Wether we are interested in healing, prevention, or weight and health maintenance, we should ALL aim to have greens with most, if not all, meals. A diet based on greens is especially important if we are trying to heal or balance our body after years of poor eating habits. At minimum, aim to have greens with at least two of your three main meals. Of course, the more closely you adhere to the five guidelines for eating, the more powerful, effective, and rapid your health transformation will be.
When we reduce the acidic load on the body, cleanse and detoxify, improve our intestinal health by supporting the healthy microflora, and loose excess weight, we reap the benefits of greater physical, mental, emotional, and energetic vitality.
As your journey toward optimal health and nutrition continues, your diet needs will continue to evolve naturally, and you will be able to better rely on your body’s own feedback system as to what it needs to feel best at any given time.
The best way to incorporate greens for breakfast and start the day off with nutritional excellence are GREEN SMOOTHIES. They are super fast and easy to make -usually less than five minutes. This makes them a very practical breakfast option for everyone. Wether you are a single parent, a busy professional, or a student, they can be efficiently incorporated to meet everyone’s needs. They can be consumed at home or easily taken with you on the road, whether you are heading to work or dropping kids off at school. Bets of all, they are delicious, light, yet filling, refreshing and super-nutritious way to start your day.
You can have a simple green smoothie (fruits and veggies) or a whole-meal green smoothie that includes other ingredients like seeds. You can have a smaller or larger portion. Where as a whole-meal green smoothie is satisfying on its won, a simple green smoothie can be combined with a bowl of chia pudding or overnight oats or some high quality bread such as Ezekiel with nut butter.
Another positive attribute of green smoothies is that, as we play around and alternate ingredients, we get to experience new flavours on a regular basis. Alternating the ingredients also ensures that you get a variety of different whole plants each day.
The table below outlines some ingredients to get you started. You can mix and match different combinations and adjust quantities to meet your needs. The steps are beyond easy:
- Pick the desired greens from the table below, wash them and place them into a blender. You can remove the thick inner stalk of leafy greens – like kale -specially if you don’t have a powerful blender. Start with anywhere from one to two large leaves or one cup or one handful of greens per serving and work your way up to more greens from there as your taste buds adjust.
- Pick the desired fruits from the table below, wash and/or peel them, and place them into your blender. A typical serving would include one to two whole fruits, roughly 1/2 cup to 2 cups. You can start with more fruit at the beginning and transition to less fruit and more greens as you progress.
- Add in one to two servings of the healthy fat and/or protein-rich ingredients. My personal recommendation is to go for about 2 tbsp of flax or chia seeds for the majority of your green smoothies. Beyond that, choose what may be most suitable for you and in what quantities, based on your health and lifestyle needs.
- It is completely optional, but you may also wish to add a serving of one superfood (functional food) to your green smoothie. Each one has a unique healing, protective and restorative properties for specific needs. They may be used daily for a particularly span of time – I personally use it daily – periodically, or seasonally. Typically, anywhere from 1tsp to 1 tbsp is an adequate serving.
- Add some water, enough to cover a quarter or half of the ingredients in the blender. Add more water – depending on your preferred consistency. Blend thoroughly, pour into a glass, and enjoy while fresh.
Non dairy milks are definitely a possibility too. Best bet is to use a home made nut milk but if that’s not a choice, when buying a non-dairy commercial milk make sure you choose organic, unsweetened and unflavoured varieties only. However, just adding some nuts into your smoothie can provide a richer, creamier smoothie in the most wholesome ways.
Ice cubs are also optional, depending on whether you want your smoothie to have a chilled temperature or not, and they can be replaced by frozen fruit. While slightly chilled smoothies are OK, room temperature is best, and frigidly cold should be avoided.
The smoothness of the consistency will vary greatly, depending on the power of your blender. If you have a not so powerful blender, expect to find some pieces of the greens, fruits and other ingredients or some grittiness. The ability of your blender to produce the right texture and consistency will make a big difference in the success and enjoyment of your smoothies – specially kids.
Green smoothies are not meant to be chugged or gulped down quickly.Think of them as you would a whole meal rather than a drink. To activate the proper digestion channels within your body, you should consume them mindfully, initiating a chewing-like movement with each mouthful. This is where thicker smoothies help, as they naturally make you want to chew. Thicker smoothies also allow us to consume more nutrients before getting full, due to the smaller volume of the final product, as opposed to it having a higher water volume.The latter, may be helpful if you are trying to loose weight.
FRUIT & VEGETABLE SALAD
Another great way to start the day is with a side or whole-meal fruit and/or vegetable salad. Actually, when it comes to breakfast, we need to break out of the mold that certain foods are breakfast foods, while others aren’t. We can easily enjoy a plant-based salad anytime of the day and this includes breakfast.
Your breakfast salad can include traditional fruits or focus on vegetable fruits like cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados. Fruit and veggie salads also provide a great way to start the day with some leafy greens. Perhaps Green Smoothies just aren’t your thing, or you want to change things up for the weekend breakfast. Either way, salads can provide a nutritionally dense and filling start to your day. Enjoy experimenting with all sorts of leafy greens, fruits and veggie combinations. To make your salad a whole-meal option, include various nuts, seeds or beans. You can also add unique spices and flavours with ingredients like nutritional yeast or put your favourite home made dressing added on top.
For more salad ideas, refer to the SALAD folder of the recipes section.
For some breakfasts, you can enjoy a whole, unprocessed grain – can include a bowl of steel-cut oats, teff, kamut or quinoa. Remember to make it a real grain as opposed to refined grain product. Any boxed cereals, no matter how healthy they claim to be, should be avoided. When adding milk to boxed cereal, even non-diary varieties, we consume a processed-food breakfast and a fully acid-forming one.
Cooking time for real, whole grains vary from 2 mins (oats brain) to 25 mins (millet), making them ideal to suit almost anyone’s schedule. ALL grains can be made easier to digest and nutritionally more robust by soaking them, which can easily be done overnight and decreases their cooking time.They are wonderful served warm with fresh or dried fruit, some nuts or seeds and spices.
You can surely include minimally processed grains in form of high-quality bread, like Ezekiel, which, is made from whole, sprouted grains and legumes. A slice or two of Ezekiel bread or Ezekiel wrap can be accompanied by homemade nut or seed butters, or minimally processed, raw and organic, store-bought versions. Alternatively you can use some mashed avocado or bean spread like hummus to top your bread or wrap.
Your grain bowl or bread grain can be accompanied by a simple green smoothie or salad to add some fruits and leafy greens to your meal.
OTHER BREAKFAST IDEAS
Some mornings, you desire something entirely different for breakfast. Also, if you need to transition from refined carbohydrates breakfasts that are full of refines sugars and other additives you may find it difficult to switch over to a breakfast salad or green smoothie. Whether you need something to ease your transition or just for the odd change-it-up-a-bit occasion, there are many ways to turn unhealthy options into more wholesome food choices.
Example – Crepes, pancakes, muffins or granola bars – If and when these items are made at home from the most wholesome, organic, plant ingredients, they can be a nutritious addition to the diet.
We must remember that:
- subjecting our food to high or prolonged temperatures is not ideal,
- any use of flour means we are not using grains in the most optimal way.
It is essential that these foods are used infrequently, if at all, or merely as transition items as you take steps to optimize your diet. If you must use flour, ALWAYS choose whole and organic and preferably not wheat flour. Try spelt flour instead. If you are trying to avoid gluten, try brown rice flour, chickpea flour or gluten free flour. Just remember that no flour is an optimally healthy food source, so flour-based products should be the exception, not the norm in your diet.
For optimal health and weight, avoid these common breakfast foods: bacon, sausage, fried eggs, fried potatoes, cheese, cow’s milk, boxed cereals, cold cuts, white or brown wheat breads, conventional pancakes, waffles, muffins, pastries, doughnuts, granola bars, juice and coffee.