Saturday, 1 February 2014

Breakfast of Champions

This is part one of a two part breakfast blog that covers seven days of nutrient packed breakfast ideas.

I have always been a very healthy eater and I put a lot of thought into what I fuel my body with. Athletes place such high demands and expectations on our bodies so we therefore must reward and nourish them by giving them exactly what they need.

I am currently training for the London Marathon. When I fully committed to this decision, around November last year, I promised myself two things; I would listen to my body and what exactly it was telling me in response to the training (getting to the start line of a marathon is as much of an a accomplishment as it is to make the finish line) and I would nourish my body well. I try to eat as many ‘super foods’ as possible, I eat as many raw foods as I can and most importantly; I eat clean. Eating clean simply means eating food in its purest form – minus unnecessary chemicals, addititives and preservatives. A simple trick to eating clean is to stick to the outsides isles/shelves of the grocery store. These shelves contain produce, grains, diary and meat products. The shelves in between these usually contain packaged, convenience foods, full of unnecessary nasties.

Eating clean, super foods (a super food is simply proven to have super health benefits for humans) allows our bodies to efficiently and quickly convert the food to fuel (gas to burn for us runners) and act as a readily available building block to allow and optimally assist with recovery. The purer the food, the more effectively your body will use it for what you want it to do.

I try to eat super foods all day long but here are some ideas on how to get a whole handful into your body before you even leave for work in the morning. Committing to a clean, super food packed diet does require a bit of extra time and effort but I believe that super expectations on the body require super treatment, care and nourishment. I love cooking too! I hope you can have some fun with these ideas. I am not one for sticking to recipes so take what you want from these ideas and swap whatever I have used for whatever you have (as long as it is clean and super).


Qunioa Super Porridge

Qunioa is commonly considered a grain but it actually belongs in the same family as leafy veges such as spinach and kale. It is high in protein making it perfect for post run and it is delish! I cooked my qunioa in almond milk and sweetened it with a grated green apple, cinnamon (lots of cinnamon), vanilla extract and lemon rind and juice. The rind of the lemon contains the most super powers so get grating. Once the qunioa was ready I mixed in chia seeds (if you haven’t read ‘Born To Run’ read it now to understand how truly amazing this tiny, black, omega 3 packed seed is – I eat them everyday) and chopped almonds. I topped mine with berries (the ultimate antioxidant provider) – this time I used raspberries and goji berries but use whatever you have/is in season.  I added greek yoghurt for even more proteins and added a slice of watermelon for extra hydration.

I ate this the day after a hard track work out. I woke up with throbbing legs so I knew I had to get some serious protein into me.


Coconut Water Super Bircher Muslie

Bircher muslie is a kind of raw, cold porridge, soaked overnight in liquid. Our bodies best absorb the fibre and vitamins that oats contain when they are raw and soaked. I have soaked mine in coconut water as coconuts are packed with nutrients and the water of a coconut acts as a natural electrolyte drink (I try to steer clear from sugar packed sports drinks). Coconut is also one of my favourite flavours! I have soaked the oats with shredded coconut, chopped almonds, seeds and nuts (whatever you have - they are all super) grated ginger (ginger is in the root family and all roots have natural healing properties and a long list of other benefits), lemon and lime rind and juice and cinnamon (spices contain nutrients in a very dense form so sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle). I have served mine with acai powder (pronounced a-sigh-eee - a dense powdered form of super berry – great in smoothies), greek yoghurt, blueberries and the seeds of a beautiful pomegranate fruit. Seeds are all high in omegas (building blocks for muscle) and pomegranate seed’s rich red colour is a give away to their super levels of toxin busting antioxidants.  They are a wonderful addition to any salad or breakfast.
Finishing touches include fresh mint, extra lime rind and a slice of lime. Bon appetite!!!


Clean, Green Breakfast Smoothie

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The key ingredient in this smoothie is kale. If you don’t eat kale every day, start now. I could write a whole blog on why but here are the key facts:

1) Kale is high in fibre, low in calories and has zero fat.
2) Kale is high in Vitamins K, A and C which protects against many cancers, supports a wide variety of bodily functions and is great for your vision, skin, immune system, metabolism and hydration.
3) Per calorie, it has more iron than beef and more calcium thank milk.
4) Kale is full of antioxidants, which help protect against various cancers.
5) Kale lowers your cholesterol levels.
6) Kale is an anti-inflammatory food and contains omega-3 fatty acids,
which help fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
7) As Kale is filled with fibre and sulphur, it is great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

I have crammed a large handful of kale into the blender with half a frozen banana (the one and only food you could live off if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life), a mango, a green apple, celery, grated ginger, lemon rind, lime rind, greek yoghurt and coconut cream – packed with protein and flavor!

I have served mine with mint, blueberries, shredded coconut, chia seeds and lemon and lime slices AND I was lucky enough to devour it after a beach run, yoga session and by a beautiful pool. Hang in there Londoners, summer is coming! Hopefully this smoothie will be able to bring a bit of summer to you!

Stay tuned for part two – more recipes and super, clean eating facts.

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