Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Breakfasts!

Last week I joined Marcela and Claire Stone on their 'Happy Detox Breakfast Challenge'. The truth is that as much as we (try to) eat mostly healthy food, breakfast is always, well, a challenge, because:

a). We adore sweet stuff: 1. Toast with butter, jam and a cup of tea, or 2. sugar-loaded box muesli with yoghurt are both fast, easy, convenient and delicious alternatives.

b). We tend to always go with options 1 or 2 above. Maybe pancakes, omelettes or sunny-side ups when we are feeling fancy on the weekends.

When I read about the challenge, consisting of a "change of usual breakfasts for the ones suggested, as a fun way to get thinking about breakfast differently, swapping sugary cereal for something seasonal" I was all in.  I mean, last summer I already hosted a bunch of you for 'The Breakfast Club' guest post series, in order to get inspired by your breakfasts, so I thought this might be just what we needed.

I have to say that I loved it and that I was surprised. The smoothies (all fruit, cereal, vegetable milks) were really life-changing. There was one that tasted like ice-cream and did not have any dairy in it. I already loved avocados, and I had once a million years ago during a beach vacation tried a coconut milk + banana + avocado milkshake, but I had forgotten how good this stuff is. To be repeated. I don't even know why I did not do this before, since avocado is probably my favorite  fruit (yup, it's a fruit).

Then, yesterday I made granola from scratch at home for the first time and it was so satisfying! I might never get it out of a box anymore!

The only thing that made me sad is the realization, once again, that "healthy eating" has to be so pricey, because the system is pretty much messed up. I mean, eating everything local, organic and non processed is crazy expensive (at least here), so much, that it is kind of a luxury. For example, 400gr. of quinoa (good for maybe 2 meals) is EUR 5. If you compare to 1 EUR for 1 kg of rice (which lasts at least 4 meals, maybe more) it is just not possible to substitute one for the other unless you really are not on a budget at all. Or if you want to replace milk with almond milk, it’s just really hard. We pay 0.6 EUR for 1L of milk, however you pay around 2 EUR for vegetable milks or around 3-4 EUR for a bag of almonds with which you can make the milk yourself. (Of course I could just stop drinking all milk and dairy products, but cheese!) Rice and Oat milks are an option, but their nutritional value is not comparable (they are both kind of low in protein).There were a couple of ingredients that I just omitted from the detox (millet flakes and raw cacao nibs) because they were 4 EUR and 6 EUR for 250 gr respectively.

I do realize this is all because after the "progress" in the food industry that happened after World War II we have gotten used to cheap food, but this is at the expense of our farmers, the environment, animal welfare… In countries like France or Switzerland.some farms only continue to exist because of government subsidies, otherwise they would be forced to close down. It seems that we are just not willing to pay for the real price of our food. At the same time I strongly believe that access to healthy food should not be a luxury. It blows my mind that highly processed food is actually way cheaper than simple vegetables and fruits, because these industrial processes are not even cheap. I guess we have to go back to the start: bartering, urban farming, following nature’s rythms. (There is a very interesting discussion on all of these issues on the 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' review for the #betterinrealifereadinglist).

What do you usually have for breakfast?


  1. It is expensive everywhere. Just yesterday we bought 12 organic eggs and 2lt cow organic milk (I´ve tried soy, almond, & rice milk and I cant do it). For 3 little and simple thing we payed 105 mexican pesos about 6€. If I have to buy normal eggs and milk I would pay about 62 pesos / 3.5€, and the cheapest (I don´t dare to speak about quality) 55 pesos/2.9 €. I know Mexico City is expensive, for common milk and eggs in Madrid I usually paid about the same 3.5€.

    Anyway I am always trying to eat more healthy, buy of course it takes time and a lot more money, than usual. I didn´t get into the challenge, but I gonna try some recipes, like the avocado smothie one, I´ve been curious for a while.

    1. Avocado in smoothies is really delicious. This one was banana, avocado, frozen or fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, whatever you have at hand) and depending on how drinkable you want it almond / coconut / rice milk (or just milk I guess). I also added cinnamon. It is just crazy how expensive things are.

  2. It's SO HARD to have a healthy breakfast! I've come to think of it as my cheat meal because like you, I like cereal, toast with jam, pancakes, waffles etc. I've tried to change to healthier choices but I'm never successful. I even eat cereal for a late night snack sometimes.

    I am so intrigued by what other people eat for breakfast too! We went to a Syrian friend's house for brunch and it was delicious. They had some amazing dishes, I should try to get some recipes!

    I hate how expensive it is to eat healthy & local. It's just not right... I make choosing organic, local food a priority, but I realize that sadly, it's a luxury to do so. In Mozambique, it was cheaper to buy a free-range chicken than a couple boxes of cookies! (the meat was so tough though)

    1. Yeah, it is difficult. Particularly if you have a sweet tooth.

      If you get those recipes do share. We also try to make the "healthy" stuff a priority, but it's all a matter of balance.

  3. This is a reason why I'm a huge fan of our little veggie garden here NYC. At least during the summer we get some fresh blueberries, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes. Eating healthy can definitely be detrimental to our wallets. However, I get why the true cost of things is as high as it is.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the avocado milkshake though. Sounds strange to me, lol

    1. The little veggie garden sounds great! And yeah I also get the cost, but some of it, I think is a reaction to these trend / hipness of eating well.

      The avocado milkshake is real good, I promise you. You don't taste the avocado itself. It sounded strange to me too.


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