Pop for breakfast, anyone?
There is something to say about honesty. At least pop doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a hefty dose of sugar, while most cereals and breads trumpet their health virtues though they contain the same amount of sugar as coke. Indeed, even a small bowl of high-fibre, seven-grain cereal is equivalent in carbohydrate content to two chocolate chip cookies. Lovely. Coke, cookies, and cereal affect insulin the same way, causing it to spike quickly and store fat. Which royally sucks, since all you want to do is SHED fat. For the same number of calories as that bowl of cereal, you can eat a cup of pineapple, half a cup of cottage cheese, and a spoonful of coconut – a balanced blend of carbs, protein, and fat that will keep insulin at bay.
Just for kicks, walk around with a calculator for a day and add up the amount of carbohydrates and calories in all the “whole grain” foods you eat. Add up every bite. If you find that you start feeling light-headed and anxious after tallying up breakfast, don’t panic. It’s likely just the cortisol stress response to the bittersweet truth about food marketing. Or maybe it’s the insulin response from the sugar that shot into your bloodstream after breakfast.
Half a cup of most grain-based foods delivers a large dose of sugar, no matter how “natural” a form it may be. Between 25 and 50 grams of glucose enters your bloodstream after you consume five forkfuls of most grains. Yikes. Even more disturbing is the fact that you likely eat five times that amount, driving the sugar up to 50, 75, 100 grams. Zoom, zoom. The more glucose in your meal, the harder you crash, the more you stash.
This science of nutrition and food chemistry is straight-forward – once you’ve learned it, that is. Funny thing about knowledge. It’s our unfortunate LACK of knowledge that allows the food industry to play puppeteer, manipulating our habits, hungers, and beliefs. Mindless marionettes, we get fatter and sicker by the day, jacked up on grains. Food companies grow greedier and wealthier by coming in with more and more profitable, fattening, and addictive products for us to buy.
Vegetables, like grains, are carbohydrates. This is about the ONLY similarity between the two. You can eat four to forty times the volume of vegetables for the same amount of glucose and calories as grains. basketful of kale peppers, zucchini, rapini, brussels sprouts, asparagus, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, fennel, watercress, eggplant, or spinach – for less than 25 grams of glucose. And compared to the grain offerings, the veggies provide you with an abundant dose of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibre and water. The only thing you need is a bit of an imagination to come up with a rainbow of colourful meals.
For breakfast tomorrow, INSTEAD of your two slices of whole grain toast, make a frittata with two eggs, two handfuls of spinach, a few cherry tomatoes, chopped garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil. This will serve you with the SAME amount of calories as those two slices of bread. The bread gives you one thing – 40 grams of glucose, while the whole frittata gives you 10 or 15 grams of slowly absorbed glucose, 15 grams of protein, and 10 grams of healthy, blood sugar stabilizing fat. The five minutes of preparation is well worth the perky morning that will follow as you burn your food as brain fuel.
If a healthy diet simply came down to calories, then by all means, pick the bread or pasta instead of the vegetables. I’d eat Oreos all day if they were good for me. That’s gross, I know, but Oreos do take the cake for best of all the crappy cookies. Alas, food is needed for more than calories and weight maintenance. Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants are critical to how you feel AND look, everyday. No expensive cream, drug, or surgery can compete with good food. You will never be lacking in a vitamin or mineral if all your carbohydrates come in the form of vegetables and fruit. The belief that lack of wheat will lead to ill health is a crock – another food industry tactic to make you fearful of forfeiting the grain. Glucose is too easy to come by, and too easy to overeat. You will never fall ill from a carbohydrate deficiency. But a glucose overdose will certainly kill.
Just for a laugh, I found a list of all the cereals that garnish grocery store shelves. Guess how many there were…? FOUR HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN. Yep. All 414 of them for OUR “whole grain needs, of course.