We are what we eat.
I am sure you have heard the phrase before, but have you ever truly thought about what that means? For me, this statement is a crucial part of who I am as a woman, wife, and mother and the drive behind my business to serve health and nutrition to others. It is a mantra my mother repeated throughout my childhood, instilling the fundamental understanding that the fuel we choose for our bodies is the foundation of our health and wellbeing for life. I can still hear her voice like it was yesterday:
“You can’t have that soda – too much sugar is bad for you.”
“Don’t throw that plastic in the garden – it will affect the crops.”
“Go drink more water – that might be the reason for your headache.”
“We cannot use chemicals in the garden because that bad chemical will get in our food.”
She spoke of food, its quality and nutritional value, as fuel and vital for our health and wellbeing, modeling this awareness to me. My mother truly lived a health-focused life by example.
As a young college student, I moved from my parents’ organic farm in Cameroon, West Africa to the United States, ready to experience all this great country had to offer. I was sure it was going to be magical with vibrant people and active living. I remember being confused when I first walked into grocery stores here. The stores didn’t look like anything I was expecting to see in America, the land of all things amazing. I’d never seen anything like it! There were shelves lined with boxes; I was shocked to find foods in cans. What I knew to be real food was set up as a small corner section called “produce,” while everywhere else I looked there were packages upon packages. There was less real food and more of “food-like” stuff.
I was not surprised at all when I then learned that seven out of the 10 top leading causes of death in the United States are nutrition & lifestyle related. I come from a different culture, and we believe the quality and freshness of our food is crucial to our health. The wisdom of my mother resounded in my mind, and I saw the connection between the health issues that surrounded me and the food people were consuming. I quickly became the go-to person to help friends tweak their favorite recipes.
Let me show you how to bake your chicken to be just as crispy as if you fried it. Let’s buy fresh corn instead of canned, it takes just a few minutes to cook and it will taste so delicious.
I found that I was compelled to share how valuable nutrition is and its direct relation to how we look, feel, and act.
Fast forward to today with life as a mama, entrepreneur, and Integrative Nutrition Coach, I am even more aware of the importance of nutrition and continue to keep food as an absolute priority in our home. As I travel for my business with increasing time away from the home over the years, I have to absolutely make sure that my meal plan is done and prioritized each and every week.
As a full-time working mama who is constantly on the move, feeding my family fresh wholesome food is not the easiest job but it it something I am committed to. I know with a deep certainty the important role of good nutrition to our health. It plays such a vital role in the prevention, treatment, and cure of most disease and sickness. The more we take it upon ourselves to learn about nutrition, the better prepared we will be to take an active role in our own health.
When it comes to keeping nutritional integrity in our diet, my family keeps a high focus on what we make for breakfast. That first meal of the day is especially important because after a long night’s sleep, the body is low on energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Breakfast is a routine restart to our digestive system after a time of rest, making each morning an opportunity to refuel ourselves with optimal food. Morning meals should be high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats to take each of us through the busy mornings we face, especially for the kiddos. Sugary cereals, doughnuts, toaster pastries, or high-sugar muffins and other highly processed foods won’t do much to keep you satiated; however, the right combination of protein, carbohydrates in the form of fiber, and healthy fats will keep you feeling full until lunch as well as prepare your mind for the tasks ahead.
People are always surprised when I tell them we don’t eat boxed breakfast cereals in our house. I usually get the same question: “So what do you feed the kids? And seriously, what else is out there?” I know it sounds complicated, since cereal is the most widely advertised breakfast food, and with our hectic schedules, time and convenience is always an issue. I am not saying that making real breakfast for your family is going to be as easy as pouring cereal into a bowl of milk, but it is going to be very well worth your time.
My answer is to prepare Make-Ahead Breakfasts. There are many ways to do this. I love to make homemade baked goods in advance and freeze them for on-the-go breakfasts and snacks. Whole grain waffles, pancakes, muffins, and porridge are my go-tos for a simple rotation of healthy breakfasts that will provide a balance of energy to sustain each of us through our busy mornings.
