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The Food Guru
Breakfast club

Our columnist Eve Kalinik extols the virtues of the most important meal of the day and shows you how and where to get the best breakfasts in town.

Starting the day with a healthy and balanced breakfast is crucial – it manages the stress hormone cortisol. Research shows this hormone typically peaks first thing in the morning and, without eating, cortisol continues to run high, leaving you with an increased appetite and slumps of energy later in the day. This can mean weight gain in the long run, particularly around the middle area, and is linked to other metabolic conditions. Cortisol also negatively influences satiety hormones, which tell us when we are full. The take out? Eating breakfast helps to manage hunger levels throughout the day.

Replenishing the body with essential nutrients first thing is key. The body has essentially fasted overnight so blood glucose and liver glycogen stores will be low. As glucose is the primary fuel for the brain, eating a nutritious breakfast will help improve cognition, helping you think smarter and have more focus. So there’s a lot of incentive to make yours a good one, whether you take it at home or on the go. Here are my recommendations for both.

BREAKFAST LITTLE BLACK BOOK

EGGBREAK, London: it’s hard to choose what to eat here as it’s all so good. The eggs are free range and the produce is local where possible. My go-to here has to be the Mexican omelette – a tasty kick of chilli is a brilliant way to start the morning. eggbreak.com

EGG SHOP, New York: these guys really are connoisseurs. Try the Scrambler bowl – scrambled eggs, roasted mushroom, tomato confit and pecorino. Heaven in a dish. eggshopnyc.com

HOLYBELLY, Paris: fabulous for breakfast or brunch, this cafe is situated in the 10th arrondissement. My favourite is the eggs with ricotta and dukka and some of the delicious local bacon on the side. holybel.ly

BREAD & CIRCUS, Sydney: this place just took breakfast up a notch. Try the Rainy Day toast of biodynamic bread with melted organic honey-thyme-cinnamon butter and a cup of their impeccable coffee. breadandcircus.com.au

MAKE YOUR OWN 

SOURDOUGH

This bread is naturally fermented which means it is bursting with probiotic beneficial bacteria that help to support digestion. With a decent spread of unsweetened and unsalted nut butter you add in protein and healthy fats. Or, for an immune boost lightly stir-fry mushrooms and fresh thyme in organic unsalted butter to top.

EGGS ANY WAY

Eggs may not be as unhealthy as they seem, if cooked in the right way. They are an excellent source of protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, B12 and D. Enjoy boiled, poached, fried or scrambled in some organic unsalted butter or coconut oil, or baked in a skillet. Serve with a side of greens – think spinach, chard, kale or spring greens. The healthy oils in the eggs help the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the greens. Add a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and a sprinkling of mineral-rich salt.

BIRCHER

This is an easy option to make that’s ready and waiting first thing in the morning. My recipe uses sprouted buckwheat since this helps the body better absorb the nutrients and causes less irritation to the gut, but you can replace with gluten-free oats if you prefer. Mix with nut milk or kefir – a fermented milk that contains good levels of beneficial probiotic bacteria. Chia seeds bring anti-inflammatory Omega 3 content and blueberries are naturally high in antioxidant properties.

SPEEDY SMOOTHIE

Taking time over meals is preferable, but when you are pressed, smoothies can be an excellent option. Adding protein powders can give you the right balance of macronutrients as sometimes what starts as a ‘healthy’ recipe can just be lots of high sugar fruits. Start with a good base of a quarter of an avocado, one scoop of protein powder, one teaspoon of coconut oil and half a cup of unsweetened plant milk such as almond or cashew. Alternatively, a quarter of a cup of pure coconut milk and a cup of water works well. Then add just one piece of fruit. Try pear and three tablespoons of hemp heart seeds – these give a nice protein boost and a good ratio of essential Omega 3 to Omega 6 oils. Blend together and enjoy.

BIRCHER RECIPE

Serves one

½ cup sprouted buckwheat
1 cup of almond or cashew milk or kefir
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup blueberries

Using half of the blueberries, mix all ingredients together in a glass jar or bowl and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning remove from the fridge and let stand for 10 minutes, adding in a little additional milk or kefir if needed. Top with the other half of the blueberries.

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