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.
Awhile ago, I wrote two blog posts (Part One and Part Two) about what I eat for breakfast and how that has gradually changed as I have figured out the sort of diet that works best for me and as I have shifted towards a focus on nutrient-density in all of my meals. Since then, my food choices have continued to evolve as I uncover more information about how to optimize health with food, so today I want to share the recipe for my current go-to breakfast.
The inspiration for this breakfast was Stacy from The Paleo Parents, who has written about how she eats soup for breakfast every morning. In January, bored with the breakfast I’d been eating nearly every morning for six months (yes, it takes me that long to get tired of a food – I’m a creature of habit), I decided to try throwing my homemade sausages and veggies into some broth to try to mix things up. The warm soup was a wonderful way to start a cold, Canadian winter day, so I decided to stick with it, making adjustments along the way to optimize both taste and nutrition.
NOTE: Follow the links in the ingredients list for details on the health benefits of each of the components of this soup.
MAKE AHEAD — In order to keep breakfast prep time to a minimum, it’s important to make the bone broth and the sausages ahead of time. These instructions will make enough for one week’s worth of soup, but they can be halved, doubled, or tripled easily.
- 2-3 lb beef or chicken bones
- 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 lb grass-fed, grass-finished beef, minced
- 1.5 lb beef heart, minced (this can be done in a meat grinder or a food processor)
- Salt and pepper (or other seasonings if desired)
- Stock pot or slow cooker
- Large mixing bowl
- 2 baking sheets (or 1 large)
- Parchment paper
- Place bones in stock pot or slow cooker. Fill pot with water. Add apple cider vinegar.
- Bring water to boil. Reduce to simmer. Leave to simmer for 12-48 hours (the longer it simmers, the more nutrients will be in the broth). When the broth is done, store it in glass jars or other containers.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Combine ground beef and ground beef heart in a large mixing bowl. Mix in salt and pepper or other seasonings.
- Place parchment paper on each baking sheet.
- Form the beef/heart mixture into patties (approximately 4 oz each – 14 total). Place 7 patties on each baking sheet.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Let cool. Store.
DAY-OF — With the broth and sausages prepared ahead of time, there won’t be as much prep to do on the day-of. If you don’t have enough time in the morning, consider also steaming the vegetables ahead of time (while you’re making the sausages) so all you have to do the day-of is reheat and season the soup.
- 1 cup bone broth (from the batch you prepared earlier)
- 8 oz beef heart sausage (2 patties), diced
- 1 cup carrots and/or parsnips, chopped
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp gelatin powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- himalayan sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Chopping board
- Medium saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring spoons
- Chop carrots, parsnips, and kale to your desired size
- Combine carrots, parsnips, gelatin, ginger and bone broth in the saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium.
- When carrots begin to soften, add kale and sausage to the pot.
- Season with turmeric, sea salt, and pepper. Add coconut oil.
- Simmer until carrots are soft enough to be pierced by a fork. (Total cooking time may be 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the carrots).
- Remove pot from heat. Serve and enjoy.
In North American society in general today it is considered inappropriate to discuss what one sees in the toilet; what happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom. Some people enjoy toilet humour, sure – along with fart jokes and other crude bits of comedy – but when it comes to honest, legitimate discussion about what goes on in that washroom stall, society as a whole remains tight-lipped, and any deviance from that is generally met by giggles and a chorus of “ew! gross!”
Of course I can see how this may have come about. We are generally conditioned to think of any sort of bodily functions as “gross.” Is this the legacy of some sort of ascetic, puritanical hatred of the corporeal body? The valuation of the mind (and/or soul) over the animal nature of the physical self? The sort of distance and disregard with which we tend to treat our bodily functions indicates that, consciously or not, we (as intellectual beings) are somehow divorced from our bodies and what they are doing.
The fact is, however, that what happens in the toilet is a very important part of every person’s life. We all spend a not insignificant period of time in the washroom everyday. It is a completely natural thing, and, more importantly, it is directly affected by decisions we make in the rest of our lives. Some aspects of this have begun to be more widely discussed (i.e. your hydration level can be seen in the colour of your urine), but for the most part this is still a taboo subject, especially in relation to bowel movements.
The problem, however, with this disregard or distaste for the discussion of bodily functions is when something goes wrong. Theoretically we all know we can talk to our doctor when something goes wrong, and presumably we do when it’s something like pain or there’s blood in anything. But what about when everything’s “normal” but your normal is wrong?
Maybe you’re wondering how anyone could think their BMs were fine when they actually weren’t. Well, think about it: the only time in most people’s lives when anyone other than themselves is aware of the shape/size/frequency of their bowel movements is in the first years of life, from birth to potty training. Once we can go on our own, we’re pretty much left to our own devices and our own estimations of what’s “normal.” Without being comfortable to speak about it, even among close friends and family, how would that change?
Bottom line, though there is a large and growing percentage of our society’s population with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestion-related diseases. There are many causes and many possible solutions, but two things are key to being able to access those solutions: diagnosis (either formal or informal) and discussion (having access to information about treatment options through doctors, nutritionists, reliable websites, word of mouth, etc.).
In order to do this, we need to start getting used to toilet talk. We need to break this taboo and really get to know what “ideal” in this case might mean.
I’ve linked here to the Mark’s Daily Apple article “In Search of a Good Poop” as a good guide to what ideal bowel movements should look like. I also recommend the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfillippo, which not only has an excellent section on what may cause certain types of non-ideal BM, but also recommendations on foods and/or supplements which may be helpful.