Monday, April 17, 2017

Ready, Set Breakfast!

Breakfast

Do you find yourself skipping breakfast? Maybe 3 cups of coffee to hold you over until lunch? – It can’t be too bad, or can it?!

I used to be this person, well, minus the coffee part. I have never acquired a taste for the roasted beans many crave. But with little ones demanding my attention as I try to get them out the door, I would often forget about food until lunch time. I figured it was normal and that I was saving those calories for my next meal in hopes of keeping my waistline trim. And yet, I had a hard time getting the extra pounds, from my last baby, to come off. After a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, and starting Dr. Axe’s Heal Your Gut program, I began to realize how vital breakfast really is. I always knew my kids should eat breakfast but thought that was just because they were hungry.  I had learned to ignore those hunger pains, so I figured they weren’t there. Once I decided to put my health first and help my body heal from the autoimmune disease, I started by making breakfast a priority. I still needed something fast and easy so I started making some highly nutritious smoothies. Dr. Axe provided some great recipes with combinations I would have never thought to use. Breakfast has now become a blessing I didn’t know I needed. I wanted to take time in this post to share some things I have learned about the importance of breakfast for adults and children.

Your body is designed to run like a machine or should I say, we design machines to operate like our bodies? Either way, our bodies have a rhythm for sleeping, eating, and working. Breakfast is so crucial because our bodies are ready for the eating cycle shortly or immediately after the sleeping cycle. When we adequately fuel up in the morning, we have helped our body to fire on all cylinders giving us better emotional stability, more energy, and we find it easier to maintain a good body weight. Blood sugar is usually low in the morning and your muscles and brain need it to work their best. Breakfast is like putting gas in the engine, it can’t run without it! That being said, it is very important that you are fueling up with the right things. Putting diesel fuel in a gas motor will cause some major problems, just like filling up with sugary junk, can cause problems. Our bodies are more forgiving than machines, so often times we over look symptoms that are telling us there is a problem until something major has developed. Let’s not do that with breakfast. Let’s choose healthy nutritious options that will keep our bodies running all day and keep illness away.

As I mentioned above, I started with breakfast smoothies. As an added bonus, my kids love the smoothies as well. My son requests the chocolate covered strawberry one almost daily. I am so happy that I learned of some great ingredients to include in them, without impacting the sweet flavor. I start off with homemade yogurt. I started making my own because I learned that letting the yogurt ferment for a long time, I prefer 36 hours, is a game changer as far as bacteria growth. After the average 6-8 hour mark that commercial producers use, the good, live bacteria start growing like mad. My yogurt was so thick; there was no need to strain it! I love Greek yogurt because it is strained (some whey is removed) to give it the nice thick consistency and higher protein content. But there is no need to waste any of the whey; the longer fermentation process will give me the same results. This is the base to my smoothies, because the protein and live cultures really help nourish our bodies.  I then add in some coconut milk, coconut oil, fruit of my choice, ground flax seeds and soaked chia seeds. In my chocolate covered strawberry smoothie, I also include chocolate grass fed beef protein powder, along with some cacao to increase the protein and add flavor. On occasion, we need to add a little sweetener to the smoothie because the yogurt can have a strong flavor of its own. I love adding some homemade vanilla extract and stevia for sweetness, without sugar.  This smoothie is a huge hit and I love that it includes lots of protein and fiber to carry my littles through their busy mornings as well as lots of healthy fats and medium chain fatty acids to support our brains.

Another staple for us is, of course, bacon and eggs. I love that our John Henry’s bacon is nitrite free and that our chickens are out pecking in the dirt, eating bugs. I make a big breakfast for my family every Saturday morning that includes eggs, hash browns, bacon, gluten free biscuits and gravy and anything else I feel like throwing together. But during the busy week, it is usually scrambled eggs and bacon or scrambled eggs with onions, Canadian bacon cut into small cubes, and cheese. This “one pan meal” is super easy and I love how fast it cooks.

Let go of the Eggo!!!! Wow, was I ever shocked when reading the ingredients on these waffles! Why do they seem to put food coloring in every “kid friendly” food item at the grocery store? Ugh, so annoying! Anyways, I will get off my soap box. I usually make homemade grain free waffles for my littles and they LOVE them. The base is eggs and cashews so again they are getting lots of good protein and fat. The best part is – they are great the day I make them and still amazing reheated in the toaster for days to come. They freeze great and make breakfast quick!

Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring or a challenge. The hardest part for me was just taking the time to make it a priority. It has paid off big time for me and I know it will for you. 

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