Sunday, October 14, 2007

An award, and a look at breakfast

Hi all! I am excited to announce that Monday, October 15 marks the official end of my first busy season--and here I am still alive and still excited about my job! This is truly exciting to me, because when I entered the field of tax accounting my only real reservation had to do with the seasonal nature of the work, and the fact that a few weeks out of the year would be uncommonly hectic. But enjoying what I do helps those extra hours become tolerable... though I am thankful that the balance of life and work will be more normal for a while.

Thanks, Lynn, for giving me my first blogging award...

This award means a lot to me because my original intent in starting this blog was to share how veganism really is compatible with the Christian ideal of compassion and nonviolence, and honoring God's creation. Being both Christian and vegan has been difficult at times--while I find that some Christians mock the idea of extending compassion to animals, I also find that some vegans turn away from Christians, even those who share their progressive ideas. I've found a bridge between those two lifestyles among all you friendly, lovely people, and it makes the journey much easier.

Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) is to make more disciples.

The Rules: In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other “disciples” to pass it on to. As you pass it on, mention and provide links for:

(1) Dan King of Management by God as the originator of the award.
(2) The person that awarded it to you.
(3) Name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ.

I'm passing this award on to:
Midwest Vegan
Ron and Ginny of R&V Farmstead
Jenny of Bored at Work


I have a love-hate relationship with breakfast. When I was a teenager I rarely ate breakfast in the mornings, and I found that I would eat too much later in the day, after my metabolism had already crashed--and mostly junky, refined food at that. Once I started taking a look at healthful eating, I realized that I needed to pay more attention to the one meal that many people tend to overlook. After much practice and experimenting, I have learned that a good breakfast that has the power to set the stage for a healthy day features the following:

1) Protein
2) Healthy fats (not too much)
3) Whole grains
4) Fruits and, if at all possible, vegetables

The combination of these, at least for me, provides energy for several hours, sets me up for a healthy lunch, and allows me to eat a smaller dinner in the time of day when my body doesn't need much fuel to carry me to bedtime. I prefer my food intake during the day to look like an inverted triangle--more in the morning, less in the afternoon, and maybe only a small snack in the evening.

The snag in all of this is, of course, time. I'm sure that at least part of the reason breakfast has become such a rushed and neglected meal is because people have places to go in the morning, and can't spend too much time preparing a great morning repast. I find that I still succumb to cereal and milk a couple of days a week, when I just can't pull myself out of bed in time for anything else; but I've really been trying to answer my body's needs by starting the day right. Here's a look:

Tofu scramble, with plenty of veggies and minimal oil. This one contains broccoli (florets and stems), a green pepper, onions, mushrooms, and salsa. Throwing some spinach in when you can is also not a bad idea. This one takes a bit of time, but Bob and I take turns getting up to make breakfast so it cuts the extra time in half. By the way, Bob makes a better tofu scramble than I do.

Kale & Kraut Sandwiches from Vegan Vittles, we have found, make an excellent breakfast, on whole grain bread. A bit of tahini provides the healthy fats, and the kale is a great way to get a leafy green in early in the day. The good thing about this breakfast is that I can make it up pretty quickly, stick it on the grill, and get dressed while it finishes cooking itself (keeping an eye on it, of course)!

SusanV's vegan omelette for one. I've shown you this very picture before, but I thought it deserved a place in my breakfast post. I do plan to make this again soon, and it would be especially easy to mix the batter the night before to set myself up for quick and easy preparation the next morning.

Grilled marinated tempeh alongside The Grit's Super Seven-Spice Potatoes. I know, this meal is lacking a vegetable. I think throwing some broccoli in with the potatoes while they're sautéing would clear that up pretty nicely. The tempeh, of course, is prepared the night before and then grilling it is a snap. Again, think minimal oil--it doesn't take much. (Sorry for the blurred picture--I was in a hurry.)

These are Leslie's Awesomeness Muffins from DTV. They're low in added sweeteners, and still sweet and delicious with all the added goodness you see inside. I substituted applesauce for the oil in this recipe, so the only fat comes from the walnuts I threw in. No refined flours, nothing artificial... Yes, these fit the bill too. Maybe add a piece of fresh fruit and a cup of tea.

Other breakfast-worthy meals include beans and sautéed greens; hummus wraps; vegetable or bean dips spread on toast; smoothies with flax oil and a slice of toast; etc. Most of those things are make-ahead items which would make for a quick, simple breakfast. The key is thinking outside of the cereal box.

Of course, no breakfast post would be complete without a special weekend treat like these pancakes:

For fun, I threw in some carob chips and topped it with banana "pudding"--bananas puréed with almond butter, as I saw alongside VeggieGirl's waffles (though the original recipe is here at Katie's blog). The banana "pudding" was amazingly simple and sweet and naturally filling--I was able to eat only two pancakes with it and not feel hungry for five or six hours! Of course, I would not suggest attempting pancakes on a rushed morning--save them for a leisurely day.

I know there are many different opinions out there regarding breakfast, and all are valid--each body is different and has its own unique needs. For Bob and me, a large balanced breakfast, followed by a medium-sized lunch, a little midday munchie, and a smallish dinner have proven to optimize our energy levels and promote the healthiest habits for the rest of the day.

I'm interested in how each of you tackles the breakfast issue. What works for you? What suggestions do you have that might work for me?


Courtney said...

Congrats on your blog award! And I am happy to hear that you enjoy your job, even after a very busy time--that really is a great thing.

