What could be healthier than a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk? Well, the box for one. You might be better off with just plain water every morning than cold cereal, even a whole grain version suggests research.
In a study at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, rats given cardboard cereal boxes plus water outlived rats fed the cornflakes sold inside the box. Researchers observed that before their death the cornflake-eating rats became angry, threw fits and bit each other, ultimately dying of nervous system disorders and insulin shock.
In another study rats fed puffed grains, vitamins and water became diseased and died sooner than rats given plain water or rats given sugar and water. Rats fed whole wheat — not puffed or flaked — lived much longer than the other groups.
The process of turning a whole grain into a flake, a puff, a nugget or an “O” is called extrusion. The American Association of Cereal Chemists have observed that the extrusion process creates new proteins not found in the original grain and that these proteins may create nervous system problems. Extruded grains can also adversely affect blood sugar. The high heat and mechanical process of making a puff or “O” out of a grain destroys essential fats and vitamins.
On top of creating an overly processed grain, many manufacturers spray their flakes with oils, sugars and flavors. I don’t need to explain how sugar adversely impacts health. Weight gain, fatigue, inflammation and dental decay are among them. Sprayed oils are readily oxidized, making them a great way to age your skin and organs. Synthetic vitamins are then added. Synthetic B9, or folic acid, is also toxic in a common condition where the body is unable to convert it to folate, the natural form.
Organic whole grain flakes were once my daily breakfast. It took a while before I made the connection between my cereal and feeling lightheaded and spacey around 11am, at which point I needed a second breakfast. Now that I have switched to whole milk yogurt and nuts, or eggs and veggies, my energy and mental clarity remain high well into the lunch hour. I am also several sizes smaller.
I like the contrast of cool dairy and something grainy in the morning. Call it a throwback to my Special K® and Grape-nuts® days. If you like this kind of breakfast too, consider taking a variety of your favorite nuts and seeds (I like toasted flax seeds, raw pumpkin seeds along with a combo of raw cashews, almonds, walnuts, and/or macadamia nuts), all ground up in a coffee grinder, poured into a bowl and topped with whole milk plain yogurt. I use goat milk yogurt or kefir, but you can use regular cow. This is a hearty and filling breakfast.
One thing you might notice with this breakfast is weight loss. Two of the foods most associated with lean body weight are yogurt and nuts, and this breakfast gives you both. It also leaves out the foods most associated with weight gain: processed grains, sugar and potatoes.
Eggs offer another healthy alternative to flakes. One study found those who ate eggs for breakfast vs. bagels, showed a 65% greater loss in weight, plus more physical energy.
What is your favorite breakfast? And how does it leave you feeling during the day?