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Baby Step #1: Change Your Breakfast

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Making a lifestyle change, whether it’s quitting a bad habit, or starting a new one, sometimes requires baby steps. For a lot people, the shock of the ‘ripping the band aid off’ approach just isn’t sustainable. It’s common to see people make a radical lifestyle change,  then accidentally have a relapse, feel guilty about it, and then head straight back to the back place from which they first came.

If you’ve tried this approach to fitness, nutrition ( cabbage soup diet, anyone?), or life in general in the past, and you’re still struggling with the same problem years later, perhaps you need to find a new approach. Let’s take your leaps and bounds and scale them down to baby steps and see what happens…

Baby Step #1: Change Your Breakfast.

Whether you typically eat a bowl of Kashi, a cup of coffee, an egg white omelet,  or nothing at all, there’s probably some room for improvement in your breakfast.

Remember that food is fuel. And breakfast is the most important fuel of the day.  If your first meal is full of nutrient dense calories, it gives your brain and body the what it needs to have a productive morning and will positively effect your energy levels, mental clarity, and ability to make other good food choices throughout the rest of your day. And if the meal is processed, has sugar, is too high in carbohydrates, or is non-existent, your body and brain are being shortchanged before your day has even begun!

To review the types of food you should and shouldn’t be eating, read this first. Then, go out and buy a carton of eggs. Next, sit down and read this post.

Breakfast is just like any other meal. Most of us grew up thinking that breakfast was  a wondrous kind of meal with special foods that you wouldn’t eat at any other meal. If you ever got the rare chance to eat ‘breakfast for dinner’, you knew you had done something right that day. That’s because you were actually being fed dessert for breakfast ( I know I was!). Sugar floating in a bowl of sugar ( aka cereal in milk) or sugar topped with sticky sugar ( waffles with syrup) don’t count as a meal.

A ‘real foods’ meal, as you now know, should consist of three basic things – a protein (usually meat or fish), a vegetable, and a good fat source. Nothing about that changes for breakfast. What needs to change, however, is your perception of what breakfast actually is. Starting today, shake that notion that certain foods aren’t ‘breakfast foods’.  Chicken for breakfast? Sure. Ground beef and eggs? Yes, please. Turkey and avocado? Fill er up. Food is food, and should be eaten throughout the day, as you get hungry. It’s as simple as that!

The Magic Formula. A super simple way to transition yourself from cereal, a breakfast sandwich, croissant, or whatever you normally eat, to a ‘real foods approved’ breakfast is to learn a simple formula. (Don’t panic -its not like real math -this formula is easy…and so delicious)

Eggs + Leftovers = Breakfast

(allow me to repeat myself)

Eggs + Leftovers = Breakfast

Eggs are a great way to start off the day with a big helping of good protein. For best results here, use eggs from free range chickens. The yolks are a nice, deep orange-yellow and they taste, well, more like eggs.

 

Free Range Chicken - each egg looks a little different, just like nature intended.

Leftovers is pretty explanatory. It’s what you ate last night. If you’re eating right, then it should be some type meat and vegetable. If you’re not eating well, please refrain from putting pizza in your omelet.

 

Step 1: Butter a small saute or omelet pan with Kerrygold butter (GrassFed, Free-range Irish butter, available for cheap at Trader Joe’s)

Step 2: Chop up some of last night’s meat, fish, chicken, or veggies into small pieces and add to the pan.

Pulled pork and broccoli - still lookin' good, even the morning after. ;)

Step 3: Crack 2 or 3 eggs ( or 4 or 5 if your body needs that many) right into the pan and scramble them around a bit with a spatula, just enough to break up the yolks and mix them into the leftovers.

Dark meat chicken with collard greens...stick THAT in your cereal bowl and eat it.

Step 4: After a few minutes, once the bottom of the omelet has set, flip the omelet and cook for an additional minute on the other side. Remove from the heat and eat!

 

The perfect omelet always tastes better than it looks.

As simple as it is to eat eggs and leftovers for breakfast, we hear a TON of excuses as to why people don’t do it. Here are some of the most common, and our responses:

I don’t have time to cook in the morning – While cooking an omelet does take more time than pouring a bowl of cereal it doesn’t take THAT much more time, especially if you break the eggs right into the pan just after you add the meat. You can continue your morning routine as the egg cooks, flip it once, and eat.  TIP: Set out your plate, fork and saute pan the night before, and set  your alarm a whole 3 minutes earlier than normal. You can’t go wrong.

