First of all, I applaud you if you are one of the few who take the time to feed your family breakfast every morning. It is true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, many people (I used to do this as well), make a quick breakfast of dried cereal and milk and head out the door for work, school, or errands. Of course — it’s easy! Who has time to make a warm breakfast over the stove in the morning, right?
I am about to rock your world — and probably not in a good way. Commercial cereal, in any form, is toxic. Even the so-called organic or healthy cereals are not a good source of nourishment for your body. Here are the reasons why:
1) Phytic Acid
Commercial store bought cereal is made with grains and those grains are not sprouted or soaked. See our article about grains here. It is not cost-effective for cereal companies to process grains in a healthy, digestible way. Phytic acid is still prevalent in the cereal grains and even if a cereal states that it is “sprouted” there are other reasons to stay away from it.
2) Denatured Nutrients through High Heat Extrusion
Cereal grains are highly processed through slurries and and high heat extrusion processes that completely remove all the nutrient value of the grain. The vitamin and mineral content on the box are often “added”. If you look on an egg carton there is no ingredient list — why? Because we all know that egg is the ONLY ingredient, right? The egg producers do not need to label that the egg contains vitamins and minerals. However, on a cereal box, manufacturers are REQUIRED by law to post additives. Many of these additives are not only sugars and other added ingredients, but also unnatural “vitamins and minerals”. They will be listed with these types of terms:
Thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin, niacinamide, folate or folic acid, beta carotene, potassium iodide, iron or ferrous sulfate, alpha tocopherols, ascorbic acid, Vitamin D, amino acids (L-tryptophan, L-lysine, L-leucine, L-methionine)
Again, if they were “naturally occuring” they would not need to be listed as an ingredient!
3) Pesticides and GMOs
If a product is not listed as organic it has been sprayed with pesticides. Period. There is no way for the large food companies like General Mills to produce large quantities of food if the fields are not sprayed with chemicals to prevent pests. Large scale farming can not survive without these means because of the shear volume. (Small scale farmers are much more hands on with their crops and can manage pests better).
GMO’s are an extremely new seed technology that large farms are using to ward off pests. These are genetically modified seeds that actually kill the pests on contact with the plant. The question is — what else is it killing? Sorry, I am not eating GMOs if I can help it!
Currently, Kashi and Kellogg are being sued for using the term “natural” in their products advertising when their cereal contains GMOs. Although the term “natural” is not strong enough for a “real foodie” it does suggest that there are no “chemicals” and non-food items present. Thus, the current lawsuit.
4) Sugar, White Flour, and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
I don’t want to forget to mention the obvious. If you are looking for more reasons to avoid sugar, click here. Sugar, white flour, and hydrogenated vegetable oils abound in commercial cereals. Some brands do a better job than others at eliminating these from their cereals, but it is difficult to find any that remove all three. And even if they did remove all of these they are still using the above mentioned processes that make the cereal useless for nourishing our bodies and can actually have the OPPOSITE effect.
What can I eat??
It will take some creativity and a little extra effort to create a healthy breakfast, but we have decided that it is worth it for the health of our families. Here are our individual breakfast suggestions based on our own real food perspectives (Jen eats soaked / prepared grains and Leslie is grain free).
Provided you soak the grains (I like organic steel cut oats for flavor) for 8 hours, you can put the oatmeal in a crock pot and it is ready for breakfast the next morning. I actually do this a little differently, but I can share that with you in another post.
2. Eggs and Bacon/Sausage or Omelets
This is my favorite for the taste and how it fills me up through the whole morning. Many times I don’t get hungry until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. It does take a little time and use of the stove, but what a GREAT way to start the day!
These are not hard! Keep your blender on the counter and throw in yogurt, frozen organic fruit, kefir/whey (or both), coconut oil, and take with you out the door! Learn to make kefir because the benefits are incredible. Someday I will post a video about how easy it is to make and keep Kefir growing. Once you buy the grains and work with them, they just proliferate. You will wind up giving the extra grains away when they grow! Try this recipe for Strawberry Coconut Power Smoothie!
4. Pancakes and Waffles
Again, if you have soaked the grains/flour (not white refined), this is a hearty way to start the day. I’ve even seen grain-free recipes out there!
Who said that you have to eat breakfast food for breakfast? I often rummage through the refrigerator for a yummy dish that had leftovers. Sometimes it can be leftover pork or steak and eggs. Nothing wrong with that!
Just swirl in some crunchies like crispy almonds or coconut and a little bit of fruit! So simple!
7. Egg Casserole
Any casserole can be made in advance and warmed up later. I actually make Zucchini or Eggplant Kiku (sometimes with shrimp or chicken) for dinner and it makes a fantastic hearty breakfast!
8. Homemade Granola (or cereal alternative)
Click link for the recipe. This takes advanced prep, but it is also a great grab-n-go breakfast once made!
1. Scrambled Eggs
Eggs are my favorite breakfast option. I love that I can make a different version each day by changing up the vegetables that I add to my eggs. Generally I scramble my eggs with diced peppers in coconut oil. Season with some salt and pepper (and lately I’ve been adding aleppo pepper as well) and top with avocado slices and salsa. I never get tired of eating this combination and keeps me full until long after “lunch time”.
Sometimes we choose to eat dinner for breakfast. It’s important to lose the “American notion” that breakfast is
gluten and sugar overload cereal or toast, etc. My son frequently chooses leftovers for breakfast. Again, this will keep you satiated and provide you with energy all morning and beyond.
3. Grain Free Muffins and Pancakes
Sometimes (usually on the weekends) I make some grain free muffins and pancakes. While I never get sick of eggs, my family prefers a bit more variety. Or maybe they are just nostalgic about the
gluten bombs some of the things we used to eat. Whenever I bake, I keep the sweetener (maple syrup or honey) to a minimum and I use coconut or almond flour (note: these are not interchangeable and coconut flour is tricky– don’t try to substitute it into a regular flour recipe). This minimizes blood sugar spikes– you want to avoid this and keep your blood sugar even. At any rate, if you are looking for something along this variety of breakfast food, you can check out these recipes.
So, what about you? Are you willing to make the change? What kinds of delicious and satisfying (non-commercial) cereal breakfasts do you make?
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