Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Breakfast of Artists (at least, the ones at my house)

It seemed fitting that my first real post here would be about breakfast (as a good start to the day!), so I thought I'd tell you about the breakfast that Boris and I have.

Back in 1998, Boris was diagnosed with some crazy liver problem that had him one step away from putting his name on a list for a liver transplant. This had been progressing for approximately 15 years and had reached a point where the doctors were panicking. I decided to do my best to help him keep his own liver by reading everything I could find on the subject of liver health and finally came up with a nutrition and fitness plan that actually set him straight after only 6 weeks. I'll elaborate more on the process in later posts, but for now, here is the breakfast that I came up with that was one very important part of the plan. Although it was originally conceived of as a healing food that was intended to clean out an unhappy liver, it's got everything that makes up a delicious, healthy breakfast and we're still enjoying it every morning up until this very day. It gives a rock-steady energy that keeps us going for hours.

We have a cold cereal that's made with the following mix: (one serving)

1/3 cup organic rolled oats (uncooked) (has good fats and fiber, lowers cholesterol)
1/4 cup Ezekiel cereal (this complete protein cereal is a miracle of convenience foods)
1 rounded tablespoon rice bran (one of the best foods available for lowering cholesterol)
1 rounded tablespoon lecithin (a fat emulsifier that's great for your liver)
9 or 10 chopped almonds
1 tablespoon or so of raisins
topped with:
1/2 pear or apple
1/2 cup blueberries or other berries

Mix it all up in your cereal bowl and top with some fruit of your choice--we usually have a pear that we split between us and some blueberries. You can have this with nonfat milk, soy, rice, or almond milk or you can have it the way we eat it, with water. I know the water part sounds weird, but try it, you'll be surprised. Cold or hot water (we prefer hot), it doesn't matter. It's clean and refreshing (and it's free!) and you won't miss the milk you usually have on cereal. It's nice in the summer if you use frozen berries and cold water, but in the winter, you'll probably enjoy it more with hot water.
We always have green tea with this. The caffeine jolt from coffee is just too harsh and green tea is so soothing. I think a soothing start to the day is nice. In addition, the green tea was included because of its cholesterol-lowering properties. But if you need some extra voltage in the morning, go ahead and have your coffee. You'll still be getting lots of good antioxidants!
I'll be talking more about other breakfast options later and about important things to consider in designing your own healthy breakfast, tailored to your specific needs.


  1. Thanks for doing all the hard work and research,God knows that its time consuming,that's really close to the breakfast Michael Colgan suggest.Do you think you would have the time to do a post on eye health,since us artist are practically glued to our computer/easel all day.Again thanks.

    P.S.I don't believe your 50!You don't look a day over 35.

  2. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for the recipe! I know that those of us with blood sugar issues can eat Ezekiel cereal (it's one of the only low glycemic breakfast cereals that I've found so far-except for the cinnamon raisin variety; gotta stay away from the dried fruits)! The almond and Golden flax are my favorites. Maybe McCann's steel cut Irish Oatmeal could be substituted for the rolled oats for those with hypoglycemia or diabetes? I've yet to try it, but I just learned recently that it's a safe grain for people who have insulin issues.

  3. It's so amazing that proper nutrition fixed in six weeks what doctors had been trying to solve for ages! Thanks for starting this blog. As and artist and someone who love fitness, this is a wonderful thing for me!

  4. Information about eye health is an amazing idea! I'll definitely get to work on it.
    Steel cut oats can definitely be substituted for the rolled oats. I haven't had them uncooked before, so it will be good to experiment with them. Thanks for the idea, Jen!
    And Jeremy, thank you a whole bunch for your vote of confidence on the idea of this fitness blog that you posted earlier in Paint and Brush! I'd been thinking of this for a while and it's so helpful to get such a positive response.

  5. Thank you for starting this blog. I have my own liver problems and when I ask the doctors what kinds of foods to eat...their opinions are all over the place.
    I'm all ears.
    Thank you for doing this.

  6. i'll give this breakfast a try. it sounds good to my tastes.

    i'll ask my wife about eye stuff, she's an optometrist and i'll see if i can get any questions you may have answered.

  7. Thanks for starting this site Julie, and for being so generous with your knowledge! Just starting to feel the years take their toll, so it's right on time.

    Best wishes,


  8. One interesting thing to note about the green tea in the morning is this. I have spoken to a couple people who have the same experience, but if I try to drink green tea in the morning on an empty stomach or on a near empty stomach, I get nauseous. With a full stomach or after my stomach has started its daily digestion, green tea is fine. Yet coffee does not have this effect. I wonder why that happens and how many others might experience that.

  9. We have the same problem if we have the green tea before breakfast. And it's true that it's not quite the same feeling with coffee. The nausea is most likely caused by the acid in the tea, but coffee has acid, too,so I'm wondering if the extra stimulants that you get with the coffee would take away the nausea? In any case, it's easy to avoid all this by just eating first. I usually have a glass of water first thing after waking up, so that probably helps, too.

  10. Hi Julie! Your breakfast sounds wonderful. I do something similar with granola, berries and yogurt sometimes. It's a really yummy way to start the morning!

    I think you are absolutely right that nutrition can heal anything, if you are actually getting healthy live foods in your system. I am trying to learn this now and grow my own when I can.

  11. Well put, Blaze! And growing your own has got to be so much fun!

  12. There are some relatively easy ways to grow your own food as well. I have a window box in my kitchen that fits right on the window sill. I have salad greens growing in it and after about 3-4 weeks, it provides enough salad for my wife and I to have salad twice a week for about 4-5 weeks. Simple, cheap and easy.

  13. Julie, this blog has got to be one of the best ideas I've heard of. As artists with daily exposure to paint fumes, oil paint pigments and thinners, proper liver function is a huge concern! I cannot thank you enough.

    Also, being practically addicted to lifting weights, I can't wait to hear everything you have to say regarding technique, routines and just about everything else. Great, great idea. Sooooooooo psyched for this blog.

  14. Yeah, liver health is going to be a regular topic around here. Thanks for your comment!

  15. Hey Julie great blog and idea I think you
    could inspire alot scifi fantasy comic people to be healthy, all though wait a second hey im not so sure about this, ahh what would it be like to go to a comic convention a scifi convention and all you see are these fit musculer buff people every where but there still dressed in black and they have pony tails. hmm well it would be tough but it just might take some getin used to. thanks great advice about the whole grains granola, Ezekial bread is good to thin sliced kind with Welches jam, oh by the way ive heard good things about milk and dairy helps bone health longevity joints, anyways great blog what a cool thing to see artist who are as healthy and inspiring as the work the create.