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How To Make Your Own Cereal

Do you normally eat breakfast? If so, I’m sure you know that breakfast cereal is one the most beloved foods of the modern world. According to an ABC poll, this quintessential breakfast dish accounted for 31% of Americans’ morning meals, beating out eggs (9%), toast and fruit (5%). That’s a big discrepancy, I might add.

So what’s the big hairy deal with eating cold cereal for breakfast? I’m eating breakfast, right?

Right, you are eating breakfast, but that doesn’t mean you’re eating a healthy breakfast.

Cereals as we know them, are packed in a box with a fancy logo, a catchy image, and a label that reads “high fiber”, “fortified”, “healthy”, “organic”, etc. But the actual definition of cereal is any grass that produces a seed that is used for food such as wheat, rice, oats, spelt, rye, millet and buckwheat, among others.

The breakfast cereal industry started with the best of intentions. In an the attempt to create foods that would regulate the gastrointestinal system (back in the 1800s people were eating too much meat), some smart folks invented a way to add more fiber into people’s diet.

Unfortunately, in modern times, we have substituted local artisan processing with factory and industrial processing, which diminishes the quality of food, rather than making it more nutritious and digestible. That’s the dilemma.

And how bad is it?  You might ask. Allow me to break it down and dispel the common misconceptions about breakfast cereals, and then you can decide for yourself.

Myths about Breakfast Cereal

Myth #1 – Cereal is part of a balanced breakfast

The truth is, the modern world’s favorite breakfast food actually provides little to none of its advertised nutritional value. Cereal is advertised as part of a balanced breakfast, but only when consumed alongside of milk and a portion of fruit. Eaten cereal alone is not going to cut it. Cold breakfast cereals are made by a high pressure, high temperature process called extrusion, which distorts the delicate proteins in grains, making them toxic to the nervous system and very harsh on the digestive system. Your whole body suffers when your digestive system is compromised – you become more susceptible to allergies, headaches, fatigue, behavior issues, etc.

Myth #2 – Cereal is nutritious because it is fortified with vitamins and minerals

Many of the health benefits claimed for breakfast cereals depends on fortification rather than micronutrients from the raw ingredients. When the raw grains are stripped of all their nutrients, synthetic nutrients are added back. Many of these synthetic vitamins are treated as toxic and quickly eliminated by your body. Additionally, many of the key nutrients are better absorbed when consumed with foods that contain saturated fat. If you’re eating boxed cereal with low-fat or skim milk, the vitamins and minerals added in are providing virtually no nutritional value.

Myth #3 – Cereal is a great source of fiber

One of the main reasons to eat whole grains is to add a good daily value of fiber into our diet. However, the extrusion process, destroys much of the grains’ nutrients and a lot of their fiber content. Once the raw grains are converted into a coarse flour, they pass through a pre-conditioner, where other ingredients are added, such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, BHT (preservatives) and other additives to add flavor (fake flavors).

In a nutshell, you’re eating a toasted flour dough mix, artificially flavored, highly processed and deceivingly marketed as health food. We were never meant to eat grains this way!

Wonderful, so all breakfast cereal is bad. What now?

Solution – Make your own cereal

Worry not! I’ve created a recipe that is good for you and your family. It is very easy, quick and inexpensive, and unlike the processed cereal, it is very nutritious! It’s made from fresh, raw ingredients, and you have the added advantage of being able to decide what to put in, and how to tweak it to make several different varieties based on your preferences.

Before I leave you with the recipe, here are some of the benefits of eating unprocessed whole grains (aka natural cereals).

Benefits of Whole Grains

  • Goodsource of plant based protein
  • Great source of fiber
  • Contain amounts of antioxidants and trace minerals like iron, zinc, copper and magnesium
  • Help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer
  • Improve bowel health by helping to maintain regular bowel movements and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.

Source: Article, “Tips for reaping the benefits of whole grains” by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. WebMD

Make Your Own Cereal Recipe
Makes 4 cups

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup puffed rice
½ cup raisins/cranberries
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ coconut flakes
¼ cup of sliced almonds
¼ cup hemp seeds
1 tsp cinnamon

In order to make this a balanced cereal, the formula for this recipe is – for each cup of oats, ½ cup of dried fruit, ½ cup of seeds, ¼ of nuts. Get creative and choose among your favorite ingredients, mix and match and add some extras to enhance the flavor and nutritional value, like coconut flakes, hemp or flax seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.

In a large ziploc bag, mix all the ingredients together. Add some extra love and voilà! Serve with your favorite non-dairy milk (preferably) and in your favorite cereal bowl.

Question for you, health lover!

Do you still eat boxed cereal? If so, which is the healthiest option out there in your opinion? I’m curious.

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  1. Robin says:

    I have always been amazed at how high calorie the even good granolas are in the store. Do you have any of the calories here? And I imagine you’re using sweetened coconut. It’s so yummy and it’s just a little here. And of course the flax and hemp seeds should be ground, I imagine. I can’t wait to try this for my husband. I do a protein shake but he loves a little granola with some protein powder with rice milk. Fingers crossed that he’ll love this one. Thanks!

  2. Robin says:

    My husband and I love this! Thanks! And now in the evening for dessert we have about 1/2 cup applesauce or 1/2 banana with a little of this cereal on it. I put a few extra raisins or coconut flakes on it. My husband adds whipped cream and a sprinkle of grape nuts for that barley crunch. It’s quite yummy.

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