Monday,25 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1416, (1 - 7 November 2018)
Monday,25 March, 2019
Issue 1416, (1 - 7 November 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Cereal or eggs for breakfast?

How pleasurably comfortable to be awakened each morning by the tantalising aroma wafting from the kitchen corridors to your bedroom.

The anticipation of a warm, nourishing, luxurious meal for your grumbling stomach after the many hours of the night’s fast is as seductive as it is revitalising. Forget it. That cherished tradition has gradually been dwindling.

Cereal took over to become the quintessential breakfast for the US, UK and other Western, highly industrialised countries.

Who has time to cook and consume a rich breakfast with a variety of favourite foods and condiments, with the family surrounding you?

Cereal is easy, convenient, quick and contains every conceivable nutrient; and an extreme amount of sugar content. A whole aisle in the supermarket is devoted to a variety of shapes, tastes and colours, to suit each family member. A nutritionally dense food, packed in boxes, adorn the breakfast- table. Add a little milk for calcium and protein and you have a perfect breakfast. Perfect? Think again.

Its invention was a fluke which eventually became a flake. In 1890, a staunch vegetarian, the Reverend Sylvester Graham produced breads, crackers and pastries of unprocessed graham flour. His idea of bits of baked breakfast crackers failed, but one of his followers, Dr James Caleb Jackson advocated a cold breakfast cereal. Another health conscious physician Dr John Kellogg, who breakfasted daily on seven Graham crackers, created his own cracker. By 1907 Corn Flakes was born.

An easy convenient food for busy people made from pressed grains, was considered the eighth wonder of the World at the New York World Fair, 1939.

Britain has always been famous for its rich, versatile, multi-course breakfast, mainly, porridge, herring, beans, eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, hash-browned potatoes, big slices of toast and jams. Black pudding was optional. “To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day”, said Somerset Maugham. No more. A transformation of the British breakfast has occurred during the last century. The Brits have succumbed to American ways and have become one of the largest consumers of puffed, flaked, sugar cereals.

If you are one of those high-sugared cereal addicts, drop your spoon right now. It has just been announced that ingredients in cereal are poisonous. Without mentioning names, a famous cereal company was ordered to pay $289 million to a man by a jury that ruled its round-up weed killer caused his cancer.

Lab tests released found that the weed-killing poison “glyphosate” has been found in 43 of the 45 cereals tested positive for glyphosate levels greater than 160 parts per billion, deemed harmful to humans. Independent lab tests also found it to be above the safety threshold. Cereals garner $11 billion share of the market offering a smorgasbord of 277 varieties, that may poison our children. Why? Because our time is too precious.

Fortunately, most countries enjoy a native breakfast depending on their products. A tour around the world finds breakfast is mainly protein, eggs, cheese, beans, meats, rice, nuts, pastries with cheeses and creams in Sweden and naturally plenty of fruit in Hawaii.

Middle-Eastern breakfasts are high in protein and include beans and bean patties (falafel), cheese, olives & bread. There is nothing to compare to an Egyptian breakfast with a generous plateful of fuul medammes (fava beans) swimming in olive oil, garlic, cumin, onions among other spices. Cheese and eggs are often included and you can finish it off with a slice of halvah. You should try it sometime.

Porridge is an old food staple, comes in many forms, eaten in many countries and is known by different names: polenta, grits, kasha, etc. It is far healthier than a box of candy and processed grains called cereal. The trouble is, it takes time to cook.

If you wish to lose a few pounds and still be healthy, breakfast like a king and include two scrambled eggs, or boiled or whichever way you please. Eggs contain the highest protein breakfast option, are easily used by the body and will keep you fuller for longer. The amino-acid leucene found in an omelette helps control insulin levels in the body, which controls weight and prevents diabetes.

A breakfast study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the calorie intake of those who had eggs, cereal or pastry for breakfast. The result was remarkable. Egg- eaters enjoyed the benefits of a controlled appetite for the remainder of the day.

Do you skip breakfast? Pity. Breakfast eaters have lower bodyweight. Breakfast skippers complain about being overweight. Dieters who have eggs for breakfast over an eight-week period have significant success according to the International Journal of Obesity. Do we listen? Do we learn?

Eggs are a natural, not processed, food. They contain 20 vitamins and minerals including essential fats, powerful anti-oxidants and are easy to prepare in minutes in 100 ways.

The Heart association recommends 20 grammes of sugar daily (six teaspoons). The most modest porridge, such as kasha, contains 25 grams of sugar, by breakfast you have already exceeded your daily ration. Scrambled eggs contain only two grams of sugar, high in protein, low in carbs.

No time to get out a skillet and scramble a couple of eggs, there is the gym, e-mail, phone, traffic, you have to make time for all these items on your busy schedule.

Make the time. Cook two eggs. It is up to you.

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.”

John Gunther (1901-1970)

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