Protein-Packed Beauty Breakfast: Homemade Qi'a

Homemade Qi'a in a handmade bowl...

Homemade Qi'a in a handmade bowl...

There's much debate about breakfast— is it really the most important meal of the day? Can eating breakfast make you leaner, happier, more energetic, and less controlled by cravings? I say absolutely, BUT it all fully depends on what kind of breakfast you choose to eat!

Here's why...

I tell my clients that their first meal of the day is a little like the outfit they choose to put on in the morning— it sets the tone for how they'll feel for the rest of the day. Traditional breakfast choices (think bagels, toast, muffins, pancakes, waffles, dry cereal...) are immediately satisfying, but they contribute to inflammation (a factor in wrinkles, redness & blemishes), a blood sugar rollercoaster, sugar cravings and energy dips. Instead of refined, carb-heavy breakfasts, start your day with nutrient-dense beauty foods, and be sure to include protein and healthy fats.

Your skin will benefit, and so will your joints, as my mom saw firsthand when she turned her morning meal into a bowl of beauty super foods.

Below, an awesome beauty food breakfast that's great for cereal lovers— created by my mom! It's a homemade version of the yummy (but pricey) Nature's Path Qi'a cereal. Qi'a is about $9 for 7 servings and when I saw my mom buying it I said, ever the know-it-all daughter, 'You could totally make that yourself for way less money— just mix chia, buckwheat and hemp seeds.'

Of course, my mom actually DID it, and she eats her homemade version of Qi'a every day. Since she's been eating it, she says that the soreness and stiffness of her joints has reversed— and she feels younger than ever.

For those who haven't tried Qi'a, it's a blend of three powerhouse beauty foods: chia seeds, buckwheat groats and hemp seeds. Together, they're an amazing source of protein, omega-3s, beauty minerals and sustaining fiber.

Here's the recipe:

Leona's Superfood Seed Cereal

Makes about 59 2-tbsp servings

16 oz raw buckwheat groats

16 oz chia seeds

12 oz shelled hemp seeds

Mix the three ingredients as the base of your cereal (store in an airtight container). To make one serving, cover 2 tablespoons of the seed mixture with hot water or your favorite non-dairy milk and let sit about 15 minutes, until liquid absorbs and the chia seeds gel.

Once the cereal gels and expands, it amounts to MUCH more than 2 tbsp, my mom points out. And once she adds her favorite spices (usually a very hefty helping of cinnamon, which also works to stabilize blood sugar), fresh or dried fruits and nuts, or granola and a splash more liquid and stirs it together, it's a full bowl. It's a breakfast that satisfies any cereal-lover, plus it's packed with protein and nutrition to support gorgeous skin and a slim waistline. After a day or two without her superfood seed breakfast, my mom says that her joints feel less flexible— she just needs her superfood seeds. "When I go a morning without it, I feel the change the next day," she says.

I did a little math and, using the suggested retail price of the Bob's Red Mill chia, hemp seeds and raw buckwheat groats that my mom buys, mixing your own cereal gives you 59 2-tbsp servings of cereal for about $.53/serving rather than the $1.22/serving that you pay for 7 servings of the packaged Qi'a cereal. Now, the packaged Qi'a includes spices and dried fruit, so definitely add that to your homemade blend— try fresh berries, raw nuts and any other beauty superfoods in your pantry. Using this nutrition-packed base, you can reinvent this Superfood Seed Cereal every day.

What's your favorite beauty breakfast? Are you a smoothie-lover? A cereal connoisseur?