Monday, February 15, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

It has been longer than I had hoped since my last post. Though there has been a lot on my mind I have wanted to share, there has been a lot on my plate to keep me from sharing it! Busy as I have been I have still been able to stick very closely to my new "vegan" diet. It will have been a month tomorrow since I started it and I must say that it has gone much better than I ever could have hoped. I have lost 10 pounds in 4 weeks, this weight loss is mostly reflective of my change in diet since I have had little time for exercise, I'm anxious to see how my weight loss changes once I am exercising more regularly. I have "cheated" and included dairy on a handful of occasions (for example: sour cream on a kid's naked grilled veggie burrito at Qdoba with no cheese or a veggie delight sub at Subway with cheese) and had a diet coke out of a fountain(my very favorite!) one time per week since I decided to "give it up" almost altogether. I can't really call it cheating though, for one thing it is premeditated and never an impulse decision, and for another it doesn't come with the guilt that typically accompanies cheating on a standard "diet". I must also note that I eat chocolate every day. You read that right. I control portions of course, and I'm careful about what kind of chocolate I eat, but most afternoons during a few minutes of quiet time while the kids are resting or napping I indulge. Newmans Own organic dark chocolate is my favorite, it is vegan and they use evaporated cane juice to sweeten rather than processed sugar. Rich healthy chocolate awesomeness :)

Another important difference I have noticed is an increase in energy. I used to start most days exhausted and stay exhausted all day, drinking at least 2 cups of black tea(I've never been a coffee drinker) and then 2 diet cokes or more in the afternoon. The caffeine would help momentarily but I would find myself feeling tired again in no time. Now I start my day first with a hot cup of green tea, then fresh fruit or a smoothie whenever I begin to feel hungry. I still, of course, occasionally feel tired due to lack of sleep or stress, but not nearly to the degree I did before, and sleepless nights are much easier to tolerate the next day.

The "fruit only for breakfast" plan started after reading SB. They shared the theory that fruit digests best by itself and should be eaten that way, either completly alone until your next meal or at least 30 minutes before eating anything else. There is (and always will be with any theory) research that contradicts this, but I found an interesting article on digestion that supports it that you might consider here. They make the same point, that fruit should be eaten alone 30 minutes before anything else and 3 hours after a meal(which, incidentally, makes breakfast the perfect time since you have been "fasting" overnight). As with everything else I've read there are things I agree and disagree with in this article, but our bodies are pretty good at telling us what is going on inside and my body seems pretty happy with the way I've been treating it. If I'm in a big hurry I'll just grab an apple or banana on my way out the door. I keep raw almonds on hand all the time so when I get hungry before lunch (which happens a lot) I can eat a quick healthy snack without being tempted to have something I shouldn't. If I have a little more time I'll make a smoothie which is a little more filling and satisfying. I've yet to find any research to tell how adding a little soymilk and peanut butter to the fruit and blending it affects the "optimal digestion process" of eating just fruit, but I know I don't really feel any different than when I eat just fruit aside from it taking just slightly longer to feel hungry. As soon as I find anything I'll be sure to share it with you. Meanwhile, here is my favorite smoothie recipe:

1/2 fresh banana
1/2 cup each frozen blueberries, strawberries, and peaches(or whatever frozen fruits you prefer, mixed berries are also good)
1/2 cup light plain soymilk
1/2 cup juice (I like Sambazon antioxidant trinity - it contains acai, pomegranate and blueberry juice, all three excellent sources of antioxidants and in the top 6 of a top 10 list of disease fighting antioxidants published by the University of California, LA.)
1T natural peanut butter

Combine all ingredients in your blender and let it sit for 20-30 minutes so the frozen fruit can soften enough to blend smoothly. Blend starting on the lowest speed and gradually increasing speed to blend smoothly and evenly to your prefered consistency. This may be a completely personal preference, but I prefer to drink smoothies through a straw.
And, for what it's worth, my two older kiddos love this smoothie as well. I can double it, put theirs in a cup with a lid and a straw and be out the door 30 minutes soon than if I have to fix them each breafast and wait for them to sit at the table and eat it, and more importantly they are getting something healthy rather than greasy unhealthy drive thru junk or toaster pastries.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that every legitimate "diet plan" you've tried has encouraged you to eat breakfast every day. I'll have to reiterate, it has more benifits than I can list here from mental to metabolic, so if you take nothing else from this post, please start eating breakfast! Something healthy is obviously going to be the most beneficial, even if you don't subscribe to the "fruit only" plan, whole grain toast or cereal, even egg whites and turkey bacon if you're still against the vegan or vegetarian route.

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