Rethink Breakfast Cereals

Rethink Breakfast Cereals

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #8

So you’ve all heard about the origins of Kellogg’s corn flakes right? No? Mwahahaha! You’re in for a treat then. Dr Kellogg was a Seventh Day Adventist who believed that “Neither plague, nor war, nor small-pox have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism. Such a victim dies literally by his own hand.”

Yep, to cut a long story short, Dr Kellogg developed corn flakes to cure the life and soul destroying effects of masturbstion!

Quackery as it sounds though, he had a point. No! Not that having a sex drive is bad! In fact, having a healthy libido is a key sign that your health is generally doing ok. If your health is under par then your body won’t necessarily want to encourage behaviour that might end in pregnancy.  His point that cereals reduce libido though? That one. That’s the point I’d like to expand on. 

Until Kellogg began promoting his anti-libido cereals at the turn of the 20th century, western breakfast eaters were fueling themselves with either meat and eggs or some kind of porridge. Until the misinformed diet police started getting their knickers in a twist over fatty breakfasts we were breakfasting on just the right stuff for good energy and, yes, a healthy libido! Here’s why: cholesterol and saturated fats are vital components of all hormone production! And having a healthy sex drive is reliant on your body being able to synthesise sex hormones, namely testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone, oxytocin and vasopressin. If Dr Kellogg wanted to reduce sex drive then restricting the ingredients of traditional breakfast fare was an effective measure!

And if you aren’t convinced by the whole libido argument. How about breakfast cereals messing up your stress hormone cycles? Starting your day with a carbohydrate based breakfast causes your blood sugar levels to rise, which in turn increases your insulin production. Both of which interfere with your natural daily cortisol cycle. And when your cortisol levels are high then your non-emergency functions such as digestion, reproduction and wound healing are going to get suppressed. 

Those low-fat, added vitamins, superfoods enriched health claims on the side of the box aren’t looking so hot now are they?

What about those lovely, natural, fibre containing, organic and whole grain cereals from the health food shop? Well, it’s also worth noting that whole grains contain both enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion and phytic acid that combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc and blocks absorption of these vital minerals. So sorry, but these aren’t great either. And check the nutrition panel for sugar. Don’t be fooled by the wholesome sounding ingredients like honey, maple syrup or, I don’t know, enchanted fairy nectar. Every 4.2 grams equals one teaspoon of sugar. Add up the weight of your serving (I’m guessing it’s more than the suggested 30g.) Do the maths. 

So, what can you eat for breakfast? 

The first thing to remember is that the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” mantra is misleading. Breakfast literally means to break your fast. There is no rule that says that this has to be as soon as you wake up, or even in the morning. It’s the quality that counts. Not the timing. 

But I’m not about to deprive you of “something in a bowl” of a morning so if that’s your bag you can always try my breakfast porridge, my chia breakfast bowl or my yoghurt breakfast bowl. And, when I get round to it I will blog a lovely sugar free and low carb granola post for you. Because I realise that was a cruel trick to post a picture of some healthy homemade stuff and not actually  give you a recipe. Sorry…

If a hot drink is the most you can face then Bulletproof coffee is great. Or, try my hot coconut and vanilla shake or my breakfast hot chocolate 

A weekend breakfast is the perfect time for a fry up. But if you are missing pastries or bagels then you could try my peanut butter muffins or my breakfast cheesecake. (I’ve also just realised I have omitted to write a recipe post for pancakes! Whaaat? I will rectify this soon. Promise!)

And, of course, there’s always bone broth! (How could I finish a post about breakfast without it?!)

Broth for Breakfast

I did a talk last week for a very lovely group of student teachers and newly qualified teachers. Those of you reading who have experienced full time teaching will know all too well the sheer resilience, stamina and sheer bloody mindedness required to survive in such an environment. My heart went out to these enthusiastic, intelligent and capable young adults who were already showing some signs of stress and exhaustion. 

My talk was on stress management through making easy tweaks to some of the most vital influences on human health – those of sunlight, movement, nutrition, hydration and sleep. I hope they make some of the changes I suggested. They were time honoured diet and lifestyle habits that should discourage early burn-out. 

There was some good discussion on a few of the ideas, particularly with regard to sleep practices. But the question they asked that probably took the most explanation was this, “So what do you eat for breakfast?”

The look of horror and incredulity on their faces when I replied, “well… currently it’s bone broth!” was priceless. A few months ago I’d have laughed at me too. Because something sweet and carby is surely the ultimate in breakfast? Perking you up when you don’t really want to eat much but need a boost? No..?

