A very common question I get when people try to switch to a Paleo/Zone style of eating: what the heck do I eat for breakfast!? I understand the confusion, since in our culture, breakfast usually means a processed carb-fest. However, you will have to buck the popular culture somewhat when it comes to breakfast. Remember, if you want a different result than the norm, you will have to do things differently than everyone else!
There are two ways you can go about this, and I recommend a little of both. The simple one is to get used to eating foods not traditionally thought of as breakfast in the morning. This can really save time if you happen to have leftovers. The second option is to cook your protein and vegetables in a breakfast style. I’ll touch on this a bit more here.
Above is a meal I threw together recently. It’s different than anything I’ve cooked before, but very similar at the same time. I use a basic formula to create simple, nutrient dense breakfasts.
1) I start by selecting a protein source. Today, it was smoked salmon (Trader Joe’s, specifically) and omega-3 eggs. Leftover meats work really well for breakfasts.
2) I then select some vegetables. I often use what I have on hand, using a variety if I have time. Today was diced onion, grated zucchini, chopped celery, spinach, and garlic.
3) Add your fat as needed. I used only a teaspoon of coconut oil today, as the salmon and eggs contain a fair quantity of fat. I add more cooking oil (usually olive oil or coconut oil) if my daily fat needs are higher. Remember, fat is your primary source of fuel.
4) Finally, the spices. This will really make the difference in your meal. With different spices, this very same base recipe can be quite different. In today’s case, I only used sea salt and fresh ground pepper, as the smoked salmon gives it a very good flavor already. Here are several spice combinations that you can try: add soy sauce (wheat free tamari) and sesame oil for an Asian flavor. Add tomato sauce, basil, and oregano for an Italian dish. Cumin, chili powder and oregano for a Latin meal. Curry powder and ginger for an Indian flavor. Countless spice and herb combinations are possible, expand your horizons and try new combinations. Depending on what you use as your protein source, some spice combinations will work better than others. If you want to give the meal a more traditional breakfast flavor, chopped bacon or ham will work well.
To make the breakfast above, add coconut oil to a large skillet. Saute the chopped onion, then add the zucchini, celery, and spinach. When the vegetables start to become soft, add the salmon. Cook for a couple of minutes more, then add your eggs and crushed garlic. Toss until the eggs set, then serve. Top with a dash of sea salt and pepper. You have a quick breakfast that is nutrient dense, won’t send your blood sugar soaring, contains plenty of omega-3 fats, and does not contain a wallop of lectins to inflame the gut.
Another tip is to bulk cook, making a large enough batch so that you have leftovers for the coming mornings. This can really save time in the long run.
There are other possibilities for a Paleo breakfast, such as hot nut cereals and grain free pancakes. I cover some of these in Cooking for Health and Performance.