breakfast cereal: an anti-masturbation invention!?

Posted on September 14th, 2011

I write about breakfast a lot. My breakfast choices stray left of the cereal box. I eat meat muffins. And pumpkin with sardines. And stirfried sprouts with egg. And so I’m often met with the reaction: but that’s not what breakfast is meant to be, that’s not how breakfast goes?!

Isn’t it?

photo by Sarah Illenberger

I personally think that fat and protein are best at breakfast and that sugar should be avoided at all costs because it sets the day up for a rollercoaster ride of cravings. A protein-less breakfast leaves you unsatiated. And yet that’s the kind of start to the day we’ve been sold. Reader Dani alerted me to this article by Anneli Rufus. It’s a good succinct overview of a lot of material I read about how:

breakfast = dry cereal dripping in sugar in LARGE part because big corporations have sold us into believing such an equation.

But know this:

Breakfast foods are dictated by corporate interests + masturbation paranoia.

 

Breakfast is a much politicised meal. Rufus writes “Cold cereal, donuts and orange juice are now breakfast staples because somebody somewhere wanted money.”

  • cereal as we know it was born out of a desire to produce something that would stop us masturbating!  Not. Kidding. Seeking to provide sanitarium patients with meatless anti-aphrodisiac breakfasts in 1894, surgeon and anti-masturbation activist John Kellogg developed the process of flaking cooked grains. Hence Corn Flakes. And Rice Crispies.
  • in pre-Corn Flakes time, breakfast wasn’t cold or sweet. It was hot and hearty.
  • pre-industry, we loaded up on protein-rich eggs, sausages, ham and belly-fat bacon along with ancient carb classics: mush, pancakes, bread.
  • “Cold cereals are an invention of vegetarians and the health-food industry. These companies (like Kelloggs) realized early on that people like sugar, and kids really like sugar – so they shifted their sales target from adults concerned about health to kids who love sugar. It’s a thoroughly American invention.”
  • yogurt was considered freakish in the US when General Mills began promoting it heavily as a “health food” in the early 1970s. The US yogurt industry is now worth over $4 billion a year. A single one-serving container of Yoplait fruit yogurt contains 28 grams, or seven teaspoons, of sugar.
  • one hundred and fifty years ago, Americans consumed two to three times more calories per day than they do now, “mostly at breakfast. Yet obesity and diabetes weren’t at epidemic proportions, because half of Americans still lived on farms or did manual labor in cities.” I’ll add this: you’ll note SUGAR was missing from the equation!
  • these days,

“We wake up, eat dessert, then sit.”

  • breakfast these days is disconnected from class, career, ethnicity, and the functionality of bodies burning fuel. Its history is hewn of cravings, insecurities, subliminalities and false confidence conjured by strangers who tell us how to start our days, because they can…

Also know this:

The food pyramid? That says grains are best? Bogus!

The Australian food pyramid is derived from the US one which in turn is a creation of…wait for it… the US Dept of Agriculture in 1992. Not a food or health department. The department that takes care of farmers. Huh????

The argument is made MANY times over that the food and agricultural associations exert MUCH political power on the USDA. Food industries, such as milk companies, have been accused of influencing the United States Department of Agriculture into making the coloured spots on the food pyramid larger for their particular product. Grain-based industries have done the same. The pyramid is not an independent guide.

The good news, this year, following a stack of lobbying, the USDA rolled out its new “MyPlate” program. Veggies and protein are given more focus.

Anyway. Thought you’d be interested….

 

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  • Sam

    First line error Sarah – “I eat meet muffins”

    Will continue reading but hopefully you can change this. And certainly an interesting topic today LOL.

    [Reply]

    Jo Foster Reply:

    Thanks Sam. Fixed.
    Jo

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  • Sam

    Still haven’t read the article but the photo is brilliant!!! I just got it!

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  • Rosie

    Yes, I get that brekky cereals are an awful invention. Protein may be the way to start the day but I’m getting stuck for ideas that are egg & yoghurt freeeeeeee. Smoked salmon works every now and then and draw the line at having chicken for breaky. Any other ideas?

