organic extruded cereal

Organic or not, this extruded cereal (O's) is NOT real food. AND, regardless of the brand, organic cereals may be more toxic to you because they contain higher levels of now denatured proteins due to the extrusion process!

One more time with feeling, I am going to make the argument/request/plea to serve your children (and yourself) a hot breakfast. No more cold cereal, even organic. “Why?” you ask. The first reason is that BOXED CEREAL IS NOT FOOD. It is a FOOD PRODUCT. Don’t be fooled by the words “organic” across the top, boxed organic cereal is not food either! Don’t be fooled by the words “whole grain”. There isn’t a whole grain to be found in boxed cereals. All made into a slurry, all passed through an extruder at high heat and high temperature. (More information about the cereal extrusion process HERE and HERE.) I can’t find anything that looks like a “whole grain” in those boxes. Can you? Is it a wonder that our children have food allergies, blood sugar swings, mood swings, eczema, constipation, diarrhea, gluten intolerance, leaky guts?

extruder for breakfast cereals and snacks

Cereal grain extruder. That extruded goop is NOT real food.

Okay, more reasons. Nearly all the cereals have sugar listed as their second or third ingredient. Organic or not, SUGAR is NOT something your child needs. The grains in boxed cereal have not been properly prepared, so they are full of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of minerals in the small intestine, (minerals all bodies need) and enzyme inhibitors inhibit enzymes which we all need to digest our food. But worse of all, the delicate proteins in grains are damaged by the processing they have to go through in order to become boxed cereals. And damaged proteins equal toxins. And since organic grains are higher in protein than conventional grains, organic cereals are highly toxic. They are so toxic that it would almost be better for you to serve your children “conventional” boxed cereals, full of dyes and high fructose corn syrup, according to Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation. You know, like Fruity Pebbles or such. Can you believe it?

fruity pebbles

Real food? This CAN'T be good for you. Or your kid.

So…..if you are going to serve your child grains at all (and I strongly suggest that you refrain from serving grains until after all four back molars are in—could be 18 months to 2 years of age) that you serve them SOAKED grains. Start with soaked oats, and be sure to serve them with plenty of healthy fats (butter from grass-fed cows, coconut butter or coconut milk, raw cream or milk, ghee or coconut ghee). I like to add raisins while the oats are cooking to add a little sweetness. Just about a handful per cup of oats.

bowl of oat porridge

Delicious, nutritious soaked oatmeal. Serve with pastured butter and raw milk or cream. Divine!

So here’s the basic recipe for a hearty, easily digested, nutrient-dense hot breakfast for the whole family:

Oat Porridge (or gluten-free amaranth–just cook longer!)

1 cup rolled oats, organic

1 cup warm water

2 Tablespoons whey, plain organic yogurt, cultured organic buttermilk, kefir, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Mix all together and let sit on the counter 12-24 hours (or more!) (I suggest 24 hours or more for infants and children. Remember, this is a pre-digestion process. The longer the oats stand on the counter before cooking, the less strain on your child’s digestive system.)

When you are ready to cook the oats, bring an additional cup of water to the boil. Toss the entire oat mixture into the boiling water, and turn the temperature to low. Stir. Add a handful or more of raisins or crispy nuts at this time, as well as a pinch or two of high quality sea salt (one with lots of trace minerals, 50+). Cook 3-5 minutes, or until oats reach desired consistency.

Again, serve with healthy fats (above). You may also wish to add a bit of organic molasses for minerals or freshly ground flax seed for Omega-3s. (Don’t overdo on the flax seed.)

Note: make a double batch (just multiply the quantities by two) and cook the whole thing. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. They can store up to a week or 10 days in an airtight container. (They will just become easier to digest over time.) You may easily reconstitute the oats by putting them in a pot and adding boiling water and stirring, heating through. You may also use them to make “oatcakes”, a favorite in my house. The recipe follows.


1-1 1/2 cups leftover cooked oatmeal

1-2 pastured eggs, beaten

Beat egg and mix with leftover oatmeal in a medium bowl, until you have a nice batter. Bring cast iron skillet or griddle to medium heat and coat with pastured butter or coconut oil, bacon fat or lard. Spoon into pan by tablespoons. Fry like pancakes. Wait until you see bubbles on the top to flip. Cook about 2-3 minutes each side.

