You’ll never buy cereal or milk ever again
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” – a lie almost as big as the virus!
You know why “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Because General Mills and Kellogg’s need your $$$. And they need your help to keep their carcinogenic sugar flakes an iconic American breakfast food at the expense of your health.
Today I would like to discuss breakfast cereal, some of the American companies behind it (especially Kellogg’s) and a DIY alternative that has helped me feel more in control over my health, and hopefully it can help you too.
I am a huge proponent of making my own food, if I can. It helps me know exactly what the ingredients are without having to trust the label with blind faith. Often times I find that when I make it myself, it actually tastes better and is less expensive than buying it from the store. Breakfast cereal is no exception…I’ve included my recipe for it at the end of the article - it’s very easy to make and delicious! Also included is my favorite milk recipe which goes perfectly with the cereal.
First I want to break down some of the reasons why I like to avoid grocery store cereal with a little back history…
History of Breakfast
So how did breakfast become a thing?
It used to be considered gluttonous to eat early in the day. Attitudes shifted when the concept of “employment” was invented and it was necessary to eat early before leaving for the day’s work. As people came to work for an employer, they slowly lost control over their own time; as a result, mealtimes were squished into unconventional hours out of necessity.
In America, the rise of the industrial revolution in the late 1700 to mid-1800’s officially solidified the concept of breakfast. It made sense, since it was better for laborers working long hours to eat first, especially considering the physically demanding nature of the jobs common to the time.
Kellogg’s and the invention of cereal…
The origin of cereal dates back to the mid to late 1800’s; the days when healers were beginning to be labeled quacks, and the germ theory psy-op was gaining momentum.
German immigrant Ferdinand Schumacher is largely credited with bringing the first cereal like food to America In the 1850’s. He experimented with grinding oats at his grocery and selling them to the public as a breakfast food which needed to be soaked overnight to make it edible. He began manufacturing under the name “German Mills American Oatmeal Company” which later became “Quaker Oats Company”.
In the mid to late 1800’s, the American breakfast mostly consisted of meat and other heavier foods. Grains and oats were time consuming to cook and not practical.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was an American physician and eugenicist (founder of the “Race Betterment Foundation”) who ran a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. He believed that many American’s suffered from digestive problems because of the lack of fiber in the morning diet. He believed that heavy, spicy foods with strong flavors led to sin and poor health.
He also prescribed some pretty extreme health practices such as 2-3 enemas per day, a zapping machine which caused involuntary defecation and mutilation of children; he thought sexuality was the root of all evil.
He began to experiment and develop various faked wheat products with the intent of creating a bland food for cleansing the colons and suppressing sexual urges in his patients in the Sanitarium.
(When researching this, I found it interesting that a eugenicist and advocate of genital mutilation of children became the father of breakfast cereals marketed to children…….)
He called his earliest creation “granula” (later granola) and began collaborating with his brother, W.K. Kellogg. Together the brothers created what became known as Cornflakes by accident while experimenting with granula.
The Cornflakes soon became a hit amongst patients at the Sanitarium and in 1898, Dr. Kellogg and his brother founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium Health Food Company to produce Dr. Kellogg’s Cornflakes and other foods.
The problem with grain cereals at the time was that they were still quite time consuming to make since most needed to be soaked overnight.The Kellogg brothers worked tirelessly to create a quick, convenient, light food for the morning.
Dr. Kellogg believed he could revolutionize health for the increasing number of American’s who sat at desks instead of working physically, and no longer benefited from heavy breakfasts. His brother saw an amazing business opportunity.
In 1906, the brothers had a heated dispute and W.K. Kellogg bought the Cornflakes patent and formed his own cereal company, which eventually was called Kellogg’s, and began mass producing and distributing.
W.K Kellogg was not a fan of the bland, flavorless cereal which had to be soaked in milk just to make it edible. He began adding heavy doses of sugar and started a huge advertising campaign.
