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Category — Meal planning

Breakfast Ideas for the Time Challenged

The other day one of my most entertaining friends sent me a photo of her breakfast.  Yes, kind of a weird thing to text to someone first thing in the morning but considering my profession it made sense.  Here is her masterpiece:

While looking at the above photo, I – in my crabby and unshowered state – stood in the middle of my not-clean house and realized that while Mr. Milk had already had about 2 gallons of breakfast I had broken my own rule of eating something containing protein and/or fat (yes, even if it’s just a piece of cheese or a handful of olives hastily grabbed out of the fridge with one arm while holding a small, drooling human with the other) within an hour of waking to get your metabolism going for the day.  Rather than remedy this by eating something healthy immediately, I decided to reply to her text with the following snarkily-composed photo of what I was eating for breakfast .

Don’t ask me why those items were in my house to begin with (and I promise I didn’t actually eat, drink, or smoke them for breakfast), but all joking aside I am sure that at one point in most of our lives we’ve sacrificed a healthy breakfast in the name of not having time.  So, here is my quick list of quick breakfast ideas!  Please feel free to expand on this list with your favorites by posting them in the comments section.  Alternatively, please also feel free to post the most nutritionally devoid breakfast you ever ate because that makes for entertaining reading for me :)

Quick ideas that take 5 minutes or less to prepare:

  • Hard boiled eggs, peeled the night before
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese (or butter) on a thin slice of bagel or a piece of sprouted or gluten-free toast
  • Smoothie made with coconut milk or whole milk organic yogurt, coconut oil, frozen berries, and some banana, mango, pineapple or papaya for added enzymes
  • Whole milk organic cottage cheese with fruit that was prepared the night before (see my friend’s photo for artistic placement of fruit)
  • Fried egg sandwich on sprouted or gluten-free toast (melt butter in a pan, put toast in toaster, crack eggs into pan, put lid on pan, run around house looking for car keys and by the time you find them the eggs and toast will be done)
  • Fried eggs (prepared as above) with sliced tomato (grain-free alternative but not friendly to eat in the car)
  • Soaked oatmeal with assorted raw nuts and seeds and a little honey (soak rolled oats overnight in water in the pan you will use for cooking, in the morning drain this water and add new; soaked oats cook as quickly as “quick oats” and are much easier to digest which makes them a better choice if you like to include some grain in your diet)
  • Warm soup in a thermos (this was one of my favorite breakfasts on cold winter days in Iowa…haven’t yet tried it here in Hawaii)
  • Handful of raw nuts

And my baby’s awake from his nap…so the list stops here!  Don’t forget to add your favorites to the comments section so others (including me!) can benefit from what you’ve figured out.

July 19, 2010   15 Comments

Soda in Schools…I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

Yesterday while watching a ridiculous competitive cooking reality show (I like to watch those when I’m nursing Mr. Milk, which feels like half my day) I saw a commercial congratulating the big soda companies (Pepsi, Coke, and a third one that I can’t remember) for their commitment to removing high calorie soft drinks from schools.  It was a feel-good commercial meant to inspire and give me hope for the future but all it did was inspire me to get up on my blog soapbox and rant and rave about what this actually means.

If you go to the “responsible marketing” section of the Pepsi website, you will see that regular sodas containing high fructose corn syrup are being replaced by bottled water, no-fat or low-fat milk, juice, “juice/water beverage combinations containing no added sugar”, and in high schools “beverages containing no more than 40 kcal per 240 ml”.  My primary rant is against these last two types of beverages – both of which contain a variety of artificial sweeteners.

The “juice/water beverage combinations containing no added sugar” is not clearly identified but most likely refers to beverages such as Propel fitness water, which contains two types of artificial sweeteners: Splenda and Acesulfame K.  Splenda is an artificial sweetener that falls under the category of “halogenated sucrose.”  In this case, it is a sugar molecule that has chlorine attached to it.  Chlorine is a highly toxic chemical that in large doses can cause death (it is used in chemical warfare) but in smaller doses such as those found in food and water can cause suppression of the thyroid, which over the long run leads to hormone imbalance and weight gain.  Acesulfame K is another artificial sweetener which is even creepier to me because it is sometimes listed as “acesulfame potassium” which makes even vigilant parents who read every ingredient in their child’s drink think it is just a fancy form of potassium, an important mineral for health.  It is no such thing!  Acesulfame K is a possible carcinogen that was not adequately tested for toxicity prior to being approved by the FDA despite being nominated twice for testing.  Rather than conducting a full toxicity test on this artificial sweetener, it was fed to genetically modified mice to prove that it was safe for humans.  Yet another thing that makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

The other option that will be stocked in high schools – “beverages containing no more than 40 kcal per 240 ml” – refers to diet sodas, most of which contain aspartame.  Aspartame is a highly addictive excitotoxin (the term used to describe toxins that over-excite the nervous system and cause destruction of nerve tissue) that breaks down into methanol, formaldehyde, and other chemicals when digested.  Aspartame ingestion has been linked to brain disorders including headaches, insomnia, seizures, and emotional imbalance.  I don’t know about you, but when I recall my teenage years I think I had more than enough emotional imbalance without adding aspartame to the mix!

