Saturday, September 24, 2005

In search of the perfect breakfast

My wife says that it's a sign of extreme vanity to tell people what you had for breakfast. Same with blogging. So, here goes.

fermented porrige

1 cup organic, large-cut oatmeal. Purchased in bulk so there's less packaging. Not sure if "large cut" is the right term, but it's not as processed, so it's more nutritious

1 cup filtered water, warm. Filtered to remove the floride they put in our water.

a couple tablespoons of kefir. As an innoculant (a supply of bacteria & yeast that I want to grow). The kefir is homemade, and not sweetened in any way. It was made in raw, organic milk from my herd share, which means I'm supporting a particular type of economy: the local, independent craftsman.

Mix and let sit for 24 hours.

In the morning, bring 1 more cup filtered water to a boil. Add the water-oatmeal-kefir mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Split between 2 bowls. Add 2 tablespoons of raw, organic, handmade butter to each (from the same guy that brings me milk), and a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey. Mix and eat.

It's a little different tasting than I'm used to, because it's a bit sour from the overnight fermentation. That fermentation is supposed to improve the nutrition value of the food, by removing some unwanted substances, and making the vitamins more accessible.


Eggs have a lot of different nutrients in them: enzymes, antioxidants, protien, fats. To get the most of these nutrients, eggs should probably be eaten raw. I'm not yet used to that idea. Also, our eggs are farmed by people who assume they will be cooked. Otherwise they would probably have some extra steps to make eating raw eggs safer.

We buy eggs from two sources: Whole Foods Market (aka "Whole Paycheck"), and the farmer who brings us our milk. He trades milk with another farmer for eggs. I like the fact that these eggs are a mix of colors and sizes.

My favorite way to eat eggs is fried, with the yokes runny. This is apparently a good way to get the nutrition from the eggs, as heating up the yokes destroys the enzymes, and scrambling them destroys the antioxidants.

I also try to use plenty of butter in the cooking (from the milkman, as mentioned above). I know that this butter is particularly nutrient rich, and supports the kind of economy I want, so I don't hold back.

1 tablespoon butter in a stainless steel pan. I'm trying to get away from teflon. Medium-low heat to gently melt the butter without burning it. I bought the pan from the thrift store for only 5 bucks. At that price, I can abuse it and not worry about wasting money or the resources that go in to producing a new pan.

Once it's melted, gently add 3 eggs to the pan. Gently so the butter stays between the eggs & pan, so it won't stick.

Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the eggs. I do it early so the salt grains get in to the eggs, instead of sitting on top, which seems to be good for flavor.

Cover with a plate. The pan didn't come with a lid. This also warms the plate, so the food will stay warm while I eat it. Eggs taste better warm.

Because I keep it on such low heat, it takes a little while to cook. During this time I'll clean the kitchen or prepare a glass of kefir.

Once it's done, I slip the eggs on to the plate, and fill the pan with water.

Typically there's a little bit of egg that sticks to the pan. Sometimes it's a lot, and my eggs get all messed up. I can avoid that by using 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 butter. If things get burned on really badly, I will use steel wool to remove it. I've read that steel wool will scratch the surface, making it easier for things to burn in the future. That's a little annoying, but at least I don't have to worry about damaging some expensive, fancy pan.


To drink, I'll often prepare a glass of kefir. As mentioned above, the kefir is made with raw milk from the herd share. It's the most nutrious milk I know of, and it supports that economy I like.

1 pint kefir in a large glass.

5-7 drops of stevia leaf extract. This stuff is a very powerful sweetener. I don't want to use a lot of it, because I really want to get out of the habit of eating sweets. But stevia sure makes kefir enjoyable. At 7 drops it's like a milkshake.

1 large drop of organic vanilla extract, in a non-alcohol solution (I think it's glycerin).

Cod liver oil

When I remember, I take a tablespoon of cod liver oil. Since I'm eating plenty of butter with this breakfast, it's a good time for the oil.


Here's where the breakfast needs work, still. Sometimes I have a banana or other piece of fruit. I really need to find a good vegetable to include. (see previous post). Any suggestions?

