Fish. It’s What’s for Breakfast

Fellow parents who do biomed, or are familiar with Martin’s diet, like to ask me what Martin eats for breakfast. Deep in our psyche sits a notion that breakfast, especially a kid’s breakfast, must involve cereal, porridge, toast, muffin, eggs, and milk or yogurt, and we seem to have trouble fathoming breakfast for a kid who eats none of those except eggs, which he really doesn’t like.

My idea of “breakfast foods” has expanded in our seven years of biomed. I decided to snap pictures—I know I’m not much of a food photographer, especially when I have only five-to-seven seconds before Martin sits and starts eating—and assemble a breakfast post.

Without further ado, I present seven samples of Martin’s breakfast:

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Fritters are always a popular choice. These were made with leftover spiced red beans, flattened and fried. The fritters are joined by pineapple and a green smoothie of cashew milk, coconut yogurt, dates, banana, peanut butter, and spinach.

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Weekend extravaganza. In order, bottom to top: rice toast, fried potato slices, egg over-easy, turkey bacon, avocado, and porcini mushroom salt. I love my fancy salt infusions. This meal was too complicated. Adrian loved the concoction. Martin was kind of—meh.

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Simple weekday breakfast. Leftover Mexican-style beans wrapped in almond-flour tortillas and fried. The smoothie is cashew milk, cashew yogurt, matcha green tea powder, and a handful of salad greens.

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More fritters, this time zucchini and egg with carrot greens. The smoothie is coconut milk, dates, spinach, and moringa powder.

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Hands down, Martin’s favorite breakfast food is smoked salmon. Now that I’ve learned that freezing below -10 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days renders the fish safe (in terms of parasites), I’ve allowed salmon back on the menu. Here is is served with sweet potato hash browns. The smoothie is cashew milk, coconut yogurt, banana, almond butter, and spinach.

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Not the prettiest picture! But probably Martin’s second-simplest breakfast entrée (after smoked salmon with olives): banana halved lengthwise, rolled in almond-flour tortilla with peanut butter and cacao nibs, and fried.

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If I want to make sushi for breakfast, I will make sushi for breakfast. Here, I packed the short-grain rice into a silicon “mini-donut” mold, filled the middle with mashed avocado, then wrapped the packet in nori seaweed and sliced salmon, then rolled the still-exposed rice in sesame seeds.

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This was prepared most for Adrian (Saturday morning, pre-gym) and made him much happier than it made Martin. Bacon and vegetables under a shredded sweet potato fritter, topped with fried egg. I absolutely detest cooking pig meat. Few things make Adrian happier than bacon.

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This is unusual, thrown together when we were running late. On the plate are almond-flour English muffins with a thin coating of maple butter. The smoothie is coconut milk, kale, banana, and avocado.

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Pretty self-explanatory, for a change. Turkey bacon accompanied by fried potatoes with carrot greens. The smoothie is coconut water, avocado, raspberry, and lucuma powder.

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That pesky salmon again! This time with a side of garlic broccoli. The smoothie has almond milk, coconut yogurt, leftover white beans (really), matcha green tea powder, frozen banana, and salad greens.

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Salmon. It is a lot of salmon. Fried potato and sweet potato with rosemary. Black-rice toast. The smoothie is coconut water with pineapple, banana, mango, and avocado.

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This was a plate I assembled last week while we were traveling in England. The breakfast comprises cold shrimps, pineapple, and red lentils with vegetables. In the wooden spoon are Martin’s breakfast pills. In the smaller glass is his morning “herx water.”

Food Porn: Weekend Breakfast

Depending on how much time I have, weekend breakfasts can be extravagant and, because on the volume of organic vegetables involved, expensive. I photographed my way through a recent weekend breakfast, prepared when we were all awake around 7:00 am but no one had to be anywhere before 11:00 am.

Dish No. 1 was sweet potato hash, and Dish No. 2 was vegetable scrambled eggs. First, I diced/processed my veggies and arranged them for those two dishes.