Your breakfasts look amazing! I am impressed--everything sounds so good! I am not a huge fan of breakfast, but you have me rethinking that...


maybepigscanfly said...

Many Congratulations on the Reward! And yay, to the official end of the first busy season!

I agree about getting a healthy breakfast being VERY important. My biggest struggle is getting in the protein in the morning as I usually rely to heavily on starch. Thanks for all the ideas! (Oh and it's great to know someone else eats the stems of brocolli too!)

Vivacious Vegan said...

I often think like you...we're going about our days wrong. Breakfast should be the biggest meal. Unfortunately, time is too precious in the morning. I just can't see myself getting up extra early for a tofu scramble. I get by with toast, a smidge of peanut butter, a piece of fruit or oj and maybe a small glass of low-sodium v-8. Not the best, but it's sustainable and quick.

aTxVegn said...

I think you and I run on a parallel universe. I just did a breakfast post too. I guess we just have the same tastes in food. I must admit I never eat breakfast unless I take a muffin or pb&j to eat at work. I would love to eat the upside down triangle, but I need to keep it light at work so I don't get the 3:00 sleepies. I think Susan's mini quiches would be a great breakfast. Some people in my office bring oatmeal packets and use the hot water from the coffee machine to make it. Chase's favorite is a tofu scramble in a spinach wrap.

Congratulations on your award, Laura. It reminds me to visit your other blog.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Congrats on your award, Laura! & conquering your first busy season. Your Kale & Kraut Sandwich looks so yummy - great idea for breakfast.

Eileen said...

I enjoy your blog, but have never commented before. Congrats on the Award and thanks for all of the breakfast ideas.

Here is one of my favorites: steel cut oats with dried cherries cooked in the rice cooker. I put everything in and hit "cook" and by the time I'm dressed it is ready to go. I add walnuts and sometimes soy milk. Very filling!

urban vegan said...

Congrats on your well-deserved award!

We get up a bt earlier just so that we can spend some time together and share breakfast before we dive into the day. We find that it's very centering.

I love breakfast...but weekdays, I usually just have a tall soy cappucino and maybe a piece of toast or fruit. Sometimes, we have smoothies, but not once it gets colder.

VeggieGirl said...

Yay!! So glad to hear that you've made it through your first busy season - I just KNOW that you'll continue to thrive with this new job, Laura! And congratulations on the blogging award :0)

mmm, your tofu scramble, kale & kraut sandwiches (how enticing!), tempeh with the Super Seven-Spice Potatoes (love the name), and those muffins look like some extremely delicious ways to start the day off right. And your other breakfast-worthy suggestions are great as well!!

BUT, I am LOVING your carob pancakes!! you KNOW how much of a fan that I am of carob!! glad the pudding worked as a nice accompaniment to the pancakes :0)

since I don't have a lot of time in the morning for a "lavish" breakfast, I usually have a small bowl of granola with ricemilk; and then about 3 hours later, I have a mid-morning snack. Since I have to eat several substantial meals and snacks each day (I have to eat LOTS since I have to gain quite a bit of weight yet, to be at a healthy level). I'd say that lunch is my largest meal of the day.

bazu said...

Congratulations on the end of your first busy season! And on your award! I have to admit, you are doing your job, because when I hear about Christian compassion, you are honestly one of the first people I think about. Keep doing what you're doing. And keep eating well, I might add! Breakfast is actually my favorite meal of the day- I read somewhere that if you're not hungry when you wake up, you ate too much the night before. I've tested that theory, and I know I feel my best when I start the day with a huge breakfast, but end it with a very small dinner. But I'm sure everyone has their own individual preferences.

vko said...

Congrats on the award and getting through crazy hectic work season!

I am pretty bad about having a proper breakfast but when I have time, I do love tofu scramble, pancakes and all those lovely brunch foods. I basically succumb to soy yogurt with fruit, almond & granola thrown together or steel cut oatmeal with almonds, fruit & nut butter mixed in.

that Kraut sandwich looks so good.

Monika K said...

For breakfast, I like shakes (fruit, flax seed and even veggies) or breakfast bars because I'm usually in a hurry. A good hearty piece of whole wheat toast spread with peanut butter and sliced banana is also a great way to supercharge your day.

I know what you mean about Christianity and veganism (or at least vegetarianism, in my case) seeming incompatable. The two worlds don't mix much, but I totally think they should!

reiskeks said...

Please sign the petition against Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, the 'artist' who starved a dog as an 'art exhibition', and/or spread the story to others. Here is the coverage so far: Thank You!

Kati said...

I love breakfast! Like you, though, it wasn't something that came naturally to me - I had to work at it. ;-) My morning standby is a big smoothie - it tastes good, sets you up to eat healthy all day, and can be filled with all sorts of supplements you may not get any other way (such as ground flax seeds, flax oil - with DHA! - green powder, hemp seeds, etc).

Congrats on your award, too - you deserve it!

OH, and especially, congratulations on passing all your exams! WOO HOO! (I'm so behind on blogs lately...!)

Ron and Ginny said...

Hey, thanks for the award and the comment. Sorry it took so long to answer this, but I have been SOOOO busy. ;-) I see that you are taking a break, too. I understand and hope that it is constructive.

In Christ,


The Little Vegan said...

I never thought about using the pb-banana pudding in place of pancake syrup; you are a genius!

(And all your other breakfasts look great too.)