I don’t have time to eat at home / I’m not hungry when I first wake up Thank god for Tupperware! Just plop you omelet into a re-sealable container, and bring it to work/school/wherever. Eat it when you’re ready. I bring my omelet to work every day and eat it 2 hours after I wake up. I love to see my co-workers salivate…

I don’t know how to cook Now you do! I just showed you how. Its really that simple. The omelet is one of the first things that people learn to cook, so you’re starting with the basics. It’s okay if it looks ugly or if you overcook it. It’ll still taste the same, and you will learn as you go. It took me 2 full years of sloshing eggy goop over the side of the pan onto the stovetop before I learned how to flip a huge 6 egg omelet without using a spatula! ( Those 6 eggs feed two people, by the way).

I don’t like eggs Luckily, much like all of our food suggestions, there are substitutions available! First, try the recipe above once. Just to make sure it’s eggs you don’t like, and not the fake stuff that they microwave and slap on bread at Dunkin Donuts. If you really don’t like, or can’t stomach eggs, then you can just eat leftovers as is, or try some turkey with avocado, sausage with peppers, or any combo of meat & veggies that you feel like eating in the morning.

Now that we got the excuses out of the way, here are some leftovers that make for great omelets:

Ground beef and onions

Spinach and mushrooms

Chicken and peppers

Pork and hot sauce

Bacon and anything at all

Shrimp and avocado

Beef brisket

Steak and sweet potatoes

Curry chicken

Shrimp and peppers

You get the point….basically everything can be paired with eggs for the ultimate breakfast !

 

Why are we asking you to change your breakfast?

Because you’re here to make a big life change. You want to look better, feel better and become more physically capable, and making this tiny change will help you do just that.

Because breakfast is the natural ‘first step’ to take. It sets the tone for the day. It’s not easy to ruin a satisfying breakfast with a lunch that will make you sleepy and feeling gross.

Because omelets are easy to make. They are the kindergarten of cooking, and these are baby steps that we’re taking.  If you haven’t made any of our recipes thus far, make this the first one you try.

Tell us what you think!

Try and omelet today and POST YOUR THOUGHTS TO COMMENTS. What did/didn’t you like? Are you unsure about whether your breakfast is ‘real foods’ -approved? Got any suggestions for newbies?

This is the first in a series of posts about slowly transitioning yourself over to eating only foods that are good for you. While the concepts may sound simple, this change can be really hard for most people, so show your support – we’re in this together!

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16 Responses to Baby Step #1: Change Your Breakfast

  1. Liz says:

    I made an omelet this morning with onion, tomato, green pepper, grass-fed bacon and…blackberries! Seemed crazy enough to work. It was really delicious! Omelets are an awesome way to enjoy all the veggies and meats you need to get eaten to make room in the fridge for more. Awesome post!

  2. Justin says:

    Heya Liz. Where do you get grassfed bacon around here?

    And blackberries, eh? I never would have thought to try that.

    I’ve seen peaches w/ pecans in eggs before, and we’ve used leftover kale that had raisins in it, so sweet sometimes works with eggs. I’m looking forward to my parent’s back yard Jersey tomatoes. Those and meat omelets are a personal favorite.

  3. Alycia says:

    wow…that sounds awesome!
    I didn’t know that you had a blog– I just visited it – I love it! Good stuff.

  4. Liz says:

    I guess I was wrong on the grass-fed bacon, guys! Meghan Waldeck let me know that the RTM bacon I like is grain-finished. The pigs out at Cherry Grove Farm are Whey-fed, which after further digging I see to be an extremely good feed. I’m going to post this on our FB discussion as well – but I think Cherry Grove Farm is going to be my bacon supplier from now on! I think I just need to work on loving my other meat options as much as I love pork :)

  5. Jillybean says:

    Great post guys! After hanging out in the Crossfit community for almost 2 years Ive finally started coming around to the Paleo diet. I’ve always had a pretty good diet, no fast food or soda or white bread etc. But it wasnt until I started reading the Whole 9 websites that I decided to change and it started exactly how this article described. No joke for almost 2 years I eat a South Beach Diet bar and drank a 12 oz coffee with 3 packets of splenda and French Vanilla creamer for breakfast. And one morning i just woke up and said I was done! So I’ve started out with no bread and no pasta and changed my breakfast. I boil eggs at the beginning of the week and take 2 hard boiled eggs with me to work. Its even faster than an omelette and easy to travel with. Then Ive cut down to a half a packet of splenda with half and half. And Im almost at the point where I can have my coffee black..but like you said baby steps. For lunch and dinner its pretty simple meat and veggies and for snacks some fruit!

