Cereal really is a staple food in today's society. There are boxes of cereal on most breakfast tables across Australia, and in fact most of the Western world. Mums give a bowl to their kids, it serves as an everyday snack and most people think it's a healthy treat.
Cyndi O'Meara, is not one of these mums. She's staunchly opposed to the cereal industry – arguing that it's a cleverly marketed non-food that is nutritionally void.
Chances are you've been eating cereal as a staple breakfast food for most of your life. It's often presented as the 'healthy' alternative and you'll find bowls of cereal on most kitchen tables across Australia early in the morning. Even so-called health agencies like The Heart Foundation and Choice are on board so cereal can't be that bad can it?
The truth is cereal is laced with additives, sugards, preservatives and provides no nutritional value whatsoever; in essence it is barely a food. Through clever marketing and advertising, we've been sold an image of a healthy treat that is simple a lie.
Nutritionist and founder of Changing Habits, Cyndi O'Meara outlines why you should rethink that bowl in the morning and opt for some real food with these five very good reasons why you should never eat cereal.
Even healthy cereal choices are laced with sugar. Quite often food manufacturers get around sugar regulations by using different forms of sugar to mislead consumers. For example: dextrose, strawberry concentrate, glucose syrup and even honey all bump up sugar content and make for an early morning sugar spike that we just don't need.
As I always say, if it sounds like it was made in a chemical laboatory, it probably was. Cereals are full of preservatives, colourings, flavourings and all sorts of other dubious ingredients. Always read the ingredient label and not the nutritional guidelines. If there's something on there that you don't recognise, put it back. Another good indication is the amount of ingredients, if you make granola or cereal at home you would use just a handful of natural ingredients - some brands on the shelf have over 30 ingredients, this is madness.
Cereal is void of nutriton as it's been so heavily refined. To get around this, manufacturers often fortify cereal with vitamins and minerals. This reassures consumers that they're getting their daily intake of iron, calcium and whatever else has been added. The truth here is the quanities of vitamins and minerals added are quite often derived from non-ediable sources - iron added to cereal comes from metal iron shavings (which you can actually extract with a magnet) and calicum that our bodies are unable to absorb.
You know what wheat, oats and rice looks like; your cereal is clearly not a wholegrain. It's been refined, changed and processed to the point where it's just the starch from the grains and the goodness has been removed. If there are no nutritional ingredients, don't put it in your body as it will only do more harm that good.
All foods that come in some sort of external packaging will carry some trace of it; it's not a matter of 'if' it's a matter of 'how much' has been transferred to your food. Cereal is not only wrapped in plastic but in a box with coloured ink. There have been cases in Europe in recent years when food safety experts found the chemical 4-methylbenzophenone has leached into boxes of muesil on sale to the public. Needless to say, this is a carcinogen and not something you want to be eating every morning.
Cyndi suggests steering well clear of breakfast cereals and opting for a wholesome breakfast that you know will do your body good.
Makes 2 serves.
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
2 small apples quartered
4 fresh dates deseeded
Handful of roasted almonds (can be raw)
1 tsp dried ginger or 1cm of fresh ginger
Place all the ingredients into your theromix or food processor and pulse until museli like. If you don't have either, grate your apple, chop your dates and almonds, grate your fresh ginger then put into a bowl and toss.
Serve with inseason fruit like mangos, berries and plain yogurt.
Enjoy! It's that easy.