Deciding what to eat for breakfast is supposed to be an easy task, but not for someone who is considering doing Paleo, Keto, or elimination diet. Dr. Trish Murray interviews Health Coach Trish Chaput about her journey beyond food sensitivities. They discuss selecting breakfast foods for their diet plans, which are specifically gluten or dairy-free. Trish also talks about deviating from the typical American breakfast and introduces her preferences, including her customized smoothies. Ultimately, we are in charge of our own health, and so it’s very important to always read the packages and be cautious of the ingredients regardless of the label.
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What Do I Eat For Breakfast? with Trish Chaput
Welcome to this episode entitled, What Do I Eat for Breakfast? It’s Dr. Trish and Health Coach Trish. First of all, breakfast seems to be the most difficult meal that when people are starting to change their lifestyle to a more Paleo, Ketogenic or they’re considering doing an elimination diet. Some of these diets in the functional medicine world are the first steps to try and heal leaky gut, for example, or decrease your inflammation or cleanse and detoxify your system. They get wide-eyed and deer in the headlights look and they go, “What do I eat for breakfast?” Isn’t that true, Trish?
Yes, that’s the first question I get from people, especially when they find out I don’t eat gluten or dairy.
What was your path when you started this? It seems you were telling me about doing an actual blood test for your food sensitivities. Why don’t you tell our audience about that story?
Before I found functional medicine, I had a lot of different food sensitivities. I couldn’t quite figure it out. We had sorted on an elimination type diet through a regular doctor, but interestingly, it didn’t cut out gluten. It was a little bit different than the elimination diet that we deal with. I think it would have been a lot better and a lot more thorough. We did find out that I had a bit of dairy sensitivity. Years go by, I was still struggling and trying to figure out what’s going on. I did finally do a food sensitivity test specifically for gluten and for the cross-reactive foods because we strongly suspected that it was giving me a problem.
Lo and behold, it showed a bright red flag that I was severely reacting to both gluten and dairy. That explained a lot. I cut both of those out of my diet and I was sharing my results with my mom because this has been a struggle for several years. I said, “I finally figured out what it is, I can’t have gluten or dairy.” She says, “No milk?” I said, “No.” She’s like, “How are you going to eat your cereal in the morning?” I was like, “I can’t eat gluten either.” I know there are some gluten-free cereals, but I’m not eating cereal for breakfast either. She’s like, “What are you going to eat for breakfast?” When I was in my teens and twenties, I used to have cereal for breakfast every single day. This was a staple. I loved cereal.
It’s the American way.
Yes, cereal for breakfast. She’s like, “What are you going to eat? How are you going to have breakfast?” I was like, “I don’t know, eggs, bacon, smoked salmon, other fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit.” There are so many other options. This was a foreign concept to her. I also know when I used to eat cereal for breakfast, oatmeal or whatever it was, it‘d only tie me over for twenty minutes. I would have cereal for breakfast and I would go to work. By the time I got to work or halfway there, I was starving. It wasn’t working for me.
If most people think about it if you do follow the Standard American Diet. I’ve always pointed this out that acronym is SAD. The fact that we are trained, brought up and we become habitual in what we do. Either a bagel with some cream cheese, jam, more sugar or the cereal and the milk is what the typical American kid with some Tang. We all grew up on that. The point is though that if you think about it, that’s all carbs and that’s all very high glycemic sugary carbs. What happens is you need to understand this, those are high–glycemic–index foods. The glycemic index means that if a food you eat causes your blood sugar to skyrocket quickly and acutely. You need a lot of insulin to take it down and to drive that sugar into your muscles, into your brain or into your tissues so that it’s not all in your bloodstream too long.
