Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wakey Wakey, Eggs (Kale?) and Bakey -- What's the Big Deal About Breakfast?

The very first thing I do when I wake up in the wee hours of the morning is start the coffee pot, which is conveniently located in my closet. Is that sad? Actually, if I had a remote control to start it, that would be even more convenient... and even sadder, maybe? Since I like my coffee light and not-so-sweet (just like me), it fills me up a little and I could go without breakfast for a while...

But I don't. I eat breakfast before I get the small people where they need to be in the morning. I believe in breakfast. I recently had a discussion with a friend who thinks the whole breakfast thing is a lot of hype, that you should just heed your hunger cues and if that means not eating until lunchtime, then so be it.

This mentality is a thing--it's called intuitive eating, and on one level, I can really dig it. We have God-given hunger and satiety cues that should be given a voice, surely. However, my body is imperfect and I live in an imperfect world, thus I find my hunger and satiety cues are not always 100% reliable. I get distracted, I think I'm hungry, but I'm really not, etc. So, I eat a little something for breakfast. Here are a few reasons why:

  • If I don't eat something by 8am at the latest, I find myself ravenously hungry by 10. As in, I-could-eat-my-hand kind of hungry. Usually then I'm out somewhere and grab something less beneficial for my health and well-being (read: sugary, refined carbs.) I would have been much better off just having eaten a little something at home.
  • I find a good breakfast gets me off on the right foot. I'm much more likely to make wise food choices throughout the day if I've had a decent breakfast.
  • It turns out I'm not alone--78% of National Weight Control Registry members (individuals who have lost at least 30lbs. and kept it off for at least a year) report having breakfast everyday, among other healthy habits.
  • Breakfast can be a great way to get in some fruits and veg--yes, veg for breakfast! Read on.
Following are two recipes from The Physique 57 Solution. I love this book for the breakfast ideas alone. Both these recipes use quinoa, the ancient grain of the Incas. Quinoa is considered a 'super food' by many--a gluten-free grain that is rich in protein (for a grain, anyway.) One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, compared to 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in brown rice. I usually make up a pot of quinoa and use it throughout the week. 

Carrot Grain Omelet 

What you need:

1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 c. shredded carrots
1/4 tsp. onion powder (I use dried minced onions... cuz... it's what's in the cupboard)
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs
1/4 c. cooked quinoa
1 tsp. butter

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan and add carrots, onion, salt and pepper.
Cook until carrots are soft, about 4 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, quinoa and cooked carrots.

In the same pan, melt the butter over low heat. Pour in the egg mixture, turn heat to low, cover pan with a lid and cook on low for about 2 minutes.
Then flip it over (carefully) and continue to cook until it is firm and cooked through, about 2 minutes more, though I let it go longer because I like my eggs well-done.


The second recipe is super easy if you've prepped the ingredients ahead. It's just mix, heat and eat:

Breakfast Egg Salad

What you need:

1 hard-boiled egg
1/4 c. cooked quinoa
1/2 c. steamed kale (I've made it with spinach, arugula, you name it. Any cooking green will work.)
1 tsp. olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

I boil the eggs ahead of time, and toss the ingredients (including raw greens) all together and heat it up. The greens wilt on their own. If I have a ripe avocado on hand, I'll put that in, too. Super yummy.

I was not always a breakfast eater. I really wasn't hungry in the morning, because I had back-loaded my calories the day before. Since I ate so few early in the day, I made up for it with a bigger dinner and snacking in the evening... exactly when I really didn't need a lot of calories. If you find yourself really not hungry in the morning, try eating less the night before. You might even wake up wanting KALE! You never know...

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