Cornflakes and Other Banned Substances

What is it about cornflakes? I'll put that question in context for you; we just had a little stay in hospital with Finley - he's ok now. When breakfast time came, the only thing he could eat, being gluten intolerant, was cornflakes. He was delighted of course, as I don't let cornflakes in the house as a rule. I watched him working his way through the bowl, lips smacking and savouring every moment of the crunchy, corny, salty sugary flakiness. It was like they held some sort of primal attraction for him. Of course as soon as we got home, the usually pounced upon granola was rejected in favour of a whining request for cornflakes. It's like crack - one try and you're hooked.

Cornflakes are a highly processed food that speaks to all of the receptors in your mouth. They are really salty, but you don't perceive them as such because of the high sugar content. The carbohydrate base that makes the flake is maize, one of the quickest release carbs out there; making cornflakes like the culinary equivalent of a machine gun, just aim and fire. Then you drench them in creamy cold milk and sometimes even add some extra sugar (to counteract all that salt). You can crunch a whole bowl in 2 minutes flat and hardly know you've done it.

In fact you can eat them anywhere; you may have seen the advert for crunchy nut cornflakes (now don't get me started on them) where a woman sits in the front seat of her car and pours milk into a box of flakes before burying her face in the box and chomping grossly as milk and flakes spill over her nice business suit. The thrust of the advert is; don't hold back, we know these things are addictive - look she doesn't even care about her suit or car anymore, she just wants flakes, you want them too because they are sooo good! Replace the flakes with a syringe full of junk and you have a government warning about the dangers of drugs. Well people are mainlining refined carbs out there without realising the damage they are doing to themselves and their offspring, and Kellogg's are dressing it up as some secret club for cornflake lovers. Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking they are just a bowl of flakes. They are just the tip of a junk food iceberg waiting to pull you into an endless round of sugar cravings.

Now I don't want to leave you feeling helplessly depressed when you get up tomorrow and view the collection of cereals in your cupboard. Breakfast can be the best meal of the day - you have been fasting all night, are properly hungry and need something sustaining to get you through the morning. Cereal is generally what most people reach for, but then find by lunchtime they are so hungry they could gnaw their own hand off. Below are some tips and suggestions on good ways to start the day.

*What you want is some carbohydrate that is slow releasing, a bit of protein and something to hydrate you. Try to choose grains that have not been highly processed as these will release carbs into the bloodstream at a manageable rate. Think, oats, barley, brown rice, wholemeal bread, rye bread...

*If you need tea (as I do) or coffee, make sure you drink a nice big glass of water too or follow with a cup of hot water and lemon to stimulate your liver.

*Try to sit down to have breakfast - if you really need to get up and go then gulp down a big glass of water and grab a piece of fruit, but make sure you sit down within the next couple of hours to eat something more substantial or your blood sugar will fall dangerously low.

Some things that we eat are:

*poached/scrambled egg, grilled tomato, baked beans and toast or oatcakes

*homemade granola with sunflower seeds and chopped banana

*yogurt, fresh fruit, chopped nuts or flaked almonds

*fruit smoothie made with yogurt

*wholemeal toast and peanut butter

*revueltos - Spanish scrambled eggs with vegetables and chorizo or prawns

*porridge with baked or stewed fruit (bake the night before) and Greek yogurt

*oatcakes, goats cheese and fresh figs

*nuts and dried fruit and some carrots

*eggy rice

I'll post a recipe for my homemade granola when I can work it out - I do it by feel you see. Next batch, I'll measure it. Happy breakfasting!