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In this photo, the middle mixing bowl contains the veggies for the scrambled eggs: carrots, garlic, red bell pepper, Jerusalem artichoke, and several sorts of mushrooms. Martin has declared that he doesn’t like mushrooms, so I sneak them in wherever I can; in this instance, the pre-cooked mushrooms will reduce enough that he doesn’t notice them in the scrambled eggs.

Also in the photo are—

a small glass of yellow “base,” which comprised onion, garlic, and turmeric root (there’s that turmeric again!), processed into a paste, which I put first into the pan, along with cooking oil (usually coconut);

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the diced sweet potatoes, which require the longest cooking time, so I added them as soon as the base became fragrant;

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onions and red bell pepper, which I add until well after the sweet potatoes, because they would have burnt before the sweet potatoes were cooked;

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and a glass of minced herbs, which on this occasion were parsley and sage, which went in last, just enough to heat them.

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When the sweet potato hash was about half done, I set the egg veggies to cook in coconut oil, separately.

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While both the sweet potato hash and the egg veggies were cooking, I prepped the vegetables for juice. I am very into juicing right now. Juice does have “all the sugar without the insoluble fiber,” which is not great vis-à-vis Martin’s yeast troubles. On the other hand, juicing is GAPS-approved and makes vitamins, minerals, and even enzymes rapidly available, which is terrific for those times when Martin is not so into eating vegetables. (Yes, even super-healthy-diet Martin behaves sometimes like an American seven-year-old.) On this morning, I made “green lemonade”: collard greens, celery, cucumber, kiwifruit, green and red apples, lemon, and turmeric. (Again with the turmeric!)

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Finally I juiced, added eggs and sea salt to the egg veggies, and served. For Adrian’s breakfast, I added a slice of toast, made from Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread.

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I think the Canyon Bakehouse product is good-quality, but it’s still too starchy and processed for Martin. So when Martin insisted that he too wanted toast, I substituted a couple Lundberg Family Farms Red Rice & Quinoa Stackers. Not perfect. Still a grain. Still processed to some degree. But these “toast crackers” made Martin happy and brought peace to breakfast.

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I don’t eat eggs. For my breakfast, I ate the sweet potato hash and drank the juice, and substituted the eggs with Fakin’ Bacon, which is spiced organic tempeh. I try not to eat too much soy; when I do consume soy, organic and fermented is the best way to go.

And I almost forgot: There was one more item that brought peace, and for me and Adrian, a lot of joy, to the morning kitchen—

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ASD Recovery Recipe: Egg Poppers

What to do for quick breakfast before school when a bowl of cereal or a frozen waffle is not an option? That’s a question I get from a lot of parents who are trying to manage a restricted diet.

For some time, Martin consumed only bone broth for weekday breakfast. He was okay with that, and so was I. Bone broth is filling and has protein. As long as I sent a substantive morning snack to school, he was fine until lunchtime.

The past few months, Martin has wanted solid food for breakfast. He will eat turkey bacon, but I’ve taken that off the breakfast list; I have Martin down to one meat meal per day, and right now the meat meal is school lunch. For breakfast, I look for non-meat items, preferably that I can prepare in advance.

Along come egg poppers, which my mother made Martin Thanksgiving week when I was sick. Martin doesn’t like to eat eggs scrambled, boiled, or fried. For whatever reason, when I cook the eggs into these “poppers,” he’s game. The poppers have other advantages, too. I can make them in advance in reheat them in the oven while he’s waking, and like meatballs, the poppers are a convenient place to pack vegetables.

Here’s the procedure:

Spray a stainless-steel muffin tray, liberally, with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Chop vegetables. Chop whatever you have that might work well with eggs. In my experience, including at least some onion makes the poppers more appealing. Mince everything well; tiny pieces help the poppers hold together.

Fill the muffin tray with a mix of vegetables. I have found that, if you don’t pack the vegetables, you can fill the cups almost full without the finished poppers falling apart. In this example, I started with red bell peppers and then added shiitake mushrooms.

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Next came carrot greens. My chef friend turned me onto cooking with the greens from fresh carrots. They’re delicious. On top of the greens I added red onion.

