Since starting work at a personal trainer at a gym, I wake up really, really, really early. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and I've always been the type of person who will get up an hour early just to have the time to sit, read the news, and enjoy breakfast. However, getting up at 3:45am would be a little crazy. So I've started making smoothies in the morning, which is great if you're pressed for time, or if you're the type of person who struggles with wanting to eat a big breakfast. As I've mentioned before, its SO crucial to get an adequate amount of protein (at least 20 grams) and good fat in the morning, as it will stimulate your metabolism and keep your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day.
One thing people have a hard time digesting (ha! get it? PUNny). I digress...is raw eggs in smoothies. This seems like some strange/unhealthy habit done only by body builders. But, I promise you, if you are buying organic, free range (preferably local from a farm) eggs, you are both not in danger, but you are providing your body with an excellent fuel source full of nutrients, protein, and fat. Its very important to not eat egg whites raw without the yolk, because this can lead to a B Vitamin deficiency. Check out this article from Dr. Mercola for more great information: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/11/13/eggs-part-two.aspx. Also important to keep in mind that when buying whey protein powder, it's essential to buy a good quality, organic brand, as many are loaded with additives, colorings, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners.
So, here is a smoothie idea! Of course, as with all recipes, feel free to experiment/improvise!
1 serving cold pressed, organic whey protein (Natural Factors is a good brand)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2-1 cup coconut water (try raw milk or whole coconut milk instead)
2 organic eggs
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 handful of berries (or other fresh fruit, berries are lower in sugar)
Dark, leafy greens that you have around (I generally add kale, and you don't taste it at all, but its a great boost of nutrients)
This is a good morning/breakfast smoothie, but can also be a great post-workout meal (30 minutes post exercise, as our body shuts down digestion during intense workouts).
Clearly, I am obsessed with coconut. These macaroons are seriously delicious, and the recipe was given to me by my friend and fellow nutrition couch, Diane Sanfilippo of http://balancedbites.com. As I've mentioned before, coconut comes in many delicious/nutritious forms, including those in this recipe: coconut butter and shredded coconut. Both can be purchased at any health food store/co-op, or online. http://tropicaltraditions.com is a great one. Enjoy!
Variations: I like to add cinnamon and a bit of orange zest. You can also add some raw cacao powder if you want chocolate coconut macaroons, although keep in mind that this is a very overpowering flavor so just a little bit goes a long way!
My love affair with coconut has reached a new level recently, as I have discovered coconut flour. Coconut flour is simply dried, ground coconut which contains 14% coconut oil and 58% fiber! The remaining 28% consists of water, protein, and carbohydrate (Dr. Mercola). For those of us who are gluten free, or simply experimenting with healthier alternatives, coconut flour is a wonderful choice. Other gluten-free flours such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and cornmeal flours, may still have an irritating/inflammatory effect on the gut for some people. Also, coconut flour has a delicious, sweet taste, which makes it ideal for baking. It does not bind as other flours would, but mixing it with eggs fixes the problem. You can buy coconut flour at any health food store (your local co-op, whole foods, etc), or you can order it online from a great company: tropicaltraditions.com. These pancakes will keep you feeling full due to the healthy fat and high fiber content.
I have been experimenting with gluten/grain free pancake recipes lately, and adapted the following from nourishingdays.com. Enjoy!
COCONUT FLOUR PANCAKES
recipe yields about 6 medium size pancakes
4 organic eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut milk (full fat) or raw cow's milk
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
1 mashed banana (optional...I added this to make them extra fluffy)
Vanilla to taste
Cinnamon (feel free to use other spices...ginger and/or nutmeg would be tasty)
1 tbsp. sweetener (I used about 1 tsp. raw honey)
Coconut oil, butter, or ghee for frying
Mix all wet ingredients together, then dry ingredients separately. Coconut flour may need to be sifted, as it will often have some chunks in it. Then mix everything together until smooth, fry in cooking fat of your choice, top with a bit of grade B maple syrup, berries, or spread with butter or coconut oil. Yum!!