And 50 Things You Should Eat Instead
While on this journey to better health and fitness (because this is a journey and not a destination), there are some things that can help with your journey and some that will just side-track it to hell.
Today I am going reveal one of the biggest impersonators in the weight loss and healthy food world.
This one food pretends to be healthy, all fortified and full of nutrients. It has also been known to toot its’ own horn because it is a “delicious, wholesome beginning that fills bellies and fuels bodies and minds”.
However, once the fanfare has stopped and you delve a little deeper you will soon see that this breakfast favourite will instead:
- Stall weight loss
- Increase our appetite for more food (and the wrong kind)
- Raise our blood sugar levels
- Leave us feeling tired, sluggish and brain-dead by mid-morning
Cereal and Kim Kardashian
That innocent box of cereal in your cupboard, impersonating as a healthy start to your day, is about as innocent as Kim Kardashian is at being camera-shy.
While I understand the draw to cereal (it’s quick, it’s easy), and I am not against all packaged food par sae (you will notice below in my recipes I use protein powder). What I am against, though, are unhealthy choices that we think are healthy choices because that’s what food manufacturers have duped us into believing.
I am also against starting our day with a product that is high in refined carbohydrates and high in sugar. Both of these are bad news, and even worse for us over 40-year olds.
You see, at this age we need now more than ever to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day and foods high in refined carbs and sugar do the exact opposite.
A steady-eddy blood sugar level through the day will help us feel fuller for longer and teach us to only eat when we are really hungry. Two powerful allies to weight management in our middle years.
How Cereal Is Born
First, the process of how cereal is made is very unhealthy for the body – no matter what organic, expensive crap from the health food store you buy.
All cold breakfast cereals are made by a process called extrusion (Weston-Price). And, the extrusion process is roughly 5 steps of hell for an innocent piece of grain.
In the first part of the extrusion process the grains are mixed with water in a slurry and then processed in a machine called an “extruder” (sounds like a character in the “Terminator” movie, doesn’t it?).
Once the grains and water have fought with the extruder/Terminator (“I’ll be back” – they say… haha, couldn’t resist. Sorry.), the grains/sludge are then pumped out of tiny holes using high temperatures and pressure. These holes are what create the shapes of cereal that we find in our cereal box.
[bctt tweet=”Eat all of the junk food you want. So long as you cook it yourself. – Michael Pollan”]
Certain grains from the above process will then be passed through the extruder again to produce puffed wheat, oats and rice. Afterwards all of these shapes are then sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal the deal.
This sealing process is actually the most crucial part to a cereal’s success. You see the cereal must stay crunchy while floating in a bowl full of milk for it to be successful.
Unfortunately they don’t stop the processing there.
Due to the high heat and pressure used (during the processing) this pretty much destroys most of the grains’ nutrients (Fighting the Food Giants Paul Stitt), and since the manufacturers have to sell Mom and the rest of us that this particular box is breakfast-gold, the food manufacturers take the cereal through one more process.
This time adding back the vitamins and minerals synthetically that their processing stripped of the grain that it had naturally in the first place.
To put it simply, they suck all the goodness out of the grain, then pump artificial “goodness” back into it.
Grain: I was just minding my own business when all of sudden I was sucked into this vortex and stripped of everything that makes me – me! “.
How Sweet It Is
Most of us know that cereals like “Lucky Charms” and “Frosted Flakes” have a ton of sugar in them. That’s a no-brainer.
But, what if I were to tell you that even the most “healthiest” cereals have an unnecessary amount of sugar in them?
- Sugar that will raise our blood sugar levels too quickly
- Sugar that does not satisfy the body, instead leaving it craving more, and more often
- Sugar, that will add girth to our waistlines
- Sugar that increases inflammation in our bodies – leading to such diseases as cancer and metabolic syndrome
- And sugar, that the World Health Organization (WHO) is advising us to half our daily consumption of
In addition, some cereals are high in sodium, that same sodium that Health Canada is telling us to watch out for.
