By Elizabeth Szlek ; Wellness Counselor
Today’s Observer Dispatch had an article condemning breakfast cereals. That’s right – condemning them and offering no consolation at all! The bottom line is: They are mostly composed of various sugars and highly processed grains. Yes, so what? Is that so bad??
To answer this, we need to look at these two nutrients, and see if they produce positive effects in the body. First, sugar. It is present in many forms in our boxed cereals. Just look at some of the ones on your shelves, and you will be unpleasantly surprised to find that you are eating sugar, sugar, sugar for breakfast.
If you eat sweetened cereals, it’s even worse. But even if you eat something seemingly “healthy” you are still getting a major sugar hit from your bowl of whatever.Then consider this: Most people have milk with their cereal. Lately, many are switching to nut milks or, god forbid, soy milk. These industrial products are also loaded with sugar, as is milk.
If you think you are being “good” by using skim, 1% or 2% milk, think again. These are also industrial products, and not only is the best part, the cream, removed from them, they also contain added powdered milk, which contains oxidized cholesterol, which your body will deposit in your vascular system, clogging those vessels.
I recently read an article by a psychiatrist who has diabetes. She is eating a ketogenic (high fat) diet, but was experimenting with new devices to measure her blood sugar. She doesn’t usually eat this way, but for the sake of the experiment, she ate a bowl of Cheerios and skim milk. Sounds pretty harmless, and even healthy, right? Wrong.
Her well-controlled blood sugar skyrocketed to over 200 in a matter of minutes! Remember, skim milk has no fat, and fat is what helps keep blood sugar under control. So, boom! Up went the numbers. And Cheerios is made from highly processed grain, which means that the “good” nutrients that might have been present, like any fats, were completely removed. Thinking About Carbohydrates Most of us don’t really think about flour or grain as sugar, but that is exactly how it is processed and used in our bodies.
Our bodies turn carbs into glucose, and if we have too much glucose in our blood, the insulin will spring into action and help our bodies store it as fat. Maintaining a good blood sugar level is JOB NUMBER ONE for our bodies. This is crucial to our existence, which is why we have been provided with several ways to get rid of excess glucose in the blood, and also to create it from both fat and protein, if needed. One thing our body does not require, except in small amounts, are carbohydrates. Isn’t it amazing that we are taught that we need to eat nine servings of grains and other carbs every day? Amazing, and wrong.
Why would you tell a diabetic to consume a diet high in carbs? Yet, this happens all the time. Many medical professionals have not caught up to the latest knowledge on what the body needs for optimum health. We do need some carbs, and a no-carb diet would not be best for us. But, especially in America, we generally eat WAY too many carbs.
What would be the quintessential American meal? A hamburger, French fries, and a soda, right? Yes, the beef is protein and fat. OK. But the soda is totally carbs, the potato is just carbs, and the roll and any condiments are carbs, too.Here’s a better scenario: A wonderful hamburger patty, fried in butter: No bun. You could put on a slice of cheese, maybe some onions, a pickle, lettuce and tomato, maybe mayo. And, a small green salad loaded with great vegetables. For drink: Some kombucha, a fermented tea.
Now, you’ve got something that won’t send you blood sugar soaring, and won’t cause your body to store the excess carbs as fat. So What Do We Eat for Breakfast?So many things! First, I like to think about eggs, and perhaps some bacon or sausage. Protein and fat will fuel you for many hours, and you won’t be searching for that ten o’clock pick-me-up, since your blood sugar will be very slowly declining until it’s time to eat lunch. I find with this kind of breakfast, I am not even thinking about food until 2 or 3 PM.
There are many other great options: A smoothie made with homemade yogurt, adding some good protein powder, some fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. Or use nut milk or raw milk. Just go easy on the carbs. ‘How about some homemade sourdough bread with cheese? Yes it is a carb, but if the flour was freshly ground, it still contains all the nutrients that were meant to be there. Any kind of frittata, employing vegetables, meats, and cheeses is a great choice.
You get the idea: Stay away from refined carbs and sugar, and you will be on your way to balanced blood sugar and better health!Elizabeth Szlek is the Director of The Door Counseling Center of Yorkville, NY.
She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and a certified GAPS Practitioner. She can be reached at (315) 768-8900.