There is No Such Thing as a Boring Breakfast
People always ask me what they can do for breakfast. We seem to have lost our imagination in the kitchen. Once bagels and coffee are off the menu, it’s as if all other food has vanished too. So for many of my clients I recommend liquid breakfast Smoothies, the healthy convenience food you can run out the door with, because God forbid we take 30 minutes in the morning to make a warm breakfast. Smoothies are a great alternative to traditional breakfasts, and can be very supportive to work into your morning routine. But let’s get real here – you body is designed to chew and eat whole food, and especially in the morning, having a nice warm breakfast is just so NOURISHING.
The Problems with Liquid Breakfasts (…and two simple hacks)
The act of chewing starts the whole digestive cascade. So when you drink your breakfast, you skip this crucial step. (An old juicing trick is to “chew” your juices and smoothies before swallowing each sip.) Chewing releases those precious amylases, the enzymes which begin to break down the cell walls in plant food, so that by the time it all hits your tummy it’s already dissolving into the components your cells need for fuel, to supercharge your day.
To combat the temperature factor, add some warming spices to your smoothies. Examples of warming spices are ginger, cinnamon and cayenne. These spices are digestive aids in more ways than one, stimulating your bile production, calming inflammation, and generally sparking the digestive fire.
Purple Paleo Perfection
But wait– we’re not talking about liquid breakfasts today. Today I wanted to show you an example of a simple Paleo breakfast you will love. The colorful yin yang on the red plate is lox and eggs with purple cabbage sautéed in coconut oil. How inspiring are those colors? If that doesn’t wake you up and inspire you, I don’t know what will.
I always look for high quality food on sale, to make the most of seasonal and fresh food on a budget. With a little attention, you can too. In this case, a San Francisco Whole Foods Market I stopped into had traditional belly lox on sale. It was sourced from wild salmon (all we can get in my neighborhood is farmed – yuck! – so I hadn’t had any in ages.)
Lots of people think lox is cold-smoked salmon (smoked at no more than 80 degrees, either wet or dry.) Salmon can be smoked cold or with heat. The more smoke and heat is used, the thicker and dryer the texture of the salmon will be. But lox is actually salmon cured without any heat at all. Here’s a little breakdown on varieties:
- Gravlox is cured with dill and with or without salt. It tends to be mild and subtle in flavor;
- Belly or Nova lox are stronger flavored, and are more typical choices for bagels and lox (or in this case, lox and eggs.) My favorite is the Belly lox, which is salt cured and has a definite salty flavor. It contrasts especially well with the blandness of a bagel and shmear (that’s Yiddish for cream cheese.) Belly is a good choice for anyone with adrenal fatigue or low blood pressure.
- Nova is lox from Atlantic salmon caught up north in the wonderfully cold waters off Nova Scotia. It is also delicious, and highly prized.
The other ingredients used in this dish are: unrefined coconut oil, purple cabbage, and farm-fresh eggs.
Each cook has their own madness. This is my method. Use it as much as it’s helpful and then find your own way with it. I sliced up about a quarter of a purple cabbage into bite-sized pieces while heating about 1 Tbs unrefined coconut oil in my largest cast iron skillet on medium heat. When it was warmish-hot, I added the cabbage and some sea salt. Sauté for several minutes, until the cabbage is a bit wilted but still has some body to it. Watch your heat to make sure you don’t burn or brown the cabbage. (Some people like it more crunchy and some like it more well done. If you have a hypothyroid condition, you will want to avoid raw cabbage, which is a goitrogen, so definitely wilt it.) One of the qualities of cabbage that I love is that it retains its flavor whether it’s raw or cooked, and is wonderfully health protective in either state. While it’s cooking, scramble your eggs, and get your lox chopped on your cutting board, ready to add to eggs at the last minute. When the cabbage is sautéed to your preference, (Attention New Cooks: taste it as you go to find that sweet spot), remove it to your plate and add another 1/2 Tbs coconut oil to the pan. When the oil has melted and is hot, add your eggs and scramble the way you like them. I like mine a little soft, so just before they’re done, I add the lox and stir to combine. This heats the lox slightly without cooking it and incorporates it. I scoop the mixture onto my plate, next to the sautéed cabbage and am ready to dig in.
Variations and a Few Final Flourishes
Some variations you can try include sprinkling fresh chopped dill on lox and eggs when serving, stirring in chopped fresh chives or a little goat cheese or cashew cheese just prior to serving (or cream cheese if you tolerate it), and adding some onion in with the cabbage and fresh cracked pepper.
Remember that presentation is for you, not just your dinner guests. Treat yourself like a Queen or King when you’re fixing your vital nourishment. Your digestive capacity is stimulated by the appreciation of beauty, by aroma, by ALL of your senses. So, give them a sensual treat and enjoy knowing that all those colors in your food actually represent antioxidants and phytonutrients that quell inflammation and boost your immunity. By including cured protein sources like lox, you preserve the enzymes in the food that are killed by heat, and conserve your own vital enzyme reserves which get overburdened by a diet heavy in cooked and processed dead foods. You can always add a little side of fermented/cultured veggies such as kim chee, kraut or salt cured pickles to boost the enzymatic and probiotic activity of your meal. Your body will thank you!