That’s the physiology of eating sugar. Our insulin goes up and drives it into our body for use. The issue is that if our glycemic index is high and we get a big spike that goes up fast and then the insulin goes up fast and brings that same amount of glucose down fast. Within an hour or 60 minutes or maybe an hour–and–a–half, then you’re hungry again and in need, because we are trained based on the typical American diet to run our body on sugar. If it’s constantly driving up and driving back down, you notice it’s a yoyo. We’re hungry every two hours and we’re eating every two hours. If we do that, don’t you see that sets us all up for the obesity and diabetes epidemic that we’re in?
I think it’s funny because it is a lot about habit and what you get used to. I’ve had people eat over at my house and when we have guests, I cooked the way I cook and I eat the way that I eat. I don’t think about the fact that this isn’t what other people normally do. In the morning, everybody comes down for breakfast if they stayed over my house and I might have a big thing of scrambled eggs and I’ve got a giant thing of vegetables. We might have a salad. If it’s in the summer, we might have some sautéed or roasted vegetables. If it’s in the winter, I like my leftover roasted vegetables cold. Sometimes I don’t even bother to heat them. If I’ve had them for dinner, we’ll throw them in some fresh sautéed kale or I’ll add some spinach. I’ll do something to increase the amount or just to mix it up. I love doing sautéed spinach or kale with some mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes in the morning and I’ll have that with eggs. I‘ll make this big thing of vegetables along with whatever protein I’m having in the morning.
I’ll usually have some fresh fruit or berries with it. Everybody eats it, thinks nothing of it and enjoys it. It’s occurred to me a couple of times. My husband and I have commented like, “It’s funny how much everybody seems to like this, but I can’t imagine this is what they eat.” Knowing the people I’m having over, I know that this is not what they eat for breakfast, but they seem to like it. I’ve had family members have commented looking at what I eat, protein and vegetables mainly for breakfast with a little bit of fruit go, “Is that what you’re having for breakfast? I couldn’t do that. I can’t do that thing. I need something sweet in the morning. I need something different.” Fast forward, some of those same people have gotten used to it. They’ve been working with me on healthier eating habits and they’ve commented on how it feels weird if they don’t have a vegetable on their plate for breakfast. If they run out of vegetables or they go somewhere for breakfast, to a restaurant and they just have some traditional breakfast food but no vegetable, they feel like something’s missing. They’re getting used to that.
A couple of points on that. First of all, it’s all a journey. Wherever you are is where you are. If you take one step forward and then a few months later, a few years later you look back and you go, “I can’t believe I ever ate like that before. Now I feel so much better and I’m used to it. This is now my mindset, my habit.” The other point I want to make is it’s all about mindset. Whoever said that breakfast food needed to be cereal and bagels? Who did that? Culture did that. All you’ve got to do is step out of the box of the Standard American Diet. If you also lived and worked in London, you were saying and you commuted, which people find hard because you get up, you’ve got to go, you run to the train. It’s like, “What do I do?” because I got up too late. “What can I grab and go or have ready to feed me on my way?” Go ahead and talk about that.
I had this great little convenience store in the train station because I don’t eat gluten or dairy, I had limited options for what I could eat. Any little fast food places or things like that are normally in a train station weren’t going to do it. I’d walk in and buy a mini container of two hardboiled eggs and a handful of spinach. It was the right portion. It was nice and satisfying. It gave me a few greens. Usually, I get a little punnet of either blueberries, blackberries or something to go with it as well, an apple or a banana. I’d have a fruit, a vegetable and a protein.Gluten-free processed food is still processed food. Click To Tweet
I started doing that myself. I was like, “Why am I spending $5 in the train station every day?” I can just make a dozen hardboiled eggs, pop them in a little container. I throw in my spinach, my berries. It’s a great grab–and–go. I don’t eat very many grains, but on occasion, I do the overnight oats where you have the steel-cut oats and you put them in the container overnight with some nut butter. I might use a little bit of maple syrup to give it a little bit of sweetness, some berries. I’d grab that and take that in the morning. That was more an occasional treat. I still occasionally once in a while will have gluten, dairy–free pancakes. I don’t eat perfectly every morning. I try to make it a good quality treat and something that’s enjoyable and maybe a little bit of an indulgence but not totally off the rails.
