These days, it seems like using the word “carb” is akin to shouting “Voldemort!” in a room full of wizards. And not without some merit. While carbohydrates are undeniably delicious (my ideal lunch involves a fresh, crusty loaf of bread, butter, and nothing else), the reason we find them so palatable is the simple biological fact that they make good storage for later. The human body is the original doomsday hoarder, but instead of canned goods, it just keeps jamming fat cells full of “what if?” fuel for any unforeseen famine.
In an attempt to cut back on carbs, two weeks ago I gave up eating cereal for breakfast. It’s not like I was wolfing down a giant bowl of Sugar Smacks every morning, but I thought it was worth a try to ditch the very boring grain flakes with almond milk I was eating and replace them with a mix of nuts and seeds with almond milk. Of all the carb-swapping I’ve attempted recently, I’d have to say that this has been the most enjoyable. Unsurprisingly, I got all the ingredients from the best nut retailer in the galaxy. (Not their slogan, but it should be.)
The base of the recipe is a small handful of unsweetened coconut flakes (about 1/4 cup) and then I just add pinches of this and that depending on what I’m in the mood for. The mix in the photo has sliced almonds, a few raw cashews, a few raw walnuts, some chia seeds, dried goji berries, fresh blueberries and cinnamon. Sometimes I add raw pumpkin seeds or unsalted raw sunflower seeds. Sometimes I used freeze-dried berries if I don’t have any fresh. I keep all the ingredients in the fridge to give them a good crunch (and keep them from spoiling), and if I’m going to add goji berries, I let them soak overnight in a little bit of almond milk just to plump them up a bit.
So many people are ditching grains, whether it’s because of a gluten sensitivity, Celiac, or a paleo-style diet. For the record, I will never be able to fully embrace primal eating, for the simple fact that you’ll have to pry my cheese out of my cold, dead hands. But as a lifestyle that encourages an increase in bacon consumption, I give it a general thumbs-up.
It seems, in the midst of all this carb-shunning, cereal manufacturers have found themselves taking a big hit in sales. I say this because an interesting side-effect of this experiment has been a heightened awareness of cereal ads on television that are aimed at adults. And these aren’t just any cereals – these are cereals normally consumed by children, trying to lure adults back into childhood with their sweet, sweet carbohydrates.
While I’ve never been a Lucky Charms fan myself, apparently people who think the marshmallows taste like food (instead of styrofoam) really like picking the marshmallows out of the box. So, I’d say this is a pretty clever angle to take in trying to get adults to remember the sugary joy of being a kid. I mean, as an adult, you’re in charge of the purchases, so you could buy a dozen boxes of Lucky Charms and just fish out the marshmallows from every single one. Living the dream!
Froot Loops, on the other hand, totally missed an opportunity with this one. They’re trying to get parents to remember what it’s like to be a kid, and while that’s not a bad strategy, they have a woman getting all pumped up about hitting a coin block on the very first level of Super Mario Bros. (which, if memory serves, should be a mushroom block and not a coin block anyway). Getting past the Hammer Bros. is much more deserving of a mouthful of incentive carbs than just remembering which button you press to jump.
Frosted Mini Wheats have taken a different approach by trying to convince you that eating a bowl every morning will give you enough energy to make all the fancy coffees you need to make today. It will also give you the sugar rush you need to help forget that the economy has forced you back into the type of job you had when you were a teenager, before you earned a graduate degree and all the debt that came with it. Their tagline really should be, “Frosted Mini Wheats: For when you want to eat your feelings.”
I think this is my favorite of the bunch, simply because it comes across as a seriously desperate attempt to be hip and relevant by casting internet sensation Grumpy Cat in a commercial for human food. It also (probably unintentionally) hits the carb nail right on the head, because I think trying to convince people who have given up grains to eat cereal will get you the same response as trying to get Grumpy Cat to smile.