Well no. Because that sweet and carby stuff does a number on your blood sugar levels and so, in turn messes up your natural cortisol cycle. And what does cortisol do? It waits in the wings ready to increase your blood glucose to help fuel a flight-or-fight response. Then you’ve got to produce insulin to deal with that spike. And the more you call on cortisol and insulin at the wrong times the less response you get when you need them. And so bit by bit we set up an unnatural stress hormone cycle that is highly deleterious to health. 

But broth and vegetables for breakfast is weird right? Well no. Ever had left over curry or noodles for breakfast? Or gorged on a fry up? Or grabbed a flakey meat pasty on the way to work? These all have that salty and comforting flavour; and combination of fat and protein that takes us back to our more primal instinctive taste preferences. But most of us probably don’t have the time or stomach to gnaw on a mammoth bone before our hunt of the day so bone broth is a perfect modern day alternative.  

Glorious savoury umami flavours ready in less than five minutes and with the ability to keep you going all morning and well into the afternoon. Would you like a recipe?

Ok. The first bit does take a while, although the prep is minimal. Stick some roasted bones (chicken, beef, pork, lamb or a mixture) in a slow cooker and cover with water and a tablespoon or so of sea salt. Add extra flavour if you like (garlic, onion, carrot, celery, black pepper) but don’t feel obliged. Simmer on the lowest setting for around 48 hours. 

Five minutes before you want to eat, melt some pastured pork lard, beef tallow or butter ghee in a frying pan, flash fry some veg and tip into a bowl. Then ladle in a few scoops of broth straight from the crockpot. That’s it! Change the vegetables you use, experiment with herbs and spices, add some cooked meat or eggs if you need the extra protein (although your broth will have a decent amount already.) 

And there you have it! A serving or two of vegetables, some healthy fat, some essential minerals and a tonne of gut-healing, infection-fighting, inflammation-reducing, bone building and skin-beautifying collagen all before you leave the house. Let me know if you’ve tried it or are planning to!

Heavenly Smoothie

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If I had to eat the same breakfast every single day of my life I might just choose this.* You know those hazy, lavender coloured clouds you get in an otherwise clear sky at sunset? This is almost definitely what they taste like.

Blitz 2 frozen bananas, a handful of frozen or fresh blueberries, a very generous tablespoon of tahini, a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup (or whatever sweetener you prefer), half a teaspoon of vanilla and about 300mls of organic raw milk, yoghurt or nut milk. Spoon it into a glass or bowl, close your eyes, ignore whatever real or imagined chaos is all around you and eat really, really slowly.

If you reduce the milk quantity you can scoop it straight into ice-cream cones and top with chopped toasted nuts and/or shavings of dark chocolate. I wouldn’t want this for breakfast, but I wouldn’t dream of judging you if you do.

* please note that I would not advise this breakfast recipe for nutritional therapy clients although I might recommend a modified version as an evening snack. 

Chia Breakfast Bowl

 Cheat alert. I forgot to prepare a proper post for you this week. But it’s been so lovely and sunny that eating outside, playing frisbee with the family, attempting my first ever cartwheel (no it wasn’t pretty, and yes I nearly broke a toe) going for lovely walks with my husband, and running through a chest hight river with a crazy friend (yes, really, it’s a long story) kinda took precedence. So, I’ve just scanned through some recent Instagram posts and wondered if you might like a recipe for a chia breakfast bowl. Would that suit? Oh good – do read on…

  1. Stumble down the stairs at 6am and stick the espresso pot on. Or boil water for green tea. Or do your meditation. Whatever works for you while you try to assemble your facial features into something that won’t scare small children.
  2. Pour chia seeds into a jug and add about three times that volume in milk or a milk substitute. Stir like a crazy thing.
  3. Sweep all the seeds that you spilt off the counter. Eat, or tip into the jug and hope nobody noticed; or let them fall to the floor for your hopeful looking dog.
  4. Gently dry fry some walnuts. Do not burn them! I know it’s early but burning them will ruin your entire day. Trust me.
  5. Find someone to set the table. Or  at least wipe it. Or at least get off their phones and try to feign interest in being helpful.
  6. Rinse blueberries. Try not to spill them in the sink.
  7. Share the chia pudding into as many bowls as you have family members. Let them help themselves to walnuts and blueberries.
  8. Sip coffee. Watch everyone’s happy smiling faces. Savour (oops, I just typed saviour) your lovely breakfast. Try to ignore the blueberries rolling all over the table. Congratulate yourself on managing to get yet another weekday breakfast on the table. I’m proud of you. You rock!

