When you are starting the paleo autoimmune protocol, the most challenging meal of the day is often breakfast. Once you eliminate all grains, processed foods, nuts, seeds, eggs, as well as coffee and chocolate, there is now a huge void at the beginning of the day. What can you eat for breakfast? No more bread, muffins, doughnuts or omelettes! I have been through this process myself and I would like to give you my top 10 tips to eat a fabulous AIP breakfast that will fuel your body for the day.
Before I begin, take a closer look at the picture above. All the meals are representative of my breakfasts. If you follow me on Instagram, you might recognize a few picture! As you can see, my breakfasts look a lot like my dinners! Once you break away from the mold of the American standard diet, you will discover that there are so many healthy options possible. If you think that this is too hard for you, remember that it is difficult only until it becomes a new habit. And it usually takes about 21 days to form a new habit! Think you can do this?
10 tips for a great AIP breakfast!
1. Do not skip breakfast! Especially if you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, it is very important to eat regularly throughout the day so that your blood sugar level won’t get too low. Low blood sugar level will actually promote autoimmune flare-ups and aggravate your condition. Some symptoms of low blood sugar are mood changes, nervousness, fatigue, headaches, and trouble concentrating.
2. Keep sweet breakfasts to a minimum. An AIP treat is still a treat! While we all need a little something sweet from time to time, don’t make a habit to eat AIP pancakes or AIP waffles for breakfast. Keep those for a Sunday brunch or special occasions. Eating a sugary breakfast will create an insulin spike, which will increase the inflammation in your body and trigger autoimmune flares. You will know you have an insulin surge if you feel tired after eating or drinking something sugary, or if you crave even more sugar.
3. Choose a breakfast with proteins, lots of vegetables, and healthy fats. The best way to fuel your body for the day ahead of you is by eating a breakfast that will provide you with all the nutrients your body needs to produce sustained energy. Ideally, your breakfast should be made of:
• Proteins = meat, fish, and seafood
• Vegetables = I like to have at least 1 low starch vegetable (low-starch vegetables are typically flowering parts of the plant like lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, leeks) and 1 high starch vegetable (high starch vegetables are typically root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, and all winter squashes).
I do well with a moderate amount of starchy vegetables, but it might not be the case for you. Listen to your body as we are all different. Check out this post by Eileen at Phoenix Helix on her experiment with starches!
• Healthy fats = avocado, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, bacon fat, lard, tallow, duck fat. Eating enough fat will keep you satiated longer, preventing the snacking – grazing in between meals.
• Fruits = all fruits are allowed on the autoimmune protocol (with the exception of goji berries because they are nightshades). However it is advised to limit fruit consumption to one or two servings per day because of their fructose content. Berries are the best choice when in season!
4. Chop your vegetables in advance. On grocery shopping days, as soon as I get back home, I start cleaning, cutting, and chopping my vegetables . I keep them stored in big Ziploc bags, in the lower compartments in my refrigerator. This way, I don’t have to start cleaning my vegetables in the morning. I simply grab a few handful of different vegetables and pair them with some protein.
5. Leftovers are the best! Often I prepare more food than our family can eat for dinner at night and I eat the leftovers for breakfast the next day. They are easy to warm-up quickly, and you can add some fresh vegetables on the side (like a store bought lettuce mix). Cooking tip: when I am cooking large amounts of vegetables to be used as leftovers later, I slightly undercook them, so that they don’t turn mushy when reheated.
6. Batch cooking will save you a lot of time! The best way to stay on track with your AIP diet is to be prepared at all time, especially for breakfast. A good way to always have food ready is to batch cook. Batch cooking means that you spend one or two longer sessions in the kitchen preparing a big load of food that you can warm-up the following days. Typical batch cook preparations include burgers, patties, bone broth, soups, skillet fixings, and roasted vegetables.
7. Use your slow cooker during the night. I love to wake-up in the morning to the mouthwatering smells of a homemade slow-cooked meal! Even better than the delicious aromas, you don’t have to prepare anything; all you have to do is fill-up your plate and dig in. Any recipe for a crockpot meal will work for breakfast. Our family particularly love this spring breakfast chicken soup.
8. Bone broth to the rescue! If you are a little bit under the weather or don’t feel like eating a full meal for breakfast, try some nutrient-dense, gut-healing bone broth. Bone broth is a rich source of minerals as well as gelatin and collagen. In any case, it is always a good idea to add a warm cup of bone broth to your breakfast routine. It is an excellent replacement if you are trying to break the habit of drinking coffee!
9. Breakfast shakes. Some of us prefer to drink a shake for breakfast. That is perfectly fine! Make sure you add a good serving of vegetables as well as a source of protein to your shake. A popular protein powder that you can use is collagen. Add 1 or 2 TBSP to your shake and mix well. Check out this post to decide which brand of collagen is best for you. This delicious strawberry-mango breakfast shake is a big hit with my children at the moment!
10. 85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts cookbook. I wish I had this incredible resource when I started the autoimmune protocol diet! It is a community cookbook made exclusively of AIP breakfast recipes! It is a gold mine of ideas including beverages, bowls, skillets, soups, patties and sweet treats like waffles, pancakes, and muffins! The cookbook also includes special modifications for low-FODMAP, GAPS/SCD, low-histamine, and coconut-free diet!
I hope you find this post helpful! As you can see, the key to be successful on the AIP diet is to change your mindset and be prepared. Don’t focus on what you can not eat anymore, but instead be resourceful and find new strategies to feed yourself in a way that will promote your healing.
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