These make great snacks! Store them in the refrigerator or dry them on a sheet pan in your oven for crispy oatcakes! Serve with yogurt cheese, butter, fermented apple butter, nut butter or coconut butter. Delish! Enjoy!


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65 responses to “BOXED CEREAL IS NOT FOOD.

  1. I’ve been meaning to write a post about this, I’m glad you did!

    I think it’s hard for people to accept how bad cereals are because of how convenient it is to just give kids cereal for breakfast – at a very young age they can do it themselves.

    But with a little planning healthy breakfasts can be very easy – my kids like waffles, so in addition to oatmeal I also prepare a big batch of almond flour waffles once a week and freeze for hectic weekday mornings.

    (PS – I enjoyed listening to your sessions from the Wise Traditions 2010 conference CD’s).

    • simplybeingwell

      Hello Lisa

      It is a tough subject–but when I found out about the fact that organic cereals have more toxins b/c they have more protein, I HAD to write. Oy. Oatmeal and other porridges can be easy–just make a big batch and then reheat through the week with hot water. Viola’ ! the fastest breakfast I have ever seen! I am sure I will eventually hear it from the Cereal Makers of America–but, one must speak when one sees…

      And yes, we do batches of almond waffles and peanut butter pancakes around here too. be well, Monica

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  3. Laura Deisz

    Hey Monica,

    I love Ezekiel cereals. Their customer relations department says they do not use an extrusion process in making their cereals. Does that make them edible in your book?


    • simplybeingwell

      Hello Laura

      So good to hear from you! The next question is AT WHAT TEMPERATURE do they dry their cereals? I know they are sprouted, so that’s great, but are they still live? Let me know if you call in again! best, Monica

    • Beth

      The Ezekiel cereals all contain soy, which is not so good.

      • simplybeingwell

        Beth, you are right. They do contain soy–however, remember that when soy is fermented ( and I am betting sprouted) the anti-nutrients are neutralized. However, this does not address the fact that soy is a top allergen, or whether or not the soy in Ezekiel cereals is GMO or non-GMO. be well!

      • Beth

        Some antinutrients are reduced, but the soy goitrogens are not neutralized by sprouting or fermentation, from what I’ve learned from the Weston Price Foundation.

  4. Kelly

    Love your article and your website. I would like to respectfully submit that when soaking oats, the best method is to add some additional phytase (in the form of rye flour/flakes) to optimize the phytic acid reduction. Oats are high in phytic acid, yet quite low in phytase. According to WAPF research, it appears that adding additional phytase is of much greater benefit than just the traditional acid soak. Here is the article, I am referencing. Thanks again for your wonderful website! Blessings to you, Kelly

    • simplybeingwell

      Kelly, Thanks for your comment, suggestion and link. It is an excellent article, indeed.

      The only problem is that adding rye or rye flour adds GLUTEN to the oats– So I and many others will not use it. I would suggest, then, using lemon juice to make the acidulated water and to soak long–perhaps 24-48 hours. I would also LOVE for folks to get oat groats and sprout them, and then soak them, and then cook them. (Pretty long process for the average bear.)

      I do love the points the author made– my interpretation, of course: in a varied diet that is high in Vitamin D (read cod liver oil and raw dairy products) , Vitamin C and calcium, one should be fine with soaked oats once or twice a week. Especially if one is NOT eating refined grain products as a part of one’s diet.

      be well! Monica

    • Beth

      I had read that same article, and elsewhere I think it said buckwheat, which is non-gluten, also contains phytase, so that’s what I’ve been adding to soak oatmeal (the non-gluten kind), plus a little raw apple cider vinegar.

      How does this sound??

  5. Nicole

    Thank you for continuing to teach me. Changing over to the WAPF diet has been challenging and great for my life. So what do you feed someone younger than 4 molars? My youngest does not eat eggs; I do not want to feed him grains; he eats a little fruit. He is my first picky eater, my other two eat everything and ask for vegetables!!! We have been feeding him sprouted buckwheat.
    Thank you again for all you do!

    • simplybeingwell

      Nicole, feed him protein and fat, and cooked vegetables. Does he not “like” eggs, or is there an allergy? If it is a question of not liking, make smoothies with them, make veggie frittatas in cool shapes, make quiche with a coconut flour crust. Can he do nuts? Pancakes made from nut butter and bananas. See “My Favorite Pancake Recipe” here on my blog. I would go with anything and everything in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and I would also include things like pate’ and liver! HTH! best, M

      • Nicole

        Thank you – he loves pate and I am now getting I need to keep it on hand at all times, I think I need to back off the raw milk a little – he would live on it if possible. We tried the pancakes and loved them and then everyone did not – it was like they were to heavy. Do you have a quiche with coconut flour recipe? That sounds wonderful!!

