Five Years Plus

{March 28, 2010}   Special Breakfast

We have all heard that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day”. However, many breakfast foods (e.g. cereals, breads, breakfast bars, pancakes, potatoes) over emphasize carbohydrates that raise blood sugar quickly, leading to a release of excess insulin and a subsequent drop in blood sugar. This mid-morning slump (a drop in energy) is often associated with a desire for a sweet snack. Thus, eating the wrong foods at breakfast can initiate a vicious cycle of craving.

I designed Special Breakfast with the help of my nutritionist during the year I had cancer. I wanted a breakfast that was satisfying and delicious while meeting some important nutritional qualities:

  • Keeping blood sugar stable
  • Providing sufficient protein and fiber
  • Having an overall alkalizing effect on the body
  • Promoting health benefits that aid in the prevention of cancer

Although each ingredient plays its part, I wish to highlight three of the most nutritious ones.

Previously known in the United States primarily as the gimmick behind the “Chia Pet”, Chia Seeds are being heralded as the new “superfood”. In fact there is nothing new about chia. It was a staple of the ancient Aztec people as well as other indigenous peoples of the Southwest United States and Mexico. It is said that a warrior could march 24 hours nourished only by water and one teaspoon of chia. Chia is a source of protein, fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. It helps stabilize blood sugar and aids in hydration.

Almonds are probably the healthiest of all nuts and boast large amounts of vitamin E and mono-unsaturated fats. They originated in the Middle East and are now a major Californian crop. Touted health benefits include improved complexion, protection against cardiovascular disease and prevention of cancer. I use raw organic almond butter from the health food store. It is convenient, absolutely delicious and actually tastes sweet.

Flaxseed is another ancient food, cultivated as early as 3000 BC in Babylon and now grown in Canada (like me). They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower both total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol), lignans and fiber. The lignans contain a weak phytoestrogen that binds to the estrogen receptors of a tumor cell without stimulating growth, a process that seems to offer protection against cancers that are sensitive to hormones. This process may be similar to that of the estrogen modulating pharmaceutical drugs (e.g. tamoxifen, anastrozole / Arimidex).  I choose not to take these drugs because of their side-effects, so flaxseeds are extremely important for me. Beware that flaxseed must be ground to be properly digested.

Special Breakfast Recipe – With all the ingredients readily at hand it takes about 15 minutes to assemble and it is well worth the effort.

  • 2 tbsp ground brown or golden flaxseed
  • ¼ cup chia seed gel
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 2-6 tbsp yogurt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter or 2 tbsp soaked ground almonds
  • ½ grated pear
  • 1-3 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • A little water if needed to reach desired consistency
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp toasted pecans

Mix the flax, chia seed gel, whey powder, yogurt and almond butter together. I use the bowl I intend to eat from or a larger bowl if I’m making it for 3 or more. Add the grated pear and mix. The perfect pear will be ripe enough so some of the sweet juice is released while grating. Top off with some fresh or frozen (defrosted) blueberries and toasted pecans. This will provide about 500 calories of energy. You can omit the pecans to reduce this by 100 calories.

To make chia seed gel, add 2 tbsp chia seed to 1¼ cup water and either shake together in a jar, or whisk in a bowl every couple of minutes until it becomes thick and gelatinous. Chia seed gel takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

You may also like to add soaked goji berries and sunflower or pumpkin seeds or try blackberries or raspberries instead of blueberries. You can substitute apple, but it will not have the same soft texture as pear. I don’t recommend soy protein, but there are non-dairy non-soy protein powders available if you are sensitive to whey.

When I travel, I pack up the ingredients and my grater and make this breakfast, even when staying in a hotel. My commitment to Special Breakfast and using food as my medicine represents my commitment to life.

Special Breakfast is my way of starting the day off with a big dose of self-love. No matter what happens as the day unfolds, I have provided my body with a familiar combination of some of the most nourishing foods available. I have shared this recipe with many of my friends and family, however as far as I know, I am the only one who makes it every day. I invite you, dear readers, to join me.


Chuck says:

I love Special Breakfast and believe that it has enormous health benefits for me. I hope never to receive a cancer diagnosis, and Special Breakfast is a delicious way to increase the probability that I’ll get my wish. Thank you for developing this recipe and making it available.

Barb (cousin) says:

Your weekly topics are inspirational and informative – I feel lucky to be reading it.

I often use hemp hearts (raw shelled hemp seed) in a similar breakfast mixture. Hemp hearts have a nice nutty flavour, are an excellent source of protein, as well as Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber.

Your Special Breakfast recipe is lovely. Thanks for it, and all your posts.

Ann Hedley says:

Since being introduced me to Special Breakfast I make it whenever I feel like a quick and amazingly filling breakfast. We always have the ingredients on hand . . . well except for the pears, ha ha. We are going away for easter weekend, thanks for reminding me of the ingredients portability.

Hayley says:

I’m going to make this everyday when I live in my apartment this summer! Hopefully I’ll be able to continue with this as I get into the school semester… I guess it will depend on how much sleep I’ll be needing ;P

Lindsay says:

This “Special Breakfast” is absolutely amazing! And being a Type 1 diabetic, I especially love the way it stabilizes my blood sugar, even better than eggs, which I try not to have more than 5 per week. This has given me other options for a protein rich breakfast. I loved the taste of “Special Breakfast” from the first time I tried it. Sooo satisfying. I have only been enjoying it maybe a few times a month or so, but I am out of chia seeds and when I get some more, I am ready to start having “Special Breakfast” 5 days a week, rather than eggs!

gyatazen says:

It’s great to get the feedback that Special Breakfast stabilizes your blood sugar. Don’t give up on eggs though. They are a healthy food that have rather unfairly received a bad reputation. I like them for lunch or snacks.

[…] to a minimum. I also don’t drink soymilk, for reasons I outlined in Soytistics. Recently however, Special Breakfast has taken on a whole new look with the addition of home-made almond milk. My friend who grew up on […]

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