The New ‘Breakfast of Champions’

By Bob Gaydos

Te breakfast of champions

                          The breakfast of champions                                                                                                        IR photography

“Here it is,” she said with a smile, “the breakfast of champions.”

No, it wasn’t a bowl of Wheaties with a banana sliced on top. It was, check it out: A bowl of coconut/vanilla Greek yogurt, two sliced bananas, a big bunch of halved, red globe grapes with seeds, a mound of whole ground flaxseed meal, a healthy serving of blended trail mix (almonds, cranberries, cherries, raisins and pistachios), and a generous topping of chocolate granola (ingredients to come later).

Breakfast was sweet, rich, juicy, crunchy, delicious and filling. My breakfast partner does not skimp on the portions. And, by the way, it was incredibly good for my health.

When I decided for health reasons to move away from a diet centered on meat and fried foods to one focused more on plants, my major concerns were that I would be able to eat enough to feel full and energetic and that I would find enough food that I actually liked.

No problem, thanks again in large measure to my breakfast partner. And it hasn’t been a problem since I made the decision. What it has been is a gradual process of becoming accustomed to, not necessarily foods that are new to me, but a new way of looking at some familiar foods and a new way of making them part of my regular diet.

I now eat lots of rice and beans and greens and baked potatoes and sweet potatoes and fruits and vegetables. Also some pasta. Pizza is still on the menu. I also eat vegetarian versions of meatballs, bacon, sausage, turkey with all the vegetables, etc. No portion control. Again, the tastes are a bit different, but delicious. It’s all in the way the food is prepared. That, to me, is mind over matter. I think we are conditioned from earliest days to think about certain foods in a certain way and, after a while it becomes automatic — so, lots of red meat is good, vegetables are wussy.

I’ve said it before, but I will repeat myself: I’m not crusading here. I don’t begrudge anybody eating whatever they choose (not entirely true — horses are not for eating). However, since my dietary changes, I’ve become increasingly aware of the strong contradiction in what many people say about their desire to be healthier (to lose weight, to have more energy, to feel stronger) and the food they actually eat. So I write about what I’m going through to maintain my own awareness and, maybe, let someone who’s contemplating a similar change know that it’s possible and not necessarily painful.

There’s a slowly growing awareness among Americans for the need to eat more healthful foods, foods free of chemicals and so-called “natural” added ingredients. You can see this in expanded organic food sections at supermarkets and half-hearted attempts by some fast-food chains to offer what they regard as healthier choices. When the monied interests — the corporations that control our food supply — start offering more choices, even though they may exaggerate their health benefits, I think it’s a good first step. They’re starting to pay attention..

It’s also a signal for consumers to start insisting on more such choices and at more reasonable prices. It seems to me that companies should not get rich by offering lots of cheap food that isn’t good for our health (and may actually be bad for our health) while pricing nutritious, tasty food out of the reach of far too many people. History tells us that, greed being what it is, this corporate mindset won’t change unless enough customers insist on it by spending their food money differently. By putting our money where our mouths are and by insisting that elected officials do more to protect the food supply rather than the food suppliers, we might actually be able to help ourselves become healthier.

Back to the breakfast of champions. It satisfies the various food pyramids’ daily recommendations on fruits, nuts, seeds and dairy in one sitting. It is full of super foods:

  • Greek yogurt: Loaded with protein, Vitamin B12 and calcium. Also has potassium, B-6 and magnesium.
  • Bananas: Good for Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C and potassium. Also magnesium and dietary fiber.
  • Red grapes: Source of resveratrol, which helps dilate blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure. Also may help weight loss by reducing cells’ ability to store fat.
  • Flaxseed meal: Soluble and insoluble fiber. Studies suggest flaxseed as regular part of a diet lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. Has lignans, natural anti-oxidants that protect against unchecked cell growth. Source of alpha-linolenic acid, or omega-3, which can help provide healthy cholesterol levels, reduce cell inflammation (by supporting the integrity of cell membranes of vital organs, thereby protecting the body against disease). Also may lower blood pressure. Studies suggest flaxseed may help protect against some forms of cancer, decrease menopausal symptoms and reduce blood sugar.
  • Trail mix: Good source of Vitamin E, manganese, copper and magnesium (important minerals often neglected in many diets). Also a source of potassium and dietary fiber.
  • Chocolate granola: Among other things, it contains whole grain oats, ground flax seeds, rice and soy lecithin, an emulsifier that keeps the blood slippery..

Full disclosure, the chocolate granola, being a commercial product, contains sugar and cane juice. But people are free to mix their own granola. Like I said, I’m no purist, just a guy trying to live a longer, healthier life. One spectacular breakfast at a time.


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12 Responses to “The New ‘Breakfast of Champions’”

  1. Lee Steup Says:

    I love reading of your progress. It’s very inspiring. I have one question and even though it may seem that I’m making fun of your diet, the question is sincere. Since you specify that the red globe grapes “with seeds” are a part of your breakfast, I wonder if you actually eat the seeds? Do they actually have any nutritive value?

  2. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    another uplifting article! i would try this breakfast of champions even as a mid-day snack. have u thought about switching out the chocolate granola – which may be loaded with oils and sugars – for some high-quality, rich dark chocolate chips or shaved chocolate? there are recommendations to eat about 1 oz of dark chocolate every day. i don’t think that’s too much of a sacrifice.

  3. Bob Mullin Says:

    Well said, without being pushy.

  4. Bennett Weiss Says:

    We are on parallel paths.
    I began a diet similar to yours about a year and am now 20 lbs lighter.

    I have one word for you…QUINOA.

    Quinoa is one for the few grains that is rich in proteins and is gluten free.

    Here a sample recipe:
    1- Red quinoa
    2- Olive oil sauteed veggies (red and yellow pepper, onions, squash, brocolli..)
    3- Coconut milk
    4- Thai red or green curry paste
    5-Coconut milk
    6- Frozen peas
    7- Pepper, tumeric, cumin and a wee bit of salt

    Bon appetite.

  5. BobGaydos Says:

    Lee: Thanks for your comments. Yes, the seeds are edible and full of nutrients. Here’s a link to University of Maryland Medical Center page on grapes:

  6. BobGaydos Says:

    Jo: Thanks. Yes, we are big fans of shaved dark chocolate — on frozen yogurt, with pears, grapes, etc. OMG.

  7. BobGaydos Says:

    Bennett: Congrats and keep it up. Quinoa, yes. We have recently learned about this forgotten grain. Thanks for the recipe. Sounds great. We look forward to using it.

  8. BobGaydos Says:

    Thanks you, Robert, but ketchup still doesn’t count as a vegetable.

  9. bill hogan Says:

    We eat more fresh foods and have been for years: however, those freakin flax seeds are a pain in the gums and teeth, plus 80% don’t get digested and pass thru your system. Ouch!

  10. BobGaydos Says:

    Bill: Not seeds.Try Bob’s Red Mill whole ground flaxseed meal. Put it on all kinds of stuff. Or a comparable brand.Of course, there’s always flaxseed oil. Stay healthy.

  11. Marshall Rubin Says:

    Bob: I have no qualms about your “Breakfast of Champions,” especially since it’s way more healthy than my morning bagel with cream cheese and a can of lightly-salted V-8 vegetable juice. But one thing wasn’t mentioned: the cost of your meal. I’m a retiree watching my quality of life decrease as I continue to get no COLA raises from Social Security and my NJ state pension.
    My bagel breakfast costs less than $2. What does your breakfast cost?

  12. BobGaydos Says:

    Marshall: Thanks for the comment and question. Look for my next piece and thanks for giving me the idea for it.

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