A lot of people wonder what to have for breakfast on a Primal or Paleo diet, or even when reducing their carbohydrate intake to manage Insulin Resistance. There is always eggs, but speaking from experience, one can't stomach eggs EVERY day without end. I like eggs, and don't get me wrong, eggs are a great breakfast stand by, but when you can't deal with eggs every day, what does the Primal human eat?
Folks often are bewildered by the idea of eating anything other than the "typical" breakfast foods ( toaster waffles, toast, pancakes, cereals, god forbid- pop tarts and nutri-grain bars), eggs and bacon are often maligned, wrongly in our country's mistaken ideas about health. So what to eat if toast and cereal aren't on your menu? Eggs and bacon are the obvious, but the primal diet I strive to eat by advocates LOTS of plant matter. Plants are full of wonderful health promoting nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other phytonutrients just coming to light as healthful. Every meal should include plants! Greens at breakfast, lunch and dinner, brightly colored berries accompanying a meal, herbs and spices to increase flavor and antioxidants. Plants are amazing, plants are wonderful, plants are food and medicine! Every plate of food you eat should be your medicine and your sustenence!
Breakfast has long been the most challenging meal for me. It's easy to think of meat and vegetables at lunch or dinner, but breakfast...sometimes difficult to stomach at early hours of the morning, time crunches getting to work or school, often people just skip breakfast all together. I'm as guilty as the rest, but when I do skip that all important meal to start the day, no matter WHAT I do the rest of the day, No matter WHAT I EAT, even if I nap- I do not have the energy and pizazz to make it through the day without a good protein rich breakfast. I have never really liked the breakfast foods so popular in our culture, cold cereals, pancakes slathered in syrup, oatmeal (I really despise oatmeal, personally.) I often did better eating a begal with cream cheese and lox, or a breakfast burrito, or the typical sunday breakfast of eggs, potatoes and sausage. But what is a person to do? How to achieve a healthy, tasty and reasonably easy breakfast that satisfies the appetite and the taste buds.
I've decided to do a little blog series for you all describing the various things I eat for breakfast, some will be quick and dirty easy, others a little more involved time or ingredient wise, but it is sure to leave you with some ideas for how to concoct your breakfasts!
A few guidlines to go by:
1. 25-35g of protein at your morning meal ( that looks like 4-5 eggs, 4 oz chicken or fish, 2 eggs and 4 pieces of bacon etc)
2. Fresh plant foods! Greens, peppers, berries, mushrooms, squash- pick your favorites!)
3. Flavor! Don't skimp on the spices or appropriate condiments. Your breakfast has to TASTE good, or else you won't eat it.
4. Eat when you are hungry. Don't try to force yourself to eat a huge breakfast at 6 am when you are just NOT hungry. Ideally you should wake from your slumber with an appetite, if you don't you'll need to do some extra work. Use digestive bitters in the morning when you awaken to wake up the appetite, eat dinner early in the evening so you go to bed with an empty stomach and WORK up to eating a larger breakfast. Go in stages.
Todays Menu: Lemony chicken and nettle grape leaf bowl, garden salad, fresh strawberries and a glass of jasmine white tea.
1 boneless chicken thigh, chopped
2 cups fresh nettles ( if you don't have access to nettles, use another tasty green, spinach, kale, arugala, chard are all great options)
10-15 preserved grape leaves ( I dont know of a substitute for the lemony salty flavor of preserved grape leaves, I preserve my own, but you can find them in specialty markets in cans.)
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 lemon, chopped coarsely
salt and pepper to taste
sage leaf to taste
1 tbsp butter ( I use free range grass fed butter for the CLA and omega 3 content. Butter isn't exactly primal, but it isn't the evil they would like to make you think. Choose coconut oil or olive oil if you don't use butter).
Sautee the onions and garlic in butter, add the chicken pieces and cook until done. (5 -10 min depending on how big you cut your chicken pieces). Chop the nettles and grape leaves ( or other greens) and add them to the cooked chicken. Salt and pepper and sage to taste. Turn off the heat, squeeze the juice from your lemons into the pan, then toss the chopped peels in the pan as well ( antioxidants galore in those peels, use organic or homegrown peels preferably!)
Serve warm! Fresh and springy, tasty and nutritious! Serves 1. Double or triple the recipe for additional members of the family.
Add a small bowl of strawberries, or blueberries.
Add leftover garden salad from the previous nights dinner. I always make a little extra these days to add to my breakfast for a quick source of plant food if I'm in a hurry. Use a simple lemon and olive oil dressing.
This meal took me 15-20 min to prepare, the salad was made ahead of time last night, so was an easy addition. I will have to give a little credit to Loba at the Anima center, as her grape leaf chicken dish was the inspiration for my breakfast today.
I'll be back with more breakfasts soon!