Day Three [Diet Makeover pt. 10]

Breakfast:
Homemade 24 hour Yogurt, with berries and honey on top
Banana Muffins made with almond flour, topped with Irish Butter (Kerrygold)
Ripe banana

The kids woke up happy this morning, and excited about muffins and yogurt for breakfast. The pre-breakfast banana they each ate when they first rose pretty much filled up Sister, as she ate only about half her muffin and berries. But she was super excited that the berries were pink!! [favorite color] Brother ate 2 muffins plus his sister’s half muffin while I regaled him with the wonders of Irish Butter, from Irish Cows, feasting on Irish Clover. He’s been saying “Mmm, Irish Butter!” ever since.

Lunch:
Almond Roll Ups for kids (like a crepe made with just egg and butter, with almond or peanut butter and/or honey and cinnamon inside)
Soup leftovers for Moms

The Almond Roll Ups were not loved by these kids as they are by my children. I think a key is that hot crepes are awesome, but if you’re unsure about it, and stare at it for 20 minutes, they aren’t so great cold. However, the children all ate much better today, and we heard very few requests for contraband food.

In the afternoon, both Moms and kids/babies took a trip to the local Farmers Market, which was beautiful and had plenty of seasonal organic veggies. We bought asparagus and King Oyster mushrooms for dinner, as well as lettuce, several herbs, carrots, and broccoli.

Mr. Dad wasn’t able to make it home for lunch, and being pressed for time, swung through the Chic Fil-A drivethru, only to realize that there’s nothing “legal” to eat there. He ordered chicken nuggets in a heroic effort to avoid a bun. He confessed all this in true on-your-honor-boyscout spirit when he arrived home before dinner. Lesson learned: have a lunch plan.

Dinner:
Salmon fillets, broiled with marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and balsalmic vinegar, with some garlic and dill
Mushrooms sauteed in butter and garlic
Asparagus sauteed in butter and garlic

We had an unfortunate dinner malfunction because half of the frozen salmon I grabbed from the freezer had been frozen at home from a fresh whole fish…but it was too long ago and it tasted fishy and bitter. We realized this at the table, after the first bite, and had to chuck all the bad fish and divide the remaining flash frozen/individually sealed fish between us. What we had was good. Lesson learned: ask about viability of unmarked freezer food (me) and don’t freeze fish yourself (all of us).

Task list:
Begin another batch of yogurt and Creme Fraiche (trying to culture all their milk so they have some ahead when I leave town)
Make another batch of Banana Muffins
Shop for a short list at Trader Joe’s: most of what we need was already purchased there, and at Costco, earlier in the week

Breakfast: Off to a Great Start

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet the standard American breakfast of cereal, or a bagel and sugar-yogurt, or nothing(!) leaves much to be desired. Mainly protein and good fats.

Since my husband and I discovered a couple years ago that we both have a tendency towards hypoglycemia, we’ve revamped breakfast with more protein and are feeling the benefits of more stabilized blood sugar through the morning.

Here are a few menu suggestions:

Good Morning Smoothie
This is my husband’s daily standard: it’s fast, easy, totally portable in an insulated cup, and tastes delicious. (Who wouldn’t like waking up to a milk shake? OK, it’s not a milk shake, and doesn’t even have sugar in it, but it is that awesome.) Get my recipe here.

Oatmeal with a Sausage Link
This is a standard in our house for the kids, and I often join them. We buy organic rolled oats in a 20 pound bag from Azure Standard, and it’s only pennies a day for this breakfast mainstay.

To reduce the anti-nutrient phytic acid, most grains should ideally be soaked or sprouted before use. (Read this article Be Kind to Your Grains, and Your Grains Will Be Kind to You.) I like to soak my rolled oats covered by an inch of filtered water overnight in the pot I will cook them in; this also helps them cook up a little faster in the morning. I add Course Sea Salt (the grey, moist kind) from Trader Joe’s and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, and cook them on medium heat, stirring until all the water is absorbed. We then top with raw honey, and when I’m feeling like a really nice mommy, pecans and dried cranberries, or raisins, and/or butter, and/or freshly ground flax seed.

When we add sausage as a protein to this meal, I like to look for a natural chicken sausage, like the delicious Isernios one that Trader Joes carries. Since pigs are scavenger animals, they tend to have much greater amounts of toxic buildup in their meat than chicken and beef. We aren’t a pork free home (my German-heritage husband holds the line there!), but we do try to limit our intake.

Soft Boiled Eggs, Sausage, Toast
Like many Americans, I was very familiar with the greasy “bacon and eggs” breakfast, but had never tried a Soft Boiled Egg until I met my future parents-in-law, who are German. Not being a fan of straight from the shell hard-boiled eggs, I was delighted to find that I really liked this new version . . . or rather, a very old version, still enjoyed daily in many areas of Europe. Read my recipe for Soft-Boiled Eggs here. The gentle cooking of the egg yolk preserves the Omega3 and Omega6 essential fatty acids (good fat), which can be destroyed by heat.

Add a couple of links of chicken sausage, and sprouted-grain toast, and you’ve turned the greasy American breakfast into a good fat/protein/complex carb powerhouse meal! (Hint: dip the crusts of toast into the egg yolk…yummy.)

(Why sprouted grain toast, not “whole wheat” toast? Read the article Be Kind to Your Grains, and Your Grains Will Be Kind to You. Sprouted grain breads are easily found at Trader Joes or other health food stores. They are whole grain, but often not as dense as “whole wheat” bread.)

High Protein Waffles

This waffle recipe has fast become a favorite at our house. I love it because it is a healthy soaked whole grain, gluten free*, full of protein start to the day. My husband and children love it because you would never know that it is healthy, gluten free, or full of protein; it just tastes light and delicious.

Soft Boiled Eggs

A traditional preparation of breakfast eggs, still enjoyed daily in many parts of Europe, these eggs have the benefit of gentle cooking which does not destroy the delicate Omega3 fatty acids present in eggs. (Look for cage-free eggs, or better yet buy directly from a farm, to insure that your eggs come from healthy hens eating a variety of food and bugs.)

Equipment:

small-medium sized saucepan
refrigerated eggs
large boutoniere pin, hat pin, or other poking device
filtered water
slotted spoon

1. Fill saucepan with several inches water; enough to cover the eggs you will be cooking. Set on stove on high heat.

2. Using the large pin, poke one or two holes in the larger end of the egg; this is where the air sack is, and as the egg is boiled the pressure will be released through the hole, avoiding shell cracking.

3. When water is boiling, lower eggs into water with slotted spoon.

4. Set timer for 7 minutes. Allow water to return to boil.

5. At the end of 7 minutes, turn off heat, remove pan to sink. Turn on coldest water, and remove eggs from hot water with the slotted spoon. Hold each egg under the cold water for about 10 seconds. This is called “shocking the eggs”, and it serves to end the cooking of the egg as well as cause the white to release from the insides of the shell for easier spooning when you eat it.

6. If you have egg cups, place one egg in each. Etiquette for eating them (at least in our family) is to whack of the top 1/4 of the egg with a butter knife, and use a tiny spoon to scoop out the egg in the cap, and then in the shell itself. Fine salt and pepper are good additions. (Ever wonder what those tiny little salt and pepper shakers were for?)

7. The first few times you make these eggs, you will have to discern if 7 minutes is the right amount of time for the eggs to cook properly. Your altitude, size of eggs, and strength of stove all add slight variables to cooking time. The perfectly done soft-boiled egg will have a white that is completely cooked with no wet areas. The yolk will be wet, yet slightly thickened, as would the yolk of a egg fried over medium. If parts of the yolk have turned dry and grimy like a hard-boiled egg, it’s a little overdone. Adjust cooking time¬† be 30 second increments in either direction until you find the perfect recipe for your home.

Note: as soft boiled eggs by definition have a wet yolk, there is likely the same potential for salmonella poisoning as you would have with a over-medium fried egg.

Good Morning Smoothie Recipe

Wanna know our favorite smoothie recipe?

  • 1 ripe Banana
  • 2 cups plain Kefir
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed oil, not necessary, but a great way to get some “good fat” (essential fatty acids, aka Omega 3s)
  • 15-20 grams Protein Powder (we use True Whey, see note below)
  • Handful of frozen strawberries (or other frozen fruit)

Throw first 4 ingredients in blender; blend until smooth. Add frozen fruit; blend until fruit is finely chopped into smoothie.
Enjoy!

What’s Kefir?
Essentially it is a different way of preparing cultured dairy similar to yogurt. Lots of good healthy stuff in it. If you can’t find kefir, just go with plain yogurt – that works too.
We use True Whey powder by Source Naturals. It is a cow whey protein from grass fed cow milk which has not been heated or isolated; the immunoglobulins are intact and the structure of the protein and essential fatty acids haven’t been altered or damaged. In plain speak that means it’s food the way it comes out of the cow,¬† is a boost to our immune system, and able to be absorbed, rather than over-processed and of questionable health value.

I am aware of two other companies which make similar products with low heat: Designs for Health makes Whey Cool, and Garden of Life makes Goatein (from goat milk, for those with difficulty digesting bovine protein).

Often people with lactose intolerance do well with whey protein, but if you have an actual allergy to dairy products, try hemp protein, such as Vanilla Spice Hemp Protein by Living Harvest. It is one the the few complete proteins from vegetables.

Finally, if you go “protein shopping” you will find many brands and varieties of soy protein available. Rather than a health food, soy is a cover crop that needs to “go somewhere” and is therefore marketed heavily as a health food. Get the real scoop in these articles on westonaprice.org: Myths & Truths About Soy , and Soy: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite “Health” Food a longer article discussing many of the health risks of soy, including hormone disruption at all stages of life. Walk away from soy; there are much better options.

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