Simple Tips For Making a Healthy Breakfast
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While I believe that all meals and snacks are important, since they will all move us either toward better health and function or away from it, breakfast certainly comes with some additional importance.
What we put in our bodies at the start of our day will in large part determine our physiological, mental and emotional function for the rest of the day… or at least for the next few hours. Wow. No pressure!
Isn’t it odd then, that the most important meal of the day is typically the one so riddled with toxic foods, void of nutritional value? What are the most common breakfast foods in most North American homes? Cereal, breads, bagels, pastries and baked goods, breakfast bars, boxed waffles and a variety of other empty foods consisting primarily of toxic, processed refined grains.
The focus seems to have shifted to filling up our bellies with the cheapest “food” available rather than “fueling up” our bodies with what we genetically require on order to create health and optimal function.
What foods are required for optimal function? The foods in what I call The Circle of Health:
1. Protein: meat (poultry, red meat, wild game, fish), seafood, whole eggs, as well as nuts and nut butters, as a secondary source of protein.
2. Fats & oils: this includes the ones that naturally accompany our protein choices as well as other healthy fats from foods like nuts & seeds, avocado, olives, coconuts, grass-fed real butter and so on.
If you’d like to maximize the benefits of the aforementioned foods, then apply The 4 Golden Rules of Nutrition:
1. Eat real food, “God-grown” food, single ingredient food (or close to it).
2. Eat whole foods, foods in their closest to naturally occurring state.
3. Eat the least toxic food possible.
4. Eat fresh, local and often raw foods.
We know the foods in The Circle of Health move us toward health. The reason you don’t see grains or dairy listed in the circle is because they are controversial foods that are the focus of much debate. Some health experts tell us we should not be consuming them at all. Others say they’re acceptable in moderation, but NOT from conventional sources or processing. Conventional dairy and grains are toxic, chemical nightmares.
So, how can we take this information and apply it to breakfast?
I’m a fan of adding the “good stuff” first, before eliminating any of the “bad stuff”. That means, if you desperately wish to keep eating your grains for breakfast, just add some of the more health-promoting foods to your meal. Make sure that every breakfast includes fresh fiber (fruit and/or veggies) as well as some healthy protein.
My kids still love to have their grain-based foods for breakfast. Since these foods have not been completely eliminated, we have some ‘agreements’ about breakfast grains in order to protect our health as much as possible: We don’t eat grains for breakfast on a daily basis. We don’t keep a lot of grainy foods in the house. Only one grain per meal. The next meal or snack will not contain grains. The grains must be consumed along with some protein and fresh fiber. Only high fiber, low sugar, organic whole grains.
Here’s an example of how we’ve taken a common grain-based breakfast staple, oatmeal, and made it healthier. I start with organic whole grain steel-cut oats, and slow cook them on the stove top (or crock pot). I put just enough water in the pot to cover the bottom, then mix in a couple of whole eggs (free range organic) before adding the oats and more water. When the oats are almost done, I mix in some organic whole buttermilk (great source of fat soluble vitamins A and D), some ground flax seeds, organic cinnamon and some local raw honey. Then, it’s topped with sliced almonds and/or walnuts and fresh fruit.
That may sound like a lot, but it’s simple, delicious and a much healthier option than the packaged quick-cook oatmeal made from refined grains and massive amounts of sugar and other toxins. That’s a sure fire way to throw your blood sugar completely out of whack!
There are many simple ways to take your current breakfast and make it healthier: choose whole grains, add whole eggs, add fresh fruit, make a smoothie or juice some fresh veggies or fruit, add some raw nuts, and choose organic, whole fat dairy products (raw and unpasteurized, if you can), if you’re consuming dairy.
Of course, for even better health, you can reduce your intake of grains and choose other foods from The Circle of Health for breakfast.
Healthier doesn’t have to be harder, but it does require you to make healthier choices!