Today I woke up and felt like crap: tired and bitchy. Did some yoga, felt less crap and way less bitchy, but still not awesome. And, frankly, if your day doesn’t start out by being awesome, you’ve got a bit of work ahead of you to get it up to that hallowed status. You know what ya gotta do? You got to eat yourself some breakfast. Some AWESOME breakfast.
I know so many people skip the whole affair as something disappointing and ugly, and as far as I can tell, this attitude boils down to one of three things:
(1) They feel sick in the mornings and breakfast makes it worse.
(2) They rely on prepackaged breakfast cereals or nutritionally vapid white bread.
(3) They don’t have time.
Right, let’s go. Hear that ‘ca-chunk’? That’s me priming my shotgun to BLAST these criticisms away (or whatever one does with shotguns: frankly, I’m not sure).
(1) Feel sick: First, get a checkup and make sure your guts are doing what they oughta. I used to hate breakfast because I had no appetite before eating and awful nausea after. This was the pattern all through primary school, high school and the first bit of uni. Then I saw a naturopath who suggested my liver wasn’t doing all it could. After a stern word and a bottle of liver-stimulating supplements, I began to see breakfast in a new, tender light and now I am a breakfast-loving fool. Just try getting me out of the house without breakfast (unless it’s to go out for breakfast). I’ve heard that grapefruit — either fresh, or unsweetened, not-reconstituted juice — is great for liver-waking-up, and a bit of exercise can help a lot: so have a quick glass of grapefruit juice and go for a walk around the block before breakfast and see if that helps.
(2) Breakfast foods are teh suck: Man, I can’t believe some of the crap that gets marketed as convenient breakfast food. If you’re eating Froot Loops (I bet they’re not allowed to call them “Fruit Loops” under consumer protection legislation) or shitty fluffy white bread, you’re not doing yourself any favours. For a start, that shit is processed up to the eyeballs with god-knows-what chemicals. To paraphrase Michael Pollan, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Even the good stuff, like toasted muesli, is often loaded with fats and/or preservatives. (Alright, it’s not all bad: I’ve gotta give a shout-out to my peepz Weetbix.) Secondly, it’s filling your tummy pointlessly: Nutri-grain, Coco Pops, is not a healthy breakfast, and it’s not even that tasty. Thirdly, convenience? Don’t make me puke. You’re nourishing your body and brain: why is that such a low priority that you can’t be arsed making a sandwich? Why is that so unimportant that you have to have it shunted to you, practically pre-digested, from a box?
(3) Time poor: Okay, moving hastily on from the above rant — give a moose a medium, and she’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong — people are time poor. Okay, this is a tricky issue. First of all, why are you time poor? And second of all, what are you doing about it? It happens really easily and you can’t be hatin’ for it. Three ways of tackling this: (a) Pre-prepare everything — you’d be surprised how much you can make the night before: chop up your fruit salad, make a sandwich for toasting/grilling, pre-boil or pre-poach your eggs and put them in the fridge overnight; (b) Change your routine — go to bed earlier, get up earlier, eat breakfast: BAM; (c) Eat at work — I know loads of people who keep a box of muesli and some juice or milk/soy milk at work, and most workplaces have a fridge and microwave you can use.
If my babble doesn’t totally convince you, just have a look at this! And this! And one of these! And this! There is a whole lotta evidence that suggests skipping breakfast is a bad idea in the long run. Alright, don’t freak out: you should also check out this, which suggests skipping breakfast ain’t the end of the world. Okay, I’ve shamed you into embracing breakfast as a part of your day. The fact is, without breakfast, my day today would have sucked nard. So I’m going to share with you the recipe that turned my frown upside down: Kick Arse Banana Date Breakfast Bread! I’m also calling it Banana And Date Arse-kicking Super Start-the-day Loaf so that its acronym is BADASS Loaf, but if you’ve got the ambassador coming over, just call it Banana-Date Bread. Don’t wait until breakfast time to make this: you’ll get too hungry while it cooks.
2 way mushy bananas
60g dates, finely chopped
3/4 cup rolled oats
a couple of generous tablespoons of butter, softened
100g brown sugar
pinch of salt
vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice: according to taste
2c plain flour
1 generous tab of baking powder
Cook the rolled oats in 2.5 cups of water until soft and mushy; add the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice according to your whim and stand to cool. Meanwhile, whisk the butter and sugar together. Add vanilla and eggs and whip well; whisk in the mushy bananas. Add your cooked oats, then the flour and baking powder, and stir until only just combined. If it seems a little dry, add some milk. Pour into a loaf tin and bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 40-60 minutes. Let it cool in the tin for a bit, and then tip it out to finish cooling on a rack — this will stop it getting a soggy bottom.
Fantastic for breakfast! Toast it or grill it and then spread butter and honey on it! Or, if you’re me (and I am), cover with fresh fruit, natural yoghurt and honey and call it a breakfast fiesta! Olé!