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    Quinoa, amaranth, millet all work as a gluten free porridge with a decent dose of protein. Super easy to cook in a rice cooker and chuck in some frozen berries and chia seeds and serve with some ricotta or yoghurt.

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    Rosie Reply:

    Must learn to make some quinoa porridge. I wonder if it can be made into something like a bircher type muesli for the summer-time?

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    EmilyKate Reply:

    Not quite bircher, but you can sprout quinoa (quite a quick sprout) which I have done recently and serve with with berries and chopped almonds. tastes very fresh :o)

    Fiona Reply:

    Hey Sarah great article – I love it.
    @ Rosie there are lots of protein options (with out eating chicken) tofu, tempheh, sardines, combined grains can also make a complete protein. Check out some of my suggestions http://naturopathfionahogan.blogspot.com/2011/03/easy-ideas-for-breakfast.html

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    Monkey Mia Reply:

    Also, you can buy sheep’s milk yoghurt if lactose is the problem, or you can make your own coconut or almond milk yoghurt, which is diary-free.

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    Rosie Reply:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve not heard of sprouting quinoa but it sounds interesting.

    Tofu might be an option but I’m not always great with soy. I’ll have to experiment. Thanks for the website link too.

    I haven’t tried sheep’s milk but I used to have goats milk when I was younger, I might have to revisit. I do like to coconut milk/cream idea for brekky. Maybe I can incorporate in a smoothie or just over my porridge.

    It’s great to get some fresh new ideas.

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  • sarah

    The advertising is terrible, promoting things like cocoa pops as being made of
    ‘wholegrains’ when they are still basically like eating chocolate for breakfast. I find it disgusting the way companies are selling their product as ‘healthy’. Same goes for flavoured yoghurt and ‘fat free’ stuff that’s packed with sugar. I can’t eat eggs, bacon, etc but I have a big bowl of rice porridge with quinoa, psyllium and whole milk.

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    And then the heart foundation whacks a tick on it!

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    Monkey Mia Reply:

    Aaaand, someone else whacks a LOW GI sticker on it! No wonder we are so confused.

    That’s why I no longer support the Heart Foundation. Once they started putting ticks on high-sugar products and MacDonalds, I was out!

    [Reply]

    sarah Reply:

    I forgot they gave McDonalds ticks! It is unbelievable

    Sam Reply:

    Maybe someone has been reading this article…

    http://www.news.com.au/business/mcdonalds-health-tick-is-crossed-off/story-e6frfm1i-1226142196437

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  • Karen

    Sarah, growing up in a self sustainable environment did your family eat a nutritious breakfast everyday or was it from a box? I’m interested in whether you have always been left of centre at breakfast due to your upbringing or just since you’ve been sick?

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    From a box. But always sugar free – it was Vitabrits only.

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  • Emily

    Love this post.

    I have never liked breakfast as I never felt like cereals of a morning and always felt like a freak. I also found that whenever I ate cereals I was hungry by mid morning. Now I am forcing myself to have some form of protein for breakky – even if it is a quick single fried egg. This seems to sate me through to lunch without hunger pangs at all!

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  • http://econest.blogspot.com/ Maria Hannaford

    In the aussie version of the Plate Model that more and more dietitians are using, fruit is not on the plate. It’s a little circle outside of the plate next to dairy. Half the plate is non-starchy veggies, 1/4 carb or starchy veg and the other 1/4 protein.

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    Lucy Cotter Reply:

    Yes, that’s an awfully big segment they have for fruit on that plate. Would equate to way more than the couple of pieces recommended if you are trying to limit fructose. Personally, I would swap the dairy and the fruit sections, but that’s because I seem to do okay with lactose, but I know it’s a big problem for some. There really is no one-size-fits-all for diet, apart from fresh/organic, unprocessed and a wide variety. Very interesting info on cereals. Secret men’s business behind yet another misdirection in “health”.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I think we’d find the fruit (fruit juice) industry might just have a part to play in the large fruit wedge!

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  • Karen

    What happened to the other blog posted today? I just came back to print off and it has gone!

