Wellbeing with Nutrition
Nurturing the Mind and Body

Processed Boxed Cereals

I am not a fan of processed box cereals apart from porridge oats and the odd good quality muesli-style cereal, which doesn't incorporate highly processed grains, fat, salt and sugar. 

I'll take you through some of the main issues with processed box cereals:

The fat, salt and sugar added to these cereals is highly processed and hard for the body to digest and assimilate. For example, processed sugar is lacking in vital minerals so it draws on the body's personal reserves of vitamins and minerals in order to be digested.

Packaged, dry cereals are produced by a process called 'extrusion' which involves high heat and high pressure to form flakes and other popular cereal shapes from cereal flour. Extrusion destroys most of the nutrients including some of the chemical vitamins that are added to 'fortify' the cereal. Extrusion also alters the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) found within the cereals. This means that proteins structures within these cereals become altered and as a result may become potentially toxic.

Fortification of cereals with vitamins and minerals seems like a good idea in theory helping to prevent deficiencies but here are my concerns:

  1. The minerals and vitamins added to box cereals are synthetic. They are the cheaper and poorer quality ones, which are often more difficult for the body to process and absorb. 
  2. Minerals require the presence of fat soluble vitamins so that they can be absorbed by the body. Cereals eaten with low fat dairy milks (semi-skimmed & skimmed milk) or non-dairy milk (almond, rice, soya etc) will be deficient or low in the most absorbable forms of the fat-soluble vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin D (cholecalciferol=D3) which are required for minerals like calcium to be absorbed.

  3. Artificial fortification, doesn't take into account that vitamins and minerals work together and not in isolation. For example, the fortification of milk and cereals with vitamin D2 draws on vitamin A and calcium reserves within the body. If amounts of these nutrients become imbalanced they can negatively affect the body. 
Tip: Natural foods contain the right balance of nutrients unlike processed, fortified foods.

So what does my family eat for breakfast? 

  • We love having porridge made from oats pre-soaked with water and rejuvelac (helps to break down phytates and makes minerals more available)
  • Eggs are rich in protein, fat soluble vitamins and essential fats. they feature a lot on the breakfast menu. These are usually served soft-boiled or with some delicious sour dough or homemade bread (when I have the time to bake)
  • Homemade pancakes sometimes wheat-based made from wholewheat soaked overnight and at other times gluten-free served with chopped fruits like banana, pureed apple, soaked pureed fruits like dates or a spread I make from soaked nuts and dates. 
  • I also like making gluten-free porridge by combining coconut milk with cooked sprouted whole grains like short-grain brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa!
  • Yogurt flavoured with date syrup and served with chopped fresh fruit and some pre-soaked nuts and seeds 
  • Breakfast smoothies made by blending fruits with yogurt and soaked oats or nuts and seeds 
  • Ramen-style soups made by combining homemade broth with vegetables and rice topped with boiled eggs
  • My daughter's favourite is homemade oat granola served with fruit served with either homemade oat or almond milk or yogurt and honey

As you can see there are lots of things to eat for breakfast without reaching for the boxed cereals. So next week, please check in with me and I will show you some ideas for breakfast.

Hope to see you all next week :)


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