The early morning wake up call

I have an egg intolerance (boo hoo) and while I will indulge in the occasional eggy breakfast or rich dessert (cheesecake link, ice cream link) I pretty much have to stay away from eggs these days. I often ignore this for a stretch of time (days, weeks) and then the results come back to bite me. Recently it bit me in the form of a stomach ulcer. Right after Thanksgiving 2018, I woke at 5:30 in the morning with a crunching pain in my stomach. The kind that makes you wonder what it was you ate (or what you did and who you did it to and what is this fresh hell that is making you pay for it). It’s impossible to roll over and ignore.

Getting diagnosed

I knew these symptoms all too well. Consistent waking in the wee hours with terrible churning pain and avoiding breakfast at all costs – only to be starving by lunch and then crippled with heartburn the rest of the day. Yep, the ulcer was back, and this time I couldn’t ignore it for weeks. The first time this happened I was in school at OSU, this time getting my degree in graphic design. In addition to classes, I was working a lot, Joel and I lived together off-campus, and I was newly divorced. I would say I was feeling some stress.

I started waking up early with stomach pains just like this time, but I didn’t know what they were or why. During a spring break visit to my mom’s house in Portland, she suggested I go and see her naturopath. “You can talk to her about whatever you want. She’s just there to listen and make recommendations based on what you tell her.” My mom reassured. I agreed – thinking it would be more of a general check-up and not much would come of it, but I was curious and open-minded as I entered her office.

As I began to tell her about everything going on in my life, and my recently closed past life (she was really easy to talk to), I started to recognize just how out of whack my health and my stress really was. Near the end of the appointment, I brought up the stomach pains and early waking. She asked me about poo. No, really, her next question had to do with bowel movements! I was a little embarrassed but tried to answer as truthfully as I could. She explained that often when there’s pain, there’s an infection, which is caused by inflammation, and that can constrict the intestines and make things… harder.

“I think you have an ulcer.” She said calmly. “And you probably have a food intolerance too. We can test you for that today.” What the what?? That was not on my list of imaginary issues. I was brushing it off as indigestion or maybe a tapeworm (I don’t know, I’ve never had a tapeworm). We stepped into the next room and she a Carroll test. Two weeks later, back at home, I hastily opened the email with my results. Eggs. The test also advised me against something else – not to eat fruit and sugar together (which has proved a much harder dietary challenge, but also one that doesn’t seem to bother me as much).

My new (egg-free) life

Ever since that day in 2011, I’ve been experimenting with various forms of egg replacers, dishes that work well without egg in the first place, and ways to get a creamy egg consistency without the eggs. Sometimes if I stay off the eggs for long enough, and religiously take a probiotic, I can enjoy an egg in its whole form, consequence-free! Mostly, I try to avoid them, even in baked goods, but I can’t say I’m super strict about that. Obviously, I’d gotten more brazen in my egg eating – hence, the second ulcer this past holiday season in 2018. It’s a good reminder to slow down, manage anxiety with mindfulness, and remind myself that I’m not invincible. There are just some things (no matter how much I want them, or how delicious) that just don’t work with my body.

A breakfast that works

This breakfast bowl is a tasty solution to my hearty breakfast needs, and one that doesn’t interfere with my food intolerances, OR my thyroid issues (you aren’t supposed to have dairy or soy after 4 hours of taking thyroid medication – all of these restrictions can make breakfast a very nerve-wracking time!) With all these rules, I needed a savory breakfast that would appeal to me first thing in the morning and keep me satisfied until lunch.

beans and greens breakfast bowls

Tips for Beans & Greens bowls

Think of this as more of a method than a recipe. It’s assembling a few already made parts, that I usually have leftover from dinner – or I can plan to have them anyways. This little power bowl also gives me a serving of veggies right out of the gate! Of course, like almost anything, you could really have this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For me, it works in the morning, but I could also eat meatballs and spaghetti at 6 am, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Here are some general tips to making this method work for you:

Use the vinaigrette

The one thing I do advise is to add a vinaigrette that goes over everything. It adds acid and a bit of fat and will add flavor to those plain cooked beans, rice, polenta or your choice of starch.

Use leftovers

I like to make beans and greens bowls after I’ve prepped some items and used them in other dishes in the week – for example, leftover roasted veggies from dinner the night before. I now always make beans in the Instant Pot (they have the best texture!). Polenta or rice can be made ahead and softens when you reheat it. Or make the starch the day you want to make these bowls and add about 20 minutes to the prep time.

Like homemade pizza, you can alter this to include whatever is in your fridge. Just be open to using what appeals to you and what sounds like a good combination.

Assemble a few bowls a time…

But don’t add the dressing until after you heat them up and are ready to heat your bowl. I keep around 3 bowls assembled in pyrex glass dishes until I’m ready to eat. The vinaigrette is in a glass jar, in the fridge, and I set it out to come to room temp while my bowl heats up. The vinaigrette is also wonderful on salads!

beans and greens power bowl

 

15-Minute Strawberry Jam Bars
Yields 12
A super fast and crowd pleasing dessert or snack - these always go fast! Mix it up with whatever jam and nuts (or no nuts) you have on hand.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
  2. 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 ¾ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ½ cup granulated sugar
  6. ½ cup light brown sugar
  7. 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  8. ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  9. 2 cups strawberry jam
  10. ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper so it hangs over each of the long sides.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the oats, sugars, salt, baking soda. Pour the 1 cup melted butter over the mixture and stir until the flour is evenly moistened. Press all but ¾ cup of the streusel in an even layer into the prepared pan. Spread the jam on top of the layer. Press the remaining streusel into clumps, add the walnuts, and toss. Sprinkle the walnut streusel all over the jam.
  3. Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting into the squares.
Notes
  1. Recipe works well halved and baked for 40-45 minutes in a 8x8 baking pan as well.
Adapted from Modern Potluck
Adapted from Modern Potluck
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