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Usually I would have stopped there. In this example, not yet. I have added limited portions of quinoa to Martin’s GAPS diet. That’s been a challenge, because Martin doesn’t like quinoa, much. It happened that, the night before I made these egg poppers, I had served quinoa with scallions, parsley, and white mulberries. I decided to pile some of the leftover quinoa on top of the veggies. My filled cups looked like this:

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Once your cups are ready, whisk ten eggs with a half-cup of camel milk (or whatever milk your family uses), add salt and pepper, and pour this mixture over the vegetables.

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You’re ready to bake. Put the whole tray in the oven. Keep an eye on the poppers. After fifteen minutes or so, they will “poof” into domes. Let them cook for another five minutes or so after poofing. That’s it.

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In these pictures, I made a dozen poppers, because I served them also to Martin’s cousins, who have been visiting. Martin eats only one per morning, along with two zucchini muffins or slices of banana bread (recipe coming), so when I’m cooking just for Martin, I make only a few poppers, which I store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to heart.

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Breakfast is challenging. Morning is challenging.

I know, I know: Most families with young children probably find it difficult to get them fed, groomed, and out to the school bus on time. Breakfast with Martin presents certain additional factors:

1. Martin doesn’t like his breakfast food options. I’ve given him as many choices as I can, subject to the parameters of what fits his current diet and what I can manage in a smaller window of time. His enthusiasm peaks at “meh.” Certainly nothing gets put in his mouth voluntarily.

2. Martin also needs to take supplements and medications and homeopathic drops (lots of them), which I assemble and administer during the meal, dividing my attention.

3. Mornings, for whatever reason, are Martin’s most distracted time. Often, despite the plate sitting in front of him, he seems to forget even that he’s supposed to be eating. I lob hints and suggestions. (“What’s 9+3, you ask? Try some turkey bacon and we can talk about it.” “Hey Martin, guess what you can use that fork for?”) Occasionally I resort to spooning the food into his mouth. Okay, fine. Often I resort to spooning the food into his mouth.

In order to be ready for the school bus on time, Martin needs to leave the breakfast table and go to the bathroom by 7:25 a.m. He knows this. While asking questions, drawing pictures, and dropping food on his school clothes instead of eating, he counts down the minutes until 7:25. The instant the clock turns, he springs from his chair, remaining food be damned.

If by some miracle Martin finishes his breakfast—or if he manages to bargain me down to some reduced food portion that he’s willing to cram into his mouth in order to escape the table—before 7:25, he’s allowed to go into the family room and play for whatever minutes remain.

One recent morning Martin was drinking a smoothie: coconut kefir, avocado, kiwi, papaya seeds, and strawberries. By 7:18 (the dance is precise) we had finished morning supplements. I headed to the bedrooms for my three minutes of “me time” (pull on jeans, straighten hair, add enough layers to hide pajama top so I can escort him to the school bus). Martin remained at the table, his smoothie glass still half-full.

Typically I would return to the kitchen at 7:21 and devote four minutes to cajoling him to finish breakfast. That morning, however, I returned to the kitchen to find the glass, empty, in the sink waiting to be washed.

“Martin!” I exclaimed. “What happened?”

“I finished my smoothie. I’m playing,” Martin responded from the family room.

I’m no Pollyanna. Quickly I scanned the sink and garbage for evidence that Martin had dumped the smoothie. Nothing. The kid was for real. He’d actually decided just to finish breakfast and go play. I swooned.

And lest you think that’s the only victory of recent days, allow me to say that, this very day, February 21, I asked Martin to get dressed “within five minutes.” After some debate about where he would agree to get dressed—he insisted on standing on my and Adrian’s bed, which apparently offers the best view of our digital clock—Martin completed the task in three minutes flat. Except for his socks. Socks are hard. Also, his underwear and shirt were on backwards, which I considered an improvement, because yesterday his pants were on backwards.

Victories are everywhere.

Martin, assisted by his partner-in-crime, George the Cat, plays in our family room.

Martin, assisted by his partner-in-crime, George the Cat, plays in our family room.