Start Your Day with a Quick, Energizing Superfood Breakfast

This entry was posted on Feb 25, 2013 by Charlotte Bell.

Superfood Breakfast:  No More Oatmeal Fatigue

I stopped eating meat in 1978 and haven’t looked back. The truth is, I never liked meat. My body doesn’t digest it well. I won’t go into detail, but I’ll just say that I felt exhausted, heavy and had constant stomach aches when I ate meat as a child. When I stopped eating meat, those symptoms went away almost instantaneously.

For 15 years I was vegan, and am mostly so now. I added a few eggs back into my diet about 12 years ago on the advice of my acupuncturist, and still eat them once or twice a week. I also enjoy a little goat cheese and yogurt now and then, but I stay away from bovine products. My diet feels good to me, but breakfast has always been a grey area.

Breaking Your Nightly Fast

Common wisdom says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There’s pretty much universal agreement on this; I really haven’t been able to find any information to the contrary. Breakfast kick starts your energy for the day and increases your metabolic rate so that you burn calories more efficiently. What you eat for breakfast sets the tone for your day.

Traditional American breakfasts include a lot of protein—most of it animal protein. When I was vegan, I ate lots of hot grains in the morning instead. I loved the comforting, stick-to-your-ribs feel of a warm bowl of oatmeal, barley, rice or buckwheat, especially when you mix it with nuts, dried fruits and other treats. Problem was, within a half hour I was ready to go back to bed.

Oatmeal Fatigue

According to the Livestrong website, grains, but oatmeal in particular, can make you tired for several reasons. First, they raise your serotonin levels—serotonin is one of the neurotramsmitters that prepares us for sleep. Second, the website says, “If you suffer from reactive hypoglycemia, your body doesn’t process carbohydrates well. Since oatmeal, a grain, contains carbohydrates, eating a bowl may raise your blood glucose levels quickly. Your body release large amounts of insulin to help cells absorb the glucose. Your blood sugar then falls rapidly, causing fatigue, shakiness, headache, difficulty thinking and tremors.” You can read more here.

When I started eating eggs again, breakfast no longer made me sleepy, but I really didn’t want to eat eggs more than a couple times a week. It wasn’t until recently that I found out about a quick, vegan, high-protein, superfood breakfast “gruel” that satisfies me for hours. It includes hemp, chia and flax seeds—superfoods that are high in protein and omega-3s. You can read more about their benefits here.

This recipe originates with my doctor, Todd Mangum, M.D., of Web of Life Wellness Center. I actually learned it from a mutual friend, so it may vary somewhat from Dr. Todd’s recipe, but this is how I make it:

Superfood Breakfast Gruel


  • 2 T hemp seeds
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1 T goji berries
  • 1 T ground flax seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I like Garden of Life Raw Protein powder.)
  • hot water

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir in hot water. You will probably need more water than you think because the ingredients absorb the water and can turn sludgy. You can always add more water if this happens. I also like to sprinkle in other things, depending on what I have on hand. Here are a few additions that can spice it up:

  • a little cinnamon or nutmeg
  • a chopped apple or pear
  • some goat yogurt or homemade cashew milk
  • roasted nuts or seeds such as pumpkin, sesame or sunflower
  • applesauce (I use quince jam and quince sauce I made and canned a few months ago when my quince tree was pumping out fruit.)

I love this breakfast because it takes almost no time to prepare; tastes great; has that stick-to-your-ribs, comfort-food quality I love about cooked grains; and it completely satisfies my hunger for hours without making me at all sleepy.

Try it out and send us your suggestions for tasty variations!

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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