After deciding that our skin and taste buds needed a seasonal wake-up call, we phoned a woman who not only makes one-of-a-kind superfood creations, but has turned breakfast into a philosophy.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting your phone away, taking a seat, and thoroughly enjoying each bite,” she told us. “Think about how your body is being nourished.”
This state-of-mind began when Ksenia Avdulova of Breakfast Criminals was going through a challenging time after a breakup, and began making her meals (specifically acai bowls, her favorite) in a heart-shaped ceramic bowl, as a symbol of self love. She still uses a heart-shaped bowl to this day, and brought it to Heyday's kitchen along with her own ingredients, which included homemade turmeric paste, cashew milk, and bee pollen.
As we watched her work, we noticed she didn’t quite measure anything, and while there were a lot of things happening at once, she never seemed to rush. We talked about food, travel, and friendship, and when we asked her if she would ever think of opening up a restaurant, she shook her head. “I don’t want to lose the love I have for cooking,” she told me. “I’d much rather take my time and craft ideas and recipes based on who I’m cooking for.” Lucky for us, on this particular day she mindfully prepared Golden Chai Mylk, a Mean Green Spirulina Smoothie, and a Matcha Chia Pudding straight from the heart shaped bowl. In between morsels we chatted about lifestyle, routine, and how Breakfast Criminals came to be.
Let’s start with the name Breakfast Criminals. It’s so intriguing! Can you tell us more about it?The name came to me during a meditation, before I knew that my small idea of starting every day with a mindful breakfast prepared with love would become a global movement (and in the beginning, before I became a savvier shopper, I almost felt like you had to steal superfoods to afford them). Now that I’m doing Breakfast Criminals full time, it’s teaching me new lessons every day through the work that I share on social media and in-person events.
The main idea behind Breakfast Criminals is that intention is first, food second. When we choose to listen to our body wisdom to make decisions about how we start our day, how we eat, speak to ourselves and others, and what we do with our lives, everything changes. Instead of giving into wellness trends and fads, I invite you to break the rules and do what brings you joy. Mornings are the perfect time to do that – how we start our day defines how the rest of it goes. It could be a delicious coffee, a superfood breakfast, meditation or journaling – go to breakfastcriminals.com for mindful morning ideas :)
What do you think is the best rule of thumb in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
Chill out! Stressing about how healthy your lifestyle is could be just as bad for you as an unhealthy lifestyle. And make sure you properly nourish yourself in the morning, whether it’s a delicious breakfast bowl or a superfood coffee.
What skin-happy foods would you recommend when creating a tasty breakfast?
Dark leafy greens like spinach and green powders like spirulina. Greens are great sources of beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps repair and renew your skin for a youthful glow. Go for healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil. They help skin stay nourished and moisturized. Omega 3 fatty acids found in chia seeds and fish are great. My skin always feels so loved after a high quality piece of grilled fish with a side of greens!
Collagen helps you produce your own collagen and can drastically improve skin texture to be more firm and elastic (that’s what happened with me!) And last but not lease, turmeric is anti-inflammatory and great for when you’re feeling like you’re about to break out. It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
You’ve made a video where you share your makeup routine, and every product was food! Can you tell us more about this routine?While the main goal of my superfood makeup tutorial video is to shine humorous light on the way the wellness community can obsess about superfoods (myself included!), I love the idea of approaching what we put on our skin with the same care as what we put inside our bodies. I truly believe that skin health starts from the inside out (I’ve suffered from acne most of my life, so I know what I’m talking about), but at the same time, skin is our body’s largest organ and absorbs everything around us.
Heyday opened me up to the idea of approaching my skincare routine with as much intention and presence as my breakfasts and that changed everything, taking my beauty rituals from an on-the-go routine to a daily moment of self-love.
Do you have a favorite quick go-to recipe for rushed mornings?
Your Instagram – how has this community shaped and affected your work?It changed my life! Breakfast Criminals started with me posting photos of my breakfasts in a red heart-shaped bowl on Instagram with uplifting messages that were meant to help me get through a rough breakup... but then it took off! After hundreds of requests, I ended up making and selling the heart bowl and it became a symbol of starting your day with self-love! Getting messages from my community saying that eating from heart bowl helped them heal their relationship with food and body is what keeps me going with this work!
We like to say that everyday should be your Heyday. What is a Heyday for you?
To me, Heyday is remembering that THIS IS IT. Instead of focusing on what we won’t have yet, putting energy into gratitude for what we already have. Remembering to pause and appreciate the moment, and finding joy in simple things. Gratitude is the fastest way to elevate our vibration, transporting us into Heyday immediately. :)
Golden Chai Mylk
1 cup of brewed chai (like Prana Chai Masala Blend)
2 cups of nut milk of choice (I used homemade cashew mylk by soaking 1 cup of cashews in water overnight, then rinsing and blending it with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon raw honey)
1 tspn. Eat Curcuma gold mylk paste or Gaia Herbs golden mylk powder
1 scoop of Vital Proteins collagen
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Directions: Make sure the chai and the milk are warmed up. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until creamy. Serve hot or iced.
Mean Green Spirulina Smoothie
3 tbsp. coconut cream
1.5 cups water or coconut water
1 cup frozen blueberries
½ cup spinach
1 teaspoon spirulina
2 tbsp. almond butter
To sweeten: date, honey or Lakanto for a low glycemic version
Optional: 1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens
Toppings: raw cacao sweet nibs, chia seeds
Directions: Blend all ingredients until creamy.
Matcha Chia Pudding
1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups cashew mylk (see the recipe under Golden Chai Mylk recipe)
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Toppings: Strawberries, coconut flakes, bee pollen.
Whisk all ingredients well in a glass jar until there are no lumps. Let sit for 15 minutes, stir again, then put on the lid and let your chia pudding sit in the fridge 2 hours to overnight.
Learn more about Ksenia and her movement at breakfastcriminals.com and on Instagram @breakfastcriminals.