Related posts:

Flojo’s SuperSmoothies

Peanut Butter Muffins

Quick Baked Breakfast Cheesecake

Hot Chocolate for Breakfast

Peanut Butter Muffins (flour and sugar free)

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Since taking on a primal based diet I’m not missing baked stuff half as much as I thought I would. But people visit, sometimes my daughters get bored of bacon and eggs for breakfast, and occasionally it’s nice to just stuff a bit of sweetly satisfying stodge in your mouth. That’s where these babies come into their own.

They aren’t strictly Primal but you can easily replace the peanut butter with a proper nut butter; I’m just going for full on cheap, mindless and convenient with this recipe. Followers of this blog will know this by now. I am rather childlike in my approach to food. Imagine a happily playing toddler who suddenly decides they need a biscuit. Do they accept, “no problem honey, let me just pop to the shop to buy the ingredients, then we can have a lovely afternoon mixing, rolling out, cooling and then arranging them nicely on a plate”? No. That toddler would let it’s angelic mouth hinge open, tip back it’s sweetly tousled head and let forth an unearthly wail designed to alert the most stretched emergency services to their tragic circumstance. I am that toddler.

Thanks to some nifty silicon muffin trays I can get by with less than five minutes food prep, but with a minimal amount of tweaking there’s no reason why you can’t slop the mixture directly into a cake tin for super-speedy PB blondes or brownies. Embrace your inner needy toddler. Make these right now. Eat them in twenty minutes…

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Blend 300g peanut butter, 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons Truvia and half a teaspoon baking powder. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes at 180c. You can get fancy if you like and add 2 tablespoons cocoa, sprinkle with chia seeds or dollop with sugar-free jam but they are lovely as they are, warm, comforting and a bit squidgy inside.

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Quick Baked Breakfast Cheesecake

I know, I know! This blog has more cheesecake entries than a village fete. Except that village fete cakes would be pristinely presented, beautifully bedecked with seasonal home-grown edible flowers and chocolate shavings; and delicately dished up on cut glass. And mine are generally served up in an old earthenware dish that my mother bought as part of a set in Spain over 20 years ago (packed to survive the journey home in sanitary towels) and, by the time they make it to the table, are decorated with a finger dipped dent.

I digress. Would you like a very quick and easy recipe that can be on the breakfast table in under half an hour? Giving you time to brew some coffee, box up a packed lunch or two and stick a load of laundry in? Or even time to jump in the shower? There’s probably not enough time to dry your hair as well though. Just sayin’

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Throw 300g cream cheese, 4 eggs, 1 tablespoon Truvia and some vanilla in a large bowl and blend. Cover the base of an ovenproof dish with berries
(or whatever fruit floats your boat) and top with your cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 180c for around 20 minutes. Check before you serve that it’s not too runny in the middle by prodding (were you wondering about that finger dent? Mystery solved). Then spoon as slowly as you can into your mouth while reflecting that if more people’s days started with such sweetly fluffy pink and white breakfasts there would surely be a lot more sunshiny smiles on drizzly grey mornings.

Hot Chocolate for Breakfast.

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My youngest (Lily) was in meltdown late last night over a wobbly tooth that was not quite ready to come out but was causing some discomfort and a fear that it would fall out in the night and be swallowed. Rational thought fell on deaf ears; comforting words were drowned out by sobs. Finally I whispered, “hot chocolate for breakfast” in her ear. She smiled, pulled the covers over her head and was asleep within minutes.

If you promise a 9 year old chocolate for breakfast you don’t get to rescind that vow on the grounds that it won’t keep them sustained with balanced and sustained energy from 7am til midday on a school day. I am possibly the strictest parent I know, but even I realise there are limits, of which this broken contract pushes the boundaries a little too far.

Rather than damaging your relationship with your child irrevocably you smugly present this glorious concoction and then gild the lily (as it were) with Sarah Wilson’s Simply Sweet Biscuits which are made from almonds, butter and stevia and thus guarantee that you and your loved ones will leave the house with a glow far superior to the Ready Brek phosphorescence (apologies to anyone not bought up in the UK in the late 70s)

For a family of four thoroughly blend 600ml organic whole milk, 200ml organic double cream, four organic egg yolks, 4 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon gelatin and your choice of natural sweetener to taste. Then very gently heat it all in a saucepan while frequently whisking.

While you sip on this thick, custardy, rich and ambrosial cup of decadence you can rest assured that not only will the fat and protein keep you sated until lunchtime, the gelatine will help heal a damaged gut (and make your hair, skin and nails strong and shiny), the A & D vitamins will support your thyroid and the chocolate content will ensure that your children love you forever.