My Ultimate Fat-Burning Breakfast

by Liz Caskey on January 27, 2010

While I love most food, my daily diet (read: eating habits) these days is very  “clean”. Mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meat, healthy fats like olive oil, and low GI carbs (quinoa, sweet potato, beans). No more wheat or dairy unless it is a special occasion. Junk food? Negative, if hummus qualifies, and the occasional wasabi peas.  In early November returning from my wine class tour in the US, I did something to my lower back picking up a case of wine. The damage was sealed on the 15-hour flight back. By the time I arrived, the pain was so bad I could hardly sit or stand. My new back specialist said, “No gym or activity for one month. Only physical therapy”. A death sentence. I was a full-blown gym junkie, cardio addict, exercisaholic. How the hell was I going to mitigate all the calories? I freaked out. And then I decided that this was an opportunity in disguise. My body was hurt, tired, and telling me to back off in a not-so-subtle way.

So I listened to it. I decided to put the old 80-20 rule to the test. Eighty percent of the way your body looks is what you put in your mouth. The other 20 percent is physical activity. I will admit it. I was skeptical. Despite that, I went ahead and tried it anyway. Basically I followed an elimination diet (no sugar, wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine). Not bad at all, although I missed the taste of wine during my dry month. Parallel to that, I found some convincing evidence from nutritionist JJ Virgin, nutritionist to the stars, that a morning shake was the cornerstone of people with low body fat. Off I went into the world of breakfast shakes—and I have never looked back.

Today a shake is my surefire breakfast. I LOVE it. It fills me up until lunch time (4-5 hours) at a shot. And I am sure it is one of the reasons I feel great—and am looking my best too.

So what goes in these babies? I want to share my recipe and break down why these are so darn good for you. You can procure any of the ingredients at Whole Foods (or the like). For you expats, I bring a lot of these products back to Chile since the health food here is still expensive, limited, and has a lot of junk in it if you read the labels.

1 cup frozen fruit such as berries or low GI fruit

1-2 scoops high-quality protein powder

1 tablespoon pysllium husks

1-2 packets stevia

1 tablespoon healthy fat: coconut oil, flax, raw almond butter, even avocado!

1 cup cold water

8-12 ice cubes (depending on size)

1 mighty Blender that can handle smoothie concoctions

Fruit: I buy fresh berries (in season right now) in copious amounts and freeze them. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries. I also love kiwis and peaches. Best flavor though is berries. Fruit is full of antioxidants, vitamins, a shot of carbs, a little sugar. If looking at a traditional breakfast these “carbs” would replace your bread basically, but way better quality and alkaline too!

Protein Powder: This is key. You MUST eat protein at every meal or be starved. And don’t think you are fooling your body. It is so smart it will just eat your muscle and tank your metabolism without it. The whole point is to burn fat so you need to become your body’s ally and at least 20g of protein is your friend in this shake. Although I am lactose intolerant to cow’s milk, I can do whey protein. I also like rice protein and there is hemp protein in the US. The best tasting by far is whey. Look for whey that only has micro-filtered or ionized isolates and concentrates and not filled with a bunch of crap: artificial sweeteners, colors, etc. The only sweetener that’s ok is stevia, made from a natural plant. I love the Rainbow Light brand.

Pysllium Husks: Most Americans, and now Chileans following the US trend, eat a pathetic amount of fruits and vegetables and don’t get enough fiber. One way to trick yourself to feeling satisfied is to thicken up your shake with this fiber. You get 8-10 grams per serving (your colon will thank you) and it makes the sensation of satiety stick with you. Be sure to drink a lot of water during the morning since it will expand in your stomach.

Stevia: Cannot live without this. I remember two health food clients on a Culinary Tour several years ago turned me onto this. I am forever grateful to them. If you have Sucralose or Aspartame, toss it. Go natural with Stevia. It is made from a plant in South America so it is not bad for you, fake. I find it sweetens things perfectly.

Healthy Fats: I love Coconut Oil. Although high in fat, it has medium chain fatty acids that actually are vital in promoting fat loss, especially in the abs area (seems to be working, hello six pack!). Raw almond butter is also a favorite (I bring it back or make my own from scratch). You can use flax oil or seed. Also try avocado or even ¼ cup light coconut milk too for a change. It also promotes “fullness”. Do not fear fat. Your metabolism needs the right kind to burn, burn, burn.

Water & Ice: Your shake is going to get creamy and smoothe when you hit the magic button so don’t go adding any milk, yogurt, or juice. Totally unnecessary and your body will just take those simple sugars and whack your blood sugar level, which is not good for your fat-burning metabolism. Trust me. The ice also thickens it up and makes it taste like a milkshake. Healthy milkshake for breakfast. I can deal!

Blend Away: Blend for at least one minute. Stop to jog machine as necessary. Be sure to have tall glasses and straws on hand. You should get two tall glasses, about 3 cups. Drink it all and take your time. Enjoy. It tastes AWESOME.

