Tag Archives: healthy breakfast

Day 33: Autumn is here and so are the pumpkins

It’s October, peeps, and you know what that means!

The Autumn/Fall/Harvest Season, (or whatever you’re having yourself), is officially upon us! Halloween is just around the corner, the days are getting shorter… and the temperature is soaring and we’re cracking out the sun block.

California, you’re messing with my head!!

Autumn here is so weird. We get blue skies and sunshine (highs of 90F/30C this weekend according to SF Gate), just like summer. But at the same the leaves are falling off the trees and the stores are selling woolen sweaters, hats and scarves. It takes a bit of getting used to.

Beach umbrellas and leaves on the ground. Madness!

Beach umbrellas and leaves on the ground. Madness!

What I’m also seeing is pumpkin everywhere, which is also slightly incongruous with the good weather.

It was like as soon as the clock struck midnight on September 22nd EVERYTHING turned into a pumpkin. Cinderella would have been appalled.

And actually, probably a little excited. Pumpkin spice is kind of a great flavour.

As I sit here I can smell Venessa’s (vegan) pumpkin bread cooling in the kitchen. Intoxicating.

But food manufacturers are really taking it to the extreme- check out this list of pumpkin spice products, compiled by Grub Street. It includes vodka, marshmallows, peanut butter and margarine. Margarine! Utter ridiculousness!

I’ve seen the madness myself in Trader Joes, with their selection of Pumpkin Ales.

Pumpkin Ale. I'm tempted!

Pumpkin Ale. I’m tempted!

But whilst it’s so tempting to get swept up in the pumpkin tidal wave, I’m trying to make a big effort to pause and take a close look at what’s going into these foodstuffs. If actual pumpkins were going into the making of these products the country would be overrun with pumpkin fields. And as far as I can see, the only pumpkin fields around, are for people to take pictures with. (I definitely want a pumpkin FB profiler).

What brought this home was this article written by The Food Babe about the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Full of sugar and pumpkin spice and nothing at all nice or good for you basically. It’s pretty shocking. Have a read!

So, I think for the most part I’m going to be sticking to real pumpkin food. I’ve found these recipes that I’m dying to try.

The only thing is that pumpkin is a bitch to cook! I always end up hurting myself. If anyone has an easy way of doing it let me know! Is canned pumpkin acceptable from a health perspective do you think?

Food and Excercise

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  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and egg whites, steamed kale and raw carrots/celery
  • Lunch: Chicken with salad and lots of veg, avocado, olive oil and apple cider vinegar
  • Snack: Banana with half a carton of Greek yogurt
  • Exercise: Spinning (I was on the squeaky bike – it was so loud! So I couldn’t stand up for the hill climbs. Every hill climb was seated. My quads hated me).
  • Dinner: Quinoa, green beans with some tofu, pulled pork and salad/raw veg.
  • Snack: Half a pear and teaspoon of almond butter
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Day 13: Spotlight on breakfast cereal

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and egg whites, steamed kales, chia seeds, raw celery, tomatoes
  • Exercise: 1 hour PT session (leg day)
  • Lunch: Mixed salad, with grilled chicken and avocado, apple cider vinegar
  • Dinner: Brown rice and spicy eggplant with shrimp and chicken
  • Snack: Almond brittle
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I didn’t photograph the almond brittle. It was only a tiny piece!

I read a really interesting article today from The New York Times, about the decline in cereal sales over the past decade. The reason cited are varied- millennials are too busy to sit down and eat meals in general so are ‘snacking’ instead (not this millenial!); people went crazy for bagels for a while; the number of breakfast options available in the marketplace are growing so people are branching out; and lastly people are becoming a lot more health conscious and don’t want to eat unhealthy food.

About 2 years ago I started seeing a personal trainer in Dublin (howya Gordon!) and one of his most important pieces of advice to me was to fix the breakfasts- ditch the sugary, processed cereals and concentrate on eating protein. Not only is it better for you from a nutritional standpoint, it will also help to balance your blood sugars for the day so you’re not craving the bad stuff.

I cried a little when I heard that.

Cereal and I – we go way back. Some of my most fond memories relate to cereal – my gran sprinkling on the sugar for me when we vactaioned with her in Italy, being so excited to eat Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms when we went back to visit Canada. I would happily eat cereal at all times of the day – it’s carby and comforting. Carbforting – does that work?!

But, based on his advice I did it, I quit cereal! Even the ‘healthy’ muesli I had convinced myself was OK. Instead I started eating eggs, smoked salmon and even smoked mackerel (there was a small bit of gagging the first time)!

I stopped short at eating chicken for breakfast, which is what his recommendation was. I think I nearly threw a dumbbell at him when he suggested it. Chicken!

And, you know what – I feel great for it and it’s one of the healthy habits I’ve managed to keep up. I rarely get sugar cravings, and I don’t feel hungry until lunch time. So great, it’s a healthy habit I’ve managed to keep up. I can safely say that my breakfasts are 99% clean. (Don’t you dare throw those Day 11 pancakes back in my face). 

Note, I actually also try to avoid fruit sugars at breakfast, where possible. Even having too much fruit has an effect on my blood sugars (ie sugar craving).

Try it! And tell me if you have any good breakfast recommendations that don’t involve eggs. I eat them a bit too regularly.

The cereal selection in work. You have no power over me, cereal!

The cereal selection in work. You have no power over me, cereal!

One of the breakfast options I want to try is this. It looks soooo good!

Avocado with eggs. Yum!

Avocado with eggs. Yum!