        Are you familiar with Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel? I have not finished it but he seems to be almost recommended backing off grains. He does not recommend oats. We soaked our oatmeal and ate it almost daily – now I find it hard to back off.

        Thank you for your blog!!!

        • simplybeingwell

          Nicole, If he loves raw milk, give it to him! It is one of the healthiest foods there is on the earth. Full of live enzymes and good bacteria, and easy to digest protein–can’t say enough about it. Yes, I have seen the Cure Tooth Decay book. He is not the only one to suggest backing off grains. I like to include soaked grains once in a while as part of a varied breakfast menu. be well!

  6. joost

    What about muesli?

    • simplybeingwell

      The question is whether or not the grains in the muesli were cooked or dried at a high temperature–it is best to make your own, I think!

  7. Yum!! Great article! This is such an important topic. I wish I could convince all my mamas to forgo the ‘easy’ boxed cereals for a breakfast full of real, nourishing foods. I think this is the most important meal of the day and it’s always the first thing I work with people on when I’m doing nutritional consulting. They see almost immediate results when they start their day with a good breakfast!

  8. April

    Fascinating stuff…thanks for posting.

    I have a quick question. You mention not to overdo the flax. I’m just wondering what the reason is for that, and what qualifies as “overdoing.” I frequently add flax to…well…almost anything, but I wasn’t aware that there might be a problem with that.


    • simplybeingwell

      April, One can overdo a good thing, too, yes? If you are already eating a nutrient-dense, whole food diet that is varied you probably don’t need as much flax as you are eating. I find that folks that eat fast food and refined grains really need the flax. Be well!

  9. Elke

    I would love to get regular notices from you…I am on a quest to feed my family healthier foods.

    • simplybeingwell

      Elke, have you subscribed to my blog? It is on the right hand sidebar. If you do that, you’ll receive an email every time I post. All the best to you, Monica

  10. Renee

    What would you suggest for an adult(me) who cant stand oatmeal unless its baked(the texture makes me gag). It gets old eating it that way quick. Thanks

    • simplybeingwell


      Have you tried amaranth? Totally different texture. Also, I often make a big batch of soaked oats and then put it in the refrigerator where it gets nice and firm, and then scramble an egg in some and fry it into pancakes. If you like them that way, go for it! 🙂

    • gretchen

      Renee- I couldn’t stand the texture either until I tried whole oat groats. I soak them overnight and cook them in the morning. I do not cook them for very long maybe 5 min. The I add a tablespoon of coconut oil and either fresh berries or a little raw honey. The texture is not at all mushy; more chewey. I preheat a stainless steel travel mug and scoop them into it to take to work as breakfast and later in the day snack. They stay warm for hours and the coconut oil keeps me full for hours.

  11. Thank you for saying this. I just hope that it will help convince more people to wean themselves from these horribly over-processed foods. Eat Real Food!

    We found your site via Twitter, and we’re glad I did. We’ve linked to your post, and will add to our blog roll!


    Mike and Teri Curry (

  12. [
    moderators – typo in last comment
    Oops, “glad I did” should have been “glad we did”. Sigh. Must learn to proof three times before hitting submit… 😀

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  14. lisa fann

    Does this also apply to TVP or Extruded Wheat that provide so much protein and fiber to Vegans? Thank you for any information you can share.

  15. RachelK

    I couldn’t agree with this article more. Now, I ask that everyone who reads this please consider the following: how is kibble any different? In fact, kibble is worse, since dogs and cats are carnivores and kibble requires a carbohydrate (usually either grains or potatoes) to bind it. If you wouldn’t feed your kids cereal for every meal of their lives, every day – if you realize that cereal is “made into a slurry, all passed through an extruder at high heat and high temperature” – if you acknowledge that feeding these highly processed foods cause health problems in your kids – then please consider what “cereal for dogs” (aka “kibble”) is doing to the four-legged members of your family. Explore a healthy, natural, fresh diet for your pets – one that is biologically and anatomically appropriate – instead.

