I have love-hate relationship with breakfast in that I love breakfast and I hate that I love breakfast. It is so delicious! And I am a morning person. I know a ton of people who don’t mind skipping breakfast and do it on a regular basis. I, however, was raised with that mantra that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” My thinking has shifted a ton in recent years, but my appetite has not followed. I really like the idea of intermittent fasting and a condensed eating window as advised by Mark Sisson of the Primal Blueprint. I wish I could just give up dinner, but I think my family would protest. And dinner happens to have other benefits such as family time and a chance to try new things (not to mention the entire basis of this blog). So, if I want to condense my eating window, breakfast is the weakest link and the first to get the ax.
I actually enjoy my “bulletproof” coffee made with coconut oil instead of butter, and it does keep me full until about 11am as long as I haven’t been over-indulging in carbs. But I have been making hot breakfast for my family for about 5 years now, and it is also a meal I quite enjoy. When I am eating breakfast, I make mostly eggs. In my primal journey, I’ve gone through lots of phases and cycles. I tend to make the same thing over and over again until we get sick of it, and then I move on to something else. I repeat so much because it’s hard to be creative first thing in the morning. A well-greased groove serves me much better for both breakfast and lunch.
Some of the things that have become regulars over the course of time have been egg muffins (think mini-fritattas that can be made ahead), “green” eggs, cheesy scrambled eggs, liverwurst “green” eggs, boiled eggs and sausage, Paleo Scotch eggs, fried eggs and sauerkraut, various muffins, Paleo pancakes, cinnamon carrot salad, and oatmeal (which isn’t strictly “allowed”). Since living in Germany we have mixed our own yogurt too. We start with plain yogurt, either Skyr or full-fat Greek yogurt that is especially creamy. While sometimes we add berries or fruit, most of the time we make it with a little cocoa, a little vanilla, a little peanut butter, and a spoonful of honey. We pack it as snacks and people think we are eating ice cream; and it is REALLY tasty. I also put cocoa and peanut butter in the oatmeal when I make it for the kids. I don’t eat it much anymore, but I got back into eating both oats and quinoa when I trained for a marathon.
I’d like to reach an equilibrium with a condensed eating window, but even making this list of breakfasts has my mouth watering. I successfully did it for about two weeks before hormone fluctuations sent me scurrying back for some carbs and more calories. And the transition to giving up breakfast (for me) is brutal. I was most successful when I was able to quickly get into fat-burning mode by doing a 40-hour fast to kick off. Just waking up and saying, “no breakfast” has led to binge snacking later in the day. I have a personality that seems to do better with all/nothing approaches. I always backslide into making gradual progress over time, but the process that helps me make progress is making extreme commitments for a time and then slowly backing down to something more moderate.
I’ve been reflecting all weekend on how I can clean up my eating. Having been out of weightlifting for 5 months has been hard. I do like running short distances, but it spikes my carb cravings. And without being able to do my most favorite training program, I have slowly lost motivation to eat well. I have found myself slipping into having more “treats” than is reasonable and to grabbing large handfuls of trail mix to gulp down while I am in the process of making dinner, instead of just waiting an hour to eat. This combined with no strength training has me feeling heavy and bloated, but I am going to arrest this backslide right now. I’ve signed up for treatment to help me rehab my shoulder and prevent future injury, and I’m back in the gym. It is on my goal sheet to get to a place where I can eat just two large, primal meals per day, but after a rough stab at it this weekend, I don’t think its the right step for me now. Instead, I am going to try to cut back to three meals a day before I tackle cutting back to two. My meals are almost always nutritionally dense and follow primal principles; it’s my snacks that are high in sugar because I want quick calories between meals: fresh and dried fruit, dark chocolate, etc. None of it is particularly “bad,” but to borrow Whole30 terminology, it is “food without brakes” for me. I am making a “no snack” resolution, so for now, breakfast can be the meal I love to love.