As much as I love the social side of the end of year celebrations it always comes with a level of consumption excess which has me desperate to wash my body from the inside out. Drinks with lunch, drinks with dinner, dessert most nights (and days), coffee four times daily just because everyone else is doing it. I find it very hard to say “no” and really there’s no reason to when it’s such a short period of time. But for me it becomes very apparent when my body tells me it’s had enough of the good times and wants to revert to a slightly more virtuous version of myself.
I prefer to makes changes in manageable ways rather than cold-turkey all the fun bits. I was recently musing over whether if required to make a choice (and what a sad day it would be if this actually came to pass) would I elect to go without coffee or without wine. It’s an excruciatingly tough call and I’m still not sure I know which way I would go. I do know that coffee and wine are pretty much my two vices and usually the things I know I should pull back on if I’m feeling out of sorts.
A standard morning for me involves awaking at an ungodly hour (thanks to my #1 deeming it time to wake up the world) and immediately knocking back a strong coffee on an empty, shocked stomach. This would be followed by a second coffee about half an hour later. The third coffee would come in the afternoon for an apparent pick-me-up only to spend the remaining hours of the day rueing the fact that I was now over-caffeined and on edge right at the kids’ witching hour. Not a good combo. That would then be tempered with a glass of wine to get me through that exhausting final hour before they finally hit the hay (cue second glass of wine).
So for me to break this rather entrenched daily routine is a big deal as far as I’m concerned but my replacement routine has slipped into the fold with very little fuss. For me it’s become all about being good to myself from the moment I wake up. I’m now shining my halo over a glass of warm water with the juice of half and lemon squeezed in as soon as my eyelids are prised open by my overzealous four-year-old. Lemon juice has myriad benefits including aiding digestion, cleansing the liver, boosting the immune system, helping to clear the skin and enhance your mood. Say no more, I’m sold.
Next up is a nourishing breakfast of either my World Famous Porridge (made with milk and water, sweetened with honey, spiced with a touch of cinnamon and a spoonful of flaxseed oil) or my new favourite toasted muesli blend. Oats and puffed millet form the nutritional backbone with spices, seeds, nuts and dates adding flavour and texture. It’s naturally sweetened with a touch of pure maple syrup and toasted with coconut oil. My favourite thing about cooking with coconut oil is that any spills or drips can be mopped up with with your hands and slathered all over your hands and arms…bonus skin moisturising when least expected.
Of course all this goodness is followed with a strong coffee chaser, my willpower isn’t quite dedicated enough to remove it entirely, but starting the day in a slightly gentler, kinder way is already making me feel more in control.
INGREDIENTS (makes approx 7 cups)
2 cups puffed millet
2 cups oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1.5 cups mixed seeds and nuts – I used pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and roughly chopped almonds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp coconut oil – melted
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup chopped dates
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except the dates and turn with your hands to ensure everything is well combined.
2. Tip the muesli onto the oven tray and spread out evenly. Put into the oven for 4-5 minutes until fragrant and beginning to turn golden. Remove from the oven, turn the mix well with a spoon and return to the oven for a further 4-5 minutes until evenly golden. Watch the muesli very closely in these final minutes. I recommend using a timer as the mix will easily burn if left too long.
3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the oven tray.
4. Once cool, tip into a large bowl and add the chopped dates. Combine well and then transfer to an airtight container to store.
5. Serve in small bowls with your favourite milk, a dollop of greek yoghurt, sprinkling of chia seeds and fresh berries and a drizzle of flaxseed oil if desired.