    [Reply]

    Jo Foster Reply:

    Hey Karen,
    Sorry – we uploaded two posts today by accident. That one will be up again tomorrow!
    Jo x

    [Reply]

  • Carolyn

    I am gluten and sugar free. If you get sick of eggs, there is nothing wrong with just having leftover dinners. A meal is a meal

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    V Reply:

    Love it! This made me smile

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    Emily Reply:

    Agreed! I made my dad have fried broccoli for breakfast the other day – completely normal for me but I didn’t realise until afterwards that it was something that many people don’t consider “normal”!

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    beth Reply:

    Totally agree. I used to grow up eating leftovers for breakfast all the time. Dad used to recook a Polish dish called Pierogi – filled with ricotta cheese or mushrooms. I’ve always been a savourty tooth though. Can’t stand cereals and never what I feel like first thing in the mornings. Thanks Sarah – as always, great post!

    [Reply]

    GiGi Reply:

    Yeah, I used to view cereals (Weetbix) as dessert; great to have just before bed. Alas, I’m gluten-free and low-lactose now, so no more……

  • Ross H

    One thing is for sure – I shall never look at a cereal box the same way again!

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  • Jasmin

    I read that article about a week ago. I have been loosely following The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder and have honestly never felt better, most mornings consist of a green smoothie but sometimes I do have eggs or oats. I save the proteins mostly for dinner and occasionally eat them at lunch so far I’m very happy with how it’s going, I’ve never been this regular either :)

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  • Adrienne

    Check out entry #3 on the following list:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18840_5-common-medical-procedures-that-secretly-arent-worth-it.html

    It will lead you to the following website:

    http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=KelPlai.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=11&division=div1

    Written by Kellogg to advise against “self-abuse” as masturbation was referred to.

    I’ve never looked at Corn Flakes in the same innocent way.

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    Monkey Mia Reply:

    That article by Dr Kellogg is GOLD! My favourite piece of advise – “The influence of coffee in stimulating the genital organs is notorious.”

    Or, “The wearing of a suspensory bag is also advisable for those whose testicles are unusually pendulous.” :)

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  • Ross H

    Actually old man Kellog was quite a character. I believe he met his end while jumping into an icy-cold river to prove that cold-water bathing was good for you. The shock of the water gave him a heart attack and he carked it. Which just goes to show what I’ve long said – exercise is bad for you – it gives you heart attacks! Just kidding. About the exercise bit.

    [Reply]

    GiGi Reply:

    I’m not so sure that you’re that far off. I think you can have too much exercise. I feel much better when I have ‘relaxed’ exercise like walking, dancing or riding my bike or incidental exercise; rather than the sort that makes my head thump and my heart beat out of my chest and makes me feel like I’m about to faint.
    What do others think?

    [Reply]

  • Sara

    Very informative post, Sarah. I never questioned the amount of sugar in a single of serving of Yoplait!

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  • Monkey Mia

    Is that masturbation story the reason why Sanitarium is called… Sanitarium? Cos it was invented in an insane asylum to stop peopel wanking?

    If so that’s really creepy and will completely change my view on childhood brand names. Even more so than seeing the dude from Better Homes and Gardens in Wolf Creek.

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  • Nadine

    Nothing wrong with good old peanut butter (sugar free one) on toast or crumpet either.
    I have a porridge just made with Coles (virtually sugar free) wheat biscuits, some unprocessed bran and plenty of whole milk.
    Or avocado on toast (with tomato slices, or vegemite etc).
    Or tuna/sardines on toast.
    Savoury french toast.
    From my family’s point of view we stopped having cooked breakfasts when the mum figure had to go to work!

    [Reply]

  • http://mrmathew1963.blogspot.com Mathew

    Quite an interesting article, I love my home grown tomato’s & egg on toast or bacon eggs & tomato.

