Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eating to Live: Investing in Breakfast

Who has time to even think about breakfast?

While traveling in Europe last year, I was reminded of the creamy, crunchy goodness of muesli. It is a Swiss/German creation containing a combination of uncooked rolled oatmeal, with various nuts, seeds, fruits (dried, fresh, or canned), and yogurt. In many European countries you can find a big bowl of it on breakfast tables, or you may find a selection of various ingredients in order for you to make your own concoction.

Once we were home from Europe, I changed my smoothie routine and started making muesli. It’s as simple as taking ready-made granola and dumping in a lot of *yogurt. Since the mixture is going to grab the moisture of the yogurt, I make sure it is somewhat creamy prior to refrigeration. I can also add 100% fruit juice, milk or other liquid to increase the creaminess. I am transported to Europe with each bite I take; and it seems to be just the right balance of protein, as I do not feel the need to eat anything else until lunch.

Eating muesli got me thinking about making my own granola, like I did back in the hippy-dippy days of the 1970’s. I am now hooked on creating various granola mixes. With the yummy goodness of my homemade granola, if I am not having a smoothie or muesli, some mornings I layer granola and fruit with the yogurt like a parfait.

Mom was right! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It recharges your brain and your body, so this is not a meal to be missed or taken lightly. Breakfast isn’t just about a bowl of cereal with milk splashed on it, or a quick stop at the drive-thru. There are many good reasons one should eat a balanced breakfast, but we’ve heard them all before. Let’s suffice it to say, most of us need to eat more protein in the morning. Eating a balanced breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle. A home blended smoothie, muesli, or granola parfait is my way of investing in the day ahead by investing in breakfast first. All three of these ideas for a well-balanced breakfast are simple to make and take if I am plowing full steam ahead into the morning.

Who has time for breakfast? You do! You will find countless recipes for smoothies, muesli and granola on the Internet to help get you started. A change is in the air for your morning routine. Before you know it, you will be concocting your own breakfast goodness. WARNING: While eating muesli, don’t be surprised if you think you are sitting in a grassy meadow surrounded by huge snow topped mountains. You may even be able to hear cowbells in the distance.

*I prefer low or no fat Greek style yogurt as it contains less fat and more protein.
Swiss Miss photo courtesy of the Clark family album.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Training Wheels Not Included

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
Albert Einstein

When I was six years old, I received a beautiful blue, Schwinn, two-wheeled, bike for my birthday. I couldn’t wait to take it out on the rocky side road next to our home. Fortunately for me, it came with training wheels. I took learning to ride this bike seriously, and couldn’t wait for the day my training wheels were taken off. When the big day finally arrived, I proceeded to balance, wobble, and ride my bike up the road. I remember the big smile I had on my face before the front wheel hit a very large embedded rock, and abruptly stopped my forward progress. Up and over the top of the handlebars I went. I ended up with a cut on my lip and an assortment of bruises, but refused to have my training wheels reattached. After all, I had experienced moments of balancing bliss. A few more attempts, and I had the balance thing figured out. I’ve been working on balance and moving forward ever since.

These days, creating a balanced life seems to revolve around time; two things I strive to have more of. Closely related, it is difficult to have one without the other. Like time, balance changes in a split second. It takes constant consideration on my part, a vigil of sorts, to keep balance in check. I equate being out of balance to attempting to ride my bike, without training wheels, and continually falling over. If I am not making the time and doing what is necessary for me to create balance, I am not moving forward. When I am not moving forward, I am not happy. See how that works?

In my life, balance includes taking the time to do what is necessary for my health and well being, first and foremost! When I do this, I can be a better me. While life doesn’t come with training wheels, I am discovering it is up to me to set my own standards in order to maintain balance in my life. I can allow everyone else to carve out a piece of my time, a piece of me, or I can choose how I want my time allocated. Unless I set my own standards for living, I will ultimately be out of balance. With each little discovery I make, I am finding the balance that works for me. I am finding the key to happiness, with or without training wheels.

Girl on a bicycle photo courtesy of anyjazz65

Tuesday, February 4, 2014