In the early 1900’s, one of Dr. Kellogg’s former patients, C.W. Post, was inspired by what he observed in the Sanitarium and began producing his own version of cereal as well. He has been accused of stealing several of Dr. Kellogg’s recipes. He created Grape Nuts and began manufacturing under the name “Post Food Company”.
A grain mill company, General Mills, entered into the cereal market with “Wheaties” in 1921.
Cereal launched into popularity after 1906 yet saw a slight dip in sales in the 1920’s when Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, persuaded doctors to promote bacon and eggs on behalf of Beech-Nut Packaging Company.
During WWI, Bernays served on the Committee on Public Information, an innovative government propaganda service where he helped shape public opinion into supporting American intervention in the European war through mass media.
“When I got back from the war, I realized that ideas could be as important weapons as anything,” - Edward Bernays, 1986
Beech-Nut Company’s bacon sales were falling off, so they hired Edward Bernays... Bernays hired a well known doctor in New York to organize a petition of doctors all over the country suggesting that a heavy breakfast of bacon & eggs is more “scientifically desirable” than a lighter breakfast.
And so Beech-Nut bacon sales boomed and bacon & eggs became a morning staple food.
Breakfast is the most marketed meal of the day
Determined to convince American people to desire quick, ready to eat processed foods, a giant marketing campaign was launched in 1940’s by General Foods (now Post Consumer Brands) called “Eat a good breakfast- Do a better job”. This promoted the concept that eating something in the morning was better than eating nothing and highlighted the nutritional value of cereals and other quick enriched foods.
By late 1940’s, most all cereals were coated in sugar to entice customers, and children soon became the target audience.
Advertisements featured cartoon characters such as Tony the Tiger and outlandish health claims - cereal could cure malaria and appendicitis. And it was declared that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, a myth that haunts us to this day.
So cereal became the first widely marketed health food. And yes, it was still marketed as a health food even though the addition of sugar made it addicting- not healthy.
The cereal industry really skyrocketed in the 1950’s when the sugar industry paid scientists to hide the connection between sugar and heart disease and demonize fat instead.
Cereal is really easy to make, yet only a few companies dominate the market.
The demand for quick, easy to fix breakfast foods saw a steep incline as more women began entering the workforce through the 1960’s.
“One of the first ways advertising was successfully or effectively used was to convince mothers that it was okay for their children to eat these instant cereals. It sort of offered working mothers a chance to let kids take care of themselves in the morning.”
- Heather Arndt Anderson, author of Breakfast: A History
and so allowing children to feed themselves sugary, ready to eat foods became widely accepted and considered healthy.
In more recent years…
Thanks to fake science and advertising, Kellogg’s and General Mills became massive mega corporations, Quaker Oats was acquired by Pepsico, the worlds largest snack food manufacturer, and Post became Post Consumer brands.
Kellogg’s and General Mills are two of the mega corporations that greatly benefited from lockdowns a few years ago. Kellogg’s sales were reportedly “lackluster” in 2019 before experiencing a sharp uptick through mid 2020, and they’ve been doing great ever since entering the fake meat market with “Incogmeato” in late 2020.
I focus the most on Kellogg’s in this post probably because I find the Kellogg brothers to have an interesting story, but also it puzzled me how a humble flaked wheat in a box could launch into the 2nd largest snack food manufacturer netting 13B last year.
That is when I discovered The Kellogg foundation, funded by the W.K Kellogg Trust, founded in 1923. One of the oldest foundations yet also one of the most obscure - possibly because it does not take the lead in any area it funds. Since inception it has been one of the nation’s 10 largest foundations, in 1960 it was third only to the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. In 2006, it was the 7th largest with 7 Billion in assets.
Biographer Horace K. Powell has stated that W.K. Kellogg’s primary motivation in forming the foundation was to “help children”. It seems however, that the central goal of the foundation is to support centralized government, left-wing control, and the merging of public health and social justice.
