It is crucial to begin the day with a good breakfast. Each night as you sleep, the body repairs itself. This repair process uses up the body’s store of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients. We wake up depleted and, unless we replenish lost nutrients, we are not able to carry ourselves through the day in a healthy fashion.
Lacking necessary building blocks, we either “borrow” needed nutrients from “less important” parts of the body (such as muscles) or we forgo needed repairs until we eventually eat. Over the long term, this is hard on and damaging to the body.
Ideally, our food will include concentrated amounts of protein combined with fruits and vegetables. The proteins replenish our stores of free amino acids. The fruits and vegetables provide needed antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients.
Grains do not contain any nutrients missing from fruits and vegetables. They do however, provide sugars and fats that we do not need. We all have an over-abundance of omega-6 fats found in grains.
Furthermore, studies show that people who begin their day with grains tend to experience more cravings for sugars and other processed foods later in the day.
In contrast, most people report that adding protein and good fats at breakfast gives them a more even and sustained energy level throughout the day. Try the balance of one-third to one-half protein with the remainder of fruits and/or vegetables.
Most of us are used to a very different breakfast consisting primarily of grains. We either have toast and coffee or a more substantial breakfast of granola or oatmeal. We depend on the jump-start from the adrenaline release grains provide.
Sugars, refined carbohydrates and caffeine cause a flow of adrenaline that momentarily boosts our energy. Unfortunately, the energy gain is short-lived, and the subsequent drop in energy makes us want more of those same foods.
As you change over to eliminating grains from your breakfast, you may miss your morning adrenaline boost, but you will soon experience sustainable energy a good breakfast provides. The new choices are not inflammatory to the body in the way grains, sugar and dairy are.
The “cereals without grains” recipes provided with this article provide good protein and fat to start your day. Add some fresh fruit and coconut milk yogurt.
Grains are the seeds of the Poaceae family of grasses, commonly called cereal grains or cereal grasses. This family includes, among others, wheat, barley, rye, corn, millet, oats, sorghum, spelt, teff and rice.
Pseudograins are seeds of broadleaf plants (non-grasses) that are used in the same way as grains. They are often promoted as gluten-free alternatives, and examples include quinoa, teff, buckwheat, amaranth, wild rice and chia seeds.
In her June 12 article “The problem with Grains and Legumes,” Dr. Amy Myers wrote, “The edible portion of these plants is the seed, which contains the embryo. A plant’s mission is to pass on its genes, and because a plant can’t move around, it relies upon animals to spread its seed. A seed, therefore, is designed to withstand digestion, moving through the body in order to be “planted” on different soil. There are several properties of a seed that allow it to survive the gastrointestinal tracts of the animals upon which it depends, all with potential to cause harm and an inflammatory response.”
Myers also wrote about the impact grains can have on our digestive system, sometimes being the trigger for auto-immune disease.
“Phytates and phytic acid occur naturally within the seeds of grains as a phosphorous store. Phytic acid inhibits digestion and binds to certain minerals (specifically zinc, iron, and calcium) which are vital for our immune system to function properly, preventing their absorption. Usually a small amount of phytates in your diet would not present a major problem, as long as you were getting adequate nutrients from the rest of your food. But when grains are the basis of your diet, mineral deficiencies can result.”
“You can break down some of the phytic acid in grains by slow cooking them, or sprouting them overnight in water mixed with a little bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. These methods activate phytase, an enzyme present in the plant that breaks down phytates. However, if grains are a major part of your diet they can still prevent digestion and contribute to leaky gut,” she wrote.
When educating yourself about choices for breakfast take into consideration the latest discussion about the pesticide glyphosate that is pervasive in our cereal industry.
According to a report in June by Aimee Picchi on CBS News program Moneywatch, “21 oat-based cereal and snack products such as Cheerios tested positive for traces of glyphosates. The chemical is the active ingredient in Roundup, which has been at the center of several trials alleging the weed-killer causes cancer.” According to the report, all but four of the products tested had glyphosate levels higher than what the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental health advocacy organization, considers safe for children.
“The 21 products that were tested are made by General Mills, including six varieties of Cheerios and 14 of General Mills’ Nature Valley products, such as Nature Valley granola bars,” it said. “The two highest levels of glyphosate were detected in Honey Nut Cheerios and Medley Crunch Cheerios, at 833 parts per billion and 729 parts per billion, respectively, the group said. It considers anything over 160 parts per billion to be unsafe for children.”
Glyphosate is sprayed on oats to dry out the crop, making it easier to harvest, the EWG reported, but also increasing the chances the chemical will end up in children’s cereal.
To see the list of cereals, both conventional and organic, that were tested, go to ewg.org. To educate yourself further on pesticides that are used in our foods I suggest the book “White Wash, the story of a weed-killer, cancer and the corruption of science,” by Carey Gillam.