  6. Alycia says:

    Great idea with the hardboiled eggs. I can’t believe I forgot to mention that in the article! ( I think I’ll add it in). Glad to see that you had success with the ‘baby steps’ approach!
    Good luck :)

  7. Jillybean says:

    Some questions for you regarding eggs…is it ok to eat eggs every day? Some people I’ve talked to about my change in diet mentioned that it could impact my cholesterol in a negative way. Any thoughts or comments on that?

  8. Alycia says:

    Hey Jill,
    I didn’t realize this was THE Jill. haha. Hope your knee/leg is doing okay. I know that Justin already answered this in person today, but for the other readers – please know this, that dietary cholesterol isn’t the cause of high cholesterol levels in your blood. It’s kinda like how eating fat won’t make you fat. In fact, the cholesterol in eggs increases the amount of ‘good’ (LDL) cholesterol in your body.
    The real culprit behind high cholesterol is….you guessed… consistently high insulin levels. Eating things that are high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients causes your blood sugar levels to rise, which makes your insulin rise (it’s attempting to bring your blood sugar levels down). When this happens repeatedly, and you aren’t eating enough protein to help even out your levels, your liver continues to produce cholesterol, leading to high cholesterol levels ( which build up and leads to the hardening of your arteries). The receptors on your cells stop recognizing the ‘stop’ signals (ie: stop producing insulin, stop making cholesterol) because of the constantly elevated insulin state, and that’s when things go awry.

    That’s the long and short of it. Much like there are a ton of other myths out there in conventional wisdom world (dietary fat is bad, frozen boxes of food science count as ‘meals’, girls shouldn’t lift more than 10lbs, etc), this one has been debated back and forth, and should be debunked forever. It’s false. Eggs aren’t bad for you.

  9. Maddie says:

    Are there any other more ready-made or microwaveable options? It isn’t that I don’t like cooking, but I live in a dorm with only a microwave and small fridge space so I have a harder time preparing the meals you’ve suggested. My meal plan doesn’t include breakfast. I am considering just bringing tupperware into my dining hall and taking some meat and veggies during dinner, but I’d like to see if there were anymore options before it came to that.

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  11. Alycia says:

    Hey Maddie, you could make eggs in the microwave, but I haven’t tried it. Bacon also cooks well in the microwave. ( Check the internet for cooking times/methods). The tupperware idea is probably your best bet, and then heat it up in the microwave the next morning. It’s all about thinking of creative ways to get your protein in, and sometimes the methods might be a little unconventional, but that’s OK. I’ve been known to eat entire omelets with my hands if I’m stuck in traffic with my omelet in a tupperware next to me. ;)
    If you can buy hardboiled eggs anywhere, that might be another option for keeping easily accessible eggs on hand for the morning.
    Beef Jerky, if you can find the type without any weird chemicals in it, is another option for quick protein that you can keep at room temperature or in the fridge.

  12. Liz says:

    Hey guys! I’m subscribed to the comment discussion here so I saw the microwave question…Maddie, I had the exact situation you have and did the exact same thing. You can cook eggs and bacon in the microwave. The texture is a bit different, but mixed with veggies it’s just fine. If you’re just cooking a few eggs, I would scramble, cover with a paper towel, and cook 1 minute to 2 minutes at a time, mashing and stirring in between. With bacon, 1 minute per piece (sandwiched between paper towels) is a good starting point. If you’re cooking 3 pieces together, cook for 3 minutes. Be sure to check on them, because some microwaves will scorch bacon if you’re not careful.

  13. Alycia says:

    Thanks for the specific instructions, Liz!

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  16. I don’t usually comment but that was great. Really well said. Thank you. See this grass fed beef site. Well you’ve just made my bookmarks list. Thanks for the post.

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