Cod liver oil

I try to take a tablespoon of cod liver oil regularly.

I keep a bottle in the fridge. I pour it in to a spoon and take it straight. Most people can't stand the flavor, and need to hide it in a drink, or take it in capsule form. I don't like the taste, but it doesn't bother me much.

I worry most about the capsule form. Capsules are medicine-like, and I know that both capsules of code liver oil and medicines are the result of a massive industry, which does a lot of harm. I think of Merck's effective lobbying campaigns. Also, the capsules are pretty expensive, so you end up sending lots of money to the makers, encouraging them to make more. Still, I know that it can be tough for people who don't like the taste of the straight stuff to get the nutrition their bodies need.

Speaking of which, what is the nutrition that I'm looking for? Mostly, it's vitamin A. From what I've read, the vitamin A in cod liver oil is very dense, and relatively easy to assimilate. Weston Price found that the ability to use this vitamin depended on the "Price Factor" in carefully prepared dairy, so I try to take it near the use of butter at breakfast.

I recommend daily cod liver oil for people who plan on making a baby in the next 6 months, and for pregnant and nursing women. It's great for the baby. (Yes, even dad's nutrition before making the baby matters a lot.)

Vegetables and Fruit

For most of my life, I rarely ate vegetables, and didn't each much fruit. I'm now eating mostly organic produce, and I eat it more often, and I strive for the "local and in season" model for produce.

But I still have a lot of room for improvement.

I'll often have a banana, because they're yummy, convenient, and easy to eat. We get them from Pioneer Organics, which delivers a box of organic produce every week. I am careful to select local produce whenever possible, but bananas are never local to WA state. Also, they only ever have the Cavendish variety, which is at risk. I'd like to find a way to support biodiversty, by not eating so many Cavendish bananas. However, other types are not often available. Also, bananas are never local and in season in WA state, so I would do well to eat other fruits instead. I remind myself that monocultures are good for multinational corporations and diseases, and diversity is good for the little guy.

Fruits have quite a lot of sugar in them, but at least it's unrefined. My body recognizes that sugar as a sign that these are good to eat, and sure enough, they are full of nutrients. Especially because I am pretty strict about eating only organic fruit. Non-organic fruit is worse in a lot of ways (poisons affect the farmers, the fields, and me; fertilizers allow overfarming, resulting in produce that lacks nutrients and spoils more quickly; organic produce must sell on taste, because it cannot sell on appearance, so it tastes better). However, as we head in to autumn, there are fewer and fewer local and in season fruits.

I would like to find a variety of real vegetables that I like to eat. I say "real" because so many of the foods we think of as vegetables are really fruits: zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers. We like them because they're sweet; they're sweet because they're fruit. They still have nutrients, but the sugar:nutrient ratio is going to be better in, say, spinach than, say, cucumber.

Some thoughts on salt

I don't know a whole lot about table salt, but there are a few things that I keep seeing. If the topic is interesting to you, I suggest you do some more reading.

Refined salt contains only NaCl (and iodine in a form that may be toxic, and an anti-caking agent that could be bad, too). You do need NaCl in your diet, but you also need dozens of other minerals, some in trace quantities.

Unrefined sources of salt that our ancestors used (bone broths, sea salt, etc.) had a complex mix of minerals. The refined stuff triggers the "I want" reaction in your mouth, but without delivering the other minerals that evolution has taught us we should find there.

A certain type of economy

I've started considering this in a lot of my buying decisions. How can I support a local, indepdent craftsman, and avoid supporting a large, multi-national corporation?

The local guy does this work because he cares about it a great deal. He is motivated to optimize for quality & pride over profit.

There's a great article by Charles Eisenstein that I love. In fact, I really enjoy just about everything that guy writes. Here he talks about a model for groups of about 20 to do food production on their own and share the results.

I also like a related article by Sally Fallon, although there's some stuff that I like to ignore (comments on global warming, drugs, and deforestation). The part I do like is the idea that by doing local, small-scale farming & food making, you create a richness in the local economy. The richness manifests itself in a strong community, a reliable safety net, and an outpouring of creativity.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.