January 23, 2008

Breaking your fast, gently

I think this question comes up a lot for people: What is a healthy breakfast? A recent message string on yelp.com answered this question with suggestions like yogurt smoothies, berries with maple syrup, and skim lattes.

Well, anything is better that Frosted Flakes.

But after a night of no food, it's best to break your fast without shocking your system. That makes sense, right? So, sugar? That's extreme to introduce to your system first thing in the morning. Caffeine? Same thing. You may think your little Yoplait yogurt is a good idea but check out how much sugar is in that container, not to mention chemicals. You'd be better off eating nothing. That's true you know – eating sugar is worse than eating nothing. If you are ever stranded on an island with a 10 lb. bag of sugar, remember this.

For breakfast, do what the Chinese (or is it Japanese?) have been doing for centuries: eat rice. Remember, brown rice. Cook it the night before, then let soak in more water, and cook again in the morning, you'll get a real nice soft porridge. Add tamari, sesame seeds, anything you like. Miso soup is also traditional morning food – almost like a warm drink you'd have with your meal.

Not into rice and miso? Get some whole oat groats or steel cut oats. Steel cut are minimally processed and cook much faster. Whole oat groats are for the hardcore among us. Adding some amaranth is a tasty variation. Sprinkle on top: toasted wheat germ, ground flax seeds, nuts, raisins, chopped fruit, or cinnamon.

The truth is I don't have time for this 'cooking' crap on weekday mornings! If you are like me, find a boxed cereal that has zero sugar and whole grains. Two to try are Uncle Sam's and Ezekial sprouted grain cereal. Eat with unsweetened soymilk made with no genetically modified soy. (Eden brand, for one)

Coffee is a trap for more sugar and dairy in your diet. Plus that caffeine jolt is not a nice way to say good morning to your body. Go for green tea (which has a little caffeine) or herbal instead.

Your office's Friday morning bagels are worth resisting. Promise.


zandria said...

Great point about breakfast! I used to eat oatmeal for the longest time, but now I lean more toward high-protein and high-fiber cereals.

I found your blog through BlogHer!

Laura said...

Popped over from 101Cookbooks. Good points all around. I'm starting school in just over a week (my first teaching job -- eek!), and I'm the sort of person who wakes up just ravenous, so I guess I'm facing some very early mornings!

But regarding steel cut oats -- I'm impatient in the mornings, so I figured out how to cook them in about 5 minutes total. Start at night -- bring oats, water and salt to a rapid boil over high heat, uncovered. Turn off burner, cover tightly and let sit overnight. In the morning, uncover, stir, and bring to a rapid boil over high heat again. Done!