A lot of people reading, there are so many diets out there. What’s the one that fits for you? For example, Health Coach Trish seems to be low–carb for the most part and essentially Paleo. I would say I balance between somewhat Paleo but a little bit more Mediterranean. In the essence that I don’t have more than two servings of grain a day, but I might have upwards of two servings of grain a day. Not every day, but some days I do. Oatmeal for breakfast some days is perfectly fine. It’s a matter of what are your choices? Processed packaged foods versus steel–cut oats that you’ve soaked overnight and had good nutrition and good fiber in them versus all the sugar and the processed products of the packaged product is definitely a choice to be made.
The other topic I’d like to make sure we cover with the audience is gluten-free. People say, “I’m going to go gluten-free.” One of the first steps for someone who is trying to do an elimination diet and go gluten-free is they may purchase a lot of the gluten-free substitutes. Gluten-free bagels, cereal or Paleo cereals and still put almond milk on it and think, “That’s fine.” However, back to the rainbow concept or even the Mediterranean diet concept, one or two servings of grain a day period. You need to make your choice. Are you going to have a serving at breakfast and then not a serving at lunch or one serving at breakfast, one serving at lunch, you get what? You don’t get any grains at dinner. It’s in negotiation all the time. The other thing is as you move along, realize that the gluten-free options are sometimes even more full of sugar than the gluten was.
I think gluten-free processed food is still processed food. It’s one thing that something doesn’t have added gluten in it. If I’m comparing brands from myself and I look at mustard because this was mind-blowing to me where I‘d pick up a jar and it’s like, “Mustard seed, vinegar, oil, salt.” That’s all you need. The other one was mustard or wheat filler. You’d have five or six other ingredients. I’m thinking like, “There’s gluten in mustard. Why does there need to be gluten in mustard?” It’s unnecessary. The same thing with some of the gluten–free cookies, bars, chips or gluten–free pretzels or bagels. It’s still processed foods. You pick up some of these packages and you read it and you’re like, “That’s gluten–free, but it’s still got corn syrup, sugar and food coloring.” That’s no more healthy than getting the stuff with the gluten. It just means for me, it’s not going to cause a gluten reaction, but it’s still not a healthy choice. Some of the stuff, the same thing with regular food. If I pick something up and it’s whole grain X, no colors and no preservatives, it’s going to be a lot more healthy than something that’s got preservatives.Cereal for breakfast is the American way. Click To Tweet
It’s going to have more nutrients and fiber. Another discussion is the idea of Health Coach Trish has explained that her breakfasts are predominantly leftovers from dinner and maybe some eggs that you’ve made that morning. For me, I go a different route. My breakfast is typically a smoothie. Most mornings I get up and I have bought frozen fruit usually berries because it’s a lower glycemic index. Every once in a while, once a week maybe or maybe twice, I will put a banana or half–a–banana in. Remember, any fruit that is colored on the outside and when you peel it, it’s white on the inside has a higher glycemic index that we’ve been talking about than any fruit that has color all the way through. A strawberry, a blueberry, a blackberry, an orange, grapefruit has a lower glycemic index than a banana, an apple or a pear.
I try and stay with the lower glycemic index fruits, but I put, first of all, a handful of lettuce or romaine or a mixture, the spring mix of kale, spinach and different romaine lettuces, red and green ones and other vegetables. I put a whole handful of that at the bottom of my blender. From there, I put in the fruit and I put a good solid tablespoon or even a quarter of a can. I am saying a can of full-thickness coconut milk. It’s not pourable, it’s scoopable. I put a scoop of nut butter, almond butter or sunflower seed butter or peanut butter. It’s amazing how many good fats are in that smoothie. I will drink that at 6:30 in the morning and there are many days I do not get to eat my lunch until around 1:00. I am fine for that time in between.
