Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mediterranean Diet: More Vegetables for Breakfast!

I’m currently reading The Third Plate by Dan Barber, the chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  It’s a lovely treatise on rethinking how we fill our plates and farm our land, focusing on plants and consciously-consumed animals.

Barber quotes William Albrecht, “To be well fed is to be healthy.”  I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be well-fed, to be nourished.

At the same time, I’m travelling through Israel, a country that elevates a plant-based diet to new heights.  You never knew eggplant could be so, so good.

Israel really excels at breakfast.  I’ve said this before, I know.  But every time I visit this country, I am blown away by breakfast.  A typical Israeli breakfast includes a chopped vegetable salad, tahini, cheese, olives and whole grain bread.  Sometimes eggs.  Maybe some smoked or cured fish.

Adding vegetables to breakfast makes it a lot easier to eat more vegetables overall.  That makes sense.  And a vegetable-filled breakfast tastes so much better than cereal.  And satisfying.  

Here's proof.

This weekend, experiment with a Mediterranean-style breakfast.  Here are a few ideas.

1.  Make shakshuka, a traditional breakfast of eggs poached in tomato sauce.  You'll love it.  I promise.

2.  Add a salad to your usual breakfast.  Try chopping tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers and fresh parsley and tossing them together with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Top with toasted sunflower seeds.  Sometimes adding something nourishing to your meals is easier than changing your current habits. Change takes time.  Be nice to yourself.

3.  Make an eggplant dip, drizzle with tahini and top with goat milk feta cheese (my favorite).  Spread on whole grain toast.

4.  Roast or saute your favorite vegetables and top with an egg.  Here's a recipe.

5.  Fry an egg in extra virgin olive oil and top with a sprinkling of za’atar.  Serve with a salad of tomatoes, olives and roasted red peppers.

I’m ready for breakfast.  Wishing you all a healthy, well-fed weekend!

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