If you follow me on Instagram (@agathaachindu), you will find simple, easy-to-make delicious recipes that I post regularly from my home kitchen!
Today I am sharing a few of our breakfast favorites that are bursting with deliciousness and nutrients, but what I love the most is the fact that these recipes can be made in batches. Each one is an easy heat and serve option for our “out the door” morning routine.
My mother’s dedication to “You are what you eat” sent a consistent message in my childhood that has shaped my life’s work. I continue to dedicate myself to educating others and encourage them toward optimal nutrition and health, teaching that what we fuel our bodies with becomes who we are. The morning meal is the foundation of your day. I often start people with a specific focus on the importance of a healthy breakfast. I encourage you to try this in your home as well, beginning with a solid morning meal for your family to provide sustained nourishment for the day.
Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Pancakes
I believe in making vegetables irresistibly delicious for the kiddos instead of sneaking it into their meals, and including vegetables in all meals is so valuable for them to learn early on. Remember, your child can never grow to like a food they don’t know they are eating. This here is a crowd pleaser, even your picky eater will enjoy, and it is so easy to make.
1 cup creamy butternut squash
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon – vanilla extract
2 large pastured eggs
1 cup – flour, whole wheat
2 ½ tsp – baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon – salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
Oil for skillet
To prepare your butternut squash, you can roast or steam, then puree in blender or use a potato ricer to mash it up.
Mix all dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg – in a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl whisk wet ingredients until nice and frothy.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix until there are no dry patches ( you however don’t want to overmix and end up with a spongy instead of fluffy pancakes. The pancake batter should be thick and creamy but pourable. If too thick, add in a few tablespoons of milk.
Lightly grease skillet with oil, heat on medium-heat, pour ¼ cup of batter (I use an ice cream scoop).
When bubbles begin to form on the top, flip with spatula and cook for another minute or two, repeat until all is cooked.
Top with real maple syrup.
Carrot Zucchini Banana Muffins
I believe with all my heart that when parents realize just how amazing their bodies are designed to feel, they will put a lot more effort into the foods they eat and feed their families. This muffin is the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack for the kiddos. It is chock-full of nutrients, but what is most important is that it tastes absolutely delicious!
3 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar (coconut sugar)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups carrots, peeled and grated
2 cups (zucchini, grated
3 very ripe banana, mashed, about 1 ½ cups
4 happy eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil or pastured butter (I am happy with both depending on day and need)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt). Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla, then add the carrot, zucchini, and banana and mix well to incorporate.
Add the dry ingredients and gently fold to mix – you don’t want to over mix it.
Spoon batter into paper lined muffin pans (this makes for an easy grab and go affair).
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow muffin to cool down completely – yep, it is going to be difficult because your home smells like a beautiful fall morning, but try as best as you can.
Eggs are by far one of the best sources of protein on earth and one of the most easily digested and highest quality proteins, scoring higher than beef, milk, whey, and soy. Second only to the lactalbumin protein in human breast milk, eggs (and pastured eggs in particular) have the highest quality, most bioavailable protein of any food. Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids and a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, EPA, ALA, and AA. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for good health, especially brain development in infancy and childhood and brain health as we age, making it a good breakfast option to fuel us throughout the day.
Recipe writeup courtesy of my 14 year old.
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced onions
3 scallions diced
1/3 cup chopped spinach
1/3 cup diced bell peppers
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/3 cup shredded cheese
A pinch of salt
A pinch of black pepper
2 tablespoons oil
5 happy eggs
Saute onions until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add bell peppers and carrots and continue cooking until tender about 3-4 min.
Place in a mixing bowl and let cool.
Add spinach, basil, scallions, cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper.
Mix well, then spoon into donut molds.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Let cool before taking out of the mold. Anytime is a good time to enjoy.