This breakfast toast recipe is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. I’m excited to be partnering with them over the next few months to bring you more recipes and ideas about Montmorency tart cherries, which are not only delicious, but good for you too.
About This Toast:
A slice of this Banana Breakfast Toast with Tart Cherry Swirled Yogurt + Cacao Nib has all the elements of a banana split (sans pineapple!), while being wholesome. Creamy, toasty, fruity, and a chocolate, coffee-ish crunch of cacao nibs. Instead of using pre-flavored yogurt, I swirled Montmorency tart cherry concentrate into plain greek yogurt. You’ll notice that tart cherry juice is thicker than normal juice, almost like a balsamic syrup. It’ sweet and tart at the same time. Beyond tasting wonderful, it has anti-inflammatory properties that our muscles benefit from. These properties help us recover from inflammation and oxidative stress due to the concentrated amounts of anthocyanins inside.
I finished the toast with honey and crushed pistachios, but make it your own with other toppings you love, or almond butter instead of honey.
It’s what I use to fuel my newfound healthy relationship with exercise. A topic that isn’t talked about much, but I think needs to be. Which is why I’m sharing my story.
My relationship with exercise has been complicated since the day I figured out it wasn’t just about being a better, stronger athlete, but also negated the calories you consumed.
Since the day I figured out it was a way to numb other pain in my life.
Since the day I figured out it was something I could use to feel in control.
Running and cardio was immediately what I latched onto at the end of high school. Throughout college I ran, climbed stairs, or got on the elliptical seven days a week – in addition to all the other training I was doing as a college athlete. In my eyes, those workouts weren’t the same. I couldn’t escape when I was with other people. But alone, I could tune everything out and hide in my feeling. It gave me comfort I couldn’t get from anything else. And when I missed a day, my world crumbled with guilt.
After college, my running and gym time continued. I eventually hurt myself from the constant 10 mile+ days and had to stop. Only to be replaced with other ways of fueling my compulsive exercise. Interestingly enough, I was never concerned or even knew how many calories I was burning. For me, it was about doing the same thing, the same way, every.single.day. The comfort of control. That meant skipping functions to do so, getting up at crazy hours, always packing workout clothes for any type of travel, and basically my days revolving around it.
But not anymore. It has taken years. Along with a few health scares, and a lot of emotional and physical pain to realize that I couldn’t live like that, nor was it normal….. Lots of therapy sessions and a gigantic change in thinking and purpose.
And being forced to sit with the discomfort of not moving my body for awhile, on purpose. (As in, so much discomfort you feel like you’re going to jump out of your skin. Which is also how you know there is a problem.)
To sit through the painful feelings of guilt, and shame.
To realize I wasn’t going to look completely different because I wasn’t compulsively exercising.
To work with a therapist to dig through the messy reasons of what my behavior was covering up deep down inside.
To set boundaries, and know my red flags.
To retrain my brain.
Now I embrace what I refer to as healthy movement. Meaning I MOVE MY BODY, not abuse my body. Pump my lungs, hike, stretch, engage my muscles. Celebrate a healthy body and mind, and all that it provides me with. And I’ve never felt better, or happier.
I wake up and the first thing I do is think about life, not the gym. I sleep in sometimes and don’t feel guilty. I go out for brunch on the weekend instead of a run. I go on vacation and don’t even think twice about when I’m going to work out. I say yes to dates with friends instead of asking them to switch the time because I usually go to the gym then. That is what free feels like.
In terms of what I do to move my body these days – it’s usually walking in the morning, setting my day and mind in a clear direction. I like to hike with Brian, or stroll around the neighborhood with him. We golf in the summer together. And one of the biggest differences – I refuel after moving my body. I repair the energy that has been expended, and give it new life. Like a car, the gas tank is on empty, and it isn’t going any further without being filled. When I’m finished, I’m usually too hungry to make anything real time consuming for breakfast, so I turn to toast! Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory. But more often than not, this Banana Breakfast Toast.