Breakfast of Champions
Start your day the right way with these nourishing breakfast suggestions
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and with good reason. A healthy, nutritious breakfast helps to set us up for the day and prevents hunger pangs that can lead to the temptation to snack. Eating a balanced breakfast will help to keep all-important blood sugar levels balanced, says Primrose Matheson, founder of Primrose’s Kitchen (www. primroseskitchen.com). If you miss a meal, like breakfast, it can lead to feelings of crankiness and a likelihood that you might snack on high-sugar junk food fixes later in the morning. This will continue the yoyo of highs and lows during the day and could lead to obesity or diabetes in later life. Eating a healthy and balanced breakfast is crucial for maintaining concentration and optimum performance. Nourish your nervous system Starting the day with a balanced combination of carbohydrates and protein will nourish the nervous system and keep you feeling full, says Primrose. Try a boiled egg with toast, a good muesli with nuts and seeds or buckwheat pancakes with added ground seeds. If your usual breakfast consists of a tea or coffee and a sugary croissant, you may find your stress levels increasing due to the amount of stimulants. Choosing an egg based breakfast, however, will actually help to reduce stress. An omelette or savoury scrambled egg is an excellent de-stressing way to start the day, says Mary-Lou Harris, senior nutritionist of the New You Boot Camp (http://newyoubootcamp.com).
This is because egg yolks have properties that calm down the stress hormone,cortisol, making this act as a natural tranquilliser. Science has now clearly debunked the old myth that eggs raise cholesterol. For most people in this day and age, stress-busting breakfasts can only be a good thing. Kippers or sardines on rye or wheat-free toast is another excellent calming way to start the day, as the healthy omega-3 oils are linked to better brain function and improved mood.
If you like to eat fruit at breakfast time, Primrose recommends going for fresh over dried fruit. Try to stick to pears, apples and berries, she says, as they have a lower glycaemic index and won’t have such an impact on sugar levels. If you can mix in some seeds or nuts to the fruit serving even better! This slows down the release of sugar into the system. Many traditional breakfast foods have revolved around the use of dairy products, but swapping them for dairy-free alternatives has never been easier! says Alan Lee, spokesman for VegfestUK (www.vegfest.co.uk). Try mixing your breakfast cereals with flax, hemp, rice, hazelnut or coconut milk, or using these milks as the base for your fruit smoothies or milkshakes. Also try soya or coconut based yogurts. Pancake lovers need not despair as dairy free pancakes have almost the same texture as their dairy-based counterparts and taste even better. Cheese aficionados will be hard pushed to resist the wide range of vegan cheeses available on the market nowadays. So voil – your dairy-free breakfast in a nutshell!
Granola served with coconut milk, coconut yoghurt and berries
100g of one or a combination of gluten-free oats, rice flakes, millet flakes, quinoa flakes or buckwheat flakes
140g walnuts, chopped
140g almonds, chopped
140g hazelnuts, chopped (or just use 400g of raw mixed nuts)
140g ground flax seed
100g coconut oil
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
½ tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Dried apricots, dates, prunes and figs (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a big bowl, combine the oats, nuts and laxseed. In a saucepan, blend together the oil, syrup and cinnamon and cook on a low heat until the mixture starts bubbling. Remove, add the vanilla and stir. Pour over the oat mixture and mix well.
2. Thinly spread on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Place in the oven and bake until golden (approximately 15 minutes). Cool thoroughly, add a little dried fruit (optional) and store in an airtight container.
3. Serve with almond or coconut milk, coconut yogurt and blueberries.
Buckwheat pancakes served with smoked salmon and avocado
200g buckwheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
Zest of one orange
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
250ml soya, coconut or almond milk
Juice from the zested orange
1 tsp coconut oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Mix the flour, cinnamon, zest and baking powder in a large bowl.
2. Add the juice and gradually beat in the milk until the mixture forms a batter with a dropping consistency. (It coats the back of a spoon but is still pourable.)
3. Put a heavy-based frying pan on the heat. Melt the coconut oil to cover the bottom of the pan and pour off any excess. Pour a ladleful of the batter on to the pan and cook for two to three minutes until bubbles appear. Flip over and cook for another two minutes until golden. Repeat to make more pancakes using more coconut oil as necessary.
4. Serve with slices of smoked salmon and avocado sprinkled with lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper.
Blend all ingredients in a liquidiser and pour into a large glass.
Recipes courtesy of nutritional therapist Alli Godbold for YorkTest
food intolerance testing.