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Breakfast: Protein & Peace of Mind

July 29, 2011

The biggest change in my life lately is BREAKFAST. This has always been my favorite meal of the day, maybe because I have a major sweet tooth. Almost two weeks ago, during my first consultation with Jan, The Amazing Nutritionist, I learned a bunch of science that added up to the following: I will feel better and promote better health in the future if I can get a super-high-protein breakfast every day.

Well, Mom, I hope you’re sitting down as you read this, because you probably never saw this coming: I get up early, now, so that I can cook a real breakfast. I would never have believed that this would happen if you had told me a year ago, but this night owl has learned to love her mornings.

Here are my specific breakfast goals:

  • Eat 20 grams of protein.
  • Do nothing but eat, slowly, during this meal. Do not read. Do not check email. Sit and be “present.” Psychologists call this “mindfulness”and there are truckloads of research that tell us that practicing mindfulness makes human beings happier.

(If this sounds like hippie nonsense, just read this article before you make up your mind.)

Avoiding my computer and my books and newspapers during breakfast is HARD! I sometimes end up talking to my dog. He listens because he’s hoping I’ll drop some food. I think we are now closer than before… But the real goal is to make sure that I start my day with calmness and mindfulness and that I eat all this protein slowly so that my body can do a better job absorbing it.

I don’t eat the same thing every day, but I’ve been eating some variation of this meal each day this week.

  • Creamy Fruity Oatmeal, with pepitas (delicious mexican pumpkin seeds, roasted and crunchy and nutty)
  • Coffee + almond milk
  • Peach Berry Smoothie

Here’s what I added to my oatmeal this morning:

Organic dried black Mission figs, chopped; pepitas, roasted and salted; organic candied ginger with natural cane sugar (those are the only ingredients--no sulphur).

Finished product! Trader Joes Quick Cook Steel Cut Oatmeal. When this runs out, I'll switch to Bob's Red Mill slower cooking version because it has more protein. I don't know why. Both are delicious. I also added toasted wheat germ and stirred it up; I can't taste it and it adds, you guessed it, more protein.

Cascadian Farms Organic Harvest Berries; (same brand) Peaches; Trader Joe's original almond milk; Bob's Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder; sweetened with 1 tbsp agave syrup.


Today’s breakfast was vegetarian and even dairy free. Is it vegan? I guess so… I am not a vegetarian, but have not yet gotten around to purchasing the grass-fed beef I am supposed to add (with beans) to scrambled eggs for another high-protein breakfast option. Another day! About the hemp powder: it looks and smells vile in the bag, but I really can’t taste it in the smoothie. I’m trying to do this whole thing without too many supplements and as many unprocessed ingredients as possible, but this stuff is minimally processed and made from a whole food. It’s also organic, which is really important with seeds. And, about the dairy–I’m trying to keep the glycemic level low, and cow’s milk is not great for that. I have now made the switch to almond milk even in my coffee and find that if I add enough of it, it cuts the bitterness of the coffee in the way that milk used to and adds a lovely almondy flavor without any chemical flavorings.

Here’s the breakdown of the nutrition I got this morning, thanks to a lovely iPhone app called, as you can see, “My Fitness Pal.” It’s online, too, if you don’t have an iPhone and like it. It seems to be primarily marketed towards people trying to lose weight, but I use it to keep track of things like protein and iron, not calories, which matter less in my case, especially since I’m eating less meat and almost no processed foods.

20110729-122450.jpg

Note the high levels of iron, calcium and Vitamin A, as well as my 21 grams of protein. Success! 20-25 grams, achieved!

I love this meal. It’s warming, comforting, delicious and filling. It’s also really easy and takes about fifteen minutes, because all these whole foods just get thrown together. Aside from a bit of chopping, boiling some water, stirring and using a blender, I don’t have to do much. It hardly feels like cooking at all. It’s July, yes, and hot, yes, and I’m eating oatmeal, but it hasn’t bothered me yet! This is better than any (homemade) breakfast I’ve had since my family used to make whole grain banana walnut pancakes for me in the shape of Minnie Mouse.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2011 1:34 am

    Yay! I eat two hard-boiled (organic) eggs for breakfast nearly every day. Or plain greek yogurt with fruit. Or organic, raw bars I make– I’ll tell you about them the next time I see you…tomorrow night, right?!

  2. August 5, 2011 12:25 am

    I’ve used “My Fitness Pal” too! Wish it didn’t take so long to input homemade meals though. and I also love breakfast, cheerios, yogurt and eggs over-medium. MMMMM

    • August 5, 2011 8:32 am

      It really does take forever! I can never manage to input the entire day’s meals.

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