“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.” ― A.A. Milne
Without a doubt, one of the most frequently asked questions by those just starting out on the Autoimmune Protocol is “What can I eat for breakfast?”
And, the answer is very simple…
The same thing you eat for lunch and dinner
And, if I’m being honest, for me this usually means some form of no recipe breakfast hash. It’s pretty simple – some combination of protein + happy fat + a good mix of vegetables + a side of fermented vegetables. If I’m feeling fancy-schmancy, I might add some fresh avocado and some fresh herbs, too.
The beauty of the GREAT breakfast hash is that you don’t really need a recipe (although, do click on the link above if you’re one of those peeps who likes instructions). All I do is raid the fridge and see what tickles my fancy.
I do have a few tips, tho’…
Eat more vegetables
We all know that we should be eating more veggies. Our accepted standard breakfast option of boxed cereal with milk and – gasp! – extra sugar is not serving us. At all. In fact – small segue – I’d love to see what would happen if we all started sitting down with our loved ones to eat our breakfast hash instead of rushing out the door with a takeaway coffee and cereal at our desks…
Dr Terry Wahls suggests we should be consuming nine cups of vegetables every day for optimal health. Sarah Ballantyne agrees that we should all be aiming for eating, “as big a variety of vegetables as you have access to” – this means a combination of brightly coloured, leafy greens, and sulphur-rich vegetables. Vegetables offer us a variety of nutrients, plus they provide us with much-needed fiber.
In my experience, one of the best ways to ensure you are maximising your vegetable intake is to aim to eat them for every meal. And then, just when you think you have your vegetable selection covered – look for ways to add just one more in.
Bottom line: If you do nothing else, add vegetables to your breakfast
Lazy weekday breakfast: a little duck fat with leftover slow cooked lamb shoulder, bone broth gravy and leftover roasted Brussels sprouts, leeks, red onion and kumara (sweet potato) with a side of homemade golden kraut
I bang on (and on) about cooking once to eat twice (or even thrice) all the time. It’s become a bit of a mantra. It is absolutely true that to be healthy, you need to get comfortable with spending time in your kitchen. But, working smarter matters, too.
I’ve become a bit famous for buying large secondary cuts from my lovely local farmers – I often buy double. And then, we make a point of counting how many meals we get out of a particular cut*.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know just how much I love my slow cooking. My go-to Sunday meal is some sort of slow-cooked protein like brisket, lamb shoulder or pork neck. From there, I can use the leftover meat in a myriad of ways, but my favourite is the ‘skillet hash’ that I make in my Solidteknics frypan.
That ‘lazy breakfast’ pictured above literally took me five minutes – just enough time to warm my breakfast through.
*stuff AIPers do!
Bottom line: Cook once to eat twice (or even thrice)!
Add more nutrients
As you become more proficient with your no recipe breakfast hash-ups, then it’s time to start playing with adding even more nutrients. For me, this means healthy fats – it’s an excellent way for me to get more oily fish into my diet; fermented vegetables – which are served with every savoury meal around here; and, since we both eat first with our eyes and because they’re so good for you – adding a garnish of fresh herbs.
Bottom line: With a little planning you’ll enjoy a breakfast that trumps most restaurant meals
Solidteknics skillet: coconut oil, leftover barbecued lamb, speck, onion, garlic, leek, zucchini and shaved Brussels sprouts
We all know that the Autoimmune Protocol is just as much about positive lifestyle choices as it is about diet. With this in mind, I urge you to make it a priority to take time with your breakfast. Sit at the table to eat. Put out a nice napkin. Take time to chew. Eat without your iPhone or iPad.
Bottom line: Consciously add this little piece of self-care to your daily routine. I promise you’re worth it.
What’s the deal with Intermittent Fasting?
Before I finish, I want to briefly address just why breakfast is so important for those of us with autoimmune issues… This is especially topical given all the talk of intermittent fasting and how it can benefit both your health and longevity.
Here’s the thing – If you are a) a woman, b) an autoimmune sufferer, c) an individual who is not getting enough sleep or if your stress is not well managed, d) you have issues with managing your weight, or e) suffer from HPA axis dysregulation (adrenal fatigue) – then, you may experience excessively high cortisol production in response to intermittent fasting. One of cortisol’s effects is that it raises blood sugar. So, in someone with blood sugar regulation issues, fasting can actually make them worse.
Bottom line: unless you are a fit, lean and healthy person right now, a good breakfast is important for your health!
Sunday brunch: Leftover pork-belly carnitas heated in their own fat with leek, zucchini, chard, leftover roasted kumara (sweet potato) served with a side of avocado, some of my Hauskraut and a wee fresh herb garnish.
This post features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable