Carolyn’s Story: Self-care for Mums requires a healthy delicious breakfast – no sipping of hot water and lemon juice required (by Carolyn Valentine)

I am a mum, health researcher and blogger and I am passionate about the impact food can have on women’s physical health, mental health and self esteem. Self-care is actually not something that used to come naturally to me and I have had to learn to truly prioritise this. One thing I have learnt is that having a healthy breakfast and a good start to the day is vital for self-care and for managing whatever your day then throws at you!

I follow a Paleo Diet which essentially means eating healthy, unprocessed foods that we are evolved to eat and avoiding foods that our bodies can often be less well equipped to deal with. For me, this means I avoid sugar, gluten, most other grains and I minimise dairy. It does require some planning and sometimes this isn’t easy but I have felt so much better for doing so, both physically and mentally, and this motivates me to keep going

Life can be complicated enough without complicating food so I try and keep everything very simple and easy but also enjoyable too. Healthy eating doesn’t mean soullessly downing cups of hot water and lemon first thing in the morning. Whilst, undoubtedly, this is probably good for you I much prefer starting my day with a good cup of coffee, and flicking through Instagram! Once the caffeine kicks in I can then focus on a healthy Paleo breakfast!

For breakfast, you are ideally wanting to have a good amount of protein and some healthy fats. The protein and fats keep your blood sugar levels stable as you start the day and provide a slow release of energy to keep you full until lunchtime. You can also add in some carbs either from fruits or vegetables. Eating vegetables for breakfast does seem odd at first but you really do get used to it quickly.

Good easy sources of protein are eggs, chicken, protein powders and nuts and seeds. Fats can also come from nuts and seeds and other foods such as olive oil, avocado, coconut yogurt or Greek yogurt (if you tolerate dairy). Depending on what you choose to have, you can add sliced mixed greens or other salads/vegetables to a savoury breakfast and fruit or fruit smoothies to sweeter tasting breakfasts.

An easy healthy breakfast is the classic cooked breakfast with eggs and bacon and some cooked veggies. This gives you your protein, vegetables and fibre and cooking in coconut oil or butter/ghee adds healthy fats. This does take time though so quicker options for breakfast are protein smoothies, paleo pancakes and nut based granolas served with a smoothie bowl or dairy-free milk. These can all be made up beforehand in a batch. You can also make ‘bread’ from nuts, seeds and eggs that taste so much better than that sounds – I promise!

If you don’t generally eat breakfast or eat a more carb based breakfast such as toast or cereal you will genuinely be astounded at how much better you feel by eating a breakfast like this. It really can influence your blood sugar and mood all day. It also vastly lessens the chances of snacking later in the evening so the impact really does last all day.

My advice would be to keep it simple and write up a list of breakfasts and ideas that you can rotate. I have a list of simple, delicious breakfasts on my blog at www.paleohaggis.com to start you off. Give it a try for a few days and see how you feel.

Good luck!
Carolyn x

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