of a big glass of warm water then in the last 1/4 add about a teaspoon of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar works for me. Listen to your body weather you want to go au-naturale or try what I do. I do think it’s improtant that no matter what, the very first thing you put in your stomach for that day is nothing but clean warm water, since your stomach doesn’t have to do any digesting and it gets ready to receive.
I didn’t always love breakfasts. I was one of those aforementioned mis-informed. I skipped breakfast frequently and when I did eat it, I had something reminiscent of cardboard in the form of toast made from supermarket bread that I stuffed down while driving to work. Needless to say, I suffered from IBS amoung other complaints. Part of the process of getting my body in order was getting into the right habbits with breakfast and I’ve never looked back. I have a good healthy appetite and maintain an ideal weight (in fact my body is more smokin’ at 31 than it was at 21!) and a lot of seemingly un-related ailments have disappeared completely. I am more in tune with my body which will tell me what it needs.
Below is the recipe for my current favourite breakfast. It is a fully nutritious quick to make and so delicious! The best bit is, that once you have your foundation porridge it is easy to change around based on whats in the cupboard and what you feel like.
quantities below are for 1 person. Recipe is easily multiplied
1/3 c. organic rolled oats
good pinch of linseeds, goji berries, raisins
2/3 c. water
Put all ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil. Lower heat and cook until oats have gone soft and mushy. If the mixture dries out, add more water along the way.
Once ready top with a good teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil. Sprinkle on some freshly crushed walnuts, almonds and macadamias (bashed in a mortar and pestle). Drizzle with agave or maple syrup to your liking and a little soy milk.
NB: I’d like to credit good friend and ex “guinea pig” Penzo for the banana addition. Usually I’m not a big fan of ‘damp forming’ banana especially while it’s out of season but it’s so wonderfully tasty, and 1/2 a banana shouldn’t cause too much grief. Again, just listen to your body if you have too much mucous or trying to loose weight then substitute for apples or top with mandarin chunks (currently in season).