Morning all! To kick off ‘Your Friday Quickie’ I thought I’d highlight something you can do to help get your morning started off in a great way. The goal of ‘Your Friday Quickie’ posts is to give you ideas of things you can do in 15 minutes or less to help you in your Paleo/Primal Journey, because let’s face it, as writers, it’s hard to find time! And yet, it’s so easy to make unhealthy choices. This can impact us in the long run, however, as we can get exhausted, suffer from brain fog, and just don’t feel the creative juices flowing. This particular Friday Quickie only takes about 6 minutes! You can make this between #1k1hr sprints and drink it while you’re sprinting!
If you don’t change anything else about your diet but change how you look at breakfast, that would be HUGE. Oftentimes, we skip it, or we down 5 cups of writer juice (popularly known as coffee) and a muffin. If it’s not a muffin, it’s another grain-based food, like cereal, or a cereal bar, or toast, or bagel.
The problem is, that type of food will only cause you to be hungry again in a couple of hours because it’s predominantly carbs, which gets converted to glucose, and could potentially spike your insulin. Instead, if you fill up on some good fat and protein, you’ll be satiated, and you’ll last until lunch time, without the sugar crash. Another issue is that a carb-heavy breakfast just doesn’t have a lot of nutrients to fuel your body, and your brain is part of that equation. As writers, we want to keep that essential organ well-nourished as it’s our bread and butter! No brain, no writie… And our brain eats up about 20% of our daily calories. Who knows, maybe we use even more as we ponder plot problems or writhe on the floor trying to see a way through our writer’s block. At any rate, a Primal diet is better aligned to make a happy, healthy brain, than a diet made up of mostly processed carbs. And typically, we tend to eat a lot of those processed carbs as part of our standard breakfast. So that’s why I said above, if you only start with or do this change, you’ll be doing your body a favor! And if you have extra pounds, you just might find them missing after a short while. 🙂
Jeez, there’s so many rabbit holes I can dive down that I didn’t mean to explore in this one post. After all, the post should be a quickie too!
So what should you eat? Eggs and bacon! No joke! Or something similar that delivers essential fats and proteins. As a side note, if you’re shy about adding dietary fat, some vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K) are fat soluble, so you need to have some fat for them to be efficiently absorbed.
But getting a proper breakfast together when you’ve got a ton of other things on your plate, plus your characters are screaming at you to get back to typing, is hard. I know some whole food advocates advise against smoothies, but let’s face it–if the choice is between processed food or a smoothie, I’ll take a smoothie. One of the things that’s criticized, and rightly so, is that many smoothies are so heavily loaded up with fruit that it can cause the same insulin spike as the processed carbs. But to ditch the smoothie altogether because some do that? Meh. I see it as a way for me to frontload some essential veggies so that I start my day off with them in case I can’t work them in later (before going Primal I shunned most veggies, so this is my way of getting them in me). Also because I’m trying to lose weight, I limit my fruit to mornings, and very little of it. The bulk of my smoothie is made up of veggies, oils, fats and other yummy stuff. This way I know I’m getting some good nutrients in my body without having to worry about getting the right combo in my breakfast that I cook. Plus it takes less time.
And one of the things that makes it so easy is my Magic Bullet. And for you fellow romance writers–NO, it’s not the kind of bullet! (I actually made someone’s eyes widen recently when I said how much I love my magic bullet). They have them at Amazon for around $52, but the consistently cheapest I’ve seen is at Target for $49.99. Anyway, the blender cup is the right size and it comes with a handle, so when you’re done mixing, Boom, you drink from it! One less thing to clean. Also I load my frozen stuff first, so it’s generally the last to make it to the grinder at the bottom, which works out great.
So here’s what I put in mine, though it varies with what I have on hand. Generally, the reaction I get when I tell people what I put in my smoothies is a grimace, but don’t knock it till you try it! It tastes great to me. The fruit is not a lot, but it and the cacao predominate the flavors.