It is amazing but the shake has about 400 calories and is so nutritionally balanced…for that same expenditure you would probably get half of a plastic Egg McMuffin full of poor quality protein, carbs, and trans fat.

Try it and let me know!


Emily January 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Funny you post this now..I was justing thinking of changing my breakfast routine to something that would have more fruit but also keep me full. I believe you have the answer for me! Oh and you posted it exactly on time since I am scheduled to fly back to Santiago on Saturday. Just enough time to make a few last minute purchases!

Liz Caskey January 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm

If you have Whole Body or Whole Foods near you they will have everything. Just put the almond butter in your checked luggage. I did not realize it was a “liquid” and had it confiscated. Total bummer. And declare it all with SAG–no dramas if you do that! Suerte.

Yahaira Clifford January 28, 2010 at 8:28 am

This is a great post, Thanks!

aaronpaul45 January 28, 2010 at 9:47 am

Dieting will result in people losing fat, which is a good thing, but it also causes some muscle loss. Losing muscle is a bad thing, because it is proven that the higher the amount of lean muscle in a body will result in quicker fat burning. It is an important thing to know that in starting a fat burning program, don´t only make burning calories your goal, you should also try to build some lean muscle which will help you burn fat quicker. Always remember that some exercises will actually help you reach your goal more..

natural protein supplements January 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

Natural Protein supplements are absolutely essential as it provides our body with the essential amino acids that it needs to stay healthy. They can also be used to control processes which directly affect our metabolism so our body can develop more lean muscle.

Liz Caskey January 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for your additional comments! I totally agree with you and this is valuable insight. Lean muscle is the “metabolic girdle” for sure. I have had to retrain myself to think about how create lean mass after my back injury since weight lifting is still not an option. Bikram Yoga, which is very intense, has been producing amazing results–in healing and getting lean. Pilates is another “low impact” one. Nutrition/exercise/health is a passion of mine so will be sharing more of these posts. It is compatible with being a foodie/wine lover too. moderation and consciousness. cheers!

Focus Factor February 1, 2010 at 2:18 am

Pysllium Husks are new to me, I will look for them next time I go shopping.

Margaret February 8, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Liz- can you find Psyllium husks and stevia here in Chile?

Liz Caskey February 9, 2010 at 1:49 am

Psyllium husks you can get at GNC in Farmacias Ahumada. The stevia is harder. I bring it from the US. Actually it is so light my mom mails it! I think I remember seeing it at the Bio Campo store on Suecia/Providencia. The most important piece is the protein powder. The whey they sell in Chile is full of artificial ingredients. I am really fussy about this and bring it from the US (or ship it). Cheers!

Fred Famiano February 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Fantastic article. Continue to publishing more super articles. There are numerious ways to lose weight. With the depressed economy individuals are seeking for many ways to slim down.

Chuck Mastenbrook March 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm

hmm id love to see more of this subject ahaha

Thermo Cleanse March 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I want to shed the pounds quickly will this work for me?

Liz Caskey March 24, 2010 at 11:10 am

This is not a magic pill but it is proven that people who drink shakes for 1 meal per day loose and maintain their weight in the long term. To give an idea, when I started this (along with an elimination diet as I suspected both dairy and gluten intolerance), I lost several inches all over my body with little to no exercise (hurt my back). I was amazed. Not only is it how much you eat, what you eat impacts your metabolism. Type 2 food sensitivities can actually cause your body to retain fat, liquids, other health problems. You should follow nutritionist JJ Virgin, she’s an expert on this. Her info changed my life. Good luck!

annwilson01 March 31, 2010 at 3:18 am

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Slimming pills January 6, 2011 at 10:59 am

Yummy and helpful post.. Thanks for sharing..

andrea January 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I make a protein-low GI berry smoothie, but with a cup of kale for a super nutrient boost. I buy pre-chopped 5-kale blend at whole foods, and freeze (kale loses nutrients at it ages in your fridge). It’s super easy to grow, btw. Those purple cabbage looking things you see in airport and/or city landscaping? Kale!

Liz Caskey January 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Love Kale too! What a great idea for a shake. Anything green I love. Kale is not found here in Chile but very, very common in Brazil where they make caldo verde soup with it and flash sautée it with garlic. I love the latter but with raw coconut oil for a fat-burning boost and nutty taste. Thanks for reading. Cheers!

Susan February 9, 2011 at 1:21 am

This shake is similar to Dr. Oz’s protein shake, which I have every morning with blueberries and a bonana (with protein powder added, etc.). You can find it on line by searching for Dr. Oz’s protein shake.

Margaret June 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I love having fruit shakes in the morning too, it’s such a refreshing way to start your day!
But I wonder, do you bring the psyllium husk with you from outside of Chile? Doesn’t the SAG confiscate it upon entrance?
I’ve tried to find psyllium husk here in Chile, but the closest thing I’ve found is in pill form at Farmacias Ahumadas, which isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. Got any ideas as to where I could find it in loose aor powder form?

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