Hearty and Healthy Irish BreakfastI’m aware both friends and clients will be drinking heavily on St. Patrick’s Day.  Not a saint myself.  However, let’s  start with a hearty and healthy Irish Breakfast: tea, fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes alongside Irish soda bread.  Yes, I did say “fried” and “bread” in the same sentence as “healthy.”  I’m not full of malarkey, just some good ideas to cut fat, sugar and gluten from a breakfast that frequently packs over 50 grams of fat in 1000 calories of chub.

Swap bacon for lean turkey bacon and avoid frying, baking and serving with butter to drastically reduce fat. Cut sugar and gluten from soda bread using brown rice and almond flours and stevia.  Since hangovers are caused by dehydration and vitamin depletion, a satiating meal with protein, fiber and daily nutrients like Vitamin C (in tomatoes and lemon) before drinking minimizes post-drinking misery.  Further arm yourself against a painful March 18th by choosing soda water over tonic and sugary juices in mixed drinks and light GREEN beers.  Chugging a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage will prevent dehydration and reduce total alcohol and empty calories consumed.

4 Irish Breakfast teabags
6 slices of Jennie-O Extra Lean Turkey Bacon
Fresh ground pepper
4 eggs
2 small tomatoes (sliced)
2 cups whole mushrooms
4 slices prepared GF / SF Irish Soda Bread (recipe below)
1 lemon cut into wedges

Boil water and pour over teabags in a teapot or into individual heat safe mugs.  Cover and set aside.  Place bacon in large skillet over medium heat, add fresh ground pepper.  Cook each side for 2-3 minutes and remove from pan when bacon reaches your desired level of crispiness.  Place bacon on a plate and cover with napkin to keep warm, save grease.  Spray pan with a quick shot of olive oil to ensure eggs don’t stick, then without breaking the yolks crack eggs into pan. Place tomato slices and mushrooms in pan but keep separate.  Fry gently, stirring mushrooms and tomatoes occasionally.  When egg whites have set but yolks are still runny, dish half of everything onto 2 plates.  Warm slices of bread in pan for a minute on each side if you like and add to plates.  Serve with tea and lemon.  Squeeze lemon in tea and over tomatoes and mushrooms.

*Make it even healthier? Lose a little Irish authenticity, but gain fiber, folate, manganese, Vitamin A and tons of K by adding 1-2 cups of raw spinach per person.  Lightly sauté 1-2 minutes with the rest of the veggies or simply place raw spinach leaves on empty plates and place cooked bacon, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms on top.  The spinach will wilt in a few minutes.

Gluten Free / Sugar Free Irish Soda Bread

I have a sweet tooth, so this recipe is a little sweeter and more cakelike in texture. Prepare a more dry, rye-tasting bread by omitting the stevia and raisins and adding 2 tsp ground caraway to the flour mixture.

2 tbsp stevia
1/2 cup almond meal
1 ½ cup brown rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 ½ cup raisins
1 egg and 2 egg whites lightly beaten
3/4 cup fat free buttermilk
2 tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 tsp caraway seeds (optional – gives light dill / rye taste)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Thoroughly spray an 8×8 cake pan with olive or grapeseed oil. Combine almond meal, brown rice flour, baking powder, stevia, salt and baking soda. Blend eggs, buttermilk and vinegar and pour over flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in raisins. Pour into prepared pan and with a knife draw a large X shape on the top of the bread. Dust top with a tbsp of brown rice flour and optional caraway. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil overnight, for best flavor.