Serving Size Disillusion
Another problem with cereal is that most people free pour it. Who has the time, or even wants to, pull out a measuring cup?
However, we all know what happens when we are left to our own devices to judge how much we are eating. We all over do it.
Sugar. It ain’t a great way to start your day.
Let’s take a look at some the “healthiest” cereals on the market today and see how they measure up for sugar grams.
Kashi GoLean (1 C) 9 grams sugar (just over 2 tsp)
Kashi GoLean – Crunch (3/4 C) 13 grams (3 tsp)
Barbara’s Original Puffins (3/4 C) 5 grams (just over 1 tsp)
Bob’s Red Mill Granola (1/4 C) 8 grams (2 tsp)
Cheerios (1 C) 1 gram – while this is a low amount of sugar, don’t allow that to lull you in a false sense of security that you are eating healthy. Not only are the ingredients full of GMOs, the FDA even agreed that Cheerios did not live up to the hype that General Mills was pumping out, and issued the company to change their marketing and box wording.
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (1 C) 13 grams (3 tsp)
Koola Crisp – Nature’s Path (1 cup) 11 grams (almost 3 tsp)
Fibre One (half a cup) 14 grams (just over 3 tsp)
Smart Start Healthy Heart – Kellogg’s (1.25 cup) 17 grams (just over 4 tsp)
Corn Pops (1 cup) 14 grams (4 tsp)
Raisin Bran (1 C) 19 grams (over 4 tsp)
General Mills Granola (half of a cup) 18 grams (over 4 tsp)
Raisin Bran Crunch (1 cup) 20 grams (5 tsp)
Grape Nuts (1 C) 10 grams (over 2 tsp)
Kellogg’s Just Right Fruit & Nuts (1 C) 15 grams (4 tsp)
Quaker Natural Granola with Raisins (1 C) 30 grams (almost 7 tsp)
What You Should Eat For Breakfast Instead
Most nutritionists and trainers would love for you to eat a balanced breakfast. One that has a ratio of complex carbs, protein and good fats – and one that you prepped all by yourself.
If cereal is your thing than try large-flake or steel-cut oats. (Try this awesome oatmeal recipe.)
50 Breakfasts That Are Better For You
- Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
- “Wasa” Crisp bread with almond butter and sliced apple
- Scrambled eggs with salsa and avocado
- Egg-scramble with veggies
- Nut butter, whole grain tortilla shell & a banana (wrap & go)
- Avocado spread on toast with a poached egg
- 2 hard boiled eggs chopped in a bowl with a half an avocado
- Last night’s leftovers (my fave is cold salmon)
- Greek yogurt, berries & mixed nuts
- Carrot Cake Overnight Oats
- Baked Banana Oatmeal
- Baked Quinoa with Apples
- Baked Breakfast Peppers
- Avocado and Baked Egg
- Zucchini Noodle Breakfast Bowl
- Baby Kale, Mozza, Egg Bake
- Protein Pancakes
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
- Breakfast Salmon Egg Bake
- Paleo Breakfast Casserole
- Raw Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Chia Bowl
- Energizing Green Smoothie Bowl
- Overnight Oats Banana Split
- Banana Chia Pudding
- Raw Buckwheat Porridge
- Easy Breakfast Salad
- Vanilla Chia Pudding
- Veggie Quiche Cups To Go
- Grain-Free Applesauce Pancakes
- Healthy Bran Muffins
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
- Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake
- Tofu Scramble
- Coconut Protein Chia Pancakes
- Breakfast Kabobs
- Superfood Porridge
- 5-Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl
- Black Bean Breakfast Burrito
- Ricotta Tomatoe Toast
- Creamy Berry Quinoa Parfait
- Mushroom Tomatoe Omelette
- Mediterranean Morning Scramble
- Slow Cooker Red Pepper Asparagus Frittata
- Banana Oatmeal Protein Pancakes
- Coconut Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
- Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Breakfast Cookies
- Savory Pesto Breakfast Pesto Bowl
- Hot Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie
- Baked Apple Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal
- Loaded Veggie Avocado Quinoa Frittatas
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