Why We Eat Cereal in the Morning
Regarding the staple cereals we usually consume we rarely ask the interesting question: How did it come to be eaten in the morning? Moreover, why is it called “breakfast cereal”?
Natashia Geiling, in her article in the Smithsonian, inquisitively stated that:
“For the privileged eaters of the Western world, so much of eating is done routinely: cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, probably a protein and vegetable for dinner. Sometimes, the act of eating is so second nature that the guidelines that dictate how and when we eat are invisible—guidelines such as eating a steak for dinner but not for breakfast, or eating lunch in the middle of the day. Eating wasn’t always dictated by these rules—so why is it now?” Consumerism, marketing, and advertising - but we'll save that for another post. Point being, break free from the chains of society dictating how you live your life and what you eat when. You'll be surprised with a little digging how some foods should never be consumed so early and others so late.
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Breakfast cereal is derived from processed grain and is often eaten with milk, yogurt, fruit, or nuts. It is often fortified with vitamins and minerals, which means nutrients are added to make it more nutritious.
Harold McGee in his book, On Food and Cooking, stated that:
“Apart from breads and pastries, the most common form in which Americans consume grain is probably the breakfast cereal. There are two basic types of breakfast cereals: hot, which requires cooking, and ready-to-eat, which is eaten as is, often with some cold milk.” Looking for a gluten free healthy low carb bread option?
McGee also discussed hot cereals in his book:
“Hot cereals have been eaten since the dawn of civilization in the form of gruels, porridges, and congees. Corn grits, oatmeal, and cream of wheat are modern examples. Cooking the whole or milled cereal in excess of hot water softens the cell walls, gelates the starch grains and leaches starch molecules out, and produces a digestible, bland mush. The only significant improvement brought by the machine age has been a reduction in cooking time, either by grinding the cereal finely enough that it’s quickly cooked, or by partly precooking it.”
In the recipe below, we will be making a warm cereal using oats, not the sugar-packed commercial product we see in the supermarkets. The method of cooking is practically based on the hot cereal principle.
So if you and I are going to start the day, we both want this to be as energy packed as it can be. Of course, not just the physical body, but our brains as well. In this recipe, a nootropic meal replacement is added to boost your brain function as well. Here are some the collective benefits of eating oats in the morning.
According to the USDA, a half cup of cereals, about 78 grams, contains the following:
Manganese: 191% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
Copper: 24% of the RDI
Iron: 20% of the RDI
Zinc: 20% of the RDI
Folate: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
Rolled oats contain high contents of antioxidants and polyphenols, which are beneficial plant compounds. Avenanthramides is a unique group of antioxidants and the most notable, such that it is almost solely found in oats.
Avenanthramides is also attributed to lower blood pressure levels by increasing the nitric oxide contents in the body. This gas molecule aids in dilating blood vessels, which results in better blood flow.
Oatmeal also contains soluble fiber, which is deposited in the digestive system longer. This helps in the feeling of satiety, which makes you feel fuller longer. It also helps in preventing overeating during the day, which helps maintain weight and avoid health complications related to obesity.
Consuming a half cup of oatmeal a day can reap many health benefits because of the fiber it contains.
Fiber is described as a part of plant materials in the diet that humans are not capable of digesting. It is one of the important components in maintaining gastrointestinal health by maintaining the transit time through the gastrointestinal tract and adding bulk, which increases a feeling of fullness and prevents constipation.
Oats also contain water-soluble proteins in the form of beta-glucan, which helps control blood sugar by decreasing the digestion time. This can help for diabetics to achieve improved glycemic control and prevent resistance to insulin.
Frequent consumption of high fiber foods has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. According to the American Heart Association, adults should eat 25–30 grams of fiber per day. But according to studies, most Americans consume only half of that amount. Supplementing your diet with clean fiber is an excellent way to improve digestion and overall gut health especially when most people aren't consuming enough fiber, and let's face it, some people just don't like to eat their veggies.
Adding Flaxseed Meal to the Diet
First, what is flaxseed? According to Harold McGee:
“Flaxseed comes from plants native to Eurasia, species of Linum and especially L. usitatissimum, which have been used for more than 7,000 years as a food and to make linen fiber. The small, tough, reddish-brown seed is about 35% oil and 30% protein and has a pleasantly nutty flavor and an attractively glossy appearance. Two qualities set it apart from other edible seeds. Second, its oil is over half linolenic acid, an “omega-3” fatty acid that the body can convert into the healthful long-chain fatty acids (DHA, EPA) found in algae and seafood.
Flax oil (also known as linseed oil, and valued in manufacturing for drying to a tough water-resistant layer) is by far the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids among plant foods. Second, flaxseed is about 30% dietary fiber, a quarter of which is a gum in the seed coat made up of long chains of various sugars. Thanks to the gum, ground flaxseed forms a thick gel when mixed with water, is an effective emulsifier and foam stabilizer, and can improve the volume of baked goods.”
According to Robert Igoe, flaxseed is a seed from flax which is rich in omega-3 fatty acid (up to 24 percent by weight), total dietary fiber, and lignans.
So how do flaxseeds contribute to our health?
- Hui stated that in a certain research, it was highlighted that the special dietary needs of postmenopausal women is a diet rich in phytoestrogens, which is found in soy products and flaxseeds, helps alleviate the symptoms of menopause, and plays a role in the prevention of breast cancer and the development of melanomas. (It may also help prevent prostate cancer in men) (Payne 2000). Calcium, along with adequate vitamin D and load-bearing exercise, is also required to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women (Chernoff 1996).
Studies suggest flaxseeds are a defense against colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. According to the director of health and nutrition of the Flax Council of Canada, Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, the two components of flaxseeds: (1) ALA, the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid found to inhibit tumor incidence and growth and (2) lignans, which, when exposed, help reduce the risk of breast cancer and may also increase the survival rate of breast cancer patients.
So get started now and nourish your body with what it needs to thrive.
Coco Squash Warm Cereal1 ½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened
2 scoops Momental MIND Nootropic Meal Replacement
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
½ cup squash puree, canned or fresh
3 cups fresh milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 tablespoon molasses
- In a medium-size saucepan, mix all the ingredients together. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until rolled oats becomes thick.
- Allow the mixture to warm, and serve
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2–3 servings