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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

The Fantastic Nutritional Properties of Breakfast Cereals for Raising Healthy Children – Not!


I have had this topic in mind to write about for a while now, and I have finally found the time to do so.

Imagine this:

Researchers experimented with eighteen rats, divided into three groups. One group got the "nutritious" cornflakes. The second group got the cardboard box the cornflakes came in, and the third group received regular rat food. (All three groups had access to water).

The rats on rat food thrived throughout the experiment. The rats munching on the cardboard box slowly succumbed to malnutrition — they became lethargic, lay down, and eventually died. Interestingly, they outlived the cornflake group! (The last cornflake-eating rat died the same day as the first box-munching rat). While the box rats simply became listless, the cornflake rats exhibited bizarre behaviour. They bit each other, threw fits, and eventually went into convulsions.

Autopsies revealed degeneration of spinal nerves and dysfunction in the pancreas, liver, and kidneys in cornflake rats. In short, the cornflakes poisoned them.

Now, children eating a bowl of rice bubbles, or cornflakes, with low-fat milk, and a piece of toast with margarine and jam in the morning isn't the same as rats subsisting solely on cornflakes. Still, one can't help but wonder whether the extruded breakfast cereals that make rats go berserk — especially when part of a sugar-laden meal — aren't contributing to the behavioural problems and violence we're seeing in schools today, and the epidemic of chronic ill-health afflicting the younger generations of Godzone (New Zealand).

The origins of cereal are interesting, and relevant. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of cornflakes, and founder of the Sanitarium Health Food Company, promoted these cereals as a treatment to curb what he considered "sinful" premarital urges, including masturbation. Kellogg was a fervent advocate against masturbation, which he believed led to numerous physical and mental health issues, including the committing of sin.

He developed cornflakes as part of his dietary regimen to counter these sinful urges. His aim was to offer a simple, easily digestible breakfast that could also serve as a tool for maintaining what he saw as moral purity​.

So, next time you're pouring that harmless bowl of breakfast cereal for your child, maybe consider Dr Kellogg's motivations, and the fate of the cornflake rats. After all, who wouldn't want to start the day with a hearty dose of agitation, convulsions, and organ dysfunction? A recipe for raising healthy children, indeed! You might be better off feeding your children the cardboard box!

So, What's the Alternative for the Start of Your Child's Day?

Instead of breakfast cereals, why not try:

  • Free-range bacon, nitrate-free sausages, and fresh eggs make for a satisfying pairing, offering both protein and beneficial fats, and fat-soluble vitamins — and just about everything else for raising a healthy child.

  • Fresh vegetables like tomatoes and mushrooms provide essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Wholegrain toast is a great source of fibre and complex carbs.

  • Dairy products like full-cream milk and yoghurt are close to being a complete food for your child.

  • Leftovers from a previous home-cooked meal are a convenient and nutritious choice that prevents food waste.

Although I understand that these foods cost more and are more time-consuming to prepare than the convenience of a cereal box, a child's health should always be the top priority, don't you think?

Help Your Children Thrive

To help you, as a parent, raise children who are taller, stronger, more intelligent, and more resilient than you, consider this report as evidence of the importance of getting your child's nutrition right, beginning with what you feed them to start the day: How to Accelerate Growth in Children.

For more information, check out the article by the amazing Sally Fallon on the Nourishing Traditions website.

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