One thing that makes this so quick to do, is that I’ve prepped a lot of the veggies ahead of time, ready for me to plop in. Also, if you’re not trying to lose weight, consider adding a good nut butter like almond or cashew (not peanut). And you don’t have to limit it to what I have, it’s not called a kitchen sink smoothie for nothing! Add in food you need to eat, but can’t make time for.
Health notes on some ingredients
Some are obvious, I don’t think it would be a news flash for anyone re: most of the veggies and fruits I put in, but some others might have you cocking your head. If you’re trying to lose weight, like me, stick to berries for fruit for the time being.
Coconut milk, oil and water: Coconut products are essential in any Primal eating plan. The oil alone has so many internal and external benefits and is the foundation for healthy Primal eating. Note on coconut milk. Don’t buy the cartons made by So Delicious and others–these are a coconut milk beverage, meaning it’s processed with lots of harmful additives like carageenan. Use the kind from cans, but be careful there too. The one brand I’ve found so far that’s completely free of additives and comes in a BPA-free can is Natural Value. I can’t get it at my local health food store, but they do carry Native Forest, which is BPA free and only has guar gum, which I don’t react to and for most people is fine. I use it too, but also have the Natural Value on hand for the times when I want to whip coconut, as it works better.
Avocado: I go through these things like water! It’s one of nature’s best superfoods! It also helps to add a nice consistency to the smoothie.
Cacao powder: the real stuff, not the processed kind you usually think of when making hot chocolate. I buy organic cacao nibs and grind them in a coffee grinder dedicated to just grinding food stuffs like this (I don’t drink coffee). Why cacao? It’s loaded with antioxidants. As Mark Sisson writes:
When it comes to polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity, cacao trounces the “superfruits” acai, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry and whatever else your annoying friend who always falls for multilevel marketing schemes is hawking this week.
Also, it helps regulate blood pressure as well as fight cardiovascular disease and help increase insulin sensitivity (source).
Grass-fed beef gelatin. I try to get at least 2 tbsp a day, some through my smoothie, and the rest added to a cup of tea. It’s an excellent way to help your joints, as well as being a source of dietary collagen, protein and amino acids. It’s good for your hair, skin and nails. Helps your liver expel toxins. Can help improve sleep and weight loss! Read more about it here and here. For the smoothies, I use this kind as it doesn’t need to be ‘bloomed’ to dissolve in cold liquids.
Turmeric: Oh, I love this spice! It does so many wonderful things for our body, like fighting cancer and dementia, why not add it? It’s one of those that works best with fat to get all of its healthy goodness, so keep that in mind when you use it.
Ceylon cinnamon: I use this kind of cinnamon here, instead of the more common cassia, because I’ll be ingesting it whole and want to reduce my exposure to coumarin.
Garlic powder: Garlic has lots of nutritional benefits too, so why not?
Chia seeds: More uses than just growing green hair on your ceramic pet 🙂 It’s a good source of Omega-3s, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Plus it helps increase your insulin sensitivity, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, and more! Read more here. You don’t have to grind them to get their benefits (unlike flax seeds), I just do it so that it mixes easily into my smoothie powder mix I make ahead of time (I combine the cacao powder, spices, and chia seeds into one jar so it cuts down on the time it takes me to add everything into my smoothie)
Flax Seeds: Like chia, it’s a good source of nutrients including Omega 3s, however, it should probably be used in moderation, as it contains phytoestrogens (dietary estrogen) and there’s conflicting evidence on its health benefits. I only put it in my smoothies maybe once a month. These need to be ground, which you can do in a coffee grinder.
Dandelion greens: These puppies are loaded with nutrients. See 10 Reasons You Should Use Dandelion Greens In Your Green Smoothie. It’s also a very good source of prebiotics–food for the healthy gut bacteria you’re getting from probiotic food.
Kitchen Sink Breakfast Smoothie
Yield: 1 smoothie
Prep time: 6 minutes
What about you? Have you made green protein smoothies for breakfast? What do you put in yours?