You’re Sleeping On Breakfast
Breakfast can change your life. I’m cereal.
My parents never let me and my siblings eat anything colorful for breakfast because our version of colorful meant Cap’n Crunch, Fruit Loops, and Lucky Charms.
The only acceptable breakfast cereals were Cheerios (not honey-nut), Raisin Bran, and Frosted Flakes. The Frosted Flakes were clearly the best option of the three because they were frosted and you didn’t have to pick out the raisins.
Subsequently, we got it into our heads that brown was the color of breakfast. If it was brown, it must be healthy, right? This meant that it was totally fine if I skipped breakfast at home and waited until I got to school where I could buy a bagel with extra cream cheese and a chocolate brownie and scarf it all down just before class started. The brownie had little colorful sprinkles on top, which made me feel like a rebel.
College was a blur of all the colorful cereals I was never allowed to eat before, especially since it was available all-you-can-eat-buffet-style in the campus cafeteria. I went to classes still drunk and hungover off sugar-milk. I ate that shit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because I was an adult now and tiny little marshmallows soaked in milk were adult food.
What I’m saying is that my relationship with breakfast has been very typically American. Moving to San Francisco introduced me to avocado toast brunches on the weekends, but …actually, that’s a lie, it was french toast. With powdered sugar and maple syrup and a big dollop of whipped butter on top.
I never gave breakfast the respect it deserves until I moved to Barcelona and met a girl from Cyprus who taught me that color wasn’t the enemy of breakfast. And that I could be living so much larger.
One fine Saturday morning, as I sat at her table looking through my emails, my friend and her Catalonian boyfriend began to set up for breakfast. As they brought out dish… after dish… after dish… I finally had to pull my laptop off the table to make room for them.
Before me was a feast:
- Fresh-baked bread she’d made the night before, warmed and cut into steaming slices
- Jams and Tahini (a sesame seed spread)
- Halloumi (a delightfully melty, rubbery cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk) and an assortment of other cheeses
- Green, loose-leaf tea made in a gorgeous glass teapot she’d found in Morroco so you could see all the leaves and flowers floating around inside
- Strawberries, grapes, kiwi slices, watermelon slices, orange slices
- Olives covered in oil and herbs
- Fresh-squeezed orange juice
- Cottage cheese and yogurt
- A bowl of assorted nuts
- A plate of eggs, fried over-easy and seasoned almost to perfection with olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil (I probably would have added some tajin and hot sauce and maybe some beans and rice, but I’m from Arizona).
“Holy shit, what’s the occasion?” I asked.
She sat down and smiled at me in that way that Europeans will often smile at people from the U.S. — perplexed and a little pitying but kind.
“Breakfast,” she responded.
We proceeded to eat and talk and taste and mix flavors together and make happy humming noises and wipe fruit juice from our chins and giggle and talk and hand each other plates of things and talk and talk and talk…
I’ve officially become a convert to the religion of variety-filled social breakfasts but I know it’s not so easy to just, you know, do it.
If you have the company, you probably don’t have the time and if you have the time, you probably don’t have the company, am I right?
But there was another aspect to this breakfast that caught my attention and threw me for a fruit loop…
Cereal's easy because it comes in a box, it has an incredible shelf life, and it’s a two-step process:
- Pour cereal
- Pour milk
Anyone who switches those steps is a monster.
But my point is that you can eat a bowl of cereal while you’re putting on your makeup. You can take it with you while you pack your kid’s school lunch. You’re not thinking about it, you’re just eating. You start your day with efficient chaos and enough sugar to get you through your busy morning, but it knocks you the hell out by mid-day.
What I’m humbly suggesting, with full knowledge of how brazenly I’m stepping over the line, is that you wake up a little bit earlier.
I know. I’m sorry. I get it. I know how many times you have to press the sleep button. I know it’s like dragging yourself through tar. I know you’re up all night trying desperately to pry your face away from your phone and the only time sleep comes naturally is in those wee hours of the morning. Why would I suggest cutting into your sleep? What kind of article is this anyway?
Just hear me out.
You wake up forty-five minutes earlier and immediately drink the entire bottle of water you placed on your bedside table the night before. BAM. Hydrated.
You open a 5-min guided meditation on whatever meditation app you’ve downloaded and it shifts your thoughts from “I don’t want to be awake right now” to “Alright, I got this.”
You slip on some super-comfy slippers (Spanish people never walk around barefoot in their own houses, I’ve learned) and shuffle into the kitchen.
You put on whatever music you’re into right now (Lizzo) and pull out the gorgeous teapot you treated yo’ self to after reading this article. You brew some loose-leaf tea while you slice fruit (whatever looked fresh at the supermarket this week, variety is key) and fry/scramble/boil/poach a couple of eggs. Maybe you add some assorted nuts or some cottage cheese.
You shake your booty while you cook.
You place your food on a set of beautiful plates you bought while you were out looking for a teapot. These make you happy. They’re your breakfast plates.
You don’t have to get fancy. Whatever helps you go the distance.
Then you find a window to sit next to. You open that window or even eat outside if you can. You spread your “bounty” out in front of you, take a deep breath, admire how pretty it is, think about how fantastic it is that you get to eat today, and dig in.
How do you think that might shift your thinking throughout the day?
As Lizzo says,
“Woke up feelin like I just might run for President, even if there ain’t no precedent, switching up the messaging, I’m about to add a little estrogen.”
Exactly, Lizzo. That’s exactly how you’d feel.
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