3 Things You Need from Your Breakfast

Let’s talk breakfast! I know I’ve been guilty of skipping this meal. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s done this. It’s easy to skip this meal!! You woke up late. You woke up ‘on time’ but are somehow running late. Getting the kids ready for school. Etc. There are many reasons why one would be tempted (or 'forced') to skip this meal. The thing is that there are many reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day! And there are excellent reasons why you should NOT simply reach for a breakfast bar as you’re on the way out the door!!

3 Things You WANT & NEED

  1. You want to eat your breakfast!

  2. You want it to be healthy and nutritious.

  3. You want the least amount of chemicals and processed foods as part of your breakfast and your meals. (This means each item is to have 5 ingredients or less; a 4th grader should be able to pronounce and know what the ingredients are; and no ingredient should have more than 2 syllables.)

 

The reason you want and need the above?? Because your body has been fasting overnight and now that you are awake, your body has to kickstart everything: your brain, your heart and cardiovascular systems, your digestion etc. The better (in quality and nutrients) your breakfast, the better your body will function.

The benefits?? You’ll have more energy, a clearer and more focused mind and be able to maintain a healthy weight. Remember it is not about calorie counting. Diets in that sense - the calorie counting, the deprivation, the restrictions - don’t work. Learning how to eat and how to feed your body nutrient-rich foods? That works!

Breakfast Ideas

You can go with a couple hard boiled eggs and some fresh fruits and plain Greek yogurt (those 3 things could be your breakfast) or you can try something like these! Remember protein is important and so are whole grain carbs like steel cut oats, quinoa and amaranth. And always remember - if it says ‘whole grain’ on the box, it is NOT a whole grain.

 

Fall Raw Oatmeal with Flaxseeds

1 cup Irish Steel Cut Oats (or Oat Groats)

4 cups purified water (for soaking the oats)

2 cups purified water (or Almond/Coconut milk)

1 organic red apple, chopped

2 medjool dates, soaked (or soaked apricots)

1 tbsp flaxseeds

1 tsp Ceylon Cinnamon (add once ready to serve)

½ tsp Nutmeg (add once ready to serve)

=> Step 1 is to soak the Oats in 4 cups of water overnight. In a separate bowl, soak the dates. In the morning drain and rinse the oats & make sure the pits from the dates are removed. You can use the water used to soak the dates as part of the 2 cups you will use to prepare the oatmeal. Place the drained and rinsed oats and the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for 20-25 seconds - until it reaches the desired consistency. Portion out the blended oats into a bowl and sprinkle with Ceylon Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Enjoy!  

Berry-Chia Pudding

1 cup Almond milk, organic (can use Coconut/Flax/Hemp milk)

¼ cup chia seeds

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup organic blueberries

¼ cup organic strawberries, sliced

¼ cup organic almonds, chopped

=>Step 1 is to soak the Chia seeds in the 1 cup of Almond milk overnight - covered and in the refrigerator. You can also soak them for 1 hour, if you are able to do that in the morning. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and add the remaining ingredients. Feel free to experiment with adding other fruits. Stir well and enjoy!  

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Gluten-free?? or Not Gluten-free??

A couple Mondays ago now, I decided I was going to really give this whole Gluten-free thing a proper try. I have noticed that when I eat products with Gluten – a protein found in certain grains – wheat is one of the most common sources of Gluten in our diets nowadays - I feel sluggish, bloated, my brain just has this numb feeling, I wake up with less energy & just have this EH feeling.. As you can see these are not good signs! I am an actress & a health & wellness coach, so it is my responsibility to look great & tend to my body & mind properly & from there support others in doing the same. All week I was doing great! & feeling great! I woke up without that tired, sluggish…will someone please turn off the daylight…feeling! I had more energy. I ate my greens. I had some lean proteins. I had some healthy grains such as brown rice & quinoa. & I got things done! Until the weekend… I started craving pizza!! & I’m a New Yorker so there is nothing like a pizza craving for us. But you can substitute this with your favorite source of gluten ;) And I gave in – to this delicious artisanal pizza spot. The pizza was delicious. I loved every bite of it!! Until…I woke up this past Monday morning.  I woke up feeling tired & like my brain was numb. I felt lethargic & without much energy to do anything. All I could think was why on earth did I eat that pizza!?? Now I have to get back on the ‘wagon’ & eat my greens & healthy – GLUTEN FREE grains, lean proteins… It is back to the drawing board!!

Now, I don’t believe that so called “gluten-free” foods that have an ingredient list that is a mile long, with words you can’t pronounce (or even some you can pronounce) is a good thing either!! ALWAYS read your ingredient list!!  If it lists potato starch, corn starch, tapioca starch, rice starch (see a pattern ;) or xanthum gum. STAY AWAY!! These ingredients are highly processed. They make the 'gluten-free' whatever-it-is high in sugar, lacking in nutrients & to add insult to injury, high on the Glycemic Index. This means that your body breaks them down very quickly; which leads to a spike in your blood sugar that is followed by a sharp drop. You want to eat foods that are low on the Glycemic Index – so your body breaks them down over time – making you feel satisfied longer, evening out your mood & keeping your energy up. 

Don’t fall into the marketing trap!! There are tons of companies out there that are supposedly ‘healthy’ but in reality aren’t. Case in point – Naked Juices. They are currently being sued because their juices aren’t really ‘natural’ or healthy. They are loaded with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), soy derived fillers, lots of sugar etc.  Read the labels & do your research

Look at the sugar content! 1 teaspoon = 4.2 grams 

Here are some grains that are naturally Gluten-free:

  1. Brown rice
  2. Quinoa
  3. Amaranth
  4. Oats (just make sure they are whole oats, uncontaminated)
  5. Teff
  6. Sorghum
  7. Millet
  8. Buckwheat
  9. Cornmeal, whole grain (not cornstarch)
  10. Popcorn (organic & non-GMO)
  11. Montina (Indian Rice Grass)

You may not have heard of some of these. I have never heard of Montina!! But MOST of them are easy to find. You can start with oats, quinoa, brown rice & popcorn & then move on to Amaranth, millet, buckwheat, etc as you get more comfortable! It's a process :)

I started with these recipes & they are delicious!! Eat up!

 

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

1 cup Almond milk, unsweetened *

½ cup quinoa

½ berries (fresh or frozen)

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp agave nectar (optional) 

Bring the almond milk & quinoa to a light boil. If you are using frozen berries ‘cook’ the berries with the quinoa. Once you bring it to a light boil, reduce heat to a low simmer & cover saucepan with its lid. Simmer for ~15 minutes or until the quinoa has the desired amount of almond milk left. Remove from heat & mix in the cinnamon & agave (optional) & the berries, if fresh.

* I use unsweetened almond milk because I want it to have as little added to it as possible. If I have time I will make my own almond milk – but I admit, I don’t usually have the time to make my own. If you want to add 1 tsp of true Vanilla extract feel free to do so.

 

Raw Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 ¼ cups whole oat groats or steel cut oats

1 ½ cups almond milk, unsweetened (or purified water)

1 organic apple, chopped

1 tbsp organic raisins

¼ tsp cinnamon

**Place the oats in the milk/water with the raisins & let them soak overnight.

In the morning, add the chopped apple & blend in your food processor/blender/vitamix until smooth. Sprinkle the cinnamon & more raisins, if desired.

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