  16. Kelly

    Thanks, Monica, for your response! Good point about those on gluten-free diets not having rye as an option! 🙂
    Appreciate your wisdom! blessings, kel

    • simplybeingwell

      You are welcome. However, I did enjoy that article very much and will include some of the info in another post soon. be well!

  17. Becky

    What temp is too high for cooking grains? I make my own granola from rolled oats (not soaked– should I be soaking them first? would I change anything else in the recipe to do that?)– like someone else said, I can’t stand the texture and taste of oatmeal, but taste/texture of granola is a-ok. (I’m also going to try the pancake idea… I do like oatmeal cake– like, dessert cake, so that might work). I’m a bit sad about this post… I think boxed cereal is my #1 favorite food!

    • simplybeingwell

      Hello Becky,
      Yes, it would be best to soak your oats first and then dry them out on a greased parchment lined cookie sheet (grease with butter or coconut oil) at a very low oven. The best would be to use a dehydrator because then you can make “live” oatmeal–with enzymes intact. That would be below 118 degrees F. (Some say between 90-108 degrees F is best.) be well! Monica

  18. Nicki

    Excellent Post!!

  19. NeverBenHearBefour

    What about Instant Cream of Wheat? It’s my favorite….

    • simplybeingwell

      I don’t know specifically about “instant” cream of wheat, but I would bet that making it “instant” is destructive to the delicate proteins in the grains. Regardless, we know it hasn’t been soaked or sprouted to neutralize enzyme inhibitors or phytic acid. Soooooo…you could continue to eat it, but soak it first…and that will help.
      be well!

  20. I never give my child boxed cereal! But my husband eats it all the time, even if there is a hot breakfast available. I used to live on the stuff, until I was out of school and work and had time to make breakfast every morning. Now I can’t stand to eat cold cereal.

    However, I had heard about soaking grains but never learned how to do it. This is great info, thank you!

    • simplybeingwell

      Lisa, you are welcome! and if you are interested in learning more about soaking grains, I have a bean and grain chart that sums it all up–and it is beautiful to look at!

      be well!

  21. I just want to tell you that I am newbie to blogging and site-building and truly liked your web site. Probably I’m going to bookmark your site . You actually have incredible articles. Kudos for sharing with us your web page.

  22. Shauna

    Hello! Thanks for what you do. I found your website, then ordered and read Nourishing Traditions over the weekend! I will be making some radical food changes! I have to admit, I am still a bit leery about raw milk, but have found a farm that sells in the Denver area- so I’m giving it a go. Thanks again!

    • simplybeingwell

      Great for you! I plan to be teaching Nourishing Traditions cooking classes in Denver in July. If you would like to know about them, sign up for my email newsletter and it will keep you in the loop. Also, there are some great WAPF (Weston A. Price Foundation) chapters in and around Denver. Look them up. Great people, resources and support. They are on the WAPF website. be well!

  23. Beth

    There’s an absolutely fantastic recipe for fermented granola on the website. I highly recommend it, along with an assortment of their jars for making the best, fool-proof fermented things I’ve ever made.

  24. Joe

    “Organic or not, SUGAR is NOT something your child needs.”

    What do you mean? All carbohydrates turn into glucose, yes? Do you think children should not be eating fresh fruit? You should define what you mean by “sugar”… fruit has a lot of healthy sugar.


    • simplybeingwell

      Hi Joe. I am speaking about refined white sugar in all of its forms: cane sugar, sugar, organic sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc etc. be well!

  25. I wish you had a facebook so I could save it to my business page for my guests and for me to read!

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  29. Angela

    This is an AWESOME article. Nicely done w/ the pics, and I love that recipe for the soaked oats. I’ve never done that but I need to. I came upon this while doing research for my facebook page, “Real Food for Today’s Families.” (!/pages/Real-Food-for-Todays-Families/163257737021511?sk=wall) I hope to do a segment on breakfast & educate folks about the boxed breakfast cereals. This is very nice!

  30. Flavia

    I was wondering if muesli is as bad as the other cereals?

    • simplybeingwell

      Flavia, it’s all about the soaking and the drying. So if the muesli has been soaked, it is good. (Though I don’t know that you will ever be able to find that out.) The next question is at what temperature the grains were dried. Low heat, good–high heat, not so good. One way around all of this is to purchase organic muesli and then soak it yourself for 24 hours or so before you eat it. :))!

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