February 10, 2016

Breakfast Surreal



Cold breakfast cereals were one of the first "convenience foods" on the market. They also represent one of the most highly profitable sectors in the processed food industry. But is eating such cereals any better for you than eating the cardboard box in which they come?

One study in the 1960s fed cereal to one group of mice, and the shredded box to another group. The cereal-fed mice did not do as well as those dining on the boxboard.

The only way that the wave of cold cereals of questionable nutritional value could take over the first meal of the day was through an intense advertising campaign that has been bombarding us since the 1930s.

And sugar. Lots of sugar. And salt. And fat. All the not-so-secret ingredients of the processed food industry.

Over the past few years, thankfully, breakfast has been the meal that has morphed the most. Health-minded diners are looking at the first meal of the day differently. Cold breakfast cereal sales are down.

Processed food pushers are panicking, and scrambling to make their sugar-laden ingredients more palatable to shoppers that can no longer stand to wandering down surreal cereal aisles in grocery stores that consist of a whole wall of awful choices.

GMO ingredients, high-fructose corn syrup, high amounts of salt, saturated fat, and artificial additives are often lurking in cereal bowls. The extruding process that makes cold cereals uses heat and pressure that destroy most of the nutrients of the ingredients.

Nutrients need to be artificially introduced later in these industrial products in order to give them any value at all, besides increasing corporate profits. A few pennies worth of corn or wheat gets turned into a product that costs several dollars. Our health is certainly not profiting.

What we can profit from is making breakfast less bizarre and get back to real food. A first meal of the day that makes sense consists of whole foods that are nutrient dense. Choices include eggs, smoothies, juice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal or "porridge" and dairy foods, depending on what kind of diet you are on.

Cold cereals are crap. Even if they are organic. But if that is all you have in the cupboard right now, you could always throw the cereal in the compost and eat the box.






13 comments:

  1. Growing up in another part of the world and in a different culture, I ate very different items for breakfast than the 'classic' American foods of bacon/eggs/waffles/pancakes. Usually, we eat a bowl of stewed fava beans and garbanzo beans in garlic and olive oil with pita bread and some fresh raw veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes cut up on the side. I continue to eat this type of breakfast today because it is very filling, protein dense, and frugal! Whenever I eat pancakes, I find myself feeling tired and strangely hungry just a couple hours after eating.

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    1. Thank you for reminding us that there are so many more alternatives for breakfast other than what we traditionally consider "appropriate" foods for the first meal of the day. Linda and I are definitely going to adopt some of your suggestions in our morning meals - we love everything you mentioned. Why not for breakfast?

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  2. Creamy polenta makes a great breakfast as well! Add some tomatoes and fresh greens and mushrooms after cooking them separately. It's very tasty and filling. :D

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    1. Yumm. I love cornmeal, and just bought a bag of organic locally grown and milled cornmeal, so will have to try this.

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  3. I'm a big fan of roasted vegetables for breakfast - especially greens like broccoli and cabbage. Grill in the oven with a bit of olive oil, salt and herbs. Crunchy and delicious :) An hour later, I feel great - so much better than filling up on sugar, fat and carbs. Breakfast is supposed to give you energy, not sap it. It's funny how rigid people are about what you "can" eat for breakfast - "you can't eat cabbage for BREAKFAST!" Why not?

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    1. I must admit to being a breakfast addict. It is quite silly, and I have made changes so that I am less rigid in my morning meal menu. It is interesting to see what people around the world eat first thing in the morning, and take some cues from their experience.

      I could pretty much eat an asian vegetarian noodle soup any time of the day.

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  4. Please not eggs and diary as this is worse than processed cereals, full of cholesterol, saturated fat and the cancer causing casien protein. This industry also drains fresh ground water and causes ocean dead zones through animal waste. The nutrients that are put back into cereal include folic acid, an artificial form of folate that is known to cause heart disease. We had scrambled tofu, mushrooms and spring onions on home made bread for breakfast today, lovely. Alex.

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    1. Alex,

      Thanks for the reminder. We have never tried scramble tofu, but are going to soon. It would be a great vegetarian whole protein alternative.

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  5. Mr Kellogg created the cereal to prevent people masturbating (I read long time ago)

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    1. The beginnings of cold breakfast cereal are quite bizarre. A bit of religion, a bit of pseudo-science, and a whole lot of hucksterism.

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  6. Cereal has never been on my menu. I don't like milk either, so that pretty much ruled it out, even as a kid.

    I often eat leftovers from dinner the night before.

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    1. I love leftovers. A home cooker's fast food.

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  7. Love this discussion and ideas! Often left overs from the night before are on my breakfast table. Green smoothies are a part of most every meal. I make them the night before and put them in 3 jars so I have one per meal the next day. Sometimes they are my meal. I add a small amount of plant protein and fresh ground almond butter for fat and protein.

    As for cereal, I'd rather eat the box than what's in it. At least there would be some fiber going in. Geez, boxed cereal is the one of the biggest cons they ever sold to people. Nasty stuff.

    Cheers for making food less bizarre. That movement is making my head spin.

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