Don’t waffle on breakfast: Ideas outside the cereal box

Many people (including myself) are unenthusiastic about breakfast.  There are many reasons for this; time is one excuse, limited and/or unappealing choices is another.  For these reasons, folks often turn to “fast food” e.g. buttered bread, waffles or milk and cereal -foods high in carbohydrates- to sustain them until lunch.  Culturally, these examples of the two minute American breakfast are somewhat…uninspiring.

This is not true for all cultures.  Have you ever considered having salad for breakfast?  I admit this sounded odd until I visited Israel, where a plate of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and onions are combined with lemon juice olive oil, mint and parsley.  This is a great way to increase your vegetable load for the day.  I admit salad is not very “warming” for these winter months though.  For these winter months I turn to congee, a dish eaten throughout China for breakfast.  Congee is a thin porridge or gruel consisting of a handful of rice simmered in 5-6 times that quantity of water for at least six hours.  It is said that the longer the congee cooks, the more “powerful” it becomes.  Amaranth, millet and spelt are occasionally used as well.  This simple dish is easily digested and assimilated, tonifies the chi and is extremely nourishing.  Other therapeutic foods may be added such as ginger, celery and fennel depending on your individual needs.  Use Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods as a guide.

Cereals come with a “boxload” of concerns. Wholegrain cereals purportedly refer to grains therein that have not been pulverized, processed, pounded, bleached, beaten or disrupted in any way.  When a grain is whole it is loaded with nutrients including dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).  Boxed cereals do not count as whole grains, especially when one considers that manufacturers wish for the cereal to survive on the shelf for more than a week.  True some brands are perhaps better than Kelloggs Frosted Flakes, but for a wholesome, nourishing meal I follow Sally Fallon’s advice in Nourishing Traditions: Return to our ancestors’ custom of soaked grains and gruels.  In other words, when in doubt, ask your grandmother!

Soaking your grains is a simple but important guideline.  Boil water, pour it over your grains, soak the grains overnight and rinse and cook the following morning.  Cooking times will be reduced by 50-75%. Add one thing sweet, fruity, nutty, oily, milky and seedy to the grain.  Example include raw honey, blueberries, brazil nuts (high in selenium), a small amount of coconut oil, organic unsweetened coconut milk and pumpkin seeds (high in zinc).  Some unusual additions some folks rarely consider include cinnamon, vanilla extract, dates and nutmeg.

Smoothies are always helpful.  Most people have a recipe they enjoy, so I won’t include one here.  However, I do recommend that you are conscious of the protein powder you are using.  Whey proteins are often produced under high heat which destroys is immune stimulating constituents; soy proteins should be avoided if made from GMO beans and non-organic.  A few companies only sell their protein powder to health conscious practitioners; consider buying this product from one of these physicians.  I add a raw, organic, free range egg to my smoothie.  Eggs are very high in lecithin, which is good for your heart, lowers LDL and excellent for cell membranes.  Cooking eggs destroys these properties.  Raw eggs worked for Rocky, let them work for you!

I encourage you to make your own yoghurt.  What homemade food does not taste better?  Yogurt is easy to make, kids love to involved in the creative process and you will fill yourself up with a plethora of beneficial bacteria!  People who are moderately lactose intolerant can enjoy yogurt. Yogurt contains lower amounts of lactose than milk because the lactose in the milk used to make yogurt is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial cultures.  Avoid store bought yogurts with sweeteners and preservatives, which makes them less likely to contain active flora.  Acceptable store bought ingredients include fruit, water, pectin, potassium and perhaps nutrients such as vitamin D3.  Unacceptable ingredients go on and on but some examples include aspartame, artificial colors (e.g. red 40), dyes, sucralose and gelatin.

Making changes in your health requires baby steps.  Breakfast is a great place to start.

Dr. Daniel Smith practices at Bear Creek Naturopathic Clinic.  His new office is on 2612 Barnett Ave.  He specializes in naturopathic oncology, but still maintains a strong family practice, treating all manner of conditions.  He can be reached at 541-770-5563 or at drdanielnd@gmail.com  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please ask specifically for Dr. Dan.