Does this sound familiar?
After a good 8-hour night’s sleep, it’s 7:30 am and you’re headed to the kitchen to ‘grab’ breakfast before running off to work. You’re trying to eat well, so you have a new ‘healthy’ selection of breakfast cereals to choose from. Names like ‘Just Right’, ‘Sustain’, and ‘Weetbix’ make you feel like you are sustaining your body with just the right amount of wheat or grains for a ‘healthy’ start to the day. You even have soy milk or low-fat milk to pour over, as everyone has said those are the ‘healthiest’. During your morning commute, you are feeling proud of your new diet, but soon after you arrive at work, you are craving banana bread and muffins from the cafe next door, and are dying for your morning coffee. By mid-morning, you are feeling sleepy and can’t concentrate, already watching the clock for a lunch break. By lunchtime, you haven’t finished much of your morning work and are so famished that you gorge yourself on fast food. What went wrong?
Aren’t many breakfast cereals healthy?
Contrary to what the slick marketing would have you believe, boxed breakfast cereals provide little to no nutrition, are extremely indigestible, and are therefore not fit for human consumption. Cereal is made through the extrusion process, in which little flakes and shapes are formed at high temperatures and pressures. This processing destroys many valuable nutrients in grains, causes the oils to become rancid and renders certain proteins toxic. And this is what we are attempting to fuel our bodies with first thing in the morning.
Breakfast = BREAK the FAST
The 8-12 hours between your last meal of the day and breakfast is the longest period your body goes without food. This daily ‘fast’ is required so our bodies can rest, repair and grow during sleep. However, soon after sunrise, our bodily systems ‘wake up’ by releasing cortisol hormones to get us ready for daily physical and mental activity, and we need nutritious food to sustain this, just as a car needs petrol to run. If we break the ‘fast’ with indigestible, nutrient lacking breakfast cereals, our bodies will still be hungry for real food, lacking physical energy and mental clarity.
It Gets Worse…
On top of that, the body may store existing fat to prepare for famine, as it continues to go without proper food. We throw down pills for the headaches, depression, anxiety, moodiness and muscle aches that are actually just symptoms of our growing lack of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. And all the while, the digestive system is taking a beating, getting more ineffective and bogged down with indigestible food until things like Bloating, Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Parasites and Bowel Cancer finally show us what’s going on inside.
But my breakfast cereal is fortified with iron!
What if I told you that your cereal was fortified with metal iron shavings? Does that change things? Science is amazing, but it is still a far stretch to think that we can replicate the vitamins and minerals that naturally occur within our plant and animal foods, and simply add them to a de-natured over-processed food like cereal to get proper nutrition.
Our children are suffering
I have heard several mums tell me lately that their toddler just wants to eat all morning, and never seems satisfied until lunch. I have seen too many school-age children struggle to learn or be labelled ADHD because they can’t concentrate during their morning lessons. We all know children who have allergies, ear infections, sinus problems and other symptoms of poor nutrition. Could one answer to all these problems actually be as simple as a proper breakfast?
Then what should I eat for breakfast?
Whatever other nutritious foods you eat the rest of the day! Who decided we could only eat ‘breakfast foods’ in the morning? Oh yeah, the giant companies that sell packaged breakfast foods. Why not steak, potatoes and vegetables? Why not real, whole foods comprised of protein, fat and carbohydrates that come from plants and animals and have not been processed?
What about my 4-5 daily serves of whole grains?
The short answer is that the people who created The Food Pyramid are the same people who decided we could only eat packaged breakfast foods in the morning. Think Kellogg, General Mills…
What about the milk?
The short answer is that the milk is just as detrimental. For the long answer, read How Milk Became So Dangerous.
Old habits die hard
For decades, it has been ingrained into our thoughts that breakfast = cereal. We are addicted to the ritual, the crunch, the variety, the convenience. And we are suffering the consequences. It may take time to get used to a breakfast of whole, real, unprocessed food, but it will be a habit worth changing.
Yours in health,
P.S. My favourite breakfast: Leftovers from dinner reheated under the grill. Just as quick to prepare as breakfast cereal, and the flavours are even better the next day!)
What’s your favourite breakfast? Comment below…
– Nourishing Traditions; Sally Fallon. Washington DC: New Trends Publishing, 1999.