Archive for October, 2011

The Importance of Breakfast: Calorie Maker or Diet Saver?

granola web

The word breakfast literally means just that “breaking our fast.” When we wake up in the morning, most of us have not eaten for at least 10-12 hours. While giving our body a break from eating and letting us fully digest our food and elimintate toxins is important, it is equally important to properly fuel our body when we wake up. What we eat in the morning sets the tone for our entire day.

Are you not eating breakfast because you are too rushed in the morning? Are you not hungry when you wake up? Are you not eating breakfast to “save calories.” If you are not eating breakfast for any of these reasons (or excuses), you are not alone! Many clients that come to me have this exact problem!

The problem with not eating breakfast, however, is that your body begins its day thinking you are starving. And, what does our body do when it feels like it is starving? It saves calories! Our bodies don’t know that we are not eating because we want to lose weight. Your body just thinks “help, I need to conserve calories.” When your body conserves energy and burns calories slowly, you end up with what is considered as a “slow metabolism.”

Additionally, when you starve yourself, you will lose fat and muscle! Muscle burns 70 times more calories than fat. So, if you lose muscle then your body will actually require fewer calories to maintain its’ weight and again you will slow down your metabolism making it harder for you to keep off weight.

Lastly, when we don’t eat breakfast, it also makes us ravenous when lunchtime approaches, and we are much more likely to make unhealthy choices and to overeat.

Breakfast does not have to be complicated. Following are some high-octaine options that I recommend for my clients (and have myself!):

  • Bowl of whole grain granola with berries topped with either almond milk or a non-dairy yogurt (make sure that the cereal has no added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup and is sweetened with either agave or unrefined cane juice)
  • 1-2 slices of 7-grain toast (Ezekiel or Manna breads are my favorites) with almond butter and honeyGreen Protein Smoothies (my favorite recipes are below)
  • Cup of yogurt (without added sugar) with fresh berries (my favorite is the So Delicious coconut milk-based yogurts but the Greek yogurts such as Fage are good too if you include dairy in your diet)

Right now I am eating raw and my favorite breakfasts in the morning are either a fresh green smoothie or a bowl of absolutely delicious raw granola by Laughing Giraffe that I top with almond milk.

Having a smoothie (or even a juice) enables our bodies to consume something that is more easily digestible and gives your body added time to cleanse. But, if I know I am going to be going for a run or have a busy day, I will have something a bit more substantial such as the granola. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Just make sure you start your day off with a healthy breakfast and see how much better you will feel throughout your day!

green smoothie

Green Powder Smoothie

1 cup vanilla almond milk (or soy or rice milk)

1 frozen banana

Greens powder (I use Nature’s First Food Powder)
Few ice cubes

1 heaping spoonful Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder

Handful of spinach or kale

Blend until smooth and this smoothie is so rich and creamy and totally addictive!

choc sm

Chocolate Green Powder Smoothie

1 cup vanilla almond milk (or soy or rice)

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder (optional for richer taste)

Handful frozen berries (optional)

1 heaping spoonful Sun Warrior chocolate protein powder

Blend in blender and enjoy! This is another one of my favorites and I have it when I really need a pick me up!!!

Spinach Pie: a Meal that Would Make Popeye Proud

spinach pie

When I was a child one of my absolute favorite things to have for dinner was Stouffer’s Spinach Souffle. I know it sounds odd, but when my mom took me to the grocery I would literally beg for her to buy it.  I won’t reveal my age. But, obviously, these were not the days when there was junk food at every turn packaged in your child’s favorite cartoon character!

Although I don’t eat milk, dairy or eggs- probably because of the sense of comfort and reminiscence of my childhood- I still have cravings for this dish.A few years ago, I tried my hand at making a healthier version of my childhood favorite and it has become a favorite in my household now.

Ok, so you say your kids won’t eat spinach? I dare you to try this recipe! This is my children’s favorite winter dish. Sometimes I will make it as a side dish and sometimes I will make it the main course and serve other sides along with it. And, sometimes, I will even serve this to guests as a dip with my homemade tortilla chips!

Not only this delicious, creamy dish easy to make but it is packed with nutrients but it can also can be made dairy and gluten-free!

Invest in some cute serving dishes. Children (and adults alike) adore having their very own dish. I got these Le Creuset Au Gratin dishes at Sur La Table but you can also find them at Williams Sonoma.

Spinach Pie (Dairy & Gluten-free)
1 package frozen spinach (preferably organic)
1-2 cups dairy-free grated “mozzarella cheese” (I use Daiya, which tastes and melts just like the real thing)
3-4 tbsp Tofutti “sour cream” (ditto above- tastes soooo good!)
Olive oil (approx 2-4 tbsp as desired but not necessary)
Gluten-free breadcrumbs
Sea salt
1-2 garlic cloves

Place garlic in food processor to chop. Add spinach, 1/2-3/4 cups “cheese,” 3-4 tbsp “sour cream”, a bit of olive oil (if desired- gives it richer taste,) and a dash of sea salt. Process until fairly smooth and place in 1 large or a few small casserole dishes.

Ok, this is my secret- if you have time and are so inclined, double your recipe and make extra! As a working mom, I am all about ease and I adore having healthy things on hand that either I (or the babysitter) can pop into the oven at a moments notice.

You can see that my daughter, Caroline, enjoyed hers immensely!

spinach caroline