Breakfast is one of my favorite meals. It sets the tone for the day, and keeps me fueled for teaching P90X at the gym or doing my workouts at home. Most days I drink Shakeology in the morning because it contains so much nutrition and keeps me full. Plus it's quick and I can drink it on the go; either at the bus stop or while running errands. My family and I had a little extra time this morning, however, so we decided to try a new restaurant in Lebanon called Cafe Panache. It's located on Russell Drive right across from Enchanted Evening and the new Medical Complex. The breakfast was really tasty and I was impressed by how many healthy choices there were on the menu. It was one of those places where you could just "tell" the food was homemade and the ingredients were fresh. I spoke with the owner and all the food is made from scratch using local ingredients from Manheim Farmer's Market and Laudermilch meats. They also cook exclusively with Olive Oil which is a great healthy fat source. I was looking for a high-protein option to start the day so I ordered the egg and gruyere sandwich on a multi-grain croissant with sweet potatoes and onions cooked in olive oil on the side. If you're using the 21-Day Fix containers this would consist of 2 yellows, 1 blue, 1 red, and 2 tsp for the olive oil. The portion size was just right and the pumpkin spice coffee was a perfect compliment. I was also sure to drink the big glass of ice water they served before taking our order. Drinking water at least 15 minutes before a meal helps you to eat less, feel fuller, and doesn't dilute the digestive fluids in your stomach like it would by drinking during a meal. It's a great trick at home or when dining out.
"My husband ordered the Pumpkin-Cream Cheese French Toast which is a little more indulgent and would count as 4 yellow, 1 tsp, and 1 blue container. Better to split this dish with a friend to cut down on the carbohydrates, but I was so impressed that it was served with Pure Maple Syrup and not a typical "Log Cabin" type brand. Since Maple Syrup is a natural ingredient, your body is much better at processing it and a little bit goes a long way to sweeten up any dish. It is extremely rare to find pure maple syrup in restaurants because it is very expensive (this bottle would retail around $30) so most restaurants opt for syrups with cheaper ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup which spike your sugar-level and make you hungry all day. Remember, high-fructose corn syrup is the sugar from corn that is highly concentrated (usually in a lab) and your body is not well-equipped to break it down or store it which causes health problems in the long-run. It's so important to read labels and avoid high-fructose corn syrup at all costs. Think diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome. High-Fructose corn syrup undergoes a similar process as cocaine. Cocaine comes from the coca plant, which in it's natural form it isn't harmful, but when it is broken down and concentrated it's chemical composition changes and your body reacts to it very differently and even becomes addicted. Same story, different plant when it comes to high-fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup in small quantities is really the way to go. You can even use it in place of sugar in some recipes. I like to add a tsp to my Chocolate Shakeology with walnuts, ice, and water and put it in the blender. It feels like a cheat, but it's super healthy.
My 4-year-old opted for the egg and bacon breakfast pizza which is made in an open fire-oven that was visible from our table. After calling Laudermilch Meats, I can confirm that they sell nitrate-free bacon. Why does it matter if bacon is nitrate-free? During the process of cooking certain meats, sodium nitrites combine with naturally present amines in the meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. When ingested, these compounds are associated with cancer, according to some studies. My kids love bacon so it's important to me that they are not consuming large amounts of carcinogen. The breakfast pizza got two thumbs up from my kiddo, and I would count it as 1 red, .5 blue, 1 yellow, and 1 tsp for 2 slices. Take the rest home or split it so that you don't overdo the portion.
After further conversation with the owner, I was pleased to find that Cafe Panache offers gluten-free breads (made with rice-flour), baked oats, and a large array of salads with homemade dressings for lunch. They are willing to accommodate food allergies and the best way to get what you want is to ask. I love supporting small businesses like this in my community and I'm thrilled to know that there are restaurants with healthy options that make food from real ingredients. Health is all about moderation, so use the 80/20 rule and cook from home for the most part, but allow yourself to enjoy food and experiences with family and friends 20% of the time. We vote with our wallets, and if we want to have restaurants with healthy whole-food options we need support them and pass up the fast-food alternatives. If you visit Panache please leave a comment and let us know what menu items you tried!