Some examples: The WKKF supplied $192,000 for a Diversity and Inclusion program for the Glowing Embers Girl Scout Council of Kalamazoo. In 1996, it supplied a multi-year grant worth $750,000 ($1.21 million in 2021 dollars) to start mass salt fluoridation programs as part of the Pan American Health Organization to "fluoridate the entire Region of the Americas". In 2021, WKKF a $2.4 Million grant to Ochsner Institute for Health Equity and Research to provide “critical resources to address Louisiana’s health needs”
The WKKF also funds a number of oral hygiene programs including mobile dental vans to provide dental care to underprivileged areas - ironic considering the amount of tooth rotting sugar in their cereals.
Why avoid sugar?
In the early 1900’s, scientists were aware that refined sugar is not all that great for the human body, even General Mills refrained from adding sugar to their “Wheaties” cereal for many years in the 1930’s but eventually they caved to the pressure to stay in the market.
These days, we know it acts as a narcotic on the brain exhibiting very drug like effects such as tolerance - needing more and more to achieve the same opioid-like effect - and withdrawal symptoms - feelings of intense cravings, anxiety, extreme irritability, etc. Some experiments in both animals and humans have shown that sugary foods surpass cocaine in terms of the internal dopamine reward triggered.
Sugar consumption was shown to alter the brain structures as well as altering emotional processing and modifying behavior in both humans and animals.
Over the course of time, more and more sugar was slowly added to the cereals through the last half of the 20th century, many are not aware of just how much sugar. Kellogg’s “Honey Smacks” and Post’s “Golden Crisp” have as much sugar as a Twinkie. That’s 20g of sugar in a 1 cup serving (56% sugar by weight) and who eats just 1 cup of cereal!?
Some more examples… Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies, Corn Puffs, Fruit Loops, Reeses Puffs and Apple Jacks all contain 40-42% sugar by weight.
Kellogg’s was sued in 2012 for false advertising on the “toxic” sugar levels in their products. They used the terms “wholesome”, “nutritious” and “lightly-sweetened” to describe their cereals, which in fact were 18- 56% added sugar.
What else is in cereal?
It’s not just about sugar….
General Mills has been accused of similar false advertising claims and also faced backlash after the EWG published a report on the shocking 470 to 530 pbb of Glyphosate in cereal such as Cheerios. According to EWG, 100% of all 28 cereals tested contained some level of Glyphosate, some more than others. Quaker Oats granola and instant oatmeal contained the highest levels second to Cheerios.
Like other processed foods, cereals are known to contain soy lecithin, an emulsifier often contaminated with Hexane, a carcinogen and neurotoxin. BHT is a preservative found in cereal has been linked to ADHD, allergic reactions, cancer and endocrine disruption.
Hydrogenated oils and artificial food dyes are also a problem in many cereals. Artificial food dyes are petroleum based chemical compounds linked to increased risk of breast and adrenal cancer, thyroid dysfunction and nervous system disorders.
Another strange ingredient found in cereal trisodium phosphate (TSP) is also an ingredient in antifreeze and paint thinner. It is a pH adjuster which the PAN Pesticides Database lists as “toxic” and “avoid all contact”.
Also the high-heat extrusion process, similar to the pasteurization of milk, kills any discernible nutrient value of the grain. All the more reason to avoid processed food.
Feed your kids the box instead
Most cereals such as cheerios, cocoa puffs, shredded wheat and cornflakes are transformed into “cereal” through an extrusion process which involves high heat (120-140 C) and pressure. Unpublished research indicates that in the extrusion process, the proteins in grains become distorted, with very toxic effects. Rats fed extruded grains die within a few weeks, and in a corn flake experiment, rats fed corn flakes died sooner than rats fed the box they came in! The corn flake-fed rats died of seizures and convulsions, indicating extreme toxicity to the nervous system.