The more fats you add to your diet to sustain you because remember fats have nine calories per gram, whereas protein has four calories per gram and carbohydrates have four calories per gram. When we think about not wanting to gain weight, people get freaked out about the extra calories in the fat. If you’ve switched the mindset and you think about if you eat the same volume of good fat–related foods versus carbohydrates or proteins, those nine calories are the fuel that is going to last you longer. More time, more hours than the four calories from either the protein or the carbohydrate. Make sure people keep that in mind, smoothies is an option. I tend to eat my leftovers from dinner or at lunchtime. You tend to eat them more in the morning.
The thing that you pointed out where people sometimes go wrong with smoothies when they switch from eating the typical American carbohydrate loaded breakfast to like, “I’ll be healthy and I’ll drink a smoothie.” They do it with low–fat yogurt and tons of fruit and there are not any vegetables in there. There are not any healthy fats in there, especially if you’re going low-fat yogurt. It‘s pretty much just sugar. The same thing with people saying, “I’m dieting. I’m trying to lose weight so I’ll have a fruit–flavored yogurt or some low-fat yogurt with fruit already in it.” They’ll add fruit to it. All they’re having is carbs and sugar. They’re not having anything else. It’s not that sustaining and it’s loading up on that glycemic index. You think you’re doing the right thing, but that’s not the thing to be scared of. It’s going to sustain you longer. The smoothie is a nice way to hide some vegetables in there.
Especially if you’re not someone who loves vegetables. You’re not going to taste them. Get a good blender and drink it up. You’re going to taste the sweetness and not the vegetables per se, but then you’re getting servings of vegetables. There are so many options. The other thing that you made a point of reading the labels because if you read the label of a yoke, a fruit yogurt. Check the next time you have a yogurt that is a sugar and fruit yogurt. How many grams of sugar are in there? It’s a lot.
The other thing we touched on was the elimination diet. I’m going to do the elimination diet. We’re kicking off with a free webinar and then we’re kicking off a group study on the elimination diet for those people who want to do it together. I’m going to do it with everyone and that’s going to change what I eat for breakfast because my spinach with tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and eggs, everything with the spinach in that configuration is out on the elimination diet because you’re trying to get rid of things that might cause inflammation.
I personally don’t think I have a problem with eggs or with those other things, but you want to get rid of anything that might be inflammatory or that are common elegance for people. I’m willing to kick those out and open my horizons a little bit more. It’s going to give me a few opportunities to get out of a rut and eat some new vegetables that maybe I’m not doing because I’m just grabbing my to-go old reliable, “I know what to do with this.” Also to add more fish because I do eat fish, but I don’t eat it as often as I would if I wasn’t eating other meats. I think it’d be interesting.
That’s just it. We all get in our habits. It’s a good idea to do the elimination diet at least once a year, even if you’ve done it five times before because it makes you change up your habits and recleanse your system and then notice how you feel. If you feel significantly better in week three, then maybe there is something that you would want to keep out for a while longer. Thanks for this, Trish. I hope this has helped people with the idea that, “What do I eat for breakfast?” There are a lot of ideas. You can change your mindset. It all comes down to choice. It all comes down to engrossing yourself in this information so that you can open your mind, your eyes, your compartment and live a healthier life. To your health. We’ll see you in the next episode, Functional Medicine by Trish Murray.
About Trish Chaput
Coach Trish C. has joined our team in June of 2018. She is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified Professional.
Trish returned to New England in May 2017, with her husband and their Siberian Husky, after nearly 7 years in London, UK. Her interest in nutrition and lifestyle coaching stemmed from years of learning first hand about the links between her own diet, health and habits.
Coach Trish loves teaching group workshops and providing individual coaching to help people identify simple steps that will work for them! She is excited to be part of the team at the Discover Health Functional Medicine Center.