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

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.

Kefir

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.

Produce

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?

16 comments:

James Adams said...

Beans! Beans are a very good vegetable to eat. They might not be "breakfast" food, but nevertheless beans of all (non-refried) variety are pretty good for you.

Carrots, too.

I generally don't have vegetables in the morning, though. My breakfast of choice is plain old oatmeal, but I add unsweetened blueberries when I make it. These you can also grow in your back yard. When I was growing up in Burien, the house in which we lived had a blueberry bush in the back yard. We never even had to do anything to it; the plant would just maintain itself. Blueberries are VERY good for you, and when combined with oatmeal can make for one helluva healthy breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! Outside of the oatmeal, this breakfast sounds like a sure way to heart attack or stroke - high-protein, high-fat.

Anderson Imes said...

Tomatos. Tomatos next to an egg is my breakfast of choice. Adds a little bit of carbs and a lot of nutrients, especially if you are getting organic ones (which it appears you are).

As for the comments about high fat, high protein, I really am starting to suspect all of that advice. Physicians continue to give this arguement that these breakfasts are bad, but the people not eating them are still contracting diabetes at soaring rates.

I say, as long as your diet reflects your physical activity, to go for it. If you are spending time in the gym to keep the ol' ticker pumping, you should be fine.

The thing I think makes the biggest influence on the success of your diet is variety. I read an article about Japanese women (longest life span of any demographic) that said they consume over 150 different ingredients per week. Far cry away from the meat-and-potatos mentality here. I think this is key, and it certainly appears you are doing this.

Good to see you blogging again!

Anderson Imes said...

Oh. And as for the sticking eggs, you need a different pan. High protein foods will stick to just about anything. I'm anti-teflon, myself, so I use the next best thing - cast iron.

A properly seasoned cast iron skillet will have a nonstick surface that will rival any teflon pan. They are a bargain, too. A brand new one should cost you around 8 to 12 dollars at your local - this is important - hardware store. Just follow the directions attached to the pan (or published online) for seasoning it.

Kept well-oiled, this will do just the trick and will be a family heirloom.

Jay Bazuzi said...

Heart attack or stroke? Maybe...

Or maybe sugar + use of lights at night + stress every day at work + carcinogens are the cause.

I don't know, but I do know that the answer isn't clear or obvious.

Jay Bazuzi said...

Anderson: thanks for the tips. I have a cast iron pan that I never use. Maybe it's time to pull it out.

I like the idea of simple, low-tech stuff that will last a long time.

Anonymous said...

You should try steel cut oats. They come in different varieties. I like my cut coarse, but the scottish vareity is a fine cut.

http://www.foodsubs.com/GrainOats.html

Jay Bazuzi said...

Good info, thanks

Jay Bazuzi said...

Anderson,

I dug out the cast iron skillet that has been sitting unused of years.

It hadn't rusted, so I guess my attempt at seasoning it way-back-when had been successful.

I've been using it for a couple weeks, and like it a lot.

It's amazing how little sticks to it.

Anonymous said...

The main source for heart disease that causes heart attacks, strokes, kidney failures, etc. is high cholesterol in particular LDL. And the main cause for that is eating too much fat, especially saturated fat. Saturated fats are found in animal products, such as meats, milk and other dairy products that are not fat free, butter, and eggs. Some of these foods are also high in cholesterol. And that is a large portion of your breakfast...
You are right if you are eating lots of sugar and refined carbs as well that certainly makes things even worse. And if you are not exercising, so that you can reduce some of the stress, well then what can I say?!

Breakfast some oats soaked in water not kefir and fruits, not bananas (maybe occasionally), but rather apples, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, pears, grapes, watermellon, mellon, etc.

Jay Bazuzi said...

Anon E. Mouse,

What you're saying isn't new to me. We've heard it over & over from the medical and media establishments for a while. They may be right, or their advice may be corrupted by their own self-interestst. Doctors want to see expensive medical care as the answer to your problems, not traditional healing and good food choices. The media wants you to spend money on their advertisers, which include multinational food manufacturers, and not so many independent, local farmers.

Trans fats are better for business than animal fats, as they last longer on store shelves, and can be distributed further. Pasturized dairy, beer, etc., are also better for business than raw, for the same reasons. This skews their view.

I'm not an authority on nutrition. I'm mostly just playing back what I've read elsewhere. My favorite information source is the Weston A. Price Foundation, especially "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon.

I'm not telling you you're wrong about fats & cholesterol. I am saying that it's not as clear cut as you might think - there's a lot of conflicting information out there.

Anderson Imes said...

Jay,

Glad the skillet it working out for you. Amazing what we throw away in favor of newer, more expensive technology, eh?

The more you cook with it, the better it works, too.

And I want to echo your thoughts to Anonymous. Just looking at the things that do / do not cause cancer these days will make your head spin.

These same people who are giving us advice about our diet are the same ones that used to prescribe cigarettes to us for stress relief and who change the food pyramid every 8 years.

A grain of salt should be taken before taking the advice of professionals making money against that of your 95 year old grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Anderson, well, ask your 95 year old grandmother what her diet has been (the type and amount of food she has consumed through her life) and the amount of activity (exercise) in her life. You'd be surprised... By the way, there are a lot of studies done on the longevity of people's lives based on their diet. And it is not just about living long, but also about the quality of life.

Jay, I wasn't suggesting not to eat raw foods or support the local farmers. On the contrary. But support them by buying and eating real raw foods - i.e. mainly fruit and vegetables and nuts and wholegrains, not mainly dairy, meat and eggs. And I was definitely not suggesting buying pre-packaged "so-called" health meals and/or supplements.

Anderson Imes said...

Bacon, eggs, and coffee every morning. She's very much a creature of habit. She definitely gets her exercise, though. She still works in her garden most days.

Antares said...

Eggs and butter, when pastured and un-tampered with, seem to be a contributor to health rather than a detractor. The trouble comes from all the publicised studies being done on modern meat and dairy. Colesterol consumption has been shown even by mainstream reasearchers to not affect blood cholesterol! And there is "good" cholesterol and bad cholesterol. And on top of that, the more I learn about health and healing, the more I find evidence that the overiding factors isn't physical, such as diet and excersise, but rather emotional!! I personally believe vegan diets and even raw diets are better for healing, but that they are like a fast and that indigenous diets offer the best example of a sustainable diet. If anyone reading would like a great tool for healing on an emtional level, I recommend the Journey by Brandon Bays.

--a stranger, Antares

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