Tag Archives: healthy fats

Cereals. Are they Healthy?

With all the marketing talk on cereals, no wonder people are confused! While cereals are a convenient way to start your day – they may not be the best.  Since breakfast is your most important meal, lets learn how to dissect what you are eating!

TV commercials are full of marketing claims – you know the ones I mean…there are cartoon characters dancing around with cereals that are basically straight sugar claiming that they are now whole grain, and a good source of vitamins and minerals.  While this may be true, how did they actually get the cereal this way. Well, they stripped the grain of all its nutrition, and then added sugar, colourings, additives and vitamins and minerals. I don’t know about you, but when I enter my common sense corner wouldn’t you rather eat something that hasn’t been that processed?

Sure you may be getting those vitamins and minerals but what else are you getting, and what about the sugar?

If you want a vibrant life, it is not going to come from eating, low nutrient based food.

So, what should you look for.

Sugar – even though your cereal is claiming that it has vitamins, minerals, and fibre how much sugar are you getting. In our opinion to be considered a healthy cereal it should contain less than 9g sugar/serving.

Also – what form of sugar are you eating. Things that contain high fructose corn syrup should be avoided where better sugars include organic cane juice/sugar, brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave.

Fibre – Make sure that your cereal contains between 3-5g of fibre per serving and if doesn’t…add some. Flax is a great source of fibre amoung other things.  Grind it and add 2tbsp to your favourite cereal. Fibre can slow down the absorption of these blood sugars, so if your favourite cereal is higher in sugar than it should be, adding extra fibre can balance this out.

Sodium – Low sodium foods are considered to have less than 140-200mg of sodium per serving.

Fats – some cereals are still adding toxic fats to their cereals. Watch for things on the label like hydrogenated or modified fats. Avoid these at all costs.

Add things that are ALIVE to your breakfast. Berries contain some of the highest sources of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals and taste great on your cereal. By adding 2tbsp of flax and ½ cup of berries to a healthier cereal you are doing a great service to your health!

Check out our upcoming newsletter to see how you can supercharge your breakfast cereal!!

Here is an example of a poor label, and a better label.  See if you can apply what you have learned!!

Which label is better and why?

Label #1

soy grits, seven whole grains and sesame cereal (hard red winter wheat, long grain brown rice, whole grain oats, triticale, barley, rye, buckwheat, sesame seeds), evaporated cane juice syrup, corn meal, corn flour, soy protein, wheat bran, oat hull fibre, corn bran, honey, evaporated cane juice, natural flavours, calcium carbonate, salt, annatto colour. Contains soy, wheat and sesame ingredients.

Sugar – 9g/serving
Fibre 5g/serving
Sodium 95g/serving

Label #2

whole wheat, raisins, wheat bran, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, malt flavoring, vitamins and minerals: niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), riboflavin (vitamin b2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin b1), vitamin a palmitate, folic acid, vitamin b12 and vitamin d.

Sugar 19g/serving
Fibre 7g/serving
Sodium 350mg/serving

Answer – Better Choice – Label 1

Why? – less sugar, better sugar choice (evapourated cane juice instead of high fructose corn syrup), less sodium.

Now go out and use this knowledge to help make healthier choices everyday, and Stay Vibrant!

How to Read Food Labels

There is a lot of confusion around labels, and what is actually good for you. We went through a whole low fat craze, which actually in turn made people more fat!! Now we see many labels making claims…like high fibre, low sodium. The problem is, we need to be label savvy as a lot of this is great marketing. They replace one bad thing with another and trick us into thinking the product is good for us.

So, here is what to look for…

Serving Size

On the nutritional facts, there will be a serving size listed. For cereal or grains it might say 1/2cup, for bars it might say 1. This is important to note, as most of the higher calorie items are 2 cookies, or 10chips.  This isn’t a lot of food for this many calories, which is why these foods must be limited. They are called empty calories, meaning they hold very little nutrition for their caloric punch


Fats are a very confusing topic for most people. I still get many people in my office that are afraid to eat things like nuts or avocado for fear of getting fat.

These good fats actually help your body to burn weight…not put it on.

The inflammatory or toxic fats are the ones we want to reduce, but we need to increase our consumption of the good fats.

Fats to Avoid – Many processed foods, will also contain processed fats. These are fats that help to add flavour and stabilize the shelf life of the food.  We want to avoid the following fats as much as possible – hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats. We want to greatly limit things like vegetable oil, corn oil or soybean oil as most of the time they are highly processed. So, if you see a product that claims to be high in fibre, but also has these fats in it…this is not something that you should be eating every day

Fats to include – things like nuts and seeds (except peanuts), avocado, olive oil, hemp seeds/oil, flax seeds/oil, olives, fish. These products contain the good fats, that will help us with cardiovascular function, weight loss and management, skin health, brain health and much more.


Many of the processed foods will replace fats for sugar, or they add sugar to compensate for the increase in fibre (to still allow the product to taste great). White sugar is very inflammatory in the body and in increased quantities contributes to lowered immune system, weight gain and insulin resistance. When looking at a product it is important to make sure to look at the amount of sugar per serving as well as the type of sugar used.  Healthy products will use less than 9g of sugar per serving.

Healthy sugars to look for are things like brown rice syrup, agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, dates, dried fruit, organic cane sugar.

Sometimes when you look at some of the natural bars you will see that they have more sugar in them than 9g/serving.  If they are more, but they contain the natural sugars as oppose to white sugar, they are okay to consume. Lara bars are a good example of this


Don’t be fooled…even some of the soups in the health food section of the grocery store contain more sodium than they should. Sodium in excess quantities can cause problems with water retention and blood pressure. It is advised to keep your daily sodium intake to 2400mg, with an individual product being around 200mg. Most of the convenience food like frozen dinners and packaged soups can contain up to 700-900mg of sodium per serving.  Therefore it is best to cook your own food, or make sure that what you are eating on a consistent basis is not too high in sodium.  Celtic sea salt is not processed, and the trace minerals are not stripped like in regular table salt. Therefore it does not have the same effect of blood pressure and water retention. If you are going to use salt, you can use sea salt sparingly, but also try to find other ways to spice your food like lemon juice or herbs.

Having the ability to be able to understand labels, will help keep you and your family healthy.