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  • Terry

    Does cereal include muesli (with rolled oats)? I find having that with soy milk & an apple works for me & keeps me satiated much longer than the bacon,eggs & toast I used to have

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  • http://www.cassandrallen.blogspot.com Cassandra

    Sarah, you might like this talk from 2008 Gary Taubes, lots of interesting info. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4362041487661765149

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  • Stephanie

    You know, I’m interested in this. I spend a lot of time in Italy. It’s always surprising to me, given that they’re so traditional and stubborn about food, that breakfast as far as I can observe consists of some kind of a sweet pastry and a capuccino. My Italian boyfriend finds it “gross” that I like eggs in the morning. “Stefaniuccia, I don’t know how you can eat those things in the morning – eggs, prosciutto..” I usually attribute this aversion to the fact that we eat so much food so late in the evenings. He consumes a capuccino and ten sugar biscotti for breakfast. Eew! You would think though that at some point workers in the fields in the mornings would have eaten something more hearty – but probably we’re talking beans or polenta. I don’t know. I admired the breakfasts I was served when I lived in South Korea and visited my friends’ parents there – lots of dishes with fish, etc. I always left sated.

    [Reply]

    Rosie Reply:

    Stephanie, you make a good point. While I can’t remember what my mum’s side of the family had for brekky (they were Sicilian) but I was asking dad just this morning, (he’s from northern Italy) and you’re right, no sugar biscotti back then. He mainly had polenta and even though now he they have more buckwheat polenta, back then it was the cornmeal one. Can’t remember if there was coffee involved, being italian, there probably was. But he never ate eggs in the morning.

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    Stephanie Reply:

    Thanks so much for asking about this, Rosie!!! I was going to ask my boyfriend about this when we’re with his family in Florence in two weeks. Very interesting. I imagine the no-protein thing is related to the patterns of eating that they keep, because I think most Italians do eat quite a bit of meat (but at night).

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    Although I’m really curious about regional variation. My boyfriend’s family is originally from Basilicata in the south (though they also lived in Sicily). I’m going to inquire further! :)

    Rosie Reply:

    Stephanie, re the protein bit, don’t forget that they only ate what was available, locally grown. I know that for example where my dad is from the main meat they ate was pork. Mind you they also had cows up in the mountains but they didn’t tend to eat them they mainly made butter and cheese. As for chickens, I think only a few people had those, mainly for eggs (but not for brekky) and they rarely ate the chickens. Actually I read somewhere that the french tend not to have eggs for brekky either. Would love to know what they had in sicily, I just can’t remember. Do love this stuff though! :-)

    Stephanie Reply:

    I think you have it exactly right, Rosie!

    Rosie Reply:

    p.s. lucky you going to Florence in 2 weeks!!!!

    Stephanie Reply:

    Don’t I know it. I LOOOOVEEE Florence! I took seven weeks of unpaid leave from my job and was there studying Italian and drawing in April-May. Glorious!

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    Rosie Reply:

    Have fun, not jealous at all!! Enjoy your italian brekkies..then you can tell us what they eat now-a-days :-)

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  • http://toomanycommas.com/blog/ Elissa

    I completely agree. I used to eat sweet breakfasts, but a few years ago, I started eating some combination of the following: eggs, turkey bacon, quinoa, sauteed spinach, beans. The protein keeps me full and prevents me from that horrible starving feeling midday. Now if I eat cereal or anything sweet for breakfast, my stomach gets upset.

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  • Anthony

    I like to just drink water for a few hours after waking, then nibble some sourdough bread with a spread. I like masturbation anyway, use it or lose it.

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  • http://womanincredible.com Kat Eden

    Possibly the best blog post I’ve ever read; those quotes are killer. Thankyou so much for writing this Sarah! I was first put onto the ‘meat and nuts’ breaky by my coach Charles Poliquin, who is famed for getting athletes, celebrities and everyday people in amazing shape. But more importantly than that he teaches the realities of healthy eating in the modern world. Of course it doesn’t ‘have’ to be exactly meat and nuts but what I’ve come to advocate since following his methods is also some sort of protein and fat mix.

    You look amazing and feel even better eating that way :)

    PS – sardines and pumpkin; yum!

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  • kieran

    avoid all the whites.white sugar,white flour,white rice,milk.eat right for your blood type.

