One of the easiest and most immediate switches most people can and should make to their diets if they are trying to eat healthier is to stop eating cold cereal. Why, you ask? I shall tell you!
First of all, let us establish this: you need to eat breakfast. If you regularly skip breakfast, you will probably notice that you have low energy, or spikes and valleys in your energy level, for the rest of the day. However, eating a high-carb, low-protein breakfast can have the same effect:
Making the Transition: Replacing Refined Sugars with Natural Sugars: Eating a typical high carb breakfast or skipping it all together can have a major impact on the rest of your day. Here's why: Blood sugar (glucose) is the fuel for every single cell in your body. So naturally you want your fuel supply to be constant all day long. Eating balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day is necessary to maintain this balance. Breakfast is important because it lays the foundation for the rest of the day. Typical breakfast foods—cold cereal, bagels, donuts, pancakes, waffles, or even oatmeal with sugar, fruit, toast with jam, and fruit juice—are all high in sugars and simple carbohydrates which cause the blood sugar to spike up and then crash.
Okay, besides the fact that cold cereal is all carb, with the little bit of fat and protein most people get from the reduced-fat milk they eat it with, what else is wrong with it?
We need to ingest grains with animal fat and protein to get their full nutritional value.
Be Kind To Your Grains: The final indignity to grains is that we treat them as loners, largely ignorant of other dietary factors needed for the nutrients they provide. Fat-soluble vitamins A and D found in animal fats like butter, lard and cream help us absorb calcium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins and the many other vitamins that grains provide. Porridge eaten with cream will do us a thousand times more good than cold breakfast cereal consumed with skim milk; sourdough whole grain bread with butter or whole cheese is a combination that contributes to optimal health.
Not only that, most breakfast cereals (even so-called "healthy cereals") are loaded with sugar; in addition, the process of extrusion that the grains go through to become the puffed, airy, shredded, or flaked concoctions mixing with the milk in your cereal bowl actually renders them toxic to the human body!
Wheaty Indiscretions: The extrusion process, used to make cold breakfast cereals and puffed grains, adds insult to injury with high temperatures and high pressures that create additional toxic components and further destroy nutrients—even the synthetic vitamins that are added to replace the ones destroyed by refinement and milling.
So, if you can't eat cold cereal, what can you eat for breakfast? Especially if you are often in a hurry?
A great way to start the day for folks in a hurry is soaked (sprouted) oatmeal, complimented with a boiled egg and some fresh fruit or veggies. The egg can be boiled and peeled ahead of time, and just kept in the fridge. The water and salt to be added in the morning can be prepared and waiting beside the kettle of soaking oats. The fruit can even be cut or prepped the night before!
To make sprouted hot cereal for 4, place 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats in 2 cups of filtered water with 1 tbsp. of kefir, whey, or plain yogurt with active cultures for at least 7 hours or overnight. (You may optionally include 1 tbsp. flax seeds.) In the morning, add an additional 2 cups filtered water, and 1/2 tsp. of Celtic sea salt. (Why Celtic? It contains the minerals that otherwise get stripped out during the refining and packaging processes.) Sometimes I also add about 1/3 c. raisins and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to change things up. Boil to desired consistency, and serve with honey, maple syrup, crispy nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, raw milk or cream or toppers of your choice.
(Hot cereal, at roughly $5 for a large bag, is much cheaper than cold cereal, as well.)
Other good breakfast items:
- Free-range or Omega-3 eggs, most any way you can think of. (I just bought Company's Coming "The Egg Book"--Love. It. I have so many great ideas already. And eggs aren't just for breakfast, either, by the way.)
- Sprouted or soaked-grain pancakes, served with butter, cream, maple syrup, raw honey, peanut butter, fresh fruit or other toppers of your choice, as well as some other protein, such as eggs or sausage.
- Steak. Sausage. Pick your meat. Serve with lightly stir-fried veggies in olive oil and butter, and a glass of raw milk or kefir.
- Yogurt. A breakfast yogurt favourite in our house: Plain home-made yogurt, add blueberries (fresh or frozen) or sliced grapes, sliced bananas, cumin (seeds or ground), and raw honey, with an optional dash of cayenne or chilli powder. Mmmm...
- Red River or other multi-grain cereal, sprouted overnight. (Sprouting with Red River is cool, as you can actually see little sprouts on some of the seeds in the morning.) Be sure to serve with some protein.
- Omelettes. (Yes, I know these are eggs, but they are yummy and well-balanced enough to get their own point. Especially if made with cheese and veggies.)
- Sprouted-grain toast with raw butter. Serve as a side to a protein item. Spreading a little raw honey on top is also a good idea.
- French toast made with sprouted-grain bread. Serve with toppers of choice, as well as protein.
- Fried egg sandwiches, made with cheese and home-made mayo, with optional sliced tomatoes and/or avocado. (See "omelettes", above, for why these have their own point!)
- Cheese with fresh fruit or veggies. This also makes a great afternoon snack.
- Cottage cheese. To make cottage cheese: Leave a jar of covered raw milk (it must be raw, or this won't work!) in a warmish place until it forms curds (this will likely take several days). Rinse curds well, salt and season to taste. Store in the refrigerator. Tastes yummy mixed with fruit and honey. (If it smells rotten, you'll know it didn't work--likely it was not in a warm enough place, and did not curdle quickly enough. Your nose will tell you whether it is good to eat or not.)
- A shake. Here is my recipe for great shakes.
One further note: Extruded cereals such as puffed wheat and rice or popped rice (or any other cold cereal) should NEVER be given to babies! If you are looking for an alternate finger food for them, try bits of banana (fresh or frozen), ripe avocado, ripe peaches, or other soft fruits or vegetables.
So what are you waiting for? Make the switch from cold cereal today! Your body will thank you for it!