Doughnuts, bagels, pancakes, muffins. I will never understand why processed flour gets to play the starring role on the morning menu almost everywhere across the world. It has absolutely zero goodness. All the bran and the wheat germ is gone from it. Empty calories is all you get!
And yet, right now, as I write this and you read this, goodness knows how many of us are chomping down glazed doghnuts, scooping up syrup-laden pancake and biting into butter-and-cheese slathered toast.
As if the flour wasnít harmful enough, we knead it up with sugar and lovingly slather it with oil: two more enemies of good health! In India, the birthplace of Ayurveda, our favorite breakfast features puffy deep-fried bread called Ďpoorií which is made by floating disks of plain flour kneaded in oil into a pool of smoking hot oil! Paired with hot curried potatoes, this fattening fare is one of my best-loved breakfasts, aromatic with† memories of childhood.
And in that aroma lies the vital clue to why we eat what we do!
Habit. Tradition. Nostalgia. Training.
Breakfast featuring the terrible trio of flour, sugar and oil/butter is what our taste-buds are trained to love and our minds and hearts conditioned to associate with feelings of comfort and satisfaction. Add to this the sensory assault launched by the advertising industry, and you have a recipe for nutritional disaster.
Please letís stop!
How about this: letís make bite-sized changes on the menu.
Three days in a week, or if you can muster more will-power, One whole week, just bar the entry of these Terrible Three from your pantry and your mouths. You know the healthy alternatives, of course: a bowl of museli and egg-white omelette-with-whole-wheat toast. Apples with a little peanut butter. No-sugar-added marmalade. Juicy fresh fruit.† All of these are great ideas to wake up with.
But I am going to suggest a delicious recipe from India. Try it one of these days. Itís really good for you, fun to make, looks colorful and doesnít leave you feeling heavy. Okay, let me give you the recipe:
Roast 1 cup of semolina in a pan, stirring on medium-heat until it turns a light brown and begins to give off a pleasant aroma. You can substitute oatmeal for the semolina.
Quickly take it off the heat and set it aside.
In another pan, heat a teaspoon of oil or ghee. Into it, add mustard seeds, and if you can find them, curry leaves. Donít forget to inhale! The nutty aroma is quite divine.
Diced vegetables of your choice go in next: I recommend carrots, bell peppers and green peas.
Give the veggies a good stirring through, adding salt and pepper to taste. Now pour in three cups of water.† As soon as the vegetable broth comes to a boil, tip in the roasted semolina, add salt to your taste, tone down the heat to medium, and start stirring the pan briskly, until the semolina absorbs the water. This should take just a couple of minutes.
Stir in some roughly chopped cashew nuts for a crunchy texture and a huge boost of taste!
Taste-buds can be re-trained. The mind and heart can be re-conditioned. But to do that, we need to realize why it is so urgent that we do. We need motivation, and the will-power will come.