I am NOT a breakfast person. I am NOT a morning person. One of the nice perks about being home is the chance to hit a snooze button or forget to set an alarm entirely. Then I can putter upon awakening, give my tummy time to catch up, and then indulge in breakfast of sorts. Unfortunately, I often decide breakfast isn’t worth the effort and make unwise choices later in the day.
I am making a concentrated mindful effort to improve this one aspect of my diet. As a whole, I’m trying to be more thoughtful of the food I’m eating, but I’m still going to choose a glass of grape juice and probably a cookie or granola bar if my sugar is crashing even if I’ve made other not-so-nutrient dense choices up to that point. Staying conscious and – you know, alive – will beat counting calories every time.
That said, I’ve been working with my health care team to align a number of (I hate using this word but it’s all I have at the moment) issues and find the balance I need to improve my overall health. Movement, mental health, medication, and diet all have a role to play without getting into the complexities of keeping this incredible, dynamic, important machine running.
Back to breakfast… I’ve been experimenting with a lot of smoothies. Some are better than others (don’t ask me about the one that curdled in my glass!) and I’ve been making small swaps for certain ingredients to see if they help me feel better. (i.e. less milk, more almond or coconut milk options; less animal product, more plants.) I’ve also been trying to eat 40 different plant-sourced foods in a week. It’s a fun challenge and helps keep me from getting into a rut… but I’m not beating myself up if I don’t make it, you know? Again… balance. Smoothies have been a great way to play up the plant aspect and finding what works without spiking my glucose levels or leaving me hungry has been interesting. Unfortunately, smoothies can start to feel a little… the same.
When I’m dreading the thought of another smoothie, I’ve been turning to overnight oats instead. I know this is not a groundbreaking discovery, but hear me out. I don’t love the cold oats, but I either a) pull up my big girl pants and eat them anyhow or b) give it a reheat in the microwave or stovetop. For extra nutrients, it’s easy to throw in some chia seeds, flax, or hemp hearts without greatly affecting the taste and if you don’t have a certain ingredient, it’s so versatile (like the smoothie) that you will rarely go wrong. I mean you CAN go wrong (and I have) but usually, at worst, it’s just a little lacklustre. I think I finally found my favourite flavours combination this morning: mixed berry and cardamom. It reminded me of fresh berry pie, but healthy!
This was my exact recipe, prepared last night. I found it to be a bit too filling this morning, so I reduced the oats a bit for tomorrow and eliminated sweetener altogether. (P.S. it was higher in carbs than I anticipated, BUT because it was mostly “good” carbs – I say that as a diabetic and yes, I know a carb is a carb is a carb – I found my calculated insulin dosage actually surpassed what I needed. Even though I was full, my blood sugar dropped a bit too fast and quite a bit lower than I was comfortable with. I’m talking 2.4 post-meal. Yikes! Tomorrow I’ll reduce my insulin to carb ratio and see if that helps.)
All the yummy details…
In a glass container with a lid, add 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries. Top with 1 tbsp chia seeds. Add 1/2 cup dry quick oats. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Add 2 tbsp cultured coconut milk (yogurt substitute). Top with another 1/2 cup mixed berries. Add 1 cup almond milk, give or take, knowing the oats suck up all the liquid. I like mine really creamy and loose. Sprinkle with ground cardamom to taste (I think I used about a teaspoon, but really just eyeballed it.) Cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, dump into a bowl and mix (or mix in the jar) and eat – or – mix, heat, and eat. Seriously – it’s an awful lot like berry pie for breakfast, but a bit leaner, with protein and heart-healthy ingredients. Win. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo… I ate it too fast, proof in itself that it was just that delicious.