FIRST BREAKFAST – “Breakfast of Champions”
(My “Breakfast of Champions”)
Today I want to talk about Breakfast – the most important meal of the day. I have spent my whole life sort of at odds with it. I generally prefer something savory in the morning, but I also like something that is quick and easy to prepare, without a lot of cleanup. I like a breakfast that gives me good balanced energy – that keeps me feeling full and energetic until lunch time. I am not really a fan of typical breakfast foods like bagels, muffins or pancakes. I like eggs, but cleaning the pan deters me from cooking them everyday – and I don’t like to rely on the microwave for an everyday meal. I avoid the micro as much as possible. Until recently, I never really worried much about breakfast, but lately it has taken a place of importance.
For the past few months I have become a total work-out-a-holic. I hate the gym, and have never joined one, but I do work out a lot at home. So now, my breakfast needs to stand up to and fuel me for the intense workouts I do 5-6 days a week (whether it is Combat Hapkido at the dojo or heavy weight lifting, strength training and intense cardio at home). It has become an important part of my lifestyle – something I really enjoy, makes me feel good, and keeps me healthy and fit. Plus I am married to a Sardinian – the first “Barbarians” so I might as well start looking the part! But, anyway, I am not into all the supplements, or weight machines at the gym. I want to do it myself, with real food, a balanced diet and my own body.
So I tried to work first with my tastes. Some mornings I get a craving for last night’s chili or even a hot dog (grass-fed that is). I have tried protein bars and shakes, smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, and toast with all the toppings you can imagine. But nothing ever really cut it. So I made it a goal of mine to re-think breakfast and come up with something I could rely on, and also change up without a lot of hassle. I want to share with you three different breakfasts that really work for me in terms of flavor, nutritional value and energy giving elements.
The first one I want to share with you is what we call my “Special Breakfast” here at home, but really it is my breakfast of choice. I like to call it my “Breakfast of Champions”. Not that I am a champion or anything, but it has a wonderful balance of all the ingredients that are very energy giving, protein, greens, some carbs and dairy.
It starts by soaking a huge batch of barley and buckwheat for 24 hours in warm water with some whey. The soaking allows enzymes and other friendly organisms to break down the phytic acid, an organic acid found in all grains (and legumes) that may make the digestion of grains (and legumes) harder for some people, like me! Once the grains have been rinsed, I store them in a leftover container in the fridge. I make enough for about a month’s worth of breakfasts. I also hard boil 6 eggs (I do this about once a week).
When I wake up in the AM, while the espresso is brewing, I sautee a palmful of barley in some extra virgin coconut oil that I got as a sample from Tropical Traditions (if you are a food blogger, you can also get a sample from them!). Then I add a nice handful of chopped greens, swiss chard, arugula or kale, cook until starting to wilt. At that point I add a chopped hard boiled egg and another palmful of the buckwheat, and cook until it is heated up. I put it all in a bowl, add some fresh ground pepper, flax sprinkles and homemade goat cheese. Sometimes if I have leftover sausage from the night before, or an odd hotdog, I will add that into the beginning of the mix. The amount of the various ingredients can be tweaked based on your needs. But this is the base. It is nice, balanced, tasty and very filling. Gives you lots of fuel too, and cooks up in under 5 minutes.
SECOND BREAKFAST – Homemade plain yogurt with toppings
The second breakfast I want to share is a sweeter one. On the rare occasions that I am in the mood for something sweet, I will take a half cup of homemade yogurt, and add to it either peanut butter and blueberries or pumpkin butter, peanut butter and a handful of nuts or seeds. But I usually prefer this as an after workout snack.
Sometimes I will cook up the buckwheat and barley, and eat it like a hot cereal with a nice liberal splash of homemade kefir and cinnamon. This is good with soaked steel cut oats too, but I prefer the buckwheat and barley to oats. This is also a good snack – and way better for you than pre-packaged cold cereal. You can enjoy it cold too – but you do have to cook the buckwheat ahead!
THIRD BREAKFAST (or maybe Elevensies for the Hobbits among us) – Buckwheat Pancakes
On weekends, when we have a quiet morning, I like making buckwheat pancakes. In general I am not a fan of pancakes or waffles at all. But I do enjoy crepes, and I found that I really love buckwheat pancakes – they are not as sweet, and not as “bready”.
To prepare the pancakes, I soak a mixture of buckwheat and whole wheat flour overnight in ½ cup of filtered water and ¼ cup of whey. In the morning, I mix it with ½ cup of almond milk, 1 egg and some cinnamon and nutmeg. These pancakes are good with pumpkin butter, peanut butter, butter and Vermont maple syrup, or even nutella (that is Roberto’s favorite way!).
Make sure to get in your fruits (and veggies)
I always accompany these breakfasts with a bowl of fruit. Generally whatever is in season – watermelon, papaya, cantaloupe, blueberries, orange segments, apple slices, pear slices, peach slices, etc.
These are just some ideas of how to make homemade breakfasts at home that are delicious, fast, easy and full of nutrition, perfect for athletes, or just active people. All you need is a little planning. I have been at battle with breakfast in years, but I think I finally have my bases covered.
What do you like to eat for breakfast that keeps you going?
Body By Basic Homemade Goodness