    [Reply]

    Miranda Reply:

    So do you include yoghurt and eggs and even cauliflower in that ‘no white food’? As someone with fructose malabsorption/lactose intolerance/wheat/rye intolerance, if I were to follow the blood type diet according to my blood type, it just wouldn’t work. Many foods listed are the ones to avoid because of the high fructose/fructans etc. So it isn’t that simplistic! Brown rice, whilst it might be better is actually more troublesome than white rice is for suffers of IBS like myself!

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    kieran Reply:

    yoghurt no,eggs yes,cauliflower yes.I find it rather odd that people want to seperate themselves from nature.eat foods as close to nature as nature intended.no proceeded foods.sugar processed.white flour processed,rice processed,milk processed.all goodness has been removed.unbalanced foods.

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    Miranda Reply:

    I absolutely agree with you on that one. I eat that way and have done so for years. My discovery of IBS and all of my intolerances came about because my diet was filled with the many and varied fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains that are actually irritants to sufferers such as myself. It was quite a surprise to me to discover that all of the foods that I was eating that are healthy – I mean apples and brocolli to name but two – were actually contributing to my pain and suffering! This journey for me has been long, hard and frustrating, and I know that if I try and eat anything closer to nature still, I’ll be eating it before it is rip/grown,harvested etc!!! :)

    Rosie Reply:

    Miranda, I can so relate to you. No it’s not that easy for people with IBS. I too have IBS & leaky gut. If it’s not one thing I have to remove/limit from my diet because of ibs then it’s something that reacts to my leaky gut or something that I’m actually intolerant to. I think it also relates to whether foods have soluable or insoluable fibre and the “brown rice, nuts, seeds & legumes” all the healthy (insoluable) stuff just isn’t that great for our systems. Find what works for you – it’s a lot of trial and error and a lot of headaches but if you stick to something basic your tummy/digestive system will thank you for it! :-)

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  • http://alternativehousewife.com Janine @ Alternative Housewife

    The new ‘pyramid’ still has more grains than it should. Great post though – I’m sharing it all over!

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  • Arina

    Excellent article, Sarah.

    However I have one question that I’d be interested in hearing your views on: if the Agriculture dept AND the Dairy Indsutry both had stakes in controlling the food pyramid….who’s to say advice to eat more protein doesn’t come from the global Meat and Livestoke industries?

    Just as plausible I think…

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  • Larns

    In my uni studies we are given side studies to research that help us to become critical on research one such study was on milk and though not easily accessible there is tons of reports on milk in the medical journals (as they’re not profitable to anyone) and just how bad it has become. Many reports find a correlation between milk consumption and childhood diabieties cancers and gastrointestinal problems incising bleeding which leads to anemia. One report tells how 50 years ago a single top producing cow produced 2,000 liters of milk the top producers today make 50,000 liters due to growth hormones etc all things that go through the milk to us. It also found a high proportion of white blood cells ( read puss) in the milk. We are also the only species on the planet that continues to drink milk past infancy. Why? And why the cows milk? Could have been any animal. There was also a positive correlation between whole milk consumption and a higher incidence of osteoporosis despite being told to drink milk to prevent it. I have since been researching better alternatives and have found some amazing info on how wonderful coconuts are for us. (sorry for mistakes and lack of grammar I’m on my iPhone and auto correct takes over :D )

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  • Sylvia

    As an American, I must say DO NOT TRUST THE USDA! There are one or two big corporations that pull the strings on everything (Monsanto much?). We would still have that whack food pyramid if Michelle Obama hadn’t chosen to tackle obesity as First Lady (go girl!). Even so, I remain skeptical…

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  • Sheri c

    I just found your website and have been reading through it this afternoon and had to comment on this post. I too HATE breakfast cereals and will only have them if it’s the last thing I have. I love savoury breakfasts and don’t feel my day starts out right with some sweet breakfast cereal. I eat alot of fish in the morning, maybe left over from dinner the night before, i make an awesome quinoa salad I will have as well. But stay away from that crap! I am studying to be a holistic nutritionist at the moment and what I have been learning about the thyroid and adrenal glands is amazing, I had no idea. Good luck on your journey.

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