…and by system, I mean the diabolical food corporations who have foisted things like super-saturated buckets of fried chicken, bags of squishy sliced bread, and boxes of diabetes-inducing cereal on us since I was a kid. Not exactly the Mother’s Milk of healthy eating habits.
But they got me early. I was lured in via cutey-pie cartoon characters and kind-looking, grandfatherly figures deftly used in the ad campaigns. And once I got my first hit, it was all over. I wanted more. And more. And more. Legal crack. It took a lifetime to detangle myself from the physical and psychological cravings associated with the big industry foods that line our supermarket shelves (in greater proliferation) today. The colors are brighter, the ingredients more atrocious, and the actual nourishment content still at a flat-line level.
And even though I’ve turned a corner, rehabbed my body and my palate, I still find myself craving the cereals I grew up with. Granted, it’s more like twice a year, but it still happens. And since I’ve spent generous amounts of time, energy, and money on maintaining my health and balance, I’d rather not throw in the towel and give in. And there was a time when I’d reward myself with the occasional deviation into sugared-cereal-land. But no more. The cleaner I got and the better I felt, I no longer viewed the sugary stuff in the same light. The list of ingredients began to offend me and I found myself musing one day that I wouldn’t eat a bowl of my childhood crack for all the tea in China.
Instead, I decided to work the system and write my own rules when I want a bowl of sweet cereal. Why the heck not? Cereal’s not illegal! Only the food colors, obscene amounts of sugar and other undesirables are.
Somewhere along the line, I realized if you want to eat for pleasure and be healthy, you’ve gotta tap your inner hustler. Do what you must to survive and get that discreet little kick from enjoying food that we all are entitled to. Wrecking your health need not be a necessary companion. There are choices. Options. Other roads to take. And with a well-stocked pantry, it’s a breeze!
Take today’s breakfast, for example. I assembled a box of corn-based cereal, raw cacao, unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, and stevia drops for a little fun. Was it an exact flavor replica of the stuff I’ve grown up with? Heck no! Nor should it have been.
Look, I could not have dropped 185 lbs. if I’d kept my former eating repertoire in place. There were shifts that needed to take place. Some things, like gluten and cow dairy, needed the boot. And good riddance. I look and feel better at age 50 than I did in my 20’s. Sure, the bowl of cereal I ate this morning wasn’t nearly as sweet as the bowl of cereal I chowed down on during my lost ‘eating years.’ But you know what’s a WHOLE lot sweeter? My Life.
Formula for a Semi-Sweet But Wholly-Healthy Cereal
A cup or two of your favorite unsweetened corn cereal
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbs. Chia Seeds
2-3 TBS. Raw Cacao Powder or Baking Cocoa
10 drops Stevia or 1 Tbs. or so of Agave or Coconut Palm Sugar
Place milk, chia seeds, cacao, and sweetener in blender and blend well. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow chia seeds to plumpen. Pour over cereal and enjoy. I’m betting you have a much more productive morning without the sugar hangover!