We Help Each Other is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
No science to back the claim that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”
I while ago, I studied the benefits of intermittent fasting and one of the things I learned is that breakfast happens whenever you break your fast - it’s not a particular time of day, or a certain food eaten. The so called “breakfast foods” and common belief that you need to eat early in the day are, as discussed above, a result of marketing and indoctrination.
There is nothing wrong with eating if you are hungry in the morning. But force feeding yourself at 8am because you think it’s healthy is a behavior that should be questioned.
The point is… eat breakfast if you want to. But don’t assume that it’s necessary for health. Actually, eating the wrong foods in the morning is more detrimental to health because whatever you break your fast with will set up your craving schedule for the day, since it’s the first thing you nourish your gut bacteria with. Start your day with sweet cereal and you’ll be craving sweets all day and eat more overall.
Although it doesn’t work for everyone, it can actually be quite beneficial for the body to skip breakfast and eat a larger lunch instead. This practice allows time for the digestive organs to fully digest food from the night before and for the body to restore, allowing for more efficient digestion later on in the day.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is a marketing slogan and nothing else.
Most popular cereals on the market are composed of 35-50% sugar by weight.
There is no scientific evidence that people who eat earlier in the day are healthier.
I personally am a cereal lover, I chose to take more control over my health by making my own because it makes me feel good. This is how I avoid the companies mentioned and avoid the excessive amounts of sugar they put in their products.
I could have had another rant all about reasons to avoid dairy.. perhaps another day.
But for now… on to the recipe!
*All sources cited at the end*
Homemade Cereal & Milk
My absolute favorite milk to use in my morning coffee is my homemade almond milk. It’s very simple, just almonds and water blended and strained. Now I’m at the point where I ONLY like to drink this milk and I don’t even like the taste of dairy or anything from the store because it has “fillers” often times.
Because almonds are so high in fiber, there is quite a bit of pulp that is left behind, even when using a high speed blender. The almond pulp is almost like almond flour, but not as flavorful.
I like to use the leftover pulp from straining the milk to make cereal. For the purposes of this post I’ll call it cereal. But it can be eaten all sorts of ways…on top of yogurt or ice cream, just by itself, or mixed with honey and peanut butter to make granola bars.
Homemade sesame cereal recipe
This cereal & milk recipe is a somewhat self-sustaining process since I use the pulp leftover from making almond milk as the main ingredient in the cereal. Each time I make milk; I store the almond pulp in a bag in the freezer, and defrost it when ready to make cereal. The pulp does not keep long in the fridge.
This is a great versatile recipe. The spices are optional, or you can add more or less of each. Add nuts such as pecans or walnuts, or coconut shreds.
4 cups almond pulp
3 cups oats (1 minute or 5 min oats)
2 cups sesame seeds
4 Tbs applesauce
2 Tbs ground flax seeds
2 Tbs oil
1 Tbs cinnamon powder
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a large bowl. Spread in an even and thin layer on 2 large baking sheets and bake at 300F for about 30-40 minutes or until dry. Remove from the oven to cool and store in a glass jar or plastic bag in a cool dry place. Make sure the cereal is completely dry before storing. If it is not dry, keep baking or just store it in the fridge.
Next, combine 4 cups of the dry cereal in a large bowl with 4 Tbs of nut butter (sesame seed butter or peanut butter is great) and 3/4 cup honey and mix well.
Place some in a bowl and pour milk on top, enjoy!
The finished cereal should be stored in a container in the fridge or freezer.
Homemade almond milk
1 cup raw almonds
4 cups water
Soak the almonds in water overnight in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Add the soaked almonds into a high speed blender with 4 cups of water. Blend on the highest speed for about 2 minutes. Place a nut milk bag or cheesecloth in a large bowl. Pour the almond milk into the cheesecloth slowly and squeeze out all the liquid. Store your almond milk in the fridge for up to 4 days. Store the almond pulp in a bag in the freezer.
Put it all together in a bowl with some sliced fruit… delicious.
Thank you for reading!
Anderson, Heather Arndt. Breakfast: A History (Alta Mira Press, 2013)