When I switched to a Low Carb Healthy Fat lifestyle, it was not long before I noticed a significant change in my appetite. I soon found that I simply needed to eat less often and furthermore, mid-afternoon slumps and sugar cravings became a thing of the past.
In fact, I had fallen into a mode of Intermittent Fasting before I even knew that Intermittent Fasting was a thing! As it turned out, I had naturally adapted to a 16:8 cycle, whereby, I fast for 16 hours (that includes my sleep time) and eat during the remaining 8 hour window. I now generally don’t eat until after 1pm and rarely eat after 9pm at night.
So to break my fast, I lean towards something really tasty and that brunch/lunch meal is one that I have come to savour!
At the weekends, or if I am working from home, this meal generally revolves around eggs. I keep my own hens in our suburban garden and have been used to having a ready supply of ultra-fresh eggs at my disposal, but our little ladies are getting older and so their output has slowed somewhat. Thankfully, I have ready access to fabulous hens’ eggs from Spring Cottage Organic Farm at Honest2Goodness Market in Glasnevin, Dublin.
In the last year I have also started adding Duck Eggs to my diet. The Whole Hoggs, another fantastic stallholder at the market, have started supplying them and I love the creamy texture, luscious orange yolks and the full flavour they add to a dish.
As this has become my favourite meal of the day, I thought I would share some of ideas from my Low Carb repertoire of Break-Fasts!
On Friday’s, the cupboards in our house are usually pretty bare. I do my weekly food shopping at the market on Saturday mornings, so we tend to be down to the bare minimum come Friday. This state of affairs has been know to fuel my creativity in the kitchen and often results in something new and interesting.
Last Friday, I had to work from home, and when faced with the meagre contents of my fridge – home-made salad dressing, mixed seeds, boiled eggs and some leftover roast chicken. I threw in some cucumber and salad leaves to conjure up a delicious warm chicken salad. Tasty and satisfying!.
Scrambled Eggs are another big favourite of mine. I make them with lot’s of lovely Irish butter, and generally add in some mature cheddar cheese, gruyere or manchego while cooking. These taste great with a side of bacon and avocado, or simply serving them with seed crackers is guaranteed to set me up for the rest of the day.
There are so many interesting combinations for scrambled eggs, I could spend all day talking about them. If I have a little leftover cream and some spinach, chives or spring onions on hand, these also get thrown in. I know a lot of people (my husband included!) have a Marmite like reaction to Salmon (love it or hate it, no middle ground!), but I love it paired up with scrambled eggs.
Another favourite of mine is homemade guacamole served with Banting Seed crackers and crispy bacon. Like most people, my consumption of avocado has increased dramatically since going Low Carb. I love playing around with different ingredients to make my own versions of guacamole as its a great way to sneak some extra healthy fat into your meal. In addition to Olive oil, I have variously added yogurt, butter, ricotta and other soft cheeses to create different textures and levels of creaminess.
These Banting seed crackers are so simple to make and they keep really well in an airtight tin for about a week. Rather than wasting time moulding them into individual rounds I make large slabs of cracker and then break off what I need, as I need it.
In our house, no conversation about breakfast/brunch/lunch would be complete without some reference to omelettes and frittatas. In my pre-Banting days I regularly made Spanish omelettes, packed with waxy potatoes and sweet onions. Low Carb eating has removed the potatoes and moderated the amount of onion in use but lovely thick frittatas are still firmly on the menu chez nous.
We always have plenty of eggs in the house; the state of the larder has reached truly tragic proportions if there isn’t an egg on hand to form the foundation of a tasty meal. In fact, I seem to have a ridiculous number of photos of frittata’s in my iPhone because this is a staple that we tend to lean towards after exercise. There is nothing nicer than a one pan dish packed with delicious protein and healthy fat after a run or a trip to the gym.
I have made endless variations, too numerous to mention here, but usually guided by the contents of the fridge. There really is no limit to the flavour combinations and possibilities; broccoli and salmon, bacon and spring onion, sundried tomatoes with goats cheese, Chorizo and spinach, and always topped off with a generous coating of grated cheese. I have used both duck and hens eggs, and adding a little double cream and some grated cheese to the whisked eggs adds to flavour and texture.
This of course begs the question; what do I do between the time I get up and the time that I eat my first meal, some 6 hours later? Well, I drink water, black coffee and/or herbal teas. I avoid black/breakfast tea because I can only take it with milk, the addition of which would break my fast too early.
Recently, I have started to break my fast with either Kefir or Bone Broth about 30 minutes before I have my lunch proper. I make my own broth using a variation of the recipe on the Real Meal Revolution site and I source amazing Coconut Milk Kefir from Anastasia of Ambrosia Greek Snacks at Honest2Goodness Market.
While I recognise that this approach to eating may not be for everyone, I am a strong advocate of listening to your own body and really challenging whether you are actually hungry before eating out of habit or boredom. Through improved self awareness I was able to introduce and adopt new habits which have since become automatic behaviours.
As a coach, I am all too familiar with the difficulty facing anyone trying to make a positive change in their lives and the challenges around changing diet can be greater than most because eating is such an emotionally charged experience for many of us – we eat when we are happy, sad, disappointed, angry…the list goes on. I started this blog to share my experiences. This works for me and I am happy to say that it has helped me to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy diet, consistently, for over a year now.
As Dr. Jason Fung, author of The Obesity Code, says the great thing about Intermittent Fasting is that it costs nothing to give it a try!