Meal Ideas: The Evolution of a Paleo Breakfast (Part II)
This post is part of the Meal Ideas series. Finding something to eat that is simultaneously affordable, quick to prepare, healthy, AND delicious can be next-to-impossible sometimes. In this section I post pictures of the food I make, links to recipes I love, and some tips for saving time and money while still cooking great-tasting healthy food.
The Evolution of a Paleo Breakfast in Four Stages (Stages 3 & 4)
Stage 3: Hodge Podge
This meal is an excellent one for people small budgets and big appetites. Sweet potatoes are an excellent, inexpensive, and nutrient-dense carb source for any meal, and cabbage is even less expensive (usually $0.79/lb). One head of cabbage will produce a lot of food.
I have two favourite ways to prepare cabbage. For red cabbage I like to use the recipe for sautéed cabbage, apples, and onions from Practical Paleo. For green cabbage (as pictured above) I prefer to sauté the cabbage with some yellow onions and a generous helping of curry powder (turmeric alone would also be great). Always remember to use a good quality fat like coconut oil or pastured lard when sautéing.
The protein in this meal was also chosen for its economy: ground pork is generally less expensive than other ground meats, so if eggs aren’t an option, it’s a good choice for a budget meal. I ate between 4 and 6 ounces of ground pork mixed in with the sautéed cabbage. Ground pork is also a good meat to buy from a good source (pastured pigs). While any good quality meat will be more expensive than meat from animals raised in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), ground pastured pork is usually still under $5/lb and it’s better for your health.
Stage 4: Nutrient Density
The most recent iteration of my breakfast journey was chosen mostly for its nutrient density. In June 2013, I started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) to help heal my gut and hopefully improve my symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease (an autoimmune-related condition which affects the circulation of blood to my hands, feet, and nose). One of the recommendations on AIP is to eat nutrient-dense foods as often as possible.
The sausage patties shown in the picture are ones I make myself using half grass-fed beef and half grass-fed beef heart. I get my sausage meat at Your Corner Butcher in the Byward Market, Ottawa, because ALL of their beef is 100% grass-fed. Heart meat is delicious; I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to eat more nutrient-dense meat without having to deal with the strong taste of liver or some other organs. Because heart is a muscle, it isn’t all that noticeably different from regular muscle meat. Like all organ meats, heart is also less expensive than muscle meat. I prepare my sausages according to this recipe, using the instructions for cooking them in the oven. I highly recommend using the spices dictated in the recipe: I tinkered around with my own combinations for a while, but I can’t find anything better than that sage, mace, and garlic powder combo.
The vegetables for this meal are the result of a fairly random choice. In accordance with the diet recommendations made by Dr. Terry Wahls, I try to always have about 3 cups of vegetables on my plate at each meal. Braised kale and steamed carrots are two vegetables that often end up on my plate because they’re inexpensive and easy to make in large batches, but sometimes I’ll use sautéed red cabbage and/or a microwaved sweet potato (3-5 minutes depending on size).
The final part of this nutrient-dense meal is my homemade raw sauerkraut. Sauerkraut has many benefits to overall health because it is a probiotic food. The beneficial bacteria which are the result of the fermentation process can help your immune system and improve gut health. I use the recipe from Practical Paleo to make it myself, and I often ferment some carrots and ginger with the cabbage. If you don’t want to make it (or don’t want to wait two weeks for it to ferment), there are many brands of raw sauerkraut that can be found in almost any organic or natural food store. My favourite brand before I started making my own was Karthein’s Unpasteurized Organic Sauerkraut. I usually see it sold for $9.99/jar, but I can make 2 jars of it at home for the price of one organic cabbage ($3 at my local farmer’s market).
There are a lot of options for breakfast outside of cereal, oatmeal, and toast. Hopefully with these thoughts and suggestions you will be able to find a breakfast combination that suits your taste, your health, and your time and budget constraints. Bon Appetit!