What’s In Your Cereal Bowl?


One of the biggest challenges that my clients face is that they don’t know what to eat for breakfast when I put the kibosh on cereal.  I know, it’s so easy and so good, right?  What’s not to love about a giant bowl of SUGAR?  Well, read on and find out what’s in that bowl of cereal and reconsider what you and your family are eating for breakfast…

Weed Killer!

A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) made news recently because dozens of popular breakfast foods were found to contain the chemical glyphosate.

Glyphosate is a weed killer (aka “Roundup”) and is classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. In the EWG study, all but two of the 45 products tested  were found to contain glyphosate. Surprisingly, EWG also found that two ORGANIC brands were found to contain glyphosate as well!  Sadly, 31 of the breakfast foods were found to contain levels of glyphosate that were higher than the level that EWG deems safe for children.

Here are some of the products that had some of the highest levels of glyphosate:  Quaker Simply Granola, Giant Instant Oatmeal, Quaker Dinosaur Eggs Instant Oatmeal, and Quaker Steel Cut Oats.  

Stripped of Nutrition

Of course, glyphosate is not the only problem with eating cereal, oatmeal, and cereal bars for breakfast.  First, cereal and cereal bars are highly processed foods.  When you strip grains of their outer shell to make them into more edible cereal, you also strip them of the vitamins and minerals contained in the shell.  When you see that a cereal has been “fortified” with vitamins and minerals, it’s because those nutrients were stripped from the food in the first place!

Sneaky Sugar

Secondly, cereal and cereal bars are notorious for their sugar content.  Just one teaspoon contains four grams of sugar.  Go ahead and check your cereal and notice how much sugar is in just one serving. And how many servings do you or your child regularly eat?  Even if sugar wasn’t bad for you, there’s an opportunity cost too.  If you’re eating primarily sugar (or grains that turn straight into sugar in your body) you’re not getting to fill up on the healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that build and fuel a strong body!

But What About Healthy “Whole Grains”?

Finally, it’s tempting to say that whole grains with no or low sugar is “healthy,” but that’s just not true.  Many of us have compromised guts, and that means that these whole grains may be irritating to us.  Also, the outer shell that makes a grain a “whole grain” is the part that contains the vitamins and minerals.  When we process these out (see above) we lose the goodness of “whole grains.”  Food manufacturers then add the nutrition back in the form of synthetic vitamins and minerals, which may or may not be properly absorbed in the body.  Our ancestors somehow knew this, which is why grains were only eaten if they’d been “properly prepared” by means of soaking, sprouting, or fermenting (think sourdough bread).

So What am I Supposed to Eat for Breakfast???

My first bit of advice is to re-imagine breakfast as just another meal.  Most American breakfasts are just desserts anyway.  Think pancakes, french toast, muffins, donuts, and CEREAL!  You can eat ANYTHING for breakfast.  In the Vietnamese tradition, we have a steaming bowl of Pho for breakfast.  I know you’re not used to thinking about soup for breakfast, but why is sugar for breakfast a better choice?  Here are some ideas for grab-n-go breakfasts for kids and adults:

  1. Eggs cooked your way + nitrite-free bacon or sausage + fruit and/or side salad
  2. Baked eggs in avocado + nitrite-free bacon or sausage
  3. Smoked salmon + full fat cream cheese on a bed of lettuce
  4. Full fat cottage cheese + sliced fruit
  5. Green smoothie (protein powder + milk + fruit and/or spinach)
  6. Nitrite-free deli meat + full fat cheese + olives 
  7. Grain-free morning glory muffins + full fat yogurt + berries
  8. Grain-free banana bread + sliced fruit + kefir
  9. Grain-free granola (just combine some nuts, seeds, dried fruit and/or coconut flakes) + milk
  10. Bullet Proof Coffee (NOT for kids, obviously!)
  11. Chia seed pudding + sliced fruit or berries
  12. Starbucks Protein Box (for when you’re on-the-run; minus the bread of course!)

It’s that easy, you don’t ever have to eat cereal for breakfast again!  Please share below YOUR favorite healthy breakfasts…

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