Not Your Childhood’s Breakfast Cereal

Chocolate Cereal from Tanya Dawn Flickr photostream

Many of us have cereal memories.

Perhaps you were the poor kid who had to break your teeth on Grape Nuts (AKA Gravel Nuts) and only got the pleasure that is Honey Nut Cheerios on special occasions.  Or maybe you were the one who had to make the painful decision between Cookie Crisp, Cap’N Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, et. al. – ultimately deciding based on the color the milk would turn.

Well, I was the first kid, but I had plenty of the second in my neighborhood.  =)  I was that child who would stare longingly into my friends’ candied pantries and ask if we could PLEASE eat something before we played.  

And now I am raising those children.  But that’s for another post…

In the meantime, our family has come up with a new alternative to boxed breakfast cereals that everyone seems to be happy with.  (Except for the hubs, whose price-love and desire for TJ’s Honey Oat O’s has yet to be broken…)

So you may have heard (or just intuited) that modern cereals are just not  healthy for you.  In fact, they are actually toxic – even the “healthy” ones!  The main reason is that the high pressure and temperatures that the grains are extruded at denatures the proteins, but here’s a more detailed explanation.  And this has been confirmed, most notably through a study of groups of rats who were fed Corn Flakes or the box they came in.  Guess which ones died first?  Yeah, them…

So why isn’t this front page news?  Because cereal is a billion dollar industry.  And they haven’t spent that money on researching the effects of their product.  But, like many things, there are alternatives to buying into the mainstream politics of food.

We do a lot of eggs, porridge, bacon, pancakes, etc. around here, but sometimes you just want a little CRUNCH.  As Umami is to Japanese cuisine, so crunchy is to the American palate.  I think that’s part of the draw to cereal.

So here is our most recent attempt to satisfy the cereal crunch craving.

Based on Dr. Nick of Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic‘s “paleo cereal,” the kids and I did a little shopping – in the pantry.  Like that old joke about Californians, we pulled out all the fruit, nuts (& seeds), and flakes that we could find.  And this is what we came up with:

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Nuts and seeds

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Coconut shreds and flakes

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Frozen and dried fruit

If you don’t have a lot of these things in your pantry, then pick one up each time you go shopping and in no time at all, you can have a weird pantry too!  

FuN Sereal (Fruit, Nuts, Seeds)

(You may notice that my units of measurement are a bit loosey-goosey, so play around with the amounts starting on the more conservative side and using a small bowl.  It’s filling, so a little goes a long way.)

We started by pouring a bit of the frozen blueberries, raspberries & pineapple (for the kids) in each bowl so it would have time to thaw.  Then we put a couple sprinkles each of the small hemp, chia, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds in.

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Next I poured a handful of the bigger nuts:  macadamia (love!), cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc. and dried banana chips onto a cutting board and chopped it up into crunchy little nuggets to make it easier to eat.

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And we finished it off with a scattering of shredded coconut (and/or the bigger coconut flakes).

Christen with some raw milk and you are good to go!  (If you can’t do dairy then I recommend coconut milk from a BPA-free can.  Those tetra-pack ones have yucky additives…Dang carrageenan.)

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You can definitely add in other fun things like raisins, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs, and even some trail mix!  And many folks believe that soaking and dehydrating the nuts makes them even more nutritious.  (When I have it really together, I do that.)

Disclaimer:  Now if you are weaning off the sugary stuff, then this will be notably less sweet, so maybe add in some honey roasted or candied nuts to trick your taste buds.

But notice the color of the milk?  Take that, Count Chocula!!

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So there you have it – a quick, nutritious, kid-approved alternative to modern cereals and one more option for the breakfast rotation.  YAY!

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What would you add to your FuN Sereal?

This has been shared at Make Your Own! Monday and Healthy 2day Wednesday.

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11 thoughts on “Not Your Childhood’s Breakfast Cereal

  1. Grape Nuts “Rocks” as I called it as a kid, was my favorite. I will try this fruity nut mix and see how it goes. It sounds super flavorful! Maybe you could throw in a handful of “rocks” with the fruits and nuts for fiber…

  2. Great article. It should be noted that one of the reasons the study on the rats and Corn Flakes did not get any media attention is that is was never published unless someone has tried to duplicate it in the last few years. I linked on your source for that, but could not find it on the linked website. Studies that are not officially published do not tend to get any media attention or credence in general. It is shared broadly in WAP circles and I tend to beleive it, but it does not have high academic credence. I am hoping that someone has or will repeat it and have it officially published.

  3. My favorite was grape nut flakes!
    I just made a double batch of granola: 6 cups oats, about 1/3 cup each of sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, pecans and walnuts, 1t cinnamon stirred together and poured in about a cup of coconut oil (it’s for Grandpa with Parkinson’s, so the coconut is for his health and on his budged, better than medicine!) bake for 10 min, stir, bake 10 min, cool. Sprinkle on raisins and craisins, and pack into his two oversize jars. He eats it daily with a full fat Greek yogurt (he is skinny and needs to beef up) and I only snitch from his supply when I’m baking granola bread in the bread machine. Now there’s another recipe!

  4. We call that ” Chop Chop” at our house! However….we don’t add half the yummy things you do. Thanks for the ideas! We use chopped almonds, frozen berries and whatever fruit we have on hand, coconut, chia seeds, and coconut milk. sometimes I add a handful of raw oats ( not the best on your tummy) or homemade granola, or put the whole thing on top of a smoothie….yum!

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  8. I thought I’d check out this great post after seeing it in Healthy 2day and show my support.
    My mom never bought us boxed cereal growing up (she called it junk food) but we really wanted it. My grandparents who were marathon runners ate “healthy”, so when we went to visit, we had grape rocks 🙂 with low fat milk… Yum! Oh, it was awful. Later in my life I got into boxed cereals but stopped about 10 years ago when I found out they are bad. I usually do hot cereal, soaked of course, if I feel like eating grains for breakfast.
    I’ll have to try this one out sometime, looks interesting.
    Thanks for posting.

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