It is so sad to  me that soda companies are running ads congratulating themselves for taking high calorie sugar sodas out of schools to combat childhood obesity while they are replacing them with toxic drinks that will likely affect our children in even more serious ways.  Since my son is only 3 months old, I have full control over what he drinks (milk, hence the name Mr. Milk) but most parents have little to no control over which drink their child chooses from the vending machine.  The only answer I have to this is to encourage parents to teach their children to choose water from the vending machine or, if they must have a sweet beverage, choose juice.  Even better would be to send them to school with a drink such as water, iced herbal tea, or coconut water.  If they prefer something fizzy they could have sparkling water with lemon or other fruit for flavor or kombucha – a fermented tea with amazing health benefits.  For first-time kombucha drinkers, I usually recommend GT’s bottled kombucha in grape flavor.  It tastes like a slightly tart grape soda and is more palatable to kids.  Once they get used to that, you could try brewing it at home and sweetening it yourself with a little fruit or fruit juice.

April 7, 2010   5 Comments

Snack Ideas for New Moms…And others whose schedules are dominated by forces outside themselves

478Exactly two months ago I gave birth to a beautiful, perfect, and wonderful baby boy…which means that two months and one day ago was the last day that I had full control over my daily schedule.  Since then, I have added another certification to my title and am no longer just a CCN (Certified Clinical Nutritionist) but am also a CMC (Certified Milk Cow) on constant duty for my little bundle of joy.   Since I continue to be his only source of nourishment, it’s just as important to take care of myself and eat the way I did when I was pregnant but I must admit it’s harder to do that when the baby is outside your tummy!  Our days are filled with conversations like, “Hold on a second honey, Mommy needs to finish eating this deviled egg or you’re  not going to have enough cholesterol in your milk to help you form healthy brain connections so just stop crying and think about that for a minute”.

I know my situation is unique to me but I figured there were many of you out there with equally demanding schedules who may not always get the opportunity to sit down and eat a full meal and instead rely on several snacks throughout the day.  To keep blood sugar levels stable and promote optimum body composition, it’s important to eat often and include healthy fat and/or protein in every snack.  Here are some quick ideas:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Deviled eggs made with homemade mayo using healthy oil or Vegenaise Grapeseed mayo (I usually hard boil 6 eggs at a time and make up a batch of these all at once since they take time to prepare)
  • Raw, whole milk cheese and crackers
  • Nut butter and apple slices
  • Tuna salad and crackers.  Buy yellowfin or skipjack (also known as “chunk light”) tuna as opposed to albacore to reduce mercury content.  These varieties have about 1/3 the mercury content of albacore, but they do still contain some mercury so limit this snack to once per week.
  • Egg salad and crackers
  • Berries and fresh whipping cream
  • Raw nuts (for easier digestion, soak overnight and dry in a low-temp oven or dehydrator)
  • Smoked salmon, with or without crackers
  • Hummus and celery or carrot sticks
  • Olives
  • Beef jerky, preferably from grassfed cows or at least cows raised on organic feed such as Golden Valley Natural Certified Organic Beef Jerky, 3-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 8)
  • Yogurt – buy plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with honey, stevia, xylitol, and/or fruit
  • Fruit smoothie made with coconut milk, yogurt, kefir, goats milk, or raw milk
  • Kombucha (doesn’t contain protein or fat, but is really excellent as a light refreshment)
  • Protein shakes – you can buy plain protein and blend this into a smoothie or buy a flavored protein that mixes quickly with water and tastes good.  My favorite is Essential Meal by Marilyn Farms.  I generally don’t recommend soy protein shakes for pregnant or nursing women because of the effect the plant estrogens can have on the baby – in my opinion, soy intake overall should be limited to one serving or less per week when babies are involved.

I hope these help you!  If you have other snacks that work well for your busy schedule, please share them in the Comments section – I’m always looking for new ideas and I know my baby would appreciate some variety in his milk flavors!

March 4, 2010   7 Comments