Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Diet Part II: Breakfast

I'm breaking these up because, like I said, I have a lot of food photos and a lot of food thoughts.  You can read Part I right here if you're not caught up.

A Bradley Method midwife convinced me to keep a food "journal" by taking phone photos and adding them to a private Pinterest board.  It's probably the laziest way ever to track diet.  I don't log things in any other way, I don't count calories or macronutrients, and for the most part I never look back. 

Okay, breakfast.  Breakfast is a meal where I feel like I actually do okay.  I'm generally more alert in the mornings, so I can make good decisions.  My son is usually behaving, and none of the day's insanity has crept up on me yet.  I also have total control over the menu and I try to keep it consistent from day to day.

I actually didn't always eat breakfast.  For most of my adult life, I skipped it.  I would wake up feeling groggy and dehydrated but not hungry, so I'd go ahead and get started with my day...run or hit the gym, get dressed, have coffee, go to the office.  Around 10:00 or 11:00 I would start looking for a light meal or just give up and decide to wait until noon.

Smuggling a 9-pound baby under my shirt, at 39 weeks. 


It was pregnancy that completely changed these habits.  Almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant, I had crippling all-day nausea and I learned that I couldn't let myself get too hungry without throwing up.  I started eating small meals all day long, starting with breakfast.  It was weird to "learn how" to eat breakfast, but I loved making breakfasts for myself.  Especially just normal things like toast with jelly, grits, oatmeal, and bowls of cereal.  Once I started breastfeeding, I ate one or two breakfasts a day, usually oatmeal with butter and fruit.  All of that got me in the habit of eating breakfast, and I never stopped.   

These days, breakfasts take one of three forms:

The "Normal" Breakfast

Sometimes, I feel like I have no "typical" days.  But that's life with a toddler and an all-hours job.  This is how I eat breakfast on the days that I just wake up and eat with my family.  I just grab a bowl and fill it with breakfast-y things (again with the laziness, I know).  We belong to a CSA, and we are lucky enough that Alabama's long growing season gives us fresh fruits for most of the year.  We also shop in bulk for a lot of our groceries (like the oats and sunflower seeds here).

Each typical morning also includes at least one cup of French pressed coffee.  Depending on the quality of the coffee and my mood, I'll either have it black or with raw sugar and whole milk.  I should also add that I don't eat any artificial sweeteners or reduced fat dairy.  I don't see a point, when the real stuff tastes so much better.  

Raw oats, filmjölk, peach, and sunflower seeds. 

Cottage cheese, strawberries, and sunflower seeds. 

Cooked oats, whole milk, strawberries, and honey.  Plus coffee.  Always coffee. 

Raw oats, cottage cheese, blueberries, and sunflower seeds.


The Early Run Breakfast

On mornings when I run early (the norm during summer), I always eat something before I head out the door.   I think I'm a freak runner, because I never really have stomach problems from running, and I can eat moments before running, while running, etc.  I don't know...maybe it's a high pain tolerance?  Sometimes I even have coffee beforehand, depending on how I feel and how long the run is.  I really need it for anything over 90 minutes.  I just save some leftover coffee from the day before and heat it up while I get dressed (I know, I know). 


A lighter pre-run breakfast: Larabar on the nightstand, no coffee.

A pre-run breakfast for a very long run: Clif bar, fruit, and coffee with extra sugar. 

The hotel gym version: banana, peanut butter, sugary coffee.

(Bonus: The Second Breakfast) 

If I run for more than 90 minutes or so, I have another breakfast after I get done.  I usually just make something brunch-y that seems like it will satisfy my hunger.  I love the combination of fried eggs and a sweet beverage like orange juice or hot cocoa.

A meal like this generally happens only once or twice a week, on a weekend day and after my son is napping and the house is calm.  

Scrambled eggs with pico de gallo, toasted whole wheat bagel with cheese, hot cocoa, and water.

Sourdough toast with butter, ugly microwaved eggs, dilute orange juice, and water.

And the hot-weather version: sweetened coffee and a sludgy green smoothie (whey protein powder, Green Superfood powder, frozen banana, hemp milk, peanut butter).



The Family Breakfast

Finally!  (This post is taking forever, by the way.)  My husband is home all day for a few days a week, and he likes to get up and make a more formal family breakfast.  I really love these meals, and we get them at least once a week.  I don't have to do anything but wake up and walk to the table.  And yes, I have been know to get directly back up from the table and go running.  I am a freak of nature, I guess. 

Two scrambled eggs with Sriracha, broiled toast, and sweetened coffee. 

French toast with Earth Balance and lingonberries, sweetened coffee.

So, overall I think I do okay with breakfast.  It has been a good exercise for me to look back through older photos and see the good and bad trends in them.  Now that it's all said and done, these are the things I am going to work on: 

1. Some form of protein with each meal.
2. Less added sugar, unless I really need the carbs for a planned long run.

3. Whole grain bread instead of white slices.
4. Stick to a single cup of coffee.
5.  Always eat something healthful after working out (part of my overall goals for this project).  

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