June 26, 2013

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is strange so many people eat a light breakfast of tea and toast, eat fast or convenience foods on their way to work or skip breakfast all together. My breakfasts are so delicious that I want to get up and enjoy them.

Nothing can beat a wholesome and easy to digest breakfast which provides genuine nutritional value and gives you energy through lunch time. If you think about wild or semi-wild animals (cats and most other pets) they always want to eat soon after waking up. A good breakfast establishes a healthy digestive process for the entire day and makes you feel well.

My home made presoaked muesli
My home made presoaked muesli

Surely if there was always something really delicious in the cupboard, quick to prepare, super healthy, containing your favourite ingredients, and easy to digest, you might never skip this vital meal again A good breakfast shouldn’t leave you counting down the hours and minutes until lunch time, neither should it weight heavily in the stomach.

Well besides making your own seed and nut loaf, (scroll down on this link) bursting with omega 3 goodness, another option, is making your own muesli You can use such a wide range of ingredients, finely tuned to meet your appetite and digestive capacity.

‘Real Food’  and ‘Slow Food’ lovers might be interested in the original muesli recipe developed by a Swiss doctor, Maxmillian Bircher-Brenner for his hospital patients. The breakfast consisted of:

1 tbs rolled oats
1 tbs fresh cream
1 tbs of chopped hazelnuts or almonds .
All of this was soaked in 2-3 tbs of water and 1tbs lemon juice overnight or for at least 2 hours.
1 grated sour apple was added on serving.

The combination and method might seem odd at first. Especially when ‘processed breakfast cereals’ are designed more for crunchy sensations, syrupy tastes, flavour bursts etc (it will say on the packet,) than for the wholesome nutritional values, sustained energy release and for ease of digestion. I am sure processed cereal companies really hope that you are in a furious hurry every morning and that you will buy into one convenience after another.

In the past, many dry foods were soaked before use. Pre-soaking is a form of low-tech prehistoric food processing – making difficult to chew and digest foods and dry preserved foods enjoyable and more wholesome. Even porridge tastes creamier when soak in milk and water the night before and doesn’t sit heavily in the stomach.

Grains, seeds and pulses contain phytates such as phytic acid. While useful to the seed, to us, phytic acid is an ‘anti- nutrient’ which inhibits the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. Soaking the muesli or your porridge oats for that matter for at least 2 hours or overnight  more before eating it breaks the phytic acid down and makes it easier for us to absorb and assimilate the goodness. Buckwheat, rye and wheat contains an enzyme called ‘phytase’ which also breaks phytate down.  Muesli aficionados might wish to add 10 % of these phytase-rich ingredients in some easy to consume form to their muesli too.

Bercher-brenner’s addition of lemon juice makes sense. The body runs better in a slightly alkaline state and lemon juice, surprizingly, helps to bring this state about, plus it helps to break down the dried cereal and nuts into a more easy to digest form. Muesli fans also use milk, kefir water, orange juice, lemon juice, yogurt or other liquid ingredients to make their  ‘slow food’ breakfast extra beneficial. You could also sprinkle some pysllium husk on the muesli just before serving it

Just in the name of ‘kitchen science,’ I invite you to try the original Bircher-Brenner recipe, even if the next day you do begin to modify it.  My own modifications include the addition of linseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds plus a few chopped dates which a add sweet taste and chewy texture. Finely chopped figs or raisins could be added too. I have hardly even hinted at all the variations and different ingredients which can be used in a muesli recipe, including it seems almost any fresh fruit. I am sure that this is the primary reason why search engines were invented – for your own muesli recipe inspiration. The important point is to try pre-soaking your muesli and to see how you feel and perform after eating it. Careful chewing, even of your pre-soaked museli improves the entire digestive process, so it always best to eat sitting down and to take your time, savouring the texture of every juicy seed and chewy date.

By carefully choosing your muesli ingredients, experimenting and forming them into a mix of your choice, soaking them and taking the time to savour every single bite and chew – you provide premium and best value body and mind fuel. Muesli can be eaten at room temperature or cooked! Everybody can create their own perfect muesli breakfast.

About the Author Sally Mittuch

Hello, after my degree involving Archaeology and Anthropology and lecturing for 8 years, I founded Natural Spa Supplies in 2007, an award winning eco business which specialises in pure products straight from nature for washing and cleaning.
When I am not working, I am gardening, playing folk music on the concertina and harp. I am also the village tree warden - growing trees from local tree seeds to increase local biodiversity. I hope you will join me on my eco adventures.

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