What on earth is a healthy breakfast?
A good healthy traditional breakfast.
There is something to be said about an earthy, grounded breakfast dripping with ghee. Sometimes sweet, mostly not. Always filling the stomach and satisfying the mind.
What does this bring to your mind?
To me, it brings visions of a plate of Idli, Vadai, sambar and Pongal, with a nice big tablespoon of ghee.
What is isn’t, never should be is a bowl of Kellogg’s (or any other) cereal with non-fat milk. There’s something terribly wrong (though inviting) about that vision.
This post is dedicated to us finding that sweet spot for our family’s healthy breakfast. It is the start of the day, and getting this right makes it easy to move ahead with some awareness.
So what is a healthy breakfast? What is healthy?
The word healthy has moved through so many interpretations that it is hard to find 2 people that agree on what it means anymore.
Some of us would assume that a low-fat diet without saturated fats like butter and a diet with 3 servings of milk and whole grains is healthy. Unfortunately, this is now outdated.
What, then, is a healthy meal? There are really only two sustainable definitions of healthy that don’t change with time:
- The food is ancestral – either from the land of your birth, or the land where you live.
- The food is whole – i.e., every part of it comes from a plant or animal, unprocessed.
A lot of times, in these times of extreme food processing, ancestral food is not enough. So here is the mantra for healthy food: Whole food, if possible traditional/ancestral.
What about gluten, dairy, sugar and all the foods that are commonly called inflammatory? Well sugar, being ultra-refined is out, but wheat and dairy are not just ancestral, they can also be whole foods.
There are studies after studies that have shown that a significant number of people can’t digest gluten, the predominant protein in wheat. Consumption of wheat has a positive correlation with intestinal permeability and auto immune disorders1.
Dairy sensitivity is rampant as well – and no, this isn’t just lactose intolerance. Removal of dairy has positive correlations with reduction in ear infections.
- Treat wheat, dairy and sugar as treats or luxuries rather than staples. Favor whole, unprocessed versions of the foods
I am ending with two versions of a healthy breakfast (that I didn’t come up with).
- Modern whole food easy breakfast high in protein (Overnight Oats)
- Soak ½ cup oatmeal, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 4 chopped almonds, 1 tbsp maple syrup in ½-1 cup almond milk overnight.
- Warm it if you want it warm.
- In the morning, add berries, or cacao powder or mango, or any fruit.
Traditional whole food breakfast, high in protein (Pesarettu)
- Soak 1 cup whole mung beans overnight.
- In the morning grind (preferably in a vitamix) the beans, with as much water to make into a thick batter, salt, 1 green chili, 1 bunch cilantro, and garlic (if you want the kick)
- Pour into crepes, oil generously with ghee.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and chopped onions if you like!
Welcome to an illumined morning with Adi Shankara’s powerful words:
Pratah Smarami Hridi Sansfuradatmatavam
Sacchitsukham Paramaham Sagatim Turiyam
Yad Swapna Jaagara Sushuptam Aveti Nityam
Tad Brahma Nishkalam Aham Na Cha Bhoota Sangaha.
To summarize: In the early morning, I meditate on the blissful essence of my being that transcends the three states of dream, sleep and wakefulness. I am that undivided state, not this assembly of elements.