A Better Breakfast
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day—it’s also a meal that’s very dependent on gluten, dairy, oats, and corn, which many people have sensitivities to. We turned to physician Dr. Frank Lipman of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center for some ideas.
Dr. Frank Lipman on Reinventing Breakfast
Do you ever ask yourself why you are virtually comatose at your desk by 10:30 am, even though you actually ate breakfast? Chances are you were barking up the wrong nutritional tree.
If your breakfast is usually a bowl of sugary cereal, pancakes with sausage and syrup, a bagel and cream cheese or a blueberry muffin and a cup of coffee—your first meal of the day is going to be a mostly nutrition-free affair. Sure, these are all edible, but in reality, they’re a hormonal rollercoaster waiting to happen—not much more than a pile of nutritionally-bankrupt, heavily-processed, appetite-stimulating and weight-inducing ’empty’ calories.
Like putting cheap, low-octane gas in a high-performance car, sooner or later, your body is going to be sputtering. The flour (even whole wheat) in a bagel or muffin acts just like sugar in your body—it revs you up, but is followed by a crash and then the craving for more sugar. So, you grab a coffee or some more carbs for another rush, and another crash. Welcome to the world of energy spikes, crashes, cravings, and ups and downs—never mind the jitters. Sound familiar? Eventually you deplete your adrenals and rob yourself of your remaining energy reserves. There has to be a better way to start your day.
As a nutrition-minded physician, I am militant about starting the day off right, which means a breakfast with a nutritional boost of healthy fats and protein and without sugar, wheat, gluten or dairy. This could do wonders for your body. And while most of us know that sugar is bad for us, we forget that bread (wheat in particular) and dairy aren’t doing us any favors either. Today’s bread—made from genetically hybridized, crossbred Franken-seeds—is almost unrecognizable from the wheat our ancestors ate and is a key factor in many chronic health problems.
To get the absolute best breakfast for your body, you’ve got to rethink it: nix the wheat, gluten, sugary carbs, and cow’s milk. Upgrade to a breakfast that will nourish and energize your body with protein and good fats. Do this and you’ll be able to take on the day with more pep than you ever thought possible.
One great way, as you’ll see below, is to start your day with a smoothie. Skip the artificial confections at your local fro-yo place and blend up your thick, milkshake-like breakfast smoothie using fresh, organic, nutrient-packed ingredients. But with so many protein powders out there, how do you choose the right one? I recommend non-genetically-modified pea protein. So, when you’re looking for a vegetable protein powder, look for ones that are pea or hemp-based (preferably) or ones with flax or rice protein (or a blend). I don’t recommend a soy protein shake as most soy is genetically modified (GMO). My secret for extra creamy smoothies? Avocado! One of my favorite foods with benefits. They have healthy fats, more magnesium and less sugar than bananas, so they make a great base ingredient for many breakfast smoothie recipes.
Start your engine and keep it humming all morning, with one of my nutritionally-dense, healthy, satisfying and quick-to-prepare breakfast ideas.
Omelets are a great platform for so many nutritious additions. Any combination of healthy goodies like chopped spinach, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, asparagus and onions will add tons of nutrients, taste and density to your breakfast—so much more than any old bagel ever could. Serve with 1/4 avocado and some greens on the side to slip in a few more healthy fats, magnesium, and veggies into your day.
Savory foods for breakfast? Why not? Go ahead, put your leftovers to work—veggies and protein are great any time of day—no need to relegate them to only-for-dinner status. How about a breakfast of baked sweet potato drizzled with coconut oil and Himalayan salt with some steamed kale and quinoa on the side?
You can top a slice of gluten-free bread or toast with any sort of toppings: Our choice? Smoked wild salmon, sardines, or sliced avocado, which is delicious way to start the day, and a great dose of superfoods all in one go.
This dairy-free tropical breakfast drink is tasty, transporting, and super healthy to boot. A fun, guilt-free way to start the day.
Pudding? For breakfast? Sounds like a dream come true! Just make sure yours is made out of chia seeds, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, lots of fiber and calcium. Not quite a pudding-in-the-morning person? Then add chia seeds to your smoothies—the seeds expand in liquid and help you feel fuller longer.
Cook up some grains for breakfast, pour on some almond or coconut milk and add toppings, such as cinnamon, nuts, berries and be sure to include some good fats like chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, or unsweetened shredded coconut. If needed, add a bit of stevia or raw honey to sweeten. To save time in the morning, cook a big pot of grains in advance and just reheat a portion in the morning and add your toppings. I don’t recommend these on a daily basis but when you feel like something warm and comforting in the morning, these hit the spot.
Everyone at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center is obsessed with this Paleo Bread recipe from Elana’s Pantry. We share it with patients, bribe each other to make it, and marvel at how good it is. Our advice? Whip up a batch or two—and watch it disappear.
I know what you’re going to say: Whey is from dairy. But it is the casein or lactose in dairy that causes problems, not the whey, so most people tolerate it quite well.
—Dr. Frank Lipman is an acclaimed Integrative Physician and the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. For over 20 years he has focused on sustainable wellness—instead of quick fixes—he offers patients a customized blend of Western medicine with acupuncture, nutritional counseling, vitamins and herbs, relaxation techniques, physical therapy, and bodywork. In 2010 he developed Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman, a line of leading-edge supplements and kits to make healthy living easy for busy people. He is the author of Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again and Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health.