I remember how when I was growing up I would always read the side of the cereal box as I ate my breakfast and marvel at all of the nutrients that I was getting so early in the morning. It seemed too good to be true…and it was!
In her book, Nourishing Traditions (my food Bible), Sally Fallon talks about the evils of commercially processed cereals.
Granola, like all processed breakfast cereals, should have no place on our cupboard shelves. Boxed breakfast cereals are made by the extrusion process, in which little flakes and shapes are formed at high temperatures and pressures. Extrusion processing destroys many valuable nutrients in grains, causes fragile oils to become rancid and renders certain proteins toxic.
In her article, “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry” on the Weston Price website, Sally Fallon explains in further detail the reasons why cereal is unhealthy. She also cites two startling studies done with rats, one of which was designed as a joke, but the results turned out to be anything but funny.
In this study, there were three groups of rats. The control group was fed rat chow and water and remained healthy throughout the experiment. The second group was fed cornflakes and water. Before they died, these rats developed aberrant behavior, threw fits, bit each other, and finally went into convulsions. Autopsies revealed dysfunction of the pancreas, liver, and kidneys, and degeneration of the nerves of the spine, which are all signs of insulin shock. The third group was fed the cardboard box that the cornflakes came in and water. This group lived longer than the group that ate the cornflakes. (The first box rat died the day the last cornflake rat died.)
The bottom line is that cereal, fortified or not, is anything but healthy. In our home, we have worked hard to not make commercially processed cereal a regular part of our lives, and this healthy homemade cereal recipe has really helped. We also enjoy properly prepared steel cut oats.
When I first learned this information, I threw out all of my cereal (along with all of the other processed food that was junking up my cupboards), but since then, I’ve found more of a happy medium. In our family, we try to eat mostly good most of the time, and we especially like our routine meals and foods to be as healthy as possible. But that being said, I do have a few “go to” items in my pantry such as granola bars, Cheerios, Saltines, and Ramen Noodles that I can bring out in a pinch. Sometimes, I am terribly tired and sometimes my kids are incredibly picky, and they just need something to fill their bellies. There are many food purists that would completely disagree with me, and there are other parents who only feed their kids mostly processed foods. I’d like to think that we fall somewhere in the upper middle (leaning as much as we can to the healthy food without becoming obsessed about it).
For Futher Reading
- Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry by Sally Fallon Morell
- Top 10 Packaged Foods You Shouldn’t Buy by Dr. Mercola
- Drop that spoon! The truth about breakfast cereals by Felicity Lawrence