Growing up, breakfast was usually boxed cereal with milk. My mom never got us the "treat" cereal with marshmallows or chocolate in it. On special days we’d have a hot breakfast, but it was rare and usually on a holiday. As I got older I either ate nothing for breakfast or I had a little packaged oatmeal that was already flavored- you’d just pop it in the microwave and voila! After moving out of my parents’ house I rarely ate in the morning. Breakfast just wasn’t my thing, I thought. I hear this from many people, still. Then Jeff and I got together and he started making me eggs every morning. Over easy, with a side of sourdough toast. It was a little much for me at first, but then I started to feel empty if I didn’t eat in the morning. I think it was simple- I’d just trained myself to not eat in the morning, and so I had to train myself back into it. Now, I really believe that it gives me more energy throughout the day, helps to regulate my metabolism, etc.
When I started doing all this food research, I found out about extruded grains. It was pretty startling what we found out, and we stripped the house of any boxed cereal and haven’t looked back. Long article here, but here’s an exerpt:
"These cereals are produced by a process called extrusion. They take the grains from the farmer, pay them a pittance for them, make the grains into a slurry and put them in a tank, a machine called an extruder. The grains are forced out of a little hole at high temperature and pressure and shaped into little o’s and flakes and shredded wheat and so forth, or puffed up. A blade slices off each little flake which is carried past a nozzle and sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal off the cereal from the ravages of milk and to give it crunch.
Paul Stitt has written about the extrusion process used for these cereals which treats every grain with very high heat and high pressure and destroys much of the nutrients in the grains. It destroys the fatty acids; it even destroys the chemical vitamins that are added. The amino acids are rendered very toxic by this process. The amino acid lysine, a crucial nutrient, is especially ravaged by extrusion. This is how all the boxed cereals are made, even the ones in the health food stores. They are all made in the same way and mostly in the same factories. All dry cereals that come in boxes are extruded cereals."
"When we put these cereals through an extruder, it alters the structure of the proteins. "Seins", which comprise the majority of proteins in corn, are located in spherical organelles called protein bodies. One study investigated change in protein body, shape and release of encapsulated alphaseins as a result of the extrusion processing. During extrusion, they found that the protein bodies were completely disrupted and the alphaseins dispersed. The results suggest that seins in Cornflakes, particularly extruded ones, are not confined to rigid protein bodies but can interact with each other and other components of the system forming new compounds which are completely foreign to the human body. The extrusion process breaks down the organelles, disperses the proteins and the proteins become toxic. When they are disrupted in this way, you have absolute chaos in your food, and it can result in a disruption of the nervous system."
Long story short, this is not a food we should be eating. I was surprised to learn that there are a variety of fast, truly nutritious breakfast foods out there. I only had to learn how to make them a part of our routine. Once they were part of our routine, we no longer think about the time when breakfast was as easy as grabbing a bowl and spoon. Our breakfasts aren’t far off from that, but I wonder if perhaps it’s an unreasonable request to ask that our food take little to no preparation. What do you think?
Eggs with veggies. I love this breakfast. It’s fast, nourishing, and helps you use up the last of the veggies in your fridge. I used to think eggs took a lot of time to make in the morning, but it’s really only a couple of minutes beyond pouring a bowl of cereal. I have these with toast and homemade ketchup. If I have more time then sometimes I’ll fry up some bacon, or maybe make breakfast potatoes…
Smoothies. I do any variation of frozen fruit from the summer mixed with milk, yogurt, honey, maple syrup, chia seeds, etc. I just whiz it all up in the blender and we love it.
Omelettes. Jeff’s specialty. They take about 5 minutes to make and are delicious. Just eggs, a splash of milk, cheese. They also last a long time- I’m often not hungry until after noon.
Porridge. This is a great simple breakfast, with a ton of variations. The prep is all the same, though. I always soak some grains (oats, brown rice, millet, etc.) in water and a little whey or lemon juice at least overnight. Then in the morning, it cooks up on the stove in about 10 minutes. If I want a large quantity to be ready first thing in the morning, I soak the grains during the day and then put it in the crock pot overnight. Serve it up with fruit and milk, or even savory with some butter and parmesan. Timesaving: I often soak a lot of grains/oats one time during the week and store the rest in the fridge to cook up really quickly.
Other breakfasts around here include:
- Peanut butter on toast (for when we need to run out the door)
- Yogurt and fruit
- Warm corn tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, beans, salsa
- Polenta/corn grits- served like porridge, either sweet or savory
- Pancakes, french toast, etc. when we have more time or it’s a special occasion.
What are your favorite breakfasts?