Most health conscious folks know sugar cereal is bad. But ALL cereal? Come on…
Allow me to dispel the common misconceptions about one of the most beloved breakfast foods of the modern world, and then you can decide for yourself. Don't believe everything you are told about ‘healthy' cereal.
HEALTHY CEREAL LIE #1: Cereal can be “part of a balanced breakfast.”
FACT: Consumers were introduced to this line by the cereal industry, but America's favorite breakfast food actually provides little to none of its own nutritional value – even the cereal industry has to point out that you need to eat it with milk, fruit, etc, in order to have a complete breakfast.
All packaged, dry cereals are produced by a process called “extrusion” which involves high heat and high pressure to form the grain into the O's, flakes, and other popular cereal shapes. Extrusion destroys most of the nutrients, including some of the chemical vitamins that are added to “fortify” the cereal. Extrusion especially ravages amino acids (the building blocks of protein) rendering them highly toxic. Proteins' structures are vastly altered, and as a result, new compounds form which are completely foreign, potentially harmful, and definitely not “part of a balanced breakfast.” (source)
HEALTHY CEREAL LIE #2: Cereal is fortified with tons of vitamins and minerals which means it provides lots of nutrition.
FACT: Many cereals have vitamins added, but these are synthetic (man-made) vitamins that the body is simply not designed to utilize. Many synthetic vitamins are actually treated as toxins and are eliminated by your body as quickly as possible – (If you take a synthetic multi-vitamin, you may notice that soon afterwards you pee green. This is your body dumping out the fake nutrients you just tried feeding it). Synthetic vitamins can also cause imbalances in the body that may lead to health problems in the long run.
On top of this, the body cannot absorb many key nutrients if they are not consumed with foods that contain saturated fat. If you're eating boxed cereal with low-fat or skim milk, the vitamins and minerals added in are providing virtually no nutritional benefit.
HEALTHY CEREAL LIE #3: But I eat organic, high fiber Kashi cereal. Surely, that's good for me?
FACT: High fiber, organic cereals made from “healthier” grains are marketed as the best nutritional choices. These cereals tend to have more protein than conventional dry packaged cereals. When the high-protein grains are extruded they produce even more denatured protein. So your “healthy” cereal is potentially worse for your body than junk cereal since they contain more high-protein grains that have been ultra-processed. (source)
CEREAL CONUNDRUM: Great, so all boxed cereals are bad. What can I eat for breakfast on the go?
SOLUTION: You'd be surprised how fast you can scramble or fry up a couple of eggs and toast some sprouted grain bread. Oatmeal is a great option on cool days, just be sure to soak your oats the night before to optimize their nutritional value and reduce cooking time in the morning. If you're attached to a bowl of cereal and milk in the mornings, try making this homemade granola on the weekend, and eat it throughout the week.
(A post script about the references for this post – It has been brought to my attention that this post lacks scientific proof. The main source I used was this one: Fallon, S. (2005). Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry. WestonAPrice.org. Retrieved August 10, 2011 from http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-foods/dirty-secrets-of-the-food-processing-industry. Additionally, the some of the information within is my opinion based on my personal and professional experience. I encourage readers interested in more ‘proof' to check out sources that Fallon references at the bottom of her article).
COCONUT ALMOND GRANOLA – A Weekend Project
This will look more labor intense than it is. In reality, it just takes a bit of planning, a small amount of effort, a free oven, and patience.
DURING THE WEEK:
Gather your organic ingredients. Here's what you need:
- 8 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup melted coconut butter or butter (preferably from grass fed cows)
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil – where to find coconut oil
- 1-1/2 cups whole fat yogurt
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup raw honey (You can also substitute with Grade B maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt – where to find sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup coconut sprinkles (unsweetened, dried shaved or grated coconut and 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup)
- 2 cups thinly sliced crispy almonds (buy already sliced)
* The supplies: 1 Big bowl, 1 small bowl, a saucepan, 2 cookie sheets, parchment paper, and an oven that can be set to 200 degrees Farenheit.
ON FRIDAY: Mix oats, coconut butter, coconut oil, yogurt, and water together in a large bowl. Pat down, cover with a plate, and leave on the kitchen counter for 2 days. Do not leave it longer than this or it will go bad.
Make your coconut sprinkles: Mix 1 cup coconut with 1/4 cup maple syrup. Spread onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and dry in a 200 degree oven for a few hours or until crispy. Break apart and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Make your crispy almonds: Drain your soaking nuts, spread onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and dry in a 200 degree oven overnight or until completely dried and crispy.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place honey, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and set in a small pot of simmering water until honey warms and becomes thin. Mix honey and oat mixtures.
Spread as thinly as possible on two parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for several hours (or as long as overnight), until completely dry and crisp. Mix with coconut sprinkles and crispy almonds. Store in airtight container.
ON MONDAY MORNING:
Cereal! Voila! Serve with whole raw milk, cream, or yogurt. Yes, this took much more effort than opening up a box and pouring, but your toils will be rewarded with a delicious, traditional food that is truly “part of a balanced breakfast!”
(Recipe inspired by Sally Fallon's Coconut Granola in Eat Fat, Lose Fat